It’s been a weird kind of week

banana bread

So the week started as usual with me getting up, feeding the animals, taking the dogs out and then getting down to work. My sister visited on Wednesday with her kids and we had a lovely time. I even made banana bread, shortbread and sponge cake. It was lovely.

However, come Thursday morning I felt unwell and I’m still a bit yucky today. I don’t know what it is, but I’m exhausted and my throat is raspy and my ears ache. I suspect I’ve just been overdoing it recently and this is my body’s way of telling me to slow down. Anyway, I’ve spent the last couple of days lying on the sofa watching telly. First, I watched Operation Petticoat, one of my favourite Cary Grant/Tony Curtis movies. I LOVE that film. It’s funny and exciting and a great way to spend a Thursday afternoon when you’re feeling ill.

And then I moved on to an old favourite. I find watching familiar tv series and films comforting, so I dug True Blood out of Sky and I’ve been watching it ever since. I really LOVE this series. It’s so good and the books are great too. It feels like I’m back in the presence of an old friend.

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I’d forgotten how good this tv series is. I’m in heaven right now. I still feel a bit yuck, but I’ll have a good night’s sleep tonight and hopefully feel better tomorrow.

Right, this was just a quick post to say hi and I’ll post again soon. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

Still in lockdown, still busy

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Has it really been four weeks since my last post? I used to be so much better at posting than this. I think it’s because we’re still on lockdown in Scotland and have nowhere interesting to go to just now. We can meet with another family so long as we are socially distancing, but there’s no going out for lunch or meeting friends at the pub or going to the cinema or theatre for us at the moment. Still, those things will return eventually and I can’t wait.

In case you are wondering, most of my images will be of rain this blogpost and this is because I am reflecting the weather in Scotland just now. It. Is. Pouring. We haven’t stepped over the door once today. The poor dogs are desperate for a walk, but it’s too wet outside. Even if I force them outside, they would refuse to go anyway.

So, how are you anyway? Hope you’re all fine. We’re good at Nelson Towers. The kids are a bit bored – my teenage daughter is being a stroppy mare today – but there’s not much I can do about it. We have lots of options for watching tv, there’s board games, loads of books they can read and they both have mobile phones, so there are plenty of things for them to do if they really thought about it. Me? I’ve been busy writing my series book, my history book and writing my script. In between those, I’ve been trying to keep up with the jungle that is my garden, the washing and housekeeping. I’d been feeling bad about it – I write from 9am til 6pm, so it’s a long day and I’m shattered at night so the house and garden have been slightly neglected – until I read a quote from J K Rowling who said that when she was writing the Harry Potter series, her house was a mess. She basically said she couldn’t do it all. Well, Joanne, thank you for that. You made me feel less of a failure. So what if my house isn’t spotless or the grass cut yet? It’ll get done eventually.

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I’ve just finished a book by Linsey Hall called Trial by Fae which was a fantastic fantasy book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was a quick read and I was sorry to finish it – always the sign of a good book with me. I may now have to buy the rest of the series! Oh no! More books! How will I cope?? 😀  What I loved about this one is that it was based around Kilmartin in Argyll, near where me and the kids holidayed last year. I knew exactly all the places she was talking about because we visited them all. I love when you know a place in a book. I think that’s why I put some many places I’ve been in my books.

What else have I been doing? Laughing a lot at the chickens. Our Yorkie, Casper (see below), is the biggest wimp out, but likes to bully other dogs. Anyway, he tried to bully the chickens, but Merriweather and Nugget were having none of it. They chased him across the garden and he raced through the open patio doors of the living room like his tail was on fire. It was the funniest thing I’d seen in a long while. That’ll teach him!

Casper

So, what have you been watching on tv lately? I watched the modern tv series of Mildred Pierce a few days ago. Kate Winslet was great as Mildred and Rachel Evan Wood played her horrible daughter, Veda, brilliantly. Really enjoyed it. Kate Winslet is always good in whatever she does and played the put-upon Mildred beautifully. Guy Pierce played Monty and Brien F O’Byrne played Bert Pierce. Recommend it. I’ve only just realised it was out in 2011 – why am I only seeing it now? Hmmm.

kate winslet as mildred pierce

I have just looked out of the window and it’s still raining. Sigh. Feels like it will never stop. We had lovely weather only a couple of weeks ago. Bring it back!! 🙂

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Right, on that note, I will wish you all adieu til next time. Hopefully, I’ll have something more interesting to tell you then!

Dawn

 

 

How to be a bad blogger and other stories

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I cannot believe it’s been over a month since I last posted. That is so not like me! I’m a post a week kinda gal! 🙂  I’ve been a bad blogger! Anyway, I’m going to fill you in on what’s been keeping me busy – in a nutshell, it’s been writing.

I’m still writing a series with some international authors. That’s going really well and I’m about halfway through the first of two books. I’m also writing a history book for kids with my friend and illustrator, Mandy Sinclair. We’re both desperate to get out and do some research in person, but because of Corona Virus, we’re having to do it all at home. Still, hopefully we’ll get out and about at some point.

writing

The third thing I’m doing right now is drafting up a script for a new tv series. I can’t tell you too much about that yet, it’s too early, but I’ll let you know once I have some more to tell you.

My poor laptop has been taking some battering recently! I’ve been working on it every single day for months, my fingers flying over the keys! It has also literally taken a battering: I dropped the bag that containing it, opened the laptop the following day and discovered I’d smashed the screen. Luckily, I can still use it, but I will get it fixed once we’re out of lockdown!

mower

So, what else have I been doing? Like most people, I’ve been stuck indoors. The weather has been nice recently so I have been out in the garden mowing the lawn. About four weeks ago I spent several back breaking hours weeding the driveway. The weeds are back and far worse than before so I’ve decided to use weed killer on them. I hate the thought of using it, but I just can’t keep weeding – I don’t have the time.

I’ve also been watching telly. My favourite TV series at the moment is a German one called Babylon Berlin. You’ll get all three series on Sky. It’s set in 1929 Berlin and is amazing.

Right, I’m away to dig some grit out of one of the dog’s eyes. My life is so glamorous!! Hahahaha! Til next time,

Dawn xx

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.

 

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! 🙂

Madam C J Walker, Stargate and the Chippendales

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Hey everyone! How are you all? Hope you’re all well and keeping safe! Here at Nelson Towers, life is pretty dull and monotonous, but everyone is in the same boat so we are just getting on with it.

Last week, I did feel really down at the beginning of the week (I’m definitely not alone on that, I know), but that soon lifted especially when a friend sent me a short video of a Chippendale dancer dancing with a pile of toilet paper. It was so ridiculous I couldn’t stop laughing and it brought me out my funk. I think I was feeling so down not because I’m in the house all day – I work from home so that’s not a problem – but because I was worried and feeling out of sorts because I wasn’t in control of my own destiny. The thing about Corona Virus is we don’t know who has it, we don’t know if we have it and if we do get it, we don’t know how severe we’ll get it. On top of that is the worry about family members who are more vulnerable. I like to be in control of my life, so all this not knowing was doing my nut it. However, after the said video, I felt a lot better. Just shows you that having a laugh can do wonders for your mental health. Plus I have great friends who have been a real support.

Right, enough of the ‘Rona as I’ve seen Corona Virus referred to on social media, and on to my writing life.

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

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

The Jacobite's Share ebook cover

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

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

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

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

Madam C J Walker

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

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

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

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

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

Dawn xx

New Covers and a New Way of Living

Dusting ebook cover

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

The Jacobite's Share ebook cover

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

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

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

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

Millie

Casper

Bonya

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

Dawnxxx