Exciting news and a small loss

Okay, so I’ve got some news I’m dying to tell you about, but I can’t tell you details yet. The first is that I am collaborating with a very dear friend of mine on a new book for kids. She’s a great illustrator and we work well together, so I am looking forward to doing that one.

The second is international. I’ve teamed up with a group of authors from the US, Australia and the UK to do a whole series of books, romantic thrillers. We’re just working out the details now, but we’re hoping to have the first book launched by the end of the year. I cannot wait to get started. I have already begun planning.

(Takes deep breath to calm down) Sorry I can’t tell you any more, but I will give you details as we go along.

So, back to reality, how are you? What’s been happening in your world? Apart from signing up for two projects, the rest of the week has been pretty mundane. The weather has been terrible, we lost a chicken (she died – I think it was the weather that did it, it’s been wet and miserable for weeks now), but on the plus side we still have three healthy chooks left. The dogs have been loving trailing through the mud on their wet and windy walks. Sorry, let me re-phrase that, the Yorkie and Jack/Chi have been loving the mud, the pug (who hates going out for walks and I have to force her to go) does not like getting her wee tippy toes wet. So we’ve been getting a fair bit of grumbling from her this week! 🙂

Millie – our Jack Russell/Chihuahua cross loves water and getting muddy. That’s her ‘crazy eyes’ look because I am holding up a ball – she’s ball mad – in order to make her look at the camera!
Casper – our Yorkshire terrier doesn’t like getting wet, but will happily put up with wet and mud in order to go a walk. He spends a lot of time sleeping and pacing between the living room and kitchen. I don’t know why.
Bonya – our pug, hates going walks, hates getting wet and spends her life sleeping on the sofa. She’s a lazy dog.

I’ve been beavering away at my uni course and have an assignment to hand in next week, but it’s a creative writing one and I am just loving doing it!

What else have I been up to? I attended a tarot reading at our local pub on Monday night. Let’s just say I was a bit sceptical when I went and I remain sceptical now. The guy doing the reading was nice, but the stuff he was telling me was way too general and I felt he kept looking at me for signs of information so he could add to it. Do you know what I mean? I think there are people who are genuinely psychic or something – and I’ve only met one who was so accurate it was scary – but most are just reading off their client. Anyway, we’ll see.

I am still making my way through M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin books. They are a fab way of relaxing at night. I like to go to my bed at 9pm and read for an hour (sometimes two) before lights out. These are great books – I love the characters, I love the humour and the stories are great. It is murder and mayhem, but not so you can’t sleep at night (I don’t read dark murder stories or horror at bedtime because my mind goes into freefall with imagining things that go bump in the night and I can’t sleep).

Oh, I see it’s now raining again. It’s the type of rain that’s almost snow… you know the kind I mean? The type that when you look out you think ‘Is that snow?’ but it’s not settling. It’s not hail cos it’s too soft and too easy for the wind to blow about. Anyway, it’s bloody cold and miserable outside. I had to bring the chickens in last night and I kept them in a large cardboard box in the living room. They’d got soaked yesterday and were in their coop shivering. I was worried they’d get hypothermia, so I brought them in. Looks like they’ll be spending another night indoors tonight.

Right, I am off. Got another two blog posts to write and then I’m going to finish my assignment and then I’m going to start researching my kids book project. Til next time.

Dawn xx

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Carnival, Agatha and finishing the audiobook – I hope!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M C Beaton

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

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

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

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

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

Dawn xxx

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Getting back to normal

I don’t know about you, but I was delighted to get my kids back to school this week. I love them dearly, I’d jump in front of a bus for them, but these last few summer holiday weeks they have been driving me nuts with their bickering and constant requirements. It’s so nice to get back to a peaceful house with non-demanding dogs and the ability to sit at the laptop all day long without someone asking me to do something for them. Bliss.

You see, I just can’t concentrate the same when they are at home all the time. Plus, being a mother and therefore guilt ridden that I am not doing enough mother/kid stuff, I’ve been taking them out and doing things with them. Not ever day, but I tried to do something every week. Apart from the expense (and it’s been expensive this year), it takes up a whole day.

And then there’s the mess. When they are at home, the house is so untidy. I can clean it and minutes later there’s mess. I do ask them to tidy up, but they take so long to do it (“Just a minute, mum.”) that I often end up doing it myself.

Yes, having them back at school is great.

So, how have you been this week? Hope you’ve had a good week so far. Mine has been relatively quiet. Truthfully, I’ve been binge watching Lucifer, first on Amazon and then on Netflix. Can’t believe how addictive that programme is!! Talking of programmes, I can’t wait until the new series of Peaky Blinders starts. Such a great series.

Book news – still editing the second Nina adventure and I’m about to launch the audiobook (finally I hear you all gasp) soon. Watch this space for more news.

Bookwise, having also been obsessed with the tv series of Agatha Raisin over the summer months (I just love it, it’s so easy to watch and gentle and humorous), I’ve started on the books. I love reading, as you know, and I will read anything. I will read big heavy books and I will read light and fun books. Agatha Raisin by M C Beaton is definitely in the latter category, but sometimes that’s just what I need. I’ve started at the beginning with The Quiche of Death and am going to work my way through. Still reading Anne Lister’s diary and still enjoying it, but I can read two books at once and that is what I’ve been doing.

I’ve started up another wee blog called The Canny Lass, which I hope will help me with my online shopping habit and encourage me to be more canny with money. Not that I’m a bad money manager, I could just do better. If anyone has any tips about living well for less, drop me a message below or email me: dawn@danelsonauthor.com I collect a lot of old books, mainly from the Victorian and early 20th century, that are either cookbooks or household management type books. I love them for their illustrations and good advice. I’ll be sharing some treasures I find in them as well as more modern tips.

Right, that’s me for this week. I have a busy afternoon ahead, so I am going to finish up here. Til next time.

Dawn