A window cleaner was all I needed

Please don’t drag me out of bed!

Today, I am writing this blog in amongst a flurry of barking and growling. Yes, it’s that time of the month again when the window cleaner comes around and cleans my house’s windows. The dogs, however, believe he is there purely to torment them through the glass (not the case, he just laughs at their barking and jumping). Anyway, this has been the most activity I have seen our pug, Bonya, do today. This morning, she was really lethargic and not wanting to get out of bed (well, more than usual, she never wants to get out of bed). I had to carry her out into the garden for a pee because she wouldn’t go herself. She also didn’t want to come on a walk, so I decided to leave her. I checked her paws and the rest of her to see if she was injured or sick in case that was what was putting her off her walk. Nope, she seemed okay. I took the other two out without her, a little concerned the pug may be sick.

Too tired to come down the stairs.

However, it is obvious, going by how enthusiastically she is barking at aforementioned window cleaner, that the little madam is just being lazy today. Sigh. Worry over!

So, how are you all today? Hope you are well and had a good week. My week has been busy, but the exciting news is that Dusting Down Alcudia is about to become available as an audiobook!! I’m not ready to release it yet, but watch this space for more information!!

Just putting the finishing touches to the second Nina Esposito book (the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia) and am in the process of editing my murder mystery book. It’s all go here at Nelson Towers!

This week I have also been concentrating on drumming up business for my book formatting and editing business. With this ad…

I’ve also taken out some advertising in Writing Magazine, so am hoping to get some business out of it. If you are looking for a book editor or formatter, get in touch: dawn@nelsonauthorservices.com

Other news and I finally finished my binge watching of Peaky Blinders. Was so sad that I finished it but looking forward to series 5. I’ve also been watching a really good documentary on the extraordinary Getrude Bell, a British explorer, traveller, writer and archaeologist. I have one of her books to read, but haven’t yet gotten round to it. The documentary is great. If you like history, particularly of the Middle East, then you’ll enjoy this. I always loved tales from the Middle East and the orient. Hers was a real live adventure.


I also finished my Terry Pratchett book. It was good, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t one of my favourites. Still, I will add it to the collection and re-read it at some point in the future. I now have the problem – and also great pleasure – of choosing a new book to read. Hmmm, that can be quite time consuming so I will leave that treat until after dinner tonight. Will it be another comedy? A romance? Something heavy? Not sure yet.

Right, enough of this procrastinating. I have the house to clean and washing to put on. Such is the exciting and thrilling life of a writer! ūüėČ Have a great week and I’ll speak to you soon. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Who are your all time favourite authors?


You may be wondering why I have started this post with a picture of Joanne Harris. Well, the reason is that I have been probably the most boring person in the world this week – my life has been filled with writing, reading and housework (ie no change) – and I decided that filling you in on aforementioned boring-ness would not be a good idea. So I am dedicating this blog to some of the writers who are not only my favourites, but who have had a profound effect on me as a reader and a writer.

I am going to start with the ladies. Joanne Harris (already pictured) is one of my all time favourite writers. I LOVE her books. I think she writes beautifully and her stories are wonderful. They are full of excitement and darkness and joy. Sorry for sounding so gushy, but her books are superb.

Other female writers I am a huge fan of are much less contemporary. In fact, they date back a lot of years. They are:

Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte (above) for Wuthering Heights. I still cry when Cathy and Heathcliff die.

Charlotte Bronte (above) for Jane Eyre. One of the best books I have ever read. I never tire of it. I am afraid I have only read one of Anne Bronte’s books The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I didn’t like it…sorry.

E Nesbit, below, whose Bastable books and her fantasy books such as the Phoenix and the Carpet, and Five Children & It, made me want to become a writer at a very young age.

 

E Nesbit

I also loved…

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton. My favourite books of her were The Faraway Tree and The Magic Wishing Chair. Amazing books to read when you are very young.

Now the boys…

Male authors I love include:

Terry Pratchett, above, was a wonderful writer of amazing books. I don’t have them all, but am still collecting them. One day I will have the full set. ūüôā

Sir Walter Scott – I have read Ivanhoe five times and Rob Roy at least seven. I now have collection of most of his books and aim to spend this summer reading Waverley.

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is superb: funny, exciting and full of tongue in cheek good humour. Excellent writer. Also loved his Dirk Gently books. So funny.

Charles Dickens

The grizzled old bear Charles Dickens. I do love his books, although some of his heroines annoy me with their simpering goodness. His bad women are far more interesting. My favourite books of his include Bleak House and Oliver Twist.

C S Lewis

C S Lewis’ Narnia books were my absolute favourite books from childhood. I have two copies of the full sets: one set is hardback and not to be touched by my kids (cos they will damage them) and the other can be read by my kids and were bought specifically for that purpose.

Okay, I’ve shared mine, now you share yours…who are your favourite authors of all time? Please comment below, I’d love to hear about them.

Til next time,

Dawn

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…!

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We went to the winter fair in Glasgow’s George Square recently. It was kind of done by accident because what we were actually doing was meeting my step daughter for dinner, but we went to the fair afterwards. There was an old fashioned merry-go-round, which I love (excuse the pics, they were taken on my phone which has a rubbish camera) and the kids went on. There was a helter skelter, which they did not. There were stalls and, yes, we did peruse them. The boy got a hand crafted recorder (am regretting that purchase!) and a hand knitted SpongeBob Squarepants hat. The girl got lovely ethnic earrings and something else. They both badgered me to buy them bubblegum flavoured meringue which I did. It was the size of a small loaf so I broke it in two and they munched it going round. My step daughter didn’t want anything, I did ask! It was a good evening. My step daughter is lovely and the kids love seeing their big sister. Hopefully she’ll come down to see us over the festive period.

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What else has been happening in my world? Nothing much to be truthful. I spent the weekend clearing out cupboards and putting up the Christmas decorations.

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Here are a few of my favourite new decorations (all bought, none made this year)…

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This smiling mouse is from Marks & Spencer’s. They always have lovely decorations and I couldn’t resist him.

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Betty Boop as an angel. My boy doesn’t like her, but I’ve always been a bit of a fan.

 

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A pug and (in the background) a little blue tit. I used to have three of the blue tits, now I only have two…one of the dogs (Millie) ate the other one. Sigh.

Talking of Christmas (and getting into the Christmas spirit), I have picked up one of my favourite Christmas books to read again…The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. I thought I hadn’t read it, but I definitely have and I enjoyed the tv programme based on the book (so much so that I bought the DVD to watch again!). Once again, Mr Pratchett does not disappoint. The Hogfather is fab. I am loving it. It’s set in the Disc World where they celebrate Hogswatch instead of Christmas and the Hogfather’s sleigh is drawn by enormous pigs instead of reindeer. The Hogfather goes missing and Death takes over the role spreading joy whilst his granddaughter Susan investigates. It’s one of his best, definitely is.

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In other news…had to bath the dogs. They’d gone out for a walk earlier and got covered in mud. This would be fine if the pair of them liked getting a bath, but they don’t. Millie – white and the dirtiest looking- actually did quite well. She stayed still long enough for me to wash her, despite trying to escape earlier. Casper made a bolt for the door as soon as I put him in the bath and disappeared downstairs. I spent ten minutes chasing him around the living room before I finally caught him and took him upstairs. For a small dog he is surprisingly strong and I had to really hold him still whilst I washed him. He struggled. Water went everywhere. I got soaked. The bathroom was covered in muddy dog water. I finished. I dried him and let him go. He sped out of the bathroom like there was a firework tied to his tail and spent a good 15 minutes rubbing himself dry on the carpet downstairs whilst I tidied the mess of the bathroom. It took me¬† half an hour to dry out in front of a radiator. I think I may have to wrap them in cling film before I take them out again so they don’t get covered in mud!! Only joking!

Right, that’s really it for today. I have been writing, but been a bit naughty the past couple of days and done nothing. I will get back to it tonight! For the rest of the week, I’ve got a few wee things planned, but nothing of note. Til next time.

Dawn xx

A few things I must stop doing…

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

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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).

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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.

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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!!

Snow, rubbish Christmas telly and Terry Pratchett’s new book

Hellooooo! How’s things? Hope you are all well and enjoying the festive season. Have you had a nice time? I hope so. I am currently nursing an upper respiratory infection (a head cold and sore throat in other words) and am feeling a bit bleurgh! Luckily it’s only come on me the last couple of days. Apparently it’s making hubby’s life miserable because I am snoring worse than normal! Hope he doesn’t get this bug. It was the girl who brought it in, I’ve got it, the boy is sneezing and I’m hoping hubby doesn’t get it cos he has his last chemo this week. Hurrah!!¬†If he has a cold it could delay it.¬†The poor soul has been pretty unwell over the past few weeks with the build up of the chemo in his system. He’s been spending a lot of time in bed, it’s a real shame. One more to go plus two weeks of chemo tablets and that will be him. This year has been a bit shit, but I feel we’re coming to the end of it (I hope). Here’s to a better 2016!! Hubby deserves it. Am so thankful he’s still here with us because we nearly lost him a couple of times, but he pulled through. Yup, 2016 should be so much better!!

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In case you are wondering, I’m putting in ‘winter wonderland’ type pics because I feel we should always have snow at Christmas (thanks to¬†Charles Dickens for this!! Apparently when he was a child, we went through a mini ice age and Christmas was always snowy so he wrote about snowy Christmases and now we all feel it should be snowy). Anyway, it’s not snowy here in Scotland. It’s been raining and very windy lately, although the last couple of days have been calm and dry. I am, however, still missing the snow (I feel a bit peeved we don’t have it – feels more Christmassy somehow)…hence the pics.

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Still trying to tot up our Christmas movies. We’ve not been watching a lot of Christmassy tv because basically the tv has been rubbish this year. As hubby quite correctly pointed out – Why are we paying our TV licence to the BBC when all they have mainly been showing is repeats of shows from when we were kids!?! And it’s not just been them! Other channels have been regurgitating tv shows from Christmas past too! And films. Yesterday we watched The Great Escape for instance…how many times has that been on British telly since the 70s??? The only thing new I’ve been watching is Dickensian, which I’ve only seen the first episode of. I love Dickens and this looks promising. I hope it’s good. Also watched the very last Downton Abbey…well I had to find out if Lady Edith got her happy ending. Seems like all the characters did. Hubby thinks Downton is rubbish and that it was all tied up too nicely, but I love a happy ending and I love Downton, so it was thumbs up from me. Even Daisy looks like she’ll finally get some romance. I know it was a cheesy finale, but it made me happy. I now feel all the characters will have a happy ending, which is the Disney-type ending they all needed!

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I’ve been taking it a bit easier these last few days so there’s not much to tell. My mother put on her usual massive spread for Christmas Day¬†– it was great. She did the full thing and there was at least five courses. My favourite was the home-made soup – my mum makes the most amazing soup. I have tried to emulate her, but can’t quite get it right. It’s like ambrosia. I love it. When I was in my early 20s and still living at home, I lived on her soup for a whole winter. She would ask what I wanted for dinner and I always asked for her soup…it’s that good. Thanks mum!! It was a great spread…especially the soup!

Haven’t been doing too much over the last couple of days except try and bring down the mountain of dirty washing that suddenly appeared two days before Christmas (when the kids were told to tidy their rooms…ahem!). Nearly at the end of that. Plus am spending a lot of time reading. Hubby got me the new Terry Pratchett book The Shepherd’s Crown (I love Terry Pratchett), so will start that as soon as I have finished Eat my Globe by Simon Majumdar. He’s a lover of food (aren’t we all?) and decided to travel the world trying out different foods. It’s a great read. He comes a lot of dishes he loves and a few he thinks are disgusting and meets lots of really interesting people along the way. Am nearly at the end of it, but have really enjoyed it.

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We also have a few family board games to play…can’t wait to get into my Terry Pratchett The Witches boardgame!! (she says shivering¬†with excitement!)

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Right, on that note, I’m off to make some lunch. Got a pork pie in the fridge that has my name on it. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS If someone was to ask me what the theme song for this Christmas was I would have to say the Dr Who theme tune. The boy is obsessed with Dr Who and got more Dr Who stuff for Christmas. If we don’t hear the theme tune from one of the many toys, he’s humming it or singing it or him and his friend from across the road are yelling it at the tops of their voices. Sigh. On that note, thought the Dr Who Christmas special this year was rather weak…the series is not as good as it used to be even with the excellent Peter Capaldi in the lead role. The storylines are often¬†way to complicated for kids (the boy will now only watch a maximum of 15 minutes of an episode, but sits through hours of previous series – he’s a big fan of the Matt Smith storylines, but also loves the earlier seasons). However, I can’t say that for the Christmas Day version. I will continue watching, however, because I love Dr Who too!

Attack of the stinging notebook

This is not the evil notebook in question, but is here as an illustration.

This is not the evil notebook in question, but is here as an illustration.

I’ve been under attack. For the past week, my hands have become increasingly covered in small cuts and quite frankly they are painful (especially in the shower or when I’m cutting up things like tomatoes). It took me a little while to work out what was happening. After all, like most folk I do suffer the odd cut every now and again. However, I’ve suffered five in the last few days. Yes, I’m being attacked by a notebook I use for work. How do I get around it? Do I just ditch the notebook and start with a new one? No, that goes against my green instincts. Do I muss up the pages and make them less knife like (honestly my fingers have been sliced to bits)? Hmmmm. Am thinking this might be the answer…a beaten up, softened notebook can’t possibly sting!

Anyway, apart from the cut fingers, my life has been trundling along nicely thank you very much. Not much has been happening chez moi, but that’s fine with me. I’m not one of those people who needs excitement or drama to feel alive – I get that from laughing with my kids or reading a good book or having a deep conversation with hubby over a glass of wine. I have been watching a lot of telly lately. I should be writing or exercising or doing something around the house, but I have been caught up in reruns of Castle, Rizzoli & Isles and Father Brown. I can’t help myself. I love murder mysteries. It’s a passion of mine! Have also been reading Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time. Yet another thumbs up to Mr Pratchett for an excellent book. It’s funny and exciting and inventive. I couldn’t put it down nearer the end.

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So how have you been? I hope well. Have you been caught up in this mad weather too? It’s snowing outside as I write. It’s lovely, but I hate driving in it. It’s barely lying here, but who knows what it’ll be like this time tomorrow if the snow keeps going. I got caught in a heavy snow shower yesterday whilst walking up through Springburn to get to Stobhill Hospital for work. By the time I got to my destination, I was covered from head to foot in snow, a veritable walking snowman/person. And it chilled me to the bone. I haven’t felt that cold in ages. When I got home later that day, I had to sit at the radiator just to get the heat back into my limbs. Thank God for whomever it was who invented central heating…I salute you sir or ma’am!! Hmm…that might be a quite interesting thing to find out: who invented central heating? Note to self: find out who invented central heating.

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Anyway, I am wittering on. The boy is at home today having woken up just before 7am and thrown up in the toilet…twice. He now appears to be perfectly well and is watching Dr Who on Netflix as I write whilst simultaneously playing Minecraft on his tablet. The colour is back in his face, he’s as cheeky as ever and seems back to normal. However, I shall have to keep him off school tomorrow because our school, quite rightly, requests that parents keep sick kids off til at least 48 hours after the sickness stops. Sigh. Bang goes my two days of peace!! Still, I am a self confessed Whovian myself so watching Dr Who isn’t so bad. We’re watching the 11th Doctor save the world from little black cubes. Go Doctor!

Anyway, must dash. Stuff to do. Til next time!

Dawn xx

PS If you want to find out who invented the central heating, click here…lots of great info!