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.

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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

A gorgeous day for learning to ride his bike

2011-08-14 18.32.20

What a difference a day maaaaaaakkeess!!!! Isn’t it gorgeous outside just now?? Makes such a difference when the sun is shining and the heavy rain and hail disappears. We’ve also had really strong winds this week. There were two nights I woke up because of the noise of the stormy weather outside…not good. Anyway, today feels more like spring, which is why me and hubby prised the kids away from the telly and made them go on a long walk down the side of the River Clyde. There were a few grumbles, but they had sticks and they used said sticks to write cheeky messages in the sand at the beach near where we live, dig up shells and generally wave them around. The boy also used his to ‘shoot’ his sister a few times, but she had her ‘invisible force-field’ up so the shots were deflected. (looks bemused!) Of course, neither of us remembered to bring our phones or a camera to take shots of the said events, but not to worry!! It was a good walk, blew the old cobwebs away and we returned home in time for lunch, all hungry and rosey-cheeked.

So what’s been happening in your world this week? I’ve been quite busy since my last post. Although I’ve been off, I’ve been knitting, watching copious amounts of telly (watched all of Whitechapel…my God the first series was good! Second series not so good, but there was no way they could have topped the first series! Also, started getting into Fringe, but am reserving judgement for that!), cooking and baking, cleaning the house, looking after the kids and generally being a mum. I decided that I wasn’t using the week off to work on writing as I felt I really needed a break, so opted for the ‘see what I felt like’ view of the world. I felt like knitting and watching telly so that’s what I did. How lazy!!

Yesterday we had a couple of friends come round for lunch. Well, we went to our local hostelry and had lunch. Was nice to see both of them. Haven’t seen either for ages, so it was good to catch up.

Today, apart from the walk, I’ve been listening to music, watching yet more of Lie to Me (still addicted) and catching up on Facebook (also addictive!). I thought that I’d better do another blog so that I’ve written at least something this week. As I write, my boy is learning to ride his bike. Hubby tried last year, but the boy wasn’t having any of it. I hope he learns to do it this time round. Before he went out – the boy that is – he put in an order for tea and biscuits for him and his dad. This is something the two of them do a lot. If hubby is out in the garage doing some work on something, the boy likes to go out to his ‘workshop’ (ie the back of the garage) and do some ‘man work’ too. Always, always, before he goes out he says: ‘Mum can you make me and dad some tea and biscuits?’ and cos it’s cute of course I comply!! He’s such a wee character my boy. In case you’re wondering, the girl (also a character) is out playing with her friend.

Anyway, enough of domesticity, am away to read some blogs and maybe maybe do some writing!! Better make the tea and biscuits first though!!

Dawn xxx

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

Jack Vettriano and a reading challenge

Image by Polish photographer Jacek Plackiewicz.

Image by Polish photographer Jacek Plackiewicz.

Morning!! Am writing this before I drop the kids off at school. It’s not raining outside – for once – and it looks like it’s going to be a really nice day. Am meeting my parents at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow today to go and see the Jack Vettriano exhibition. I love his work, so am really looking forward to it. Will let you know how that goes in another blog.

So how have you been? This week: hubby is still unwell with some really nasty bug, poor thing has had to take time off work and has lost a fair bit of weight. Am hoping he’s now on the mend. My daughter resumed her art lessons last weekend at Glasgow School of Art. They do regular lessons for kids and we signed her up because she loves drawing. She blows hot and cold for it, so am not sure if we’ll sign her up for more after the summer…we’ll see. The boy is just the boy and doing good.

News from me: finished the first draft of the first chapter of my sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. Have also started planning a new children’s book that I’ve had mulling about my head for the last few years. I’ve been cutting out sugar and wheat over the last few weeks in an attempt to lose some weight, but it’s had the added effect of making me feel more energetic. Am trying to channel this into doing more writing…so it’s all good. Haven’t really missed sugar that much, but I have had the odd craving for a wee bit of bread or some pasta. It’s a two week thing which finished yesterday and I’ve lost four pounds, which is great. However, am determined to lose more so am going to try and stick to that way of eating…I will have the odd bit of sugar or wheat, but I won’t go back to eating chocolate bars as a snack or as much bread as I used to. Been making my own muesli for breakfast in the morning instead of having toast and am really enjoying it.

Signed up to do a reading challenge at work. I have to read six books in this year, which won’t be a challenge at all to me so the librarian suggested I try to read something I normally wouldn’t read. I draw the line at reading about sports, but a friend recommended a book called Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Classes and I have Long Walk to Freedom to read too, so that’s a start. The friend was also talking about poetry, so am maybe going to see if I can read a poetry book too. Will keep you posted as to how I do. Am currently reading Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon having ditched Terry Prachett (for a teensy while) in its favour. And yes it’s the next part of the Outlander series.

Oh is that the time? I need to go. Got to get the offspring (and my neighbour’s daughter who we give a lift to) to school. Then it’s Jack Vettriano time!!!

Til next time!
Dawn xxx

Back to normal…early mornings, early nights

Lovely pic by German photographer Andreas Krappweis. It's called Dandelions.

Lovely pic by German photographer Andreas Krappweis. It’s called Dandelions.

I am finding getting up for work difficult this week. On Monday, I got up at 6am, did the full day and was back in my bed sleeping by 9.30pm. On Tuesday, it was the same except the lights went out at 9pm. Last night, I managed to stay up til my normal time of 10pm. I was just exhausted earlier in the week. I think it was a combination of dark, early mornings, the horrible weather and the long, long drive to and from work. The kids didn’t fare any better, especially the boy who just loves his bed and hates getting out of it in the morning (unless it’s 4.30am on Christmas morning that is!). Anyway, I suppose it’s just a question of us all getting used to it again.

Anyway, how have you been? How’s your week been? Busy?? Today, the sun is splitting the sky and it’s a very welcome relief after the weeks of heavy rain, flooding and gale-force winds we’ve been experiencing in Scotland. Still, at least it’s not as bad as the poor Americans…can’t imagine what it’s like dealing with minus 50 temperatures!! Brrrrrr! We’ve been lucky here, we’ve not had bad flooding – just the back garden – but our neighbour’s parents had flooding under their house. The water didn’t rise, which meant none of their stuff was damaged, but it was touch and go there for a while.

Am looking forward to seeing the publication of the third DarkIsle book soon. Not got a publication date yet, but it’s all been set out and the artwork is being done, so we’re nearly there. As soon as I know when it’s due out, I’ll let you know!!

Also, watched a great film last night. It’s called The Heat and stars Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. This film is not for those who find swearing offensive, but as myself and my hubby do not we really enjoyed it. It’s funny, clever and…yes, I’d recommend it.

Anyway, I feel I am just wittering on here. I have lots to do. Set out a new workplan for myself in relation to writing, so am determined to start writing again. My other plan is to see if I can get Dusting Down Alcudia and Ham – Memoirs of a P****d off Mother published. Wish me luck!!

Right am off to practise piano as I have a piano lesson today with Diane, my lovely piano teacher.

Til next time.

Dawn xx

A right busy old week and making sour dough

sour dough bread

Am feeling a bit tired after a busy old week chez moi. Hubby and I went to see Eminem at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow on Tuesday night. He was brilliant, but I’m at that age when a night out after a working day just drains me. Then I had a meeting with my publisher and two others the following night and didn’t get back in til after 9. Still it was a good meeting…it’s looking like DarkIsle 3 may be published in November. I hope so!

Anyway, feeling tired as I am this week I’ve not done any writing. So this weekend I am planning to get lots of rest and lots of reading (for pleasure) and writing (also for pleasure… I’m working on a sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia and I have an idea for a children’s book that’s been rattling about my head for a good couple of years).

Today I’m trying to make sour dough. Fingers crossed it worked, but I missed a couple of days feeding the sour dough starter and am not sure if it’s going to work or not. The kitchen smells a bit odd due to the starter. We’ll see what happens. It’s currently proving…not very well going by the look of it. I’m all inspired thanks to the wonderful bread my friend John made a couple of weeks ago. His bread looked fab.

Dawn xxxx

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.