Ten Things I Love About Being an Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  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.
Advertisements

A few things I must stop doing…

Still no snow, but here’s some snowy pics anyway…

snow-1557517

Hi, just thought I’d say hello before normal life resumes tomorrow (ie I am back at work). What do you think of the photo above? I think it looks like a group of little people caught in the snow. How did they get there? Who froze them? And why? Am sure Terry Pratchett would have made a great book out of this one image.

Anyway, now that the cold has finally lifted (that was two weeks of horrible-ness), I am feeling so much better today so tidied up the house and my study. Found books I forgot I had (oops…need to stop buying books), which was nice as I am not buying any more books in the foreseeable future. I have so many of them that it’s ridiculous. I intend to read them all before I even think of buying any others. With this in mind, I am staying off Amazon (unless I need something other than books) and am going to ignore book recommendations from everyone (one of the reasons I am constantly buying books). No temptation = no book buying (or that’s the theory anyway).

snow-on-window-2-1195896

Anyway, I have a lovely pile of books to read over the coming months. I’ve finished The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Practchett (thoroughly enjoyed it, although I don’t think it was is very best) and am now reading Charlotte Bronte: A Life by Claire Harman. Can’t get enough books about writers! Also got a C S Lewis biog to read too! Oh happy days!

Still off the sauce. That’s four whole days without alcohol and I haven’t missed it (yet). Ask me again next week! Usually I have wine twice a week and I enjoy it. Am planning to get to Jan 31 without drinking wine or any other kinds of alcohol. Sounds easy, but when you see wine everywhere (mainly on telly in the hands of a main character and looking all cold and delicious) it’s difficult to resist. Plus I love to finish work for the week with a celebratory glass of vino…I shall need to find something else instead. Somehow diluting juice doesn’t really hit the spot, but it will have to do. I will let you know how I get on.

snow-1-1460879

So this year so far, I have banned Amazon and wine. My other indulgence is Coca Cola. I just love it. I am also giving this up. It’s full of sugar and just isn’t good for me. I could drink diet coke, but I don’t drink aspartame or any other kind of sweetener because I believe they are really bad for you. Sigh…thank goodness I can still have the odd bit of chocolate or life wouldn’t be worth living!! Ha ha!

Right am off! Got some books to read and pottering around to do before dinner! Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS what was that Sherlock all about?? It wasn’t up to its usual standards. In fact, I felt the story was rather weak. Another disappointing Christmas special!!

Drat! Foiled again…no romantic lunch for us!

1438990_33675911

Hello. How are you? What’s been happening? What’s the gossip? Me? Truthfully, my life hasn’t been exciting lately. I could make something up. I could say I flew to Paris with hubby for a romantic moonlit dinner under the Eiffel Tower. I could say I’m just back from trekking to Machu Picchu and brought back a lhama, but none of those two fantasies are true. Sigh.

Hey ho! Instead, this morning, hubby and I attempted to go to Clydebank to do a bit of shopping and to pick up a bit of lunch. We got as far as Dalmuir, which is pretty much as close to Clydebank as you can get without actually being in Clydebank when we got a call from our local school. The girl was sick. We had to turn about to get her. I am telling you this story not because it’s particularly interesting – it’s not – but because every single time we try and go out for lunch over the last couple of years one of the kids have been ill and we’ve had to pick them up from school. It’s not like there was any sign of illness before we sent them to school – we’re not such bad parents. Honestly it’s like someone is trying to tell us we shouldn’t go out for lunch together. The kids don’t know our plans beforehand, but they must psychically be picking up on our plans to spend time together! Anyway, we had to return home and she’s now in bed, tucked up having been given the magical elixir that is Calpol.

1408558_48696422

It’s been weird. For months I’ve been procrastinating with writing and haven’t been daydreaming up any new stories for, well, several months, years even. But the past few weeks, since hubby’s been getting better, my beloved daydreaming has returned and ideas have been popping up for stories and other crafty things all over the place. It’s like I’ve got my mojo back. I think it’s to do with the fact I’ve been doing yoga every day and meditating regularly. I feel mentally and physically good, so it makes sense my writing mojo is returning. Yoga has also been great for getting my old lady bones moving and not stiffening up. I was feeling I was getting really inflexible from all the driving and sitting around I was doing whilst hubby was in hospital. Now I can do a downward dog without even thinking about it!!

Fisherman's Canoe on Beach

Have you noticed the images I’ve put in this blog? There is a theme. If you want to, drop me a message and tell me what you think it is.

1424958_18229539

So they’ve finally gone and done it. Castle and Beckett have married! Finally! I thought the episode was not up to it’s usual highly entertaining standard though. I mean – Castle going into another dimension?? A bit twee, but hey I still love the series. Hubby maintains I love anything on tv that features a writer and he’s not wrong. Some of my favourite films: You’ve Got Mail, Something’s Gotta Give, Julie & Julia…need I go on? TV programmes are the same, hence the love of Castle – although the murder mystery bit of it is a big part of my enjoyment of the show. Plus Nathan Fillion who plays Richard Castle was also Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly. What’s not to love about a programme that has him, murder, Stana Katic as a kickass Kate Beckett and a writer in it?

1444044_25073821

Am having Game of Thrones withdrawal at the moment. I’m trying to keep away from all the theories on Facebook about Jon Snow, it’s giving me too much hope the character will come back. The good thing is my favourite character Tyrion Lannister is still there…long may he continue!

1434590_44832161

Right I must be off to do some planning (yes – writing planning) and other bits and pieces. Til next time!

Dawn xxxx

You know you’re a parent when…

Monster High Doll shoes

Monster High Doll shoes

…you find a pair of Monster High Dolls in the en suite shower room and you’re not surprised! Or there’s a bit of sticky stuff on the kitchen floor that the mysterious ‘no-one’ did after getting himself or herself a piece and jam. Or your daughter claims to have run out of underwear only for you to find 28 pairs stuffed down the back of her bed!!

It’s been a bit of a mental week this week. I’ve been watching the kids during the Easter holidays and we’ve managed to do a few nice things. I had intended it to be quiet, but it hasn’t really worked out that way!

We went up to Geilston Garden in Cardross for a wander around and a cup of tea (I brought a flask!). We went with my friend Dawn and her daughter and while the kids ran around and made a lot of noise, we supped on tea and chatted about nothing in particular.

My parents and young niece and nephew came for lunch yesterday. The noise was…well…unbearable at times. It was my two – they are boisterous, happy weans who are incredibly noisy especially when hyper. They had fun playing with their cousins and it was great to see everyone. We went for a walk, but couldn’t stay out long due to the bitter wind that comes off the river. Blustery and bracing are the best words to describe it!

Today my girl had gone to the pictures with her friend and the boy is out playing with his. I’ve spent the afternoon putting together submissions of short stories to magazines and of my books to agents in the hope that I will get the short stories published and finally get an agent to try and get Dusting Down Alcudia and Ham published in book form. Wish me luck!!

I was gutted on Tuesday having watched the last episode of series 2 of Death in Paradise. I love murder mysteries and that series is great because it’s soft (not gritty and dark) and set in the lovely Caribbean. Just makes me feel all warm and cosy.

Still watching Breaking Bad and loving it. Has taken me some time to get into it, but now I get why everyone’s raving about it!!

A final word on telly programmes – OH MY GOD!! WASN’T GAME OF THRONES GREAT??!! A cheer went up when…well I don’t want to say because I know some friends of mine read this blog and haven’t yet seen it. Anyway, for those of you who have seen it, you know the bit I mean!! No-one’s going to miss that wee slimeball!! This is definitely my favourite show of all time!

Disaster struck! I had bought another niece and nephew chocolate chick Easter eggs. However, disaster struck when I left them in a bag on a chair in my study…I forget how hot it gets in that room when the sun is shining and, well, this happened…

20140417_153347_resized

It should look like this…

20140417_153352_resized

Meant to say: I invested in a replacement egg for the two of them!

On that final note, I’m away to get a well earned cup of tea and maybe some of the leftover Colin the Caterpillar cake I bought for yesterday. Yum!!

Dawn xxx

PS Here’s a quick selfie of me and Joanna Bolouri at her book launch last week…!

20140411_204506_resized

A racy new writer and catching up with friends

The List

Had an excellent night last night! Was out at the launch of my friend Joanna Bolouri’s brand new book The List at Argyle Street Waterstone’s. I’ve known Joanna since she was a child. She is the daughter of my dear friend Yvonne who was my very first editor (she basically took a chance on me and gave me my first newspaper job) on the Glasgow South & Eastwood Extra local newspaper. I’ve known Yvonne for 25 years…can’t believe it’s been that long (she still looks great!)…and Joanna for about as long.

The List is Joanna’s debut book and is a fantastically funny story about Phoebe Henderson who’s been single since she caught her boyfriend in bed with another woman. With her friend Lucy she creates a list of ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed and as the book blurb goes: ‘One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?’ Already started this book and can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s hysterically funny, brilliantly written and one I can barely put down! If you love a great story, a good belly laugh and some brilliant capers, you’ll love The List. Available at all major outlets…and, no, Joanna has not paid me nor asked me to promote this book! It’s so good I have no qualms about doing it!! NB Not one for the kids!

Last night I also managed to catch up with a fair few folk I haven’t seen for years and it was brilliant. So thanks to Joanna for the invite…had a great time and I wish you all the best with your book!

Plus DarkIsle: The Final Battle is now out!! It’s the final one in the trilogy and just as exciting and pacy as the other two. I hope you enjoy it!

Right, that’s the excitement over. I don’t go out a lot (my choice), so any night out is extremely exciting. I don’t go out a lot because I have such a lot going on in my life at home that I am often too tired to go out. Plus home is definitely where my heart is, so I don’t need to have a lot of excitement to have a great life. It’s all here!!

This week I’ve been working as usual, but am off next week for the Easter hols. Me and the kids started the hols off with a trip to a local soft play area, which was a good idea in the beginning, but hell to end with. We were meeting some friends there, which was great. The only thing that wasn’t great was the hellish racket all the kids were making as they played. Two hours of it and I’d had enough. We came home to peace and quiet. My kids had a great time and it was good to catch up with friends, but my eardrums are still recovering!!

Yesterday, had a friend over to watch Monday’s Game of Thrones. Oh my God do I love that programme! I watched it Monday night with hubby and I watched it all over again with Mac (my friend) yesterday. Fantastic! As soon as I hear the opening music, my heart starts beating faster and my stomach flips in excitement. Sad, but true. Monday’s episode didn’t disappoint and can’t wait til next week’s.

This weekend, I am planning to do a bit of writing and to clean out my car. It’s badly in need of a clean, but every time I go to do it it’s raining hard. Plus it stinks of oil which isn’t great. Took it for an MOT and service yesterday and it came back reeking of oil. Hopefully it’ll dissipate soon!!

Right, am off to do something else…like getting dressed (am writing this at 10.25am on Saturday morning!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

On Writing

PS also reading Stephen King’s On Writing…it’s excellent. He has such a good voice when he writes and this comes across beautifully in his book which is part biog, part writing guide. I’m not a fan of his books (because I don’t like horror mainly because I can’t sleep for weeks afterwards), although I love some of the films that have been made from them (Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favourite films), but I think he’s a great writer and story teller. Not literary, but that doesn’t matter!! I think a book should be judged on it’s story telling and not how fancy the words are! Anyway, On Writing is good.

New DarkIsle out April 11!!!!

Darkisle the final battle

Ta-daaaaaaaah!!! DarkIsle: The Final Battle is out on April 11!! Woohooo!! Am very excited. Pre-order yours now on Amazon and other outlets!

The Hairy  Bikers' bean burgers...a lot neater looking than mine!

The Hairy Bikers’ bean burgers…a lot neater looking than mine!

After all that excitement, let’s get back down to Earth with some normality (ie what my life is normally like!). Let me start first with my little success story from last night. I made the Hairy Bikers’ Eat for Life bean burgers for tea last night and they were lovely. There were three left over which I had in a pitta bread with salad for lunch. Delish!! I’ve got a few Hairy Bikers’ books and I love their recipes…they are down-to-earth, proper food for families, not the posh stuff you have to buy weird ingredients for. Unfortunately the kids weren’t as enamoured with the burgers as I was, but never mind. Hopefully, they’ll like them at some point in the future.

Yesterday afternoon I had some friends round for our craft club. Well, it was supposed to be craft club but it turned into ‘drink tea and eat cake and gab club’ instead and we got nothing done on our projects. We didn’t even have them out. That’s not the real point of craft club though…it’s really just an excuse to get together to gab and have a nice time. It was good. I’m still working on a top I was knitting for myself. It’s funny – when I’m knitting for other people I will knit and knit and knit. When I’m knitting for me…it takes ages. Still haven’t finished those socks I started over a year ago!!

Missed my walk last night as was feeling too tired and off colour. Went to bed early last night and woke up refreshed. This morning I watched the last episode of series 2 of Lilyhammer…that’s a funny series. I’m hoping there are further series…I’ll need to look it up. I also did a bit of yoga. I used to go to a class in a town near here, but it was on a night I worked and I was so stressed trying to get home, take my daughter to Rainbows, pick her up and then go to yoga, that I decided it wasn’t worth it. I have a few DVDs at home, so am trying to do a wee session every couple of days. Hopefully, I’ll eventually get back to a proper class…I really enjoyed the class when I was there, it was just getting there that was the problem!!

After this blog has been written, I am GETTING BACK INTO WRITING THE TWO BOOKS I WAS WORKING ON. I am shouting in text to give myself a metaphorical kick up the backside to get it done.

Anyway, I’m off to write. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Getting back into writing and cracking at the cooker

A view from Carrick Castle - I felt we all  needed a bit of sunshine today so here you go!

A view from Carrick Castle – I felt we all needed a bit of sunshine today so here you go!

Hello, how are you? Or should I say: How do you do? Was listening to Radio 2 yesterday and one of the guests has just written a tongue-in-cheek book on etiquette and how to behave with the hoi polloi. Was quite interesting. Anyway, what’s been happening in your world this week? I’ve been busy, but don’t feel I’ve really achieved much…it’s been one of those weeks!!

Woke up on Monday morning with a really painful right hip. I don’t know what caused it but it was really debilitating. Managed to get dressed okay, but when it came time to leave I had to get the boy to pull my slippers off because I couldn’t bend to reach them. I was walking like an old woman and every time I moved a bolt of pain screeched up my hip and made me jolt with agony. I felt like I’d been stabbed. Anyway, I was lucky, by teatime everything had eased off. However, I’ve been having twinges all week since. I don’t know whether it’s been the way I’ve been sleeping or linked to the cold virus that’s been annoying me for the last couple of weeks too. Sigh. Thank goodness I’m mobile again. Such an unpleasant experience. Poor people who have to live with pain all the time.

Still working on the room. I need to get a cupboard for there and then I’ll be finished. It’s looking a lot better than before, so I can start using it again. Now I have the space and the time I’m getting back into writing. Did my work plan last night and today I’ll start planning the next bit of the two books I’m writing.

I have a quiet-ish weekend ahead, so am also planning to do a bit of baking. Haven’t baked bread for ages and I really prefer home cooked cakes and biscuits to bought, so I may just put my CD player on and get cracking at the cooker!!

Right I need to go. Til next time.

Dawn xxxx

Third DarkIsle due out in March, Burns Supper, being sociable and getting back into poetry!

coloured pencils

Hello. How are you? Hope you’re well. I’m back, but I haven’t yet finished my room…I can’t believe how much rubbish I have hoarded!! Sigh. Not to worry. This weekend it should be finished.

There are a few reasons why I couldn’t get it finished last weekend:
1) I didn’t get my new bookcase until Sunday, so that kept me back
2) I was really, really busy (Thursday: I gutted the room and moved furniture about; Friday: visited a friend and then attended the school’s Scottish afternoon which was a celebration of Burns and our culture, it was great; Saturday: took the girl to her art class and then went hunting for a bookcase in Ikea on Saturday afternoon – the shop was mobbed and I couldn’t get one I wanted; Sunday: out for lunch with friends at Luss’ The Village Rest and then my darling hubby went to Homebase and got me my bookcase). So, you can see I’ve been very sociable and haven’t had a lot of time or energy in between. This weekend, however, I don’t have as much on so I will get into it!!

This week, I’ve been busy at work, but been feeling really really tired. I think it’s a combination of the horrible cold and wet weather we’ve been experiencing, the long, dark nights and having to get up early to everyone out to school, work etc. Hopefully, I’ll get my energy back this weekend.

Oh exciting news! Apparently the third DarkIsle is due out in March. Hubby found out accidentally by looking for it on Amazon. I say it ‘apparently’ is coming out then because I haven’t had any official word from my publisher, but it must be right if Amazon says so! 😉

rainbow1

Anyway, moving on…I’ve signed up to a couple of reading challenges this year so am looking to read books I wouldn’t normally read. One of them is a book by Canongate of three Scottish poets. We had a Burns Supper at home on Saturday night to celebrate the Bard and have yet another excuse to eat haggis, which I love. We each said a poem, which was nice. The kids really loved doing that. It’s given me a taste for poetry again, so I purchased the book of poems and am working my way through them. I would give you the title, but I can’t remember it and I can’t find it because my room is in a guddle and things are everywhere. I will find it and tell you at a later time. It features poems by Edwin Morgan, Liz Lockhart and another poet whose name escapes me at the moment (sorry!).

Right, I must love you and leave you! Got to get the offspring to school and do a bit of piano practise before my lesson this morning. Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Back to Knitting

baby 3

baby 4

Now I’ve finished all my editing and publishing of ebooks (and editing the third DarkIsle book), I have a bit of time to get back to hobbies. I’ve nearly finished a cardigan for the boy (still have to finish the collar trim which I have ripped out twice already because I can’t seem to get the right number of stitches to make it lie flat…will finish it today) and a poncho for the girl (just got to add the fringing).

I also completed a lovely wee cardie (pictured) for my friend Shona’s new wee boy and a pair of bootees. The cardie pattern came from Knitting Magazine’s summer kids patterns from last year (I think) and the bootees from a knitting book I have.

baby 1

baby 2

Was nice to knit for the baby, especially as I didn’t get back into knitting until after my two were out of their babyhood, something I kind of regret. I used to knit when I was a kid then gave it up as a teenager because it was uncool then and I couldn’t afford the yarn. Now, I don’t care what people think about my knitting and sewing addiction plus Shona was delighted with the gift, so that makes it all worthwhile for me.

Next projects? I have a shirt and trousers to sew for the boy. Am also thinking of knitting a 60s style top for me and sewing myself something. Am thinking maybe a little dress.

So there’s not other news chez moi. I’m back at work next week and the kids go back to school as well. Everything will return to the madness it always is when we have to get up early and get out for school and work. I’ve really enjoyed being off (on and off) over the summer. The weather was fantastic for a good bit of it, I did a lot of things, got a lot of books finished and generally enjoyed watching the kids playing. I shall miss it when we go back to normal. Sigh. Not to worry.

Anyway, enough of my wistfulness. I am off to pick up my needles and finish the boy’s new cardie. Will show pics of it, the poncho and the girl’s new dress I sewed for her next time. Til then.

Dawn xxx

Ham – Memoirs of a P***ed Off Mother now available on Kindle

Ham cover

Ham – Memoirs of a P***ed Off Mother is now available on Kindle at this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ham-Memoirs-Off-Mother-ebook/dp/B00EA6QNRY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375431102&sr=8-1&keywords=Ham+d+a+nelson

Buy it now or if you are an Amazon Prime member you can also borrow it. Whatever you do I’d appreciate it if you’d rate the book on Amazon.

Cheers

Dawn xxxx

PS I’ll get a couple of free chapters up for you to read in due time!
PPS Dusting Down Alcudia is selling good guns so thanks to everyone who bought it and to those who rated it on Amazon for me.