So, I decided my old covers for Dusting Down Alcudia and The Jacobite’s Share were not fit for purpose. They were rubbish, I’ll admit it. Therefore, I have flexed some of my Canva design-y muscles and given it another go. Here’s the result:
I’m pretty pleased with them, but I did have a little help…thank you to my fellow Sisters of Sin authors for your input and T and J for your input too. I tweaked the images to reflect their suggestions and they are so much better than they originally were.
Anyway, the new look books are up on Amazon. I’ve still to put up a Large print version of both books, but will do that over the next week.
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,
So, how’s your week been so far? It’s Wednesday and I am truly suffering from hayfever today. Although the weather has got slightly colder and it was raining last night (so welcome – that heat last week was way too much for me), my allergies have gone into overdrive. I just want to dunk my face into a big bucket of cold water. That’s what I feel like doing.
Well, I’ve gone and did it. I actually started writing Envy over the weekend, my second book in the Sisters of Sin series I’m writing with international authors. I have about 4000 words written already. My plan is to write a minimum of 2000 words a day so that I have my first draft finished by the end of next month. Wish me luck!
It’s a superb book. I really recommend it. It’s about a handsome writer who will stop at nothing, including murder, to make it as a writer. Just when you think he can’t stoop any lower, he does. Even the ending is just him all over. I was glued to it, truly gripped. It is told from the point of view of various unfortunates that the protagonist, Maurice Swift, comes into contact with. This book was leant to my by my lovely friend Jane, who also leant me four other John Boyne books. Thank you Jane. You’ve made me a John Boyne fan. Can’t wait to start the next one.
I am also in the process of reading Craig Martelle’s How to Be a Successful Indie Writer:
It’s full of great tips on running your own indie author business. I’ve had this book for a while, but not read it. I decided recently that if I every want to make a go of being an indie author I better get my head down, learn everything I can and just do it. Part of that is reading this book and three others in the same series, and I also wrote down some aims and objectives. You gotta have a plan!
Right, I am going to finish up here. Til next time,
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Catand William Zinsser’sOn Writing Well.
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.
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.)
Don’t use cliches. Try to come up with new ways of describing something.
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.
…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!
Right, so I’m turning over a new leaf next week and getting up earlier to write. I’ve taken on some more work in my social media business, so I’ve been lacking time for writing and it’s killing me. The whole point of giving up my PR job with the NHS three years ago was to spend more time writing. So, up at 6am on weekdays it is. 😱 Really hope I can do it. No, that’s not the attitude. I can do it. I am also going to bite the bullet (this blog is already full of cliches!) and do some live FB talks on my author FB page. I want to really start to push my author business and that’s part of it. Plus it’s a nice way of connecting with readers old and new. Wish me luck.
So, how’s your week been? Mine has been uber busy as usual, but it’s good because I’m working for myself and doing things I love, including my work doing social media for my clients. Social media was made for me, I love creating posts and imagery.
My son has been isolating for the last two weeks after being exposed to a fellow pupil with Coronavirus. He’s out of isolation today and I’ve never seen such a relieved 12-year-old. Although he’s been loving being at home and playing online with the other kids that were also off for the same reason, he’s missed his friends and getting out. Thankfully his test was negative and he hasn’t developed any symptoms since. Phew. I kinda knew he didn’t have it. He’s the picture of health, thank goodness.
Anyway, I’ve barely been over the door myself I’ve been that busy with work. The script continues to go well. We did an early read through last week of what we’ve done so far and it’s going well. Really pleased with it. It’s a long, slow process working with two others, but it’s fun. We work well together. Next week, we’ll be continuing to develop it. We’ve done about an hour’s worth so far, but we want to make it a series so have a lot more to write. It would be wonderful if, when we finish, it’s taken up by someone like Netflix and made.
My SOS (Sisters of Sin) novel continues. I’m on the home stretch, but just can’t slot in the time or energy to finish it. Hence, my plan to start getting up at 6am to write it. Needs must. After this one, I have another SOS book to write and then I’ll do another Nina book. Also musing with writing a fantasy series, been working on developing that through using mind mapping. So far I’ve worked out the main characters and some of the story for the first book (hoping to have a series of seven books eventually). It all depends on my getting down to work on it and that depends on time and energy levels. Still, the desire to do it is there.
This week, I’ve also been working on some items to sell in my online Etsy shop, Vintage Knit Treasures. I’ll share those once they are ready to be seen in public. 😊 Talking of the shop, I’m going to love you and leave you now to put more patterns up in the shop.
Til next time,
PS I don’t know what the hell is going on with FB images today, but I can’t get my images to look any bigger. Hopefully, it’ll be sorted out by the next time I post.
The past couple of weeks have been very unsettling with all the things going on with regards to Corona Virus. So, I have decided to ignore it all and lighten up your day with some images of spring and a quick lowdown on what I’ve been doing.
This week, apart from doing my social media business, I’ve been working hard on a number of projects. The secret book series is still ongoing – I still can’t tell you much about that yet, but I will – I edited a short story I had written a couple of weeks ago, I’ve started work on my children’s history book (another secret-ish project) and I’ve been sorting out my new novel, The Jacobite’s Share. I’m just waiting on my cover designer to tweak the covers for me, but so you don’t have to wait too long, here’s a quick sneak peak:
I love it, I hope you do too. The book is being launched in a couple of weeks time and I’ll let you know the details nearer the time.
My friend came down from Glasgow last Thursday to borrow my sewing machine to sew some cushion covers. She hadn’t sewn anything since childhood and, let’s just say, she’ll have to come down and do it all over again. 🙂 However, we had a lovely time catching up. I think we put the entire world to right!! We ate pizza and cheesecake, drank copious amounts of tea and chatted about everything and anything.
I’ve been busy doing my uni course too. We’re looking at the conditions of the working classes in the north of England in the early 19th century along with Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. It’s very, very interesting and I remember studying this in History in High School. We’ve got a big exam coming up in June so I’ve been looking at what that might entail too. I must admit I’m a bit nervous about the exam. I haven’t sat an exam since I was 20. Yikes!!
I’ve been baking bread again and making up dinners for the freezer. I have a small table top freezer, as well as a bigger freezer, and the little one is filled with home-made dog food courtesy of my mum. She had made them for my dogs and her dog for the period of time she and my dad were going on a cruise. NB she makes her own dog home-made dinners, so when he stays she makes them for my dogs too! Now the cruise was meant to take place next month, but unfortunately has been cancelled because of Corona virus. So, now I have a small freezer full of dog food – my dogs are lucky dogs!! They love their granny’s home-made dinners. They are so spoiled. Dinners I have been making for we humans include Sloppy Joes (an American recipe for minced beef which is lovely), Bolognese sauce and chicken. I’ve been using my pressure cooker again and it’s becoming less scary to me! 🙂
Right, I am going to finish up here. I’m going to make a cup of tea and put my feet up for a little while.
Getting the story down – often, a story will be whirling around my head for days or weeks or, occasionally, years. It’s like there is a little person with a pointy stick prodding my brain every now again saying: “Hoi! When are you going to write me down?”
Getting to make things up and letting my imagine run away with me.
Watching the story unfold in my head – I see the stories in my head and watch the characters and their situations rather like I’d watch a film on tv. I watch and I write down what I see, hear, feel etc.
Choosing names for the characters – I love it when I come across a truly fabulous name that I can use for a character. It might be something that’s just popped into my head, something I’ve seen on a street sign or a car number plate, or a name I’ve heard or misheard. Then a character takes shape around the name quickly followed by the start of their story.
Drinking tea and eating chocolate digestives as I write. This is one of my favourite things to do. I don’t know why, but when you get a chocolate digestive and dunk it into a perfect cup of tea it just goes so well with writing. You dunk it, then you take a bite and enjoy the melting chocolate and suck the liquid from the crumbling biscuit base and it melts in your mouth and it’s somehow just perfect for those moments when you are thinking about what you are going to write next.
Organising the printing and cover design. I’m not a fan of editing my book because I have to do it at least four times before I am happy with the novel, but I love the next bit. And that is getting it ready for printing (ie formatting my book – I do this myself) and then getting a designer to design a cover. This latter part can be a bit nerve wracking because I am always desperate to like what the designer comes up with, but it’s great when you are presented with amazing designs… as I was. Thankfully.
Getting the book up and ready for sale, and finally getting a copy of the finished novel. This is great for both traditionally published and indie published book. You spend months and months writing the book, then there’s all the editing and organising of various things (such as promotions and marketing) and then finally you have the book in your hand and it just feels lovely.
Sharing my book with friends, family and the general public. I love presenting my parents with my latest novel. It’s the same delight I used to get when presenting them with something I had made in primary school! I love it when I can share it with my friends and with fans. In case you didn’t know, I run an Advance Reader Copy group whereby readers can get free and early copies of my new books. All I ask is if you put up a genuine review of the book on a book selling website. If you are interested in joining my current group, nicknamed Dawn’s Divas, email me your name and email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Talking to other writers and people who love books about writing and reading. Discussing favourite books and recommending new things to read.
Making new friends via writers’ groups, book bloggers and with people who have become fans. I just love chatting to different types of people, especially if they are as passionate about reading and writing as I am.
Hi! How are you all? Hope you’ve had a great week. Mine has been extremely busy which has left me really tired this week and feeling under the weather. However, I did get a lot done.
Announcing my next book!!! My next book is called Everything She Wants (the book with the working title Ham) and I’m aiming to get it out before Christmas or in January at the latest. Depends how everything goes with the cover and other bits and pieces you have to do to get books released. It’s about a very put upon housewife who runs away from her horrible family to join a Wham! tribute act. 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.
Will share the cover once it’s done. This is nothing like Dusting Down Alcudia, but I hope you enjoy it. While I’m waiting for the cover to be done, I’ll be working on the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia which is due out early next year. Yes, I have been a busy bee this year with the writing!! Watch this space for more details!! Picture of the real Wham! below.
So what have you been up to this week? For me it’s been finalising Everything She Wants and typesetting it so that it’s ready to be formulated into a print book. I’ve also been doing a lot sorting out cupboards and rooms around the house as when I am fully into writing, housework and such like kind of go by the wayside. Let’s face it, I am not one of those people who love housework. In fact, I hate it and look forward to the time when I can afford to pay someone else to do it for me! I wish! 🙂
I’ve also been attending my exercise classes. I don’t know what it was but I found my two Zumba classes really hard work this week. I thought the more you exercised the easier it’s supposed to be, but it was a struggle. I still went and still participated, but came out with a face the colour of a tomato streaming sweat in my wake. A lovely image for this time of night, I know!
This weekend I am having a quiet time, but last weekend I was really busy. Well, to be perfectly correct, I was really busy on the Friday. I was hardly home. I met some friends for tea and buns in the morning, another friend for lunch in the westend of Glasgow for lunch (we went to the famous University Café and I had my favourite: macaroni and chips, yes I am a classy burd!). Then in the evening, I popped next door to my neighbour who is 90 soon for a wee glass of wine. My neighbour is lovely and a very interesting man. We have always been friendly and he got on really well with my husband. Unfortunately, my neighbour’s wife died about a year after we moved into this house more than a decade ago, so I never got to know her. He is the man our Millie always escapes to. She loves him because he’s constantly feeding her meat. Anyway, I had a fab evening with him. We chatted about everything and had a good laugh. We are going to do it again because we get on so well. So, I had intended going round for a couple of hours… I was having such a good time, I ended up staying until midnight. Was a great night.
I always find older people so interesting. When I was working as a journalist for a local newspaper in Paisley, I got to interview some residents of Erskine Hospital, which is a hospital for former military people. I was sent there to cover the visit of Princess Diana, but I found chatting to the residents (including my late grandfather who was a resident there at the time) so much more interesting. I met one of the first policewomen in Glasgow and men who had been fighter pilots and ground troops in the Second World War. They were fascinating people. I feel really lucky that I was able to do that. Seeing Princess Di was okay too, but she wasn’t as interesting… not to me anyway.
Finished reading the biog of Radclyffe Hall. I really enjoyed it. She was an interesting woman, but I hated the way she treated her long term partners. I must try and find a copy of one of her books to see what they are like. I can’t help but be curious now I’ve read her life story.
Matthew and Diana from A Discovery of Witches.
I am currently re-reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I am loving all over again. I’ve been watching Sky One’s adaptation of the book (picture above), which is great. I am really enjoying it. However, the book is so much better. Can’t wait to re-read the sequel Shadow of Night and then the third in the trilogy, The Book of Life. I cannot recommend these books enough. They are fantastic.
I’ve also been busy this week with my uni course. I signed up to so an English Lit degree with the Open University and I am loving it. It covers a lot of different areas of the arts and is really interesting. I am feeling so much more “cleverer” than I did when I started. 😀 I’ve just completed my first assignment about Cleopatra and Antony, and Cezanne. My next area of study is about Joseph Stalin.
Right, I need to go. I need to pick the boy up from his school’s Halloween Disco. He went as a zombie. I helped his costume come together by cutting up a pair of trousers and an old jacket and throwing flour over him so he looked pale and zombie-like, and his clothes looked old and dirty (as well as fraying). He looked great. Hope he’s had a good night.
Til next time!
PS I am still looking to add people to my Advanced Reader Copy group. If you sign up, you’ll be given early copies of my books and all I’ll ask you to do (and this is not compulsory) is provide a genuine review of my books on sites I’ll give you the addresses for. If you’re interested, email me: email@example.com or sign up in the top righthand corner of this blog.
Hello and how are you all? Hope you are well. What’s been happening in your world lately? I’ve been enjoying the great weather we’ve been having. I even enjoyed the torrential rain we had earlier…my garden needs it.
Talking of the garden, I have been doing a lot of work in it. I cut the hedge, mowed the lawn and weeded the front garden. I planted some flowers in pots at my front door. I lopped a few branches off a few trees. Yes I have been a busy little bee this week.
I also finished my first draft of my latest book (it’s currently sitting at 75,000 words…the biggest book I have written to date) and am at the planning stage of a sequel for Dusting Down Alcudia.
Yes, I’ve been quite productive this week.
I’ve also set up a new author page on Facebook, which I will share with you on this site and my other, writers’ site, The Fiction Writers Friend Blog (still not sure about the name, but I wanted something that did what it said on the tin…if you catch my drift).
Other news and, well, there isn’t much other news. I have been so busy doing all the stuff I’ve listed that I haven’t had much time for anything else.
Oh, do you like the Monday takeover by Aldiss and Bertie? I hear they have another interview lined up – this time with Aldiss – on Monday.
Right, I am going to do a wee bit more writing before bedtime. Til next time.
Okay so I sort of haven’t been around that much recently. Basically, me, the kids, my niece and my parents flew out to Orlando at the end of March, had three full days in Florida before joining a cruise ship at Port Canaveral for a trans Atlantic cruise back to Europe. It was a fantastic holiday, thoroughly enjoyed it and I would have told you all about it last week (we came back mid April) except I wasn’t well…I had a stinking cold for the entire holiday (not that it stopped me enjoying myself – see pic above of me on the upper deck enjoying my daily Bahama Mama cocktail!) and it got worse when we got back. Had to go on antibiotics to get shot of it. I don’t like taking tablets, but I had had this flamin’ cold on and off for five or six weeks. The antibiotics finally cleared the cold at the beginning of this week.
Anyway, regarding the holiday, I have lots to show you and talk about so I’m planning to do it over the next couple of weeks rather than doing a ginormous blog about it.
The other exciting news is that we’ve welcomed a new furry family member. Her name is Bonya (she was previously owned by a Russian lady) and she’s just adorable.
Unfortunately her previous owner had to rehome her, but I’m glad we’ve got her cos she’s a lovely wee dog. My other two dogs were a bit scared of her at first (although she’s the least scariest dog I’ve ever met), but are coming round now. She’s a terrible snorer, loves to give you big face licks (ew…I hate dogs licking me on the face and it’s a fight to keep her from doing it…she’s very determined!) and is very cuddly.
In other news, I took a major leap of faith and gave up my job this week. I feel that life is too short and I want to write for a living, so I’m going to give it a go. I made the decision months ago and it really feels right. I don’t really feel I’ve stopped work yet because I never work on Thursdays, but I think it will start to sink in next week when I don’t have to go. Just want to thank all my friends and colleagues at work for their generous gifts and see you all next week! People keep asking me what I’m going to do with my ‘retirement’, but I don’t view it as that…I am going to WRITE!! I am taking a couple of weeks off to get the house and garden in order and to chill out. Then I’ll start back writing again. Can’t wait.
Anyway, it’s getting late so I’m going to finish here. Til next time…and all the holiday tales to come!