A Furry Visitor, Uni and

Well the house is full of doggy kisses and hugs just now as we babysit this week cutie (the white one above). Yes, my parents’ dog Winston is visiting and we are just loving it. The kids don’t want him to ever go home. He’s pictured above sitting on a chair next to his best friend, our Yorkie, Casper. The two of them love each other, which is lovely.

At this precise moment, both are fast asleep (as are my girls) and Winston is sleeping under the table:

I just love dogs. They are great creatures.

Anyway, how are you all today? Hope all is well in your world. This week has been really busy for me as I worked to get my first big assignment done for my university course. It was a tough one, about tradition and dissent. Anyway, it’s done and I sent it in and I can do nothing more now but sit and chew my fingernails whilst I await the results. Really hoping I do well in it. I am aiming to get a First for this course. That’s what I really want to get. So, although this is only the first module, I’m aiming to get as high marks as possible. I’ve done really well so far, but was a mark short of a distinction last time so fingers crossed I pass that mark this time. I hate waiting for results, it’s so nerve wracking.

Anyway, enough of my moaning. What else have I been up to? Well, really the assignment has taken up a lot of time, but I did managed to do some editing today on the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I am still aiming to have that out in spring – late spring, but spring none-the-less. Also spoke to the lovely Jenny who is doing my audio book of Dusting Down Alcudia. That’s now at the editing stage and will be ready in a few short weeks. I am so excited about it. Will let you know when it’s available on Audible.

Last night was the first night in ages I managed to get any time to read, so continued with my book on the teenage brain and did a bit of Pyjama Profit, both of which are interesting books. See here for more info.

That’s it really. Sorry for being a bit dull today, but a writer’s life really isn’t that exciting (unless you are a travel writer, I suppose!). On that note, I am going to say adieu until next time. Got a son to pick up from school.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

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Somewhat windswept and interesting, plus book news

Yes, that’s me looking somewhat bedraggled after taking the dogs out for a walk this morning at our local park. Boy was it windy and a bit wet. As I write this, the wind and rain are rattling against the windows. It’s really cold outside and I am glad I am inside in the warmth.

So how are you today? Hope you are all well. This week has been a busy old week for me what with various things happening at Chez Nelson. Let’s see: the boy went away on Monday for a five day holiday with the school to an outward bound place in the Borders. He’s back home now, dragging a full suitcase of dirty washing with him and happy to be home. I missed him.

I have been out for lunch four times this week and it was great. I loved it. Was nice to catch up with everyone.

We took delivery of a new fur baby in the form of my parents’ dog, Winston. We have him for a week whilst they are away on holiday. He’s adorable. Below he’s pictured with Millie and Casper at our local park (Bonya, our pug, isn’t in the pic because, as usual, she was lagging behind):

Book news!!  I’m aiming to bring the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia out before Christmas if possible. The ebook is currently only available for Kindle, but I will make it available for Nook, ibooks and others in the New Year. Watch this space for more information.

Everything She Wants is my brand new book which is due out in December. The cover is currently being put together by a designer and I’ll share that with you when I can. In the meantime, you can pre-order the book here. If you want to know more about it, here’s the blurb:

“A new dark comedy from the author of Dusting Down Alcudia. This book is rude, full of swear words and definitely not for the faint-hearted!

When Susan decides there’s more to life than housework, her cheating husband puts his foot down. Ignoring his protests and those of their selfish teen daughter, she runs away with a Wham tribute act to find herself and, hopefully, fame and fortune.

Along the way, there’s the chance of happiness with a new man, but things go awry and he turns out not to be the knight in shining armour she had hoped. Now Susan must decide whether to forge ahead with her new life or go home with her tail between her legs.”

Other book news – I am about to start my first edit of the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. It doesn’t have a title yet and I’m aiming to get it out by the springtime. Watch this space for more!

Book reading news!! Just finished the second in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Shadow of Night is the sequel to A Discovery of Witches. I am about to embark on the third, The Book of Life, and have the new one, Time’s Convert to enjoy after that. I love these books. I read them years ago, but because of the tv adaptation, I brought them out to read again. They actually belong to my mum, but she’s not getting them back!! Hee hee.

They are amazing books, check them out.

Right, I am going to end this here as it’s after 9pm and I am desperate for a cup of tea. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

It’s here… the new cover

Here it is! Dusting Down Alcudia’s new cover courtesy of Danish designer Mia Overgaard. I love it.  Next step: book launch, which I will be doing next week, so watch out for more news on that.

So, how are you all? I’ve had a busy week working on Dusting Down Alcudia and the young adult book I’ve been working on. My next launch will be of a book that concerns a tribute act of a well known British band… that should be out before Christmas. A sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia will follow in the New Year. Ooooh, it’s all go!

What else have I been up to? Well not very much. That cold I had last week just waylaid me a bit. It wasn’t until Sunday that I started feeling a little better, but I’ve had to miss my exercise classes this week because I just didn’t have the energy to do them. It did allow me to binge watch Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan and the superb The Bodyguard on ITV. Have you watched either of them? If not, get watching them.

Still reading a biography of Radcliffe Hall, although I’ve been that tired when I’ve been going to bed recently that I’ve barely read at all. Hopefully, now the cold is finally starting to lift I can get back into it. She had quite an interesting life.

Right, I am going to finish up here for the moment. It’s teatime and I have two hungry weans to feed. Tonight’s dinner is pasta bake which is basically penne pasta, Bolognese sauce and a layer of cheese. Yum.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

How I Make Myself Write Every Day, Fife and Indiana Jones

Hello, how have you been? Hope you are all well. It’s been a busy old time for me lately. I’ve been battering away at the old laptop like typing was going out of fashion and I’m now nearly 20,000 words into a new young adult book I’m writing. I am so loving it. Eventually, I will screech to a halt and it will take major willpower to get back into it. This happens to me for every book, I get maybe two-thirds of the way through and then hit a wall. I sit and can’t think where the story is going, but I force myself to keep going and eventually I get back in my stride.

This book is about a teenage girl and is set in rural Fife, Scotland. Fife, if you have never been, is just lovely. There are loads of lovely wee fishing villages all over the place and it’s a great place to visit. So, in honour of Fife, I have decided to show some of Fife’s attractions (in pictures) on this blog.

Here’s my favourite place in Fife, Culross where Outlander is filmed.

And again…

We have some spectacular places in Scotland, we really do. So lucky.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the blog. Well, what do you want to know about this week? I’ve been busy writing…I got back into it some months ago using tips from Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning for Writers (also cowritten by Steve Scott). It basically gives you a way of focussing your attention on the project you are doing. I have been following it, then I fell away, but kept writing and now I’m back on to it. I worry that I’ll lose my focus. Plus I like the structure of his ‘miracle morning’. It’s all about setting aside time to do certain actions, and using visualisation, meditation and affirmations to further support your decision. I don’t want to get into it too much as it’s all in the book, but if you are desperate to do something, whether that’s write or start a new business or even be better at your job now, I’d suggest looking at Hal’s books. They are really good. If you want to succeed at your chosen thing then you have to ditch procrastination and get this book.

If you don’t think it can help you, look at what I’ve achieved this year: I have re-edited and am about to re-publish Dusting Down Alcudia (it’s even better than before); I have written the rough copy of a sequel to aforementioned Dusting Down Alcudia; I finished a rough of a murder mystery; I re-edited Ham; and I’m almost halfway through a book for Young Adults. Focus is not a problem I’ve been having this year and it’s thanks to things I’ve learned via the Miracle Morning.

So, what else have I been doing? Well, at the moment I am writing on my dining room table despite the fact I have a lovely study (the former dining room of our house) in which to write. The problem was I couldn’t even get to my desk because of all the boxes that were still there following the building of the extension. So, I have cleared away a good bit of it and will finish it today. I can now sit at my desk…just need to clear that now! 🙂

Finished the Sookie Stackhouse books and went straight on to Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, part of the The Mortal Instruments series. It’s aimed at young adults, but I don’t care. I’ll read anything. Thoroughly enjoyed it, may have to start watching the tv series now!! Am about to start the sequel, City of Ashes. Is he really her brother?  Will the other come out? Will they get the cup back? (Sorry this is a bit cryptic, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone). I need to read on.

Watched Raiders of the Lost Ark yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was on the day before, so I recorded it and watched it yesterday. Love the Indiana Jones. They are fab stories, plus Harrison Ford is just yum. I have always loved him, always will. He’s still a good looking man. So, to celebrate the films, Indy and Harrison (whaddaya mean there were other people in the films?), here’s a couple of gratuitous pics of the man himself (can’t you just hear the theme tune in your head right now?):

 

 

Okay, now I have salivated over Harrison Ford, I am going to end this blog post. I hope you have a lovely day. Now I am going to do something incredibly exciting (not!), I am going to attack the pile of ironing that is currently piled up in a basket in my living room. It’s been calling ‘iron me, iron me’ for a few days now, so I need to do it. Such is the glamorous life of a writer! 🙂 Til next time.

Dawn xxxx

Mamma Mia! There’s lots about dogs in this blog post

 

Hello, hello. How are you? What have you been doing this week Hope all is well with you all. I had a pretty busy week last week, but it’s been great.

Okay, so, here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve been up to:

  1. I continued editing my second edit of Dusting Down Alcudia. I am nearly finished it and am now looking to get the cover done and the whole thing professionally typeset. I am so excited about this. I am aiming to re-launch the book before Christmas.
  2. It was my dad’s birthday this week, so we had a family party at my parents’ house on Saturday. I ate and drank way too much, but had a ball. Nursed a nasty hangover on Sunday, but it was so worth it! Happy birthday dad!
  3. Me and the kids went out for lunch last week with my lovely friend Jane and her daughter. Then we went to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and it was fantastic. I loved the film. Okay, so it’s not the most taxing of storylines, but its a great film if you want to escape the world for a little while and soak in the magic of Abba. We had a fab lunch, saw a fab film and had a fab afternoon. 🙂

Above a gratuitous shot of Bonya looking peeved that I was taking her photograph yet again. You may be wondering why I always show her picture and not so many of my other two dogs. Well, it’s simple. She’s the only one that sits still for long enough to get photographed!

Here’s another of her doing her Princess and the Pea impression on the piled up cushions on my bed:

So, what else has been happening? As usual, I’ve been inundated with washing and housework. The boy and I built our new firepit. Here it is with Casper staring at the flames. He’s nursing a sore paw at the moment. We had him down the beach yesterday and he was running around all full of the joys of summer when he must have stepped on something. He was yelping and limping and holding his paw up. I cleaned it all out when we got him home and it seems fine. Just keeping an eye on it. I have not walked the dogs today to give the cut time to heal. If I went out without him, Casper would spend the entire day depressed!

Was out weeding the front drive this morning. It was starting to resemble a jungle. I can only do it in one hour sessions as my back gets really sore. I haven’t finished digging up the weeds, but I will get back to it tomorrow. Hope they don’t grow back so quickly this time. I would put weed killer on the driveway, but I have green sensibilities and I can’t abide the thought of putting something so poisonous down in my garden. So, it’s manual weeding for me every time! 🙂

What I am reading: I am continuing to read Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books and loving it. Am now on Definitely Dead and it’s great. If  you love great stories, with a little romance, suspense, humour and some supernatural beings, I would really recommend this series.

Right, I am going to finish this blog here. It’s lunchtime and I have lots to do around the house today, so I’ll say au revoir. 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…

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It should look like this…

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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…!

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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

Long lies, stunning views and ‘there’s been a murrrderrr’

Ah the wonders of a long lie and not having to get up early for work. I woke naturally this morning – well that’s not strictly true: my husband nearly gave me heart failure kissing me goodbye earlier on (I got a bit of a fright – then enjoyed the kiss!). However, once my heart stopped racing I went back to sleep and then I woke naturally about an hour later. So nice. The kids and I are off this week – their October break – so we’ve got a few wee things planned, but not a huge amount. I always book too many things in and then don’t get the break I need, so I’ve got a couple of things planned and the rest of the week will be spent chilling out.

This is just one of the lovely views I see on the walk.

This is just one of the lovely views I see on the walk.

So how are you all this week? I’ve surprised myself by going out walking again last week with the girls (some of the mums I know from school). I did it, enjoyed it and didn’t find some excuse to miss it! Result! The walk is at least four miles up in the hills overlooking the River Clyde and it’s stunning no matter what the weather. However, I managed to get a great pic on a lovely day (see above). Stunning.

I haven’t been writing much this week. I just can’t seem to get into it. I know I should, but I’m doing everything but. Sigh. Instead, the knitting needles are back out and the crochet hook and I’m sitting watching Miss Fisher Investigates, The Glades and reruns of Murdoch Mysteries clicking away on the sofa. Ooh let’s not forget Downton Abbey. What did you think of last week’s episode? Bit of a shocker, eh? Poor Anna. Can’t wait to see this Sunday’s episode! I just love a good period drama and if there’s a detective and a murder thrown in there (not Downton, but Miss Fisher, Murdoch et al) then I’m all the happier!! I think that’s why I attempted to write a wee romantic crime adventure through Dusting Down Alcudia. I’m thinking I may throw in a murder in the sequel…we shall see (she says mysteriously).

Currently reading Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber, the sequel to Outlander. Oh it’s good. Am totally hooked. Bang goes my plan to spend autumn reading Game of Thrones. So many books, too little time!!

Right, I’d best be off. The girl is twitchy. She’s going to spend tonight at a friend’s house and has already packed. She’s desperate for the girl’s mum to come and get her. It’ll be strange not having her in the house tonight…strange, but very quiet!!

Til next time

Dawn xx

Birthday BBQ, back to writing and taking the kids swimming

birthday balloon

Hello. Sorry I’ve not been around for a couple of weeks. I was busy getting things ready for hubby’s fiftieth birthday party and I had a bit of a bug. Back to normal now though.

So, firstly, hubby’s party. We had a barbeque in the back garden last Saturday for the family and a few close friends. I am so glad we opted for the Saturday because the days either side were horrendous…torrential rain and wind. Not a great combination for a party!!

Anyway, the day was great. People came at different times, so we were barbequing most of the afternoon as people came. We had burgers and sausages and veggie burgers. My mum made me some lovely little nibbles and apple pies. One of my sister’s made an amazing cheesecake and we all sat outside and ate and talked and generally had a good time. It was a little cold so I handed out some lap rugs. It was so nice to be able to use the garden, but it’ll be the last time this year…unfortunately on Sunday the weather turned for the worst and it’s been a bit changeable ever since.

So, to conclude this bit of my blog, I just wanted to once again wish my lovely hubby a happy birthday. Here’s to many more.

Time to get back to writing!

Time to get back to writing!

My life has been a bit taken up with preparing for the party (and recovering from it!! Hee hee) so I’ve not been up to a lot lately, although life has been really busy. I’ve set out a work plan for the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia and have started working to that. Today, for instance, I’ll do a bit of writing and planning. I have finally caught up with the huge mountain of washing I had to do (I missed a whole washing day on Saturday because of the party, so it’s set me way back) and the house is finally back to normal.

Later today I’m taking the kids swimming. They both go to swimming lessons at our local pool, but I want to show the boy that swimming can be fun because he’s been a bit sticky about going for the lessons. He’s been going for more than a year now and hasn’t really progressed very far (well, I suppose at least now he’s going in without screaming the place down!). Anyway, I’m looking forward to that.

The rest of the weekend – apart from going swimming with my pal tomorrow – will be spent relaxing (reading, cooking, writing, meditating). I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but I find that if I have something on at the weekend, it throws me off for the week after and I need the following weekend to recover properly. I think it’s because I’m so busy all the time and don’t have a lot of down time. Anyway, I am so looking forward to doing nothing for a little while!!

Right, on that note, I want to get some of the Dusting sequel down before we get ready for swimming. Until next time!

Dawn xxx