Koen De Bouw and Writing Tips

So I’m writing today feeling all mellow having spent last night in my friend’s hot tub in her back garden looking up at the stars and drinking wine. It was amazing. Magical. Thank you A for having me over to enjoy the tub. I did, however, fall in when I tried to get in which had us all laughing. Typical of me!

Anyway, how are you all? Hope you’re well and have been having a good weekend.

I’ve not a lot to talk about this week as I have been mainly writing. The Sisters of Sin series is definitely going to come out next year. We’ve set new deadlines and we are sticking to them. I’ve written one book and have a good plan of the second book. I just need to sit down and write it. My tv series script is moving forward at a faster pace now and we’ve put in some amazing plots developments. I’m so excited about it. I’ve also been writing and uploading a load of articles on to Medium and Vocal media, and have shared their links in my social media posts. However, I’ll slot them in at the and of this article if you’re interested in reading them. I hope you do. Please give me a clap on Medium and heart on Vocal if you enjoy the articles. Some are older, but I’m promoting them again.

Koen De Bouw as Professor T

Last week, I also watched the entire third series of the original (Belgium) version of Professor T and, I hate to say it, but the British version is not a patch on it. I like the British version, but the original is far quirkier and sharper. It stars Koen De Bouw as criminologist Professor Teerlinck who helps the Federal Police solve murders. It’s a comedy and highly entertaining. De Bouw is excellent as the oddbod Professor T. It’s on Channel 4 boxsets and is part of the Walter Presents series, which is also excellent. I’ve downloaded several other of those series to watch and I’ll let you know how I get on.

My Open University course started yesterday, but because I was so busy (I also met other friends for a late lunch), I’ve not started it yet.

In other news, I’m currently attempting to hatch some Silkie chicks. Not from my own girls, but fertilised eggs I bought of Ebay (you really can buy anything from Ebay). I’ve got another two weeks to go and I’ll let you know how I get on. It’s looking hopeful for two of the eggs.

Right, that’s me for this week. I’m away to make lunch and start another Walter Presents series. Til next time,

Dawn xxxx

Those links:

The tragic story behind the creation of the Morse Code https://vocal.media/fyi/the-tragic-story-behind-the-morse-code

The truth about the Battle of Hastings and how Harold really died. https://vocal.media/fyi/the-truth-about-the-battle-of-hastings

Ten of the best quotes for when you feel like giving up writing https://dawnnelson-46858.medium.com/ten-best-quotes-about-writing-3e2c07493d2b

The Chinese Pirate Queen https://vocal.media/fyi/the-chinese-pirate-queen

Ten quotes about writing https://dawnnelson-46858.medium.com/ten-best-quotes-about-writing-3e2c07493d2b

The things I’ve learned as a writer https://dawnnelson-46858.medium.com/the-things-ive-learned-as-a-writer-68d8940c99b5

Five online tools to help with your writing https://dawnnelson-46858.medium.com/five-online-tools-to-help-you-plan-your-novel-982aed39a1dd

A whirlwind three weeks, TRNSMT and living like the Amish

So

So, how have you been? Hope all is well with you and yours. It’s been a mad few weeks here at Nelson Towers as life opens up again in Scotland. We have all fully recovered from Covid-19, which is a relief. I have been out every weekend for the last three weekends and I loved every minute of it.

Firstly, I went to a Queen tribue night at Glasgow’s O2 theatre with three great friends. It was a band called The Bohemians and they were superb.

Secondly, I attended TRNSMT on the Saturday of the festival. TRNSMT is an annual music festival and we – me and the same friends – were supposed to go last year, but it was cancelled. My ticket was bought for my by aforementioned friends for my 50th birthday last year (thank you guys, it was bloody brilliant). Due to Covid, the festival didn’t happen until two weeks ago and it was superb. I love live music. I saw Keane, Primal Scream and Liam Gallagher to name the music acts I actually knew! 😉  I’m not a fan of Liam Gallagher or of Oasis, but he was really good. Anyway, it was brilliant, but I was shattered the next day. Totally worth it.

Last weekend (and another 50th birthday present from a different friend), I went to see Chicago at The King’s Theatre in Glasgow. What a brilliant production. I first saw the live show in London eleven years ago for my 40th and this one was for my 50th last year. It was superb. You know how your heart sings when you are somewhere you just love being? That was me watching Chicago. Thank you V for the ticket and the great company (along with J).

Okay, so this weekend, I am at home and putting my feet up. I’ve had a lot of events recently, time to have a quiet one I think.

So, what have you lot been up to? Hope you are all doing well. Unfortunately, Covid still rages on in Scotland. Cases went up when the kids went back to school in mid August, but seem to be going down again, thank goodness.

Okay, on to the important things. What have I been doing? Apart from scriptwriting (my God our script is complicated, but it’s so goooood. I really hope it gets made one day) and my social media business, I’ve been working on another Sisters of Sin book. And watching telly and reading books.

The Darling Buds of May

TV – I just love nostalgic series, so have started watching The Darling Buds of May again. I just LOVE it. It’s easy watching and well, just nice. I’ve also been watching Vigil on BBC. It’s the only BBC programme I’ve watched in a long time and it’s good. It’s quite gripping, the storyline is good, but I’m finding it hard to like the main character.  Suranne Jones is a great actress, I love her in Gentleman Jack, but I’m just not warming to her. Anyway, we have one more to go of this series to find out who the baddies are.

Books – still on my love affair with John Boyne and reading his The Thief of Time. I’ve got about three chapters left to read and am loving it. He’s a superb writer. I also recently read Living Without Electricity: Lessons from the Amish by Stephen Scott and Kenneth Pelman, which was a very enjoyable books about Stephen and his wife’s time living in an Amish-like community for 18 months. It’s not a book on how to do things, but about their experiences. Really interesting and a great read.

Right, I am currently getting pestered by a hungry elderly pug and her two doggy peers who know it’s around their dinner time. So, I must go and I will see you again very soon. Til next time.

Dawnxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My love affair with John Boyne and why I’m buying ethical chocolate from now on

Hello from rainy Scotland. Now today’s weather is more like what we normally have for summer. In case you weren’t aware, for the last couple of weeks we’ve been experiencing hot sunny weather…which was nice, but not normal. Global warming at its best. Today, it’s cooler and raining.

Anyway, how are you? Hope you’re well and have had a good couple of weeks. I’m currently nursing red eyes having peeled and chopped a large bag of onions this morning to put in the dehydrator (dehydrated onions are lovely rehydrated in soups, stews and sauces). Anyway, despite wearing onion goggles (yes those exist), the onions still managed to get into my eyes and I had to run out of the kitchen, blinded by tears, to the downstairs toilet so I could wash them out. Yes, I am looking adorable right now!! 😉

My love affair with Irish author John Boyne continues. No, I’m not actually having an affair with him, I just love his books. I’m currently reading The Heart’s Invisible Furies and it’s an amazing book. I’m desperate to know how it ends, but I don’t want to finish it either. Sigh.

He’s the guy that wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

I’ve never read that book nor seen the film as I know what happens in the end and I don’t think I could bear it. Anyway, this is my second John Boyne novel and I am now a lifelong fan. He’s a superb storyteller.

What else have I been up to? Well, I was going to cut our front hedge this morning. It’s a large hedge and desperately needs cutting, but the hedge cutter needs charging. I had actually charged it yesterday – or so I thought. What I had actually done was set it up to charge, but didn’t push the battery into the charger properly, so when I went to start up the hedge cutter, it was dead. Pan breid! So, the battery is back in the charger and I hope (fingers crossed) it’s charging. To my lovely neighbours: yes I know the hedge is a mess, I’m doing it tomorrow. Promise! It’s raining now anyway, so I can’t do it now.

I met up with a couple of friends last weekend for a late lunch. We ate at La Lanterna which is an Italian restaurant next to Central Station in Glasgow. The food was great (I had the mussels followed by lasagne) and the chat hilarious. The two ladies I met – Laurina and Carol – are friends of mind whom I used to work with. We’ve not seen each other for months due to the pandemic and it was great to catch up. We had a right laugh. Can’t wait to see you two again sometime soon.

Glasgow, by the way, was jumping. There were so many people in Buchanan Street (I had to walk down it to get from Queen Street station where my train comes in to Central Station) was heaving. It was so bad, I put my mask back on just to get through it. A few other people did the same, but basically it was back to a normal type Saturday afternoon for everyone else. I’m still concerned about Covid, so I’m still doing my best to socially distance from others particularly in a crowd. What was nice, though, was seeing how happy everyone looked. Just hope this is us on the final stretch back to normality.

I’ve been doing a lot of research over the past week for  my Sisters of Sin second novel, Envy. I want to do something on the impact of business on the environment and, when looking into it, discovered to my horror how bad the chocolate industry is. There are people, children, working on African cocoa farms who are basically slaves. This is going to be one of my themes for this novel. I had no idea things were still so bad. And the cocoa is bought by large companies whom we all know and love. I’m going to  buy ethical chocolate in future. I can’t keep buying chocolate that’s been harvested by people in forced labour. It’s just not right. Here’s a Washington Post article on it from December last year if you’re interested in finding out more.

Okay, so that’s me for this week. I’m off for another cup of tea and maybe a wee biscuit. Hmmmm. Til next week.

Dawn xx

Two books down and Volker Kutscher

Hi everyone! How are you? Hope you’re all well. How’s your week been? Well, I’ve got a couple of exciting things to share.

Firstly, I finally finished editing my Sisters of Sin novel. It’s called Greed and is romantic suspense story about a female assassin. As it’s part of a series, it won’t be published until early next year, but I’ll keep you posted. I have another one to write – about an assassin code-named Envy – for the series and plan to start on it next week.

Secondly, my Paisley book is finished and, as part of it, I’m just about to draft up a short graphic novel depicting one of the historical facts from the book. Once I have some images to show you, I’ll do that. The illustrations are being done by my very good friend and fab illustrator, Mandy Sinclair.

It’s so nice to have some good news to share. Something different from the norm. It still feels like Groundhog Day, but at least now I’ve had my first vaccination, I can see a tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel!

On to TV and film. Well, I have just finished binge watching Call the Midwife and thoroughly enjoyed it, although Barbara’s demise did leave me in tears. The thing I like about this series is that it’s gentle, you don’t have to concentrate too hard to enjoy it, and the styles and music are fantastic. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and I can’t wait for the new series which starts very soon.

On to books, I’ve been trying to read, but I’ve been so busy lately that I’m shattered by the time I crawl into bed and switch the light out. I normally go up at 9pm and read for a while, but I’ve been going up at the same time and going to sleep.   I’ve had a couple of extra clients for my business plus I had to complete an assignment for university, so that’s probably why.

I have got a book to start which is Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher. I really LOVE LOVE LOVE the tv series, so wanted to read the books. Got the first one to start and I can’t wait.

I’m also reading Bruce Block’s ‘The Visual Story’ which is about creating the visual structure of film, tv and digital media. It’s useful to know this stuff for my scriptwriting, but it should also feed into my novel writing and maybe even other parts of my working life. Only just started it and am hooked already.

Right, so you are up-to-date on everything at the moment. I’m sorry I’ve not had much to tell you. It’s so difficult to be exciting about writing when most of it is hard slog. However, I’m getting there with my novels and have already started planning my next series – a steampunk, fantasy set in Victorian Glasgow. I’ll tell you more about that in the future, it’s way too early just now.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Ten Top Tips for Writers

Okay, so I’m thinking my blog is getting really dull due to me not doing very much. With that in mind, I’ve decided to try and make it more useful to other people who want to write. So, this week I’ve collated some top tips for people who want to be or who are writers.

Before that, a quick roundup of what’s been happening chez moi. Firstly, I’m getting new roof insulation put in today. My old insulation is shot to pieces, so it desperately needs replaced. I’m getting foamy spray stuff put on the inside of the roof. It’s non toxic and extremely good at insulating, but expensive. However, it’ll last for years and should cut my heating bills down, which would be good because it’s been snowy and freezing in Scotland for the past few weeks.

Secondly, I’ve started editing my Sisters of Sin novel. If you remember, I joined up with a group of international writers last  January/February with the intent of writing a book series together. However, the series hasn’t materialised yet due to the circumstances of the individuals within the group (lots of stuff has been going on) and the pandemic which side-swiped everyone (as it’s done for everyone else). The series was put on hold until now and it’s now we’re starting to pull it together with the intention of getting it out next January. I’ll keep you updated. It’s good to be getting back into writing. I’ve hardly been doing anything recently, just didn’t feel like it.

Thirdly, before I forget, how are you? Hope you’re all well. We’re find here, thank goodness, but getting a little stir crazy. The whole of the UK is still in lockdown again, which isn’t great, but it is what it is.

Fourth and final before we move on: did anyone watch It’s A Sin?? It was written by Russell T Davies – who is my favourite tv scriptwriter – and is set in the 1980s. It’s about a group of young gay men and their female flatmate and the impact of the AIDS epidemic. It sounds like it should be an horrific storyline, and it is harrowing and heart-breaking at times, but it’s such a good series. I highly recommend it. Plus the soundtrack (all 80s pop songs) is amazing – am hoping they put it out as a soundtrack you can buy! I’d forgotten how terrifying it was (as a heterosexual woman) when we were told about HIV and AIDS, so I can’t imagine what it was like for gay men at the time who were losing friends or dying of it themselves. I know there are still stigmas  attached to people with HIV and AIDS and prejudices against the LGBT population by some areas of society. However, I am so pleased we are not back where we were in the 80s. What happened then in terms of prejudice and hatred and fear was horrible. Anyway, watch the series, it’s amazing.

Right, now I’m going to go on to the writerly part of this blog post. Hold on to your hat!

  1. Carry a notebook and pen with you wherever you go so when inspiration/ideas strike you’ve got something to write them down in. You can also use your mobile to note down thoughts either as a note or as an audio piece.
  2. Write every day – set apart a time every day, even ten minutes, and write down something. Anything. This will get you into the habit of writing. It will also allow you to practise and develop your writing voice.
  3. Plan your writing – I know there are people out there who like to pants it (ie just write without planning) and I applaud those who can do that. However, I find that I can write every day and stick to a writing schedule if I have planned out what I’m going to say. You can plan your entire book or plan each chapter as you go. It’s up to you.
  4. Read, read, read – people ask me what’s the best way of learning how to write and I will always say read. That’s for fiction or non-fiction. I believe the only way of learning how to write well is to read exceptional writing. Then putting it into practise. Read everything: newspapers, magazines, online articles, short stories, poetry, fiction etc.
  5. On the subject of improving your writerly knowledge, research writing. There are lots of excellent blogs out there full of great tips and, seeing as how you’re reading everything anyway, why not read some of the great books on writing? My favourites include Stephen King’s On Writing, The Writing Gals, Craig Martelle, Save the Cat and  William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.
  6. If you are a fiction writer, write the story that you want to read. There’s no point trying to copy someone else. The best writing comes from a writer being passionate about their subject. The same holds true for non-fiction writers.
  7. Use strong words when writing. Passive, weak verbs make for weak prose. Instead of saying something was done to something (eg The girl had her hair done by the top stylist.) make is stronger by saying the person did the deed (The top stylist did her hair.)
  8. Don’t use cliches. Try to come up with  new ways of describing something.
  9. Get your story or text down and THEN go back and edit. And edit it some more. And edit it again. Don’t waste time by trying to get the perfect turn of phrase on your first go. Get the text down and then go back and zhoosh it up. 
  10. …believe in yourself. You can do it. So, what are you doing reading this blog? Get on with it!

Right, I am off to do more writing. Til next time!

Dawn x