And another one bites the dust …

… day filled with plans.

I woke up yesterday with the mother of all migraines, the banging, blinding sort that feels like a vice is being pressed around the entire head. Needless to say I stayed in a darkened room (namely the bedroom) for the entire day. What. A. Waste.

BUT … I’m back with it again today and I’ll just have to go to the top of the list and work my way down it.

I have to pop out before the post office closes (5:30pm) to get the bulk of the money for the damp proofing people, and I’ll take the dog for his walk when I go, to kill 2 birds, and all that. But the rest of the day I’m tied to the desk and the house.

Rufus is loads better, by the way. I’m slightly loathe to say he’s not been sick for a few days because the day I say that he’s invariably sick. However, the last time was 9:30am on Saturday, so I’m hoping either the antibiotics are doing the trick, or the concentrated diet. Or both. He’s better behaved too, and less fidgety. Fingers crossed.

Right, I have a short story to 2nd draft, an article to 1st draft and a book to proof. Other stuff too, but as they’re not at the top of the list yet …


Plans? Pah!

So, once again, the best laid plans and all that.

It started when Weekend Man had to work so was only able to come Friday teatime and go back very early Saturday morning after all. But when he got to work there was no work for him and he could have stayed up here. He wasn’t happy and had his motorbike not broken down on him he would have come straight back.

Early Saturday morning, at about 1:30am, Rufus started to be sick. At first we thought it was the usual daily attention-seeking whatever, but when he was sick again 10 minutes later, and again another 20 minutes after that, I decided to sit up with him. He then proceeded to nag to go out every half an hour or so and if he wasn’t sick he’d sit in the kennel outside. At 4:30am he finally settled down to sleep, but I stayed downstairs with him, wrapped up in a continental quilt with the back door propped open so he could run out if he needed to.

At half past nine he ran outside again, but at least we had a few hours sleep. I took him to the vet at 10am and the vet thought either he had salmonella poisoning – from a dead bird of the cats’ he’d finished off earlier in the week – or just one of the bird feathers going right through his digestive system had set him off. She gave him 2 injections – one antibiotic and one to settle his tummy – and I came away with a week’s supply of tablets, 2 weeks’ supply of sensitive stomach food (wet and dry), and another appointment on Friday.

Saturday night, after eating scrambled egg and boiled rice, he finally settled down and we both had a good night’s sleep. He woke me at about 6:30am to go out, ate some rice and when we got up again a few hours later he started to torment the cat. So I decided he was well enough to do the Birmingham run. He was a bit queasy on the journey down, but he was fine. And as we managed a visit to Weekend Man and family on the way back too, he was so worn out after such a day of excitement that he slept the whole way back.

He’s fine now, eating his new diet, taking his tablets, and is currently fast asleep on the bed with Holly – a triumph in itself, even if they are nearly 3 feet apart.

It was very windy Saturday night/Sunday morning. When I let the dog out at 6:30am the kennel he’d spent much of the previous night in was on the other side of the yard and on its side. It was really funny, though, when Holly crept out. I don’t think she was in it when it blew over, but she’d definitely sought solace in there when she came back from wherever she’d been. It made me think I was in The Wizard of Oz.

And so  on to this week’s (ahem) “plan” … today I have a short story to get started and a Ramblers’ area meeting in Sheffield this evening to prepare for. For the rest of the week I have a book to proof, an article to finish, and another article, a query and one more short story to get started. I have the damp proofing man coming on Thursday and the vet again on Friday.

We’ll see how the week pans out, shall we …

Rising damp

Two years ago I had my living room decorated. It was a big job, and quite expensive, and I wanted to make sure it would last. I checked the plaster on this front wall, and it was totally sound so decorator man was given the go ahead to continue.

Not long after the room was finished, this wall started to show signs of damp, and I was gutted. I hoped it was a one-off, particularly as we’d had a lot of snow in the intervening weeks. But by the middle of last winter, when the snow was back again, so was the damp.

The house is stone and every damp company I called didn’t seem to know what to do if the house wasn’t made of brick. Yesterday, finally, I found a company that specialises in the local stone and they confirmed that yes, indeed, I did have rising damp and that my walls were wringing wet.

The good news is the council is damp proofing a lot of its own properties in the area where I live, so they’re paying this company to do a big job. They’ve also said that privately owned properties will qualify for a 50% grant off the council if they have the work done at the same time. I was offered a further discount as I’ll pay cash for the other 50%.

So, next week, my damp problem is finally being resolved (I hope). I’m having a new stone-compatible damp proof injection course. It won’t reverse any damage already done, but it will stop any further damage. And it means I won’t have to re-plaster and re-decorate just yet but rather closer to when I would have been re-doing it anyway. It was something I’d not budgeted for, but it needs to be done and I can find the cash. Just.

It’s the weekend again and tomorrow I may take Rufus back to where I took him last Sunday. The walks around the village are only a mile or so, but Wickersley was closer to 2 miles. I need to keep that momentum up, and start increasing it, for both me and the dog.

Sunday it’s Mom and Dad time in Birmingham. But some time in between I may do some baking. I’m starting to detect a bit of a Christmassy feeling, probably for the first time in 6 years, and that means cookies. Lots of cookies.

Have a great weekend.

Getting busier

I had another steady, busy day yesterday. I started as usual with the daily competitions. That took a lot of catching up after a week without internet, but now it’s just taking 10 minutes or so – long enough to drink a cup of tea while I’m doing them.

Then I moved on to the gig list for December, but I can’t help feeling I’m a week early. This is because I usually do it the last Wednesday of the month … well, I do it every Wednesday of the month, but I mean when I’m doing the bulk of the following month I usually do it on the last Wednesday. However, as the last Wednesday is also the last day, and as December is party gig month, I decided to do it this week. But I still feel a week early.

Next job was major book promotion. The Smashwords edition of Night Crawler had been rejected as “requires modification”, but in the space where they suggest what’s wrong with it, there was just an asterisk. I didn’t want to delete the book and have it go back to the end of the queue if there was nothing wrong with it, so I fired an email off to Smashwords.

They replied only a few hours later saying it was a mistake, there was nothing wrong with the book, and they’d taken another look and thought it “looks good”. And they forced it to publish.

This is the premium catalogue that gets it out there on all the major book seller sites. I can only do so much marketing myself, so I need those major book seller sites.

I killed 2 birds with one stone again after dinner and walked the dog to the vet. I was only picking up worming tablets, but I wanted to chat about the daily vomiting too, and they agreed there’s not a lot wrong with him and it’s probably just diet sensitivity. I’m trying a really bland food on him today, but they think he may also grow out of it.

Because they’ve not been done for a while, I also picked up worming tablets for the cats. Oh, was it fun in my house last night getting all 3 to take their medicine.

Domino was great as usual and just settled down for the evening, as usual. Holly threw a hissy fit, spat it out a couple of times, and then went out in a huff, refusing to eat her tea when I finally got it down her. And Rufus thought it was a fun game – but I think it gave him bellyache later in the evening because he was fidgety …

When I got back from the vet I was greeted with 2 rejections – a short story and a filler – but another acceptance by Ether Books. You can find the story here, The Bonfire Party, and the app here. (You need the app, and Dad, you still can’t get the app …)

It’s another FREE download for 2 weeks before it goes to sale.

Today is going to be proof-reading, reading and writing.



So overnight on Monday I sent a NIB (news in brief) to a writing magazine out of the goodness of my heart and the next day I got an email from her asking for more market information and she’d pay me for it. This is good in that whenever I’ve done market news before I’ve always had a head start on everybody else, and I often got commissions right after I did the initial interview and we stayed together from there on in.

It’s not a huge amount of money but it will more than cover the cost of the magazines I buy anyway for market research purposes, and I’ll have some money left over too. Plus, hopefully, there will be the markets themselves saying “Oh, and while you’re on …”. AND I’ll have the odd full-length article she may be interested in.

I also sent my first walk report off to the local newspaper, even though I didn’t do that particular walk myself. I was able provide details, include a picture, and give the next 2 walks too.

Then I went off to town for an appointment at the job centre, where I picked up 4 job vacancies, 3 of them home-based and self-employed, and on the way back I bought my first pile of magazines. I had a lot of fun browsing through those last night.

Today I have the gig list for December to do, and the tail end of November, I have my regular book marketing, I’m still proofing a book, and I’m still writing a full-length article. Ah yes, and “NaNoWriMo” has reverted back to “Catch the Rainbow” as a daily in the diary. I should update the word meter … when I get around to it …

Walking in Wickersley Woods

I was supposed to be going walking with Ramblers on Sunday, but it was a 6 mile walk and Rufus just hasn’t done that far yet. I took him for a walk the day before that was a bit longer than our usual, and he lay down 3 times. But aside from that, his behaviour still needs work as he’s disobedient around other dogs – but only around other dogs. The rest of the time he’s golden.

So I found a doorstep walk in Rotherham instead and we did 2 miles around Wickersley Woods, and he was golden … apart from one time when we came upon 2 other dogs. He just forgets how to behave. As there are at least 3 other dogs that go rambling, including a guide dog and a retired guide dog, I can’t take him yet until he’s calmed down further.

It was only a 2 mile walk, but it was wet and muddy, although the fog made it feel quite cosy. The walk was waymarked too and it was quite nice. But because of the fog I couldn’t take any pictures – and I did have the camera with me. We’ll do the walk again on a brighter day and this time I’ll take pictures.

Yesterday was very busy, as expected. I wrote the 3rd and final drafts of 4 articles and got them checked, polished and submitted before the end of the day. One had to go by snail mail, so that was our teatime walk, to the letterbox and back.

I also made quite a few market notes from Freelance Market News. I have a good list of receptive and reasonably paying markets and already the ideas machine is churning away. It will be expensive to buy them all, but it’s investment and all tax-deductible. I only need to sell one article to each magazine to clear the cover price and be in profit.

Today I have a new article to plan, a book to proof, and a walk report to do for the local papers. I’m also in town this afternoon.

I’m back!

I was actually back some time on Saturday, but I’ve been so busy this was the first time I’ve been able to hop on.

I did think that being without internet was quite liberating … at first. And it was. I got so much done, loads of longhand drafts of articles and fillers. But when I started to get emails through that required action, or even something as simple as an attachment, the mobile phone just didn’t cut it.

Also, I missed my games fix …

Because of all the planning and background work I managed to get done last week, I do have lots to be getting on with this week, including several 3rd and final drafts to also proof and submit and 2 full-length articles that are in the early stages. I also have a book to proof and get back to the publisher by tomorrow.

I may be in this week’s What’s on TV too after I submitted an opinion on Dancing on Ice and they asked me if I could do something on Life’s Too Short instead. Of course I obliged, immediately. And they accepted, immediately. I’ll let you know when I know I’m definitely in.

Other big news this week is that I’ve had 3 short stories accepted for publication by Ether Books, all reprints, so money for old rope as I like to call it. Two of the stories are available for 2 weeks FREE, but you do need the app. Here are the covers you need to look out for, you can link to Ether Books here, and you can get the app here. (Dad, you can’t get the app so don’t worry about it.)

The other story, and these, will be available for sale in 2 weeks’ time.

No internet

I currently have no broadband internet. This is mostly due to Rufus eating right through the power cable to the router. I already had to replace my phone charger at the weekend and now, today, I’ve had to order a new power supply unit for the broadband.

Apologies for this interruption. Normal service WILL resume … it just may take a few days.

All clear

Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment at the hospital to check a skin lesion, or mole. I wasn’t very worried about it because it didn’t tick any of the danger boxes and it hadn’t been very aggressive. But it was starting to become a nuisance and I wondered if it could be removed.

Well, I got the all clear on the lesion itself – they’re absolutely certain it isn’t sinister or anything – but it isn’t a mole. They called it something else that was far too scientific for me to remember and they’re so not bothered about it I go back in a month’s time to have it zapped and cauterised. They’ll still send it off for tests “just to make sure”, but other than that there’s nothing to worry about.

I’ve never been one for sunbathing because I burn up in sunshine and I’m allergic to sun cream, so I tend to stay out of the sun. And it first appeared about 2 and a half years ago and has only surfaced 3 times. I thought it was eczema, or maybe a chafe. But it’s coming off and that’s the main thing.

Hmm, there might be an idea there for a short article …

Speaking of short articles, I eased myself back in gently to writing by rattling off 4 complete short articles. They’re all ready to go today once I’ve checked them. I wanted to let them cool overnight in case I missed anything obvious. I like to read things fresh after a night’s sleep at least.

I have some NaNoWriMo to catch up on, but I have extra breathing space this weekend ( 😦  ). I should have caught up by the end of Monday.

Other jobs to get going with today include an outline for another article – a longer one this time – and invoices. (Hurrah!)  (I’ll have us all saying “hurrah” every time we see/hear the word “invoices” if it kills me!)

I’ll do the shopping tonight, along with some NaNo catchup, a normal Saturday, and then Sunday I hope to get some ironing done as well. We’re not going out this weekend, he won’t be here long enough.

Check back over the next 2 days to see if the word meter’s changed at all (I hope it will have done), but otherwise, y’all have a good Armistice weekend.