Peonies and Eli Wallach

I do love flowers. This blog today is dedicated to the amazing Peony which is fast becoming my favourite flower (although I still love Tulips). In fact, there is a vase of beautiful pink peonies sitting close by as I write this. They are just big balls of beautifulness. I know that last sentence probably isn’t grammatically correct, but I don’t care. Today I celebrate the amazing Peony. My favourite summer flower.

Anyway, how are you all? Hope you are all well. We’re good at Nelson Towers. We’ve been enjoying a week of mostly hot sunny weather, which for any of you who live here or have visited, you’ll know, is very rare. I am actually sporting a light tan on my face and arms, which is good because usually I am so pale I look ill. I am not ill, just Scottish.

As I write, I am listening to Classic FM, which is the station I put on when I am writing novels and blogs and stuff. I find it is a good background sound and I am not distracted by it (ie wanting to sing along). This means I actually write. Anyway, my reason for telling you this is because the theme tune to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is currently being played and it took me back to my early childhood when we had three TV channels and one of them always put on a good matinee on a Saturday or Sunday. My mother worked at the weekends, so we kids would watch what my dad watched and – you’re right – it would inevitably be a war movie or a western. These weekends are why I love a good war/western movie and that tune just brought it all back. Of course, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was never on at the weekend matinee spot, but because I had already become addicted, when it was shown (at Christmas usually) I insisted on watching it. I have loved the Spaghetti Western ever since. And Clint Eastwood…but for different reasons!! I also think Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach were fab in this. I didn’t realise when watching The Holiday that was Eli Wallach playing the scriptwriter. The man who told Kate Winslet about the ‘meet cute’ (love that film). Images below are: Clint Eastwood (as Blondie/the man with no name) looking all handsome and in danger, Eli Wallach as Tuco, Lee Van Cleef as Sentenza/Angel Eyes and Eli Wallach in The Holiday playing Arthur Abbott.

Look at that! I’ve gone from Peonies to Spaghetti Westerns just on a memory from a tune on the radio. Now, where was I? Oh yes, peonies…

Right, so this week has been busy. I gutted out the garage, which was badly needing cleaned out, being a bit brutal with what was needed putting in the bin. So much so I accidentally had to dig our Christmas tree out of the skip I hired that is currently taking up our driveway. How daft am I ditching the Christmas tree? Anyway, I got it and put it back in the garage where it lives for most of the year. The skip is now full. I have a couple of bits and pieces to put in it and then it’ll be picked up next week and I can get my drive back. Actually it felt good clearing out. I haven’t totally gotten the garage the way I eventually want it, but that’s a work in progress.

Of course, one of the days I chose to clear out the garage was Wednesday which is fine if you have nothing else on. I go to my Zumba class on a Wednesday, so after a morning of clearing out and then my class later I wasn’t worth a button by that evening. I was sore and extremely tired. I think I must have flaked out about 9.30pm. Yesterday, I got up achy but alright. I took yesterday morning ‘off’ (ie didn’t do any heavy work in the house) as part of my recovery. ūüėȬ† Spent it watching an old episode of Monk (I have said before that I love cheesy American cop shows…you were warned of my addiction) and sorting out laundry (my life is so glamorous! Not!).

I also wrote some more of my next novel. Remember the adult novel I was writing? I have put that aside just now for a few weeks and will come back to it at a later date. I do this with every novel for one simple reason: I want to come back to it with fresh eyes with the intention of rooting out any errors and improving on the text. So I was without anything to write so I started a sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia (DDA). DDA is a romantic adventure story starring a Scottish archaeologist, Nina Esposito (her father was Spanish) and a handsome Texan called Jay Reynolds. She goes to Mallorca to seek out a fabled Roman treasure necklace and ends up finding love and more. The sequel is set in Perthshire, Scotland and is about a hunt for Jacobite treasure. I’ve written about 20,000 words already and am really getting into it. I think it helps that I’m getting up early specifically to write. I have more energy in the morning, the kids are sleeping and it’s peaceful in the house (apart from the gentle tones of classical music in the background thanks to Classic FM!).

I finished the Stephen King book The Gunslinger and, although I love Westerns (Spaghetti Westerns in particular), I do not really like this book. It’s okay. I have the sequel, but I don’t think I’ll read it.¬† I’m going to donate the books to my local library. Someone else will enjoy it. I am currently reading Nora Roberts’ Stars of Fortune. It’s a romantic fantasy (so right up my street) and is really good. So good, I was still up reading it at 11.30pm last night and am now bleary eyed!

Right, I am going to finish here and post this. I need to take the  boy to school and get the mutts out for their morning walk. Til next time!

Dawn xx

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog surrender – you have been warned!

Okay, so you know how this blog was originally set up to link in with my DarkIsle books (hence the name!) and over the last few years I’ve barely mentioned the aforementioned books? Well, that’s going to change a little bit…okay Aldiss, I’ll tell them…Aldiss wants me to tell you it’s going to change a big bit.

Aldiss, give me a minute, I am just telling them!

What I am trying to say (but being rudely interrupted) is that Bertie and Aldiss have requested…no, that’s not the right word…demanded that they have a day each week to talk about Murst and what’s been happening with them, Morag, Montgomery and Shona since the last book was published. (I am telling them Aldiss, shhhhh!) They said that the blog was boring and that nobody wanted to know what a boring author was saying about her boring life (cheek!), so they wanted a chance to make it better.

So, starting tomorrow, for the next few Mondays. No, Aldiss, I will not promise it will happen forever more. Why? Well because you two have the attention spans of gnats and I don’t see you keeping this up. Okay, okay, we will see and I’m sure you’ll do it. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, it’s starting tomorrow.

Oh, Aldiss wants me to put a couple of pictures of himself and Bertie in this post. Where is Bertie, Aldiss? I thought I said he had to be here to get his photo taken? Where is he? What’s he doing in Edinburgh? Oh, visiting his Aunt Matilda. Okay, so it’ll just have to be you. Okay, okay, I will put up the baby pic first.

Here is Aldiss as a baby…

Aldiss as a baby. Sorry, I have been corrected: Aldiss as a cute baby.

And here’s one of him now in one of his favourite places: the bins round the back of Beba Bruce’s Wonder Bakery in Murst:

Can I go now? No? Alright, I’ll put in a drawing of Bertie instead. Is this one you drew? Yes? I don’t think so Aldiss. Someone is telling porkie pies! Anyway, here is a rather charming picture of Bertie:

Can I now tell them about what’s been happening at my house this week? Yes? Thank you. Yes, goodbye Aldiss, see you later.

Phew, he’s away now. Actually, he’s not wrong about my life being a bit boring lately. I have been working hard on my new book for adults and I’ve been outside working on the garden, which was badly needing some work done on it! Still reading Stephen King’s The Gunslinger and enjoying it.¬† I also attended a local Beer and Gin Festival, which was fun just for people watching alone. We arrived somewhat later than many of the attendees who were two sheets to the wind by the time we got there. I went with a couple of very good friends and we had a fab time chatting, people watching and then boogying in the live music tent.

Right, tomorrow I will leave you in the capable hands of Aldiss and Bertie. I really am not sure about this. Sigh.

Til next time

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know where the time has gone!

Hello everyone. How are you? Hope you’re all well. Just spending today (Sunday) recovering from a night out with a couple of friends last night. We went to the Helensburgh Ale and Gin Festival. I had a fab night. Such a good laugh. Apart from the ale and gin, the festival was a great place for people watching…there were some right sights there I can tell you! We went in the evening, but there was a lot of people who had been there the whole day going by their zigzagging gait and glassy eyes. They also had a live band and we had a great time boogying the night away and enjoying the dancers especially a young man who was doing some interesting dance moves (think marionette and you’ll get the gist)and every time he ventured near a young lady, she would grab him, lock him in a passionate smooch and then release him back to his dancing. Hysterical! The event took place at Helensburgh Sailing Club which is right on the River Clyde so lovely views. It was a nice night – the weather wasn’t very sunny, but it wasn’t too cold and it didn’t rain (always a bonus in Scotland). Ten out of ten all round.

I am sorry I’ve not been writing this blog lately, I have been very busy reading books on writing and the writing business. When I tell people that they look at me as if I am daft because I am already published, but I think you can always learn more about your craft. Plus I have picked up some great tips on things like blogging etc.

I’ve also been writing a book for adults. The one I was writing before. I had left it aside for a while there following Ian’s death (the first year after I just couldn’t see myself every getting back to writing}, then I had the extension and all the uproar that brought with it. Now, I have the time, the energy and the inclination to write again and I’m back doing it. I’m also going to get back into building on my writing blog, which has really been neglected. I’m going to relaunch it soon so watch this space for more details!

Another distraction has been family and friends. I’ve been doing a lot of lunches lately with various of them and it’s been great catching up. I need to cool it a bit though as I could do without the extra calories being already too curvy! ūüôā

Books I’ve been reading: just started Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. I was never a King fan (although I think his book on writing is excellent) but I’m giving this book a go. I’ve heard it’s really good and I watched the film adaptation of it recently (starring Idris Elba…be still my beating heart, love him) and enjoyed it. Will let you know how I get on. Also been studying Joanna¬† Penn’s How to Market a Book, which is a great resource. Really rate this book if you want to self publish.

Right I am going to leave you here as have a bit of planning to do with regards to my writing.  Til next time.

 

Dawn xx

 

 

Mary Pickford, Shawshank and Choosing the Right Book

Mary Pickford2      Mary Pickford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a little behind with everything this week. Wasn’t feeling well Wednesday night and Thursday, so am doing catch up. My daughter is off sick today so am thinking a wee bug visited the household. Anyway, I feel better and she’s off sick from school, but I think she’ll be better tomorrow. She’s already looking better than she did earlier today and last night.

Mary Pickford 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, how’ve you been? Hope you are all well.¬† Am on a bit of a silent movie thing right now having watched an excellent documentary on Mary Pickford (above) on Sky Arts 1. What a woman she was! A pioneer of the movie industry, co-founder of United Artists, a leading light behind the scenes in Hollywood. Truly an inspiration.

Mary Pickford3douglas fairbanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had to put a couple more pics in of her (above left) and Douglas Fairbanks (her second husband, pictured above right). They were the darlings of Hollywood; the very first movie King and Queen. The documentary had all the elements I love: old style movie stars, romance, a canny business woman, talent, someone not afraid to take risks. It was excellent, so if you get the chance to see it do so.

Anyway, moving on.¬† This week – apart from all the usual stuff I have to do – I’ve been concentrating on finishing my crossword book (I now feel bereft…need to buy another) and Stephen King Goes to the Movies. I’ve just finished Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (which was made into one of my all time favourite films) and it was excellent. Just got Children of the Corn to read. Am not sure I want to read it, not being a horror buff, but I’ll give it a go! Not sure what I want to read once I’ve finished that. I have several books waiting in line to be opened and devoured, but I’ll need to have a think about what I feel like reading.

Oh, nearly forgot, watch this space soon for a little competition I’m running. More information later!

Right, am off to do some writing. Am now about a fifth of the way through both my new children’s book and the adult book. Loving writing both.

Dawn xxx

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.