Two pictures today …

Diane in front of a couple more bridges ... (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Diane in front of a couple more bridges … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yesterday I succumbed and put the heating on. It’s very low, as low as it can go, and it’s on a timer. But it’s on. And today I was reminded that yesterday was 1 October, so the local authority still hasn’t left me. I was bullied into it by the dog, who sat in front of the fire with such a sad look on his face I could hardly resist. But I have to admit, it has gone a bit chilly now.

I’ve not done a lot this week other than the usual. I didn’t do the walks report because no one sent me any information. I’ve stopped doing the daily competitions because I need that extra half-hour slot in the day now to meet my new business objectives. And I’ve not done much job bidding.

But I did start to edit a non-fiction, and that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing constantly. I’ve also done the gig list for this week and started to plan my NaNoWriMo for November.

A lovely picture of Ian crossing the River Dove. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
A lovely picture of Ian crossing the River Dove. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Tomorrow I’m off to Birmingham to visit my parents and Friday afternoon is an errands day with trips to the dentist and to the hairdresser thrown in. That gives me just today and Friday morning, and any time I can squeeze in in between to do any work.

I know I said there were only 3 pictures from our holiday for this week, but I couldn’t decide between the one at the top or the one at the bottom, so I used them both. Friday’s will be the last picture, and my absolute favourite from Dent.

Enjoy them anyway.

Winter’s drawing in

It's a sheep. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
It’s a sheep. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I had a 3-gig weekend – or a 4-gig if you count that we left one early and stopped off at another on the way home.

On Friday evening we first headed off to see a friend in her band, then on the way home we stopped of at a local where there was another band playing, one we didn’t know but they had a saxophone …

On Saturday we ran some errands, took the dog for a ride, Rufus and I were both treated. Then Saturday evening my favourite front man was playing in my favourite band – and the other WaGs made me feel welcome too.

Sunday I was supposed to be working, but I ended up cogitating and more navel gazing. I bid for another 6 jobs and opened negotiations on another. And Sunday evening we headed out for our third/fourth gig of the weekend.

Three-gig weekends are very tiring, and I’m just a spectator. I take my hat off to the musicians and performers who do it every week.

The temperature dropped quite significantly over the weekend, but we had 2 glorious days of sunshine. I managed to get washing on the line, but I can feel that winter’s on its way. It’s going to be a cosy winter this year, I think.

I have a very busy week ahead because my hours are shorter. On Thursday I’m off to Birmingham for the day to see my parents, and Friday this week is an errands day. So I have to squeeze 5 days’ work into 3. Obviously I’m not going to manage that physically, so I have to prioritise.

I have a non-fiction to edit and a fiction to edit. I think I have another non-fiction edit on the way, too. I’ve also been promised a non-fiction to proofread. I have an article to write, pictures to chase, a walks report to write (if I get the data) and submit. I have job boards to surf. I have the gig list to update, and the diary to do. And I have a few bureaucratic forms to fill in.

I also have a novel to write and a non-fiction to write, but as those aren’t earning straight away I may have to concentrate on them in my spare time. The business manager already isn’t happy with the other “pro-bono” work I do for the Ramblers or on the gig list, so I have to justify any time spent on the writing at the moment – because my current priority is to earn money.

Only 3 more pictures from our holiday to share this week. This was just one of the many sheep that accompanied us on many trips, and it was taken by the poet/business manager/favourite front man/boyfriend extraordinaire/my biggest fan.

Right, a non-fiction first, I think …

Should’ve done this yesterday …

Look what the poet found across the River Dove ... (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Look what the poet found across the River Dove … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

It was a very busy weekend in the end starting with an emotional gig Friday night. It was emotional for several reasons, but the main one was to say farewell to someone off on a university adventure the next day. Also, someone I thought was a friend surprised me quite disappointingly … so they’ll probably be going into the next novel …

On Saturday we were at a charity boxing match helping to raise funds for several charities. That started at 11am for us, and finished close to 4pm. A quick rest and then we were off to Leeds to surprise another friend in his band. We had a good night and enjoyed dancing along to some less familiar tunes that aren’t done to death on the gig circuit.

Sunday was another day of rest.

Yesterday I started the new week with a vengeance and got quite a lot of bitty work done, admin work, diary work, planning work, those kinds of things. I also reviewed a book edit that really needs to be signed off now, but there are still tons of problems with the layout and with someone keep tinkering. If this book comes back with more work I’m going to need a new fee. I don’t mind correcting my own mistakes, but I’m not really responsible for everybody else’s too. Or a faulty system.

That job took longer than I intended, and so today I’ve done the walks report, and submitted it to 6 local newspapers, and I’m just doing the blog I should have done yesterday. Other jobs today include more admin work, surfing the job boards and starting the next historical fiction edit.

This Thursday would normally be a Do Diddle Day, but because I’ve already had quite a lot of time off this month with flu, along with a couple of unexpected, unscheduled Do Diddle Days, I’ve decided to cancel it and work. I need to catch up with some work and I need to get the invoices out.

Today’s picture was taken along part of the Dales Way long distance footpath. It’s the River Dove, just above Dent, and it’s one of mine. I love the mist in the background. Enjoy.

Another bridge?

Another bridge - Ribblehead Viaduct (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Another bridge – Ribblehead Viaduct (Picture: Diane Parkin)

I had a lovely weekend.

Once again I knocked off for the week fairly early and spent Friday evening watching someone else’s telly.

On Saturday I made it to my first Leeds write-in in a while, and while I didn’t get a great deal of writing done, I did manage to sort everything out, organise my workload and come up with some more topical story or article ideas for the coming months.

Saturday evening was spent watching my favourite band.

Sunday was a proper doss day. I decided not to take my germs to Birmingham, but to save them for this coming Thursday when Mom and Dad would like me to accompany them somewhere. Instead I was treated to Sunday dinner out once we’d done the shopping, and then we just chilled on the settee in front of the telly. We’re both still a bit rough and didn’t fancy anything strenuous – like a massive dog walk or anything.

Because of germs and still feeling slightly under the weather, plus a bit of a restless night, I’ve lost most of today catching up on sleep. But when I reached my desk I did quite a lot of online stuff, so that I can sit downstairs, in the warm, and concentrate on some editing I want to shift.

I also have some tiny tweaks to do to a book I edited last week, I’m awaiting the go ahead to do some other author revisions and check layout, and then it’s on to normal work for this week – the walks report, the gig list, surfing the job boards, writing.

Today’s picture is another from our holiday in Dentdale, a famous image on the Settle to Carlisle railway, but one of mine this time. Enjoy.

A busy old week

It’s been a busy old week, and there’s still a way to go, but halfway along I’m feeling it.

On Monday we had thunderstorms ALL DAY, and Rufus barked at the thunder ALL DAY. I do like to have the doors and windows open at this time of year and enjoy listening to any rain showers or rumbles of thunder in the distance, but Rufus wasn’t having any of that this time. No, he wanted everyone’s full attention. EVERYONE’S.

I had a busy day anyway. I wrote and submitted 3 articles, sent one of them off to 6 local newspapers and the other 2 off to a magazine. The magazine acknowledged them straight away, and one of the newspapers acknowledged the other.

I also started editing a book, and all of that reading and writing, coupled with the dog’s constant barking, left me with a grumpy headache by teatime. So I called it a day and we had a chilled evening on the settee in front of the telly with Chinese for tea. Perfick.

Yesterday the dog was quieter. I think he had a sore throat. So I was able to crack on with some more work, which I’ve continued today. I like working on my lap downstairs, and I’ve enjoyed doing that for a couple of days.

I also had to come onto the computer – when it wasn’t thundering – to do some online stuff, checking for jobs, corresponding with clients, etc.

Today has been a day of also speaking to money people. My workload has increased significantly for August and already, with still 3 weeks to fill, I’ve broken-even income-wise, with £40 to spare (apx $60). Instead of lurching from day to day, I once again have work in for 3 weeks (including this week). If I can sustain that, then I’m back on track. But I needed to let the money people know.

I have 2 budget income figures: one is “break even”; the other is “comfortable profit”. As I say, I’m already into “break even” for August, so If I can get work in for just 2 of the remaining weeks for August, I’m in more than “comfortable profit” and am considering a very short break away from it all. I usually have the August bank holiday week off anyway, and I’m getting a yearning for Dent.

I had a holiday in Dent about 4 years ago, at Easter, but the snow kept me confined to barracks as Mountain Rescue were pleading with walkers not to go out onto the hills unless they were very experienced, knew the area well, and were not alone. As I failed on all counts, I spent the week indoors until the roads cleared, and then I did some touristy stuff.

Last night I had a quick surf to see if the cottage I stayed in was still available, and it doesn’t look as though it is. However, I have found another that has a special offer for 3 nights at the end of August. I’m now working on the basis that if it’s meant to be the offer will still be available as soon as I have the funds to spare. It’s very cheap.

There are some lovely walks around Dent, plus there are some interesting characters (the terrible knitters of Dent for a start) and some nice little places to visit. A little holiday would be very nice, but I have to prioritise.

For the rest of this week, then, I have another commissioned article to write, this book to finish editing, some fillers to resubmit, the gig list to update for August, and a couple of books to write. I’ve also seen a major short story competition I’d like to have a pop at.

But I am feeling weary …

Dent
Dent

Back on track

One of those article pitches I wanted to send? I sent it yesterday. She just commissioned it. I’m very happy about that – I need to scratch that freelance itch. 🙂

I’m hoping I’m back on track now. I spent some considerable time planning the diary for the next couple of weeks and a lot of time pitching for work. Two editing jobs have already come in from there, one for this week and one for a week in August, and one of those will lead to at least one other job. I also have another book to edit this week and I have loose ends to tie up on a previous novel.

On Monday I was very smug because I completed my expenditure for 2012 – 2013 and I submitted my tax return. I also pitched for 2 editing jobs, and I got my walks report written and off to 6 local newspapers. On Tuesday I pitched for another 3 editing jobs and spent much of the day finalising terms on those already mentioned.

I’ve filled in all the necessary bureaucratic forms I need to at the moment, which will free up time. I still have one phone call to make and one batch of information to send off, and then that’s me done with other people’s guff for the timebeing.

And then I can concentrate on my own work and the work I already have in.

I’m a day short this week due to a Do Diddle Day on Friday. For those new to Baggins Bottom, this is a day off every month where the diary stays empty. Nothing is planned, nothing is booked. I just get up in the morning – if I feel like it – and do whatever the hell I please. This could be absolutely nothing or it could be catching up on DVDs. It could be reading, or writing, or thinking. It can be a trip to the seaside or to the country. Or it could be work if I want. It can be an unscheduled trip to see the parents or it can be a day shopping. The thing is, you don’t plan …

… only this time there is a bit of a plan, and this was mostly due to timing than anything else. This Friday evening I’m off to Birmingham to support one of my favourite Yorkshire bands and to see some of my Brummie friends. I’ll also pop in to see Mom and Dad, make sure they’re all right. And it’s a belated birthday treat for one of said Brummie friends. I’m coming back afterwards, but because it’s a Do Diddle Day, I’ll probably have a long lie-in to compensate for the late night.

Rufus is also off for a big adventure. The poet’s coming to collect him and they’re going to have some quality time together. 😀 If the dog settles, he’s staying out all night; if he doesn’t, he’s coming back home. I’m not sure which of them is more excited!

27 julyOn Saturday we’re off to the Coalfields festival in Barnsley. There are a couple of bands on I’d like to see, but this festival happens every year and it’s the first time I’ll have made it. We won’t be there all day, but it’ll be nice to show our faces.

Then on Sunday … nothing. I have absolutely nothing planned for Sunday. Perhaps a run to the seaside or the country, perhaps the rest of my Do Diddle Day. But Sunday, this week, is an actual real day of rest. For now.

See you on the other side of the weekend.

Great weekend

So after the hassle of the past week or so I finally got some time off and was able to enjoy the weekend.

On Saturday morning at around 10am-ish, we headed off to Harrogate for the 2013 Crime Writing Festival. We were meeting Carol there, who was clutching our tickets in her little hand. We made it in good time, with just 10 minutes to go before our event, the New Blood panel discussion chaired by Val McDermid.

The beautiful Old Swan Hotel (where Agatha Christie is believed to have stayed when she disappeared for a few days) was packed again, but the weather was glorious although cooler than of late, so it was pleasant to sit on the lawn after our event with a picnic and a Pimms – my first ever Pimms. (I’m being spoiled rotten at the moment.) Carol and I were also treated to a new book each and it was my fourth time seeing Val McDermid. She told me I’d start to get bored of hearing all the same old jokes if I carried on at that rate, but she always makes me laugh and she always, always has good advice well worth heeding.

After our picnic we parted ways with Carol and nipped into the Mercer Gallery to view the current free exhibition of art. It was all very civilised and we had another lovely day.

A quick pit stop at home, then it was off to see one of my favourite bands with three of my friends. We all had a great time there too. I’m having a fantastic private life at the moment.

On Sunday I had a chat with my dad and with my mom, which is always nice, and then I worked … or I started to work. I’d really like someone to remind me to do my expenses on a monthly basis this year, please. I keep pushing them to one side and then it’s a mammoth task that takes the best part of a day when it would probably take just half-an-hour a time if I just kept on top of it.

I think I’m going to schedule in a new diary item: once a month – expenses.

I also pitched for 3 jobs and was invited to pitch for another. I had one job confirmed, and then another single job made into 2 jobs will hopefully be confirmed imminently. I still need to pitch those 2 writing jobs; this is why I need to keep on top of routine jobs like expenses so I have time to do everything I need to do when I need to do it.

Today, then, that double job will hopefully land on the desk, but I have a book to edit if it gets delayed and the walks report to write. Then it’s going to be busy, busy, busy as I’m a day down this week due to a Do Diddle Day, when I also hope to drive down to Birmingham to see another fave band play, with some of my Brummie friends.

Another week hurtles by

Where does the time go? I knew I’d run out of time before posting last Wednesday, but to miss Friday as well …

I’ve been very busy, in my defence. Which is Very Good. But also Very Rude.

So where did my week go?

Monday – I was here. Blogging about the weekend. I also wrote and submitted the weekly walks report for 6 local newspapers and started to edit the next historical fiction. I pitched for 10 jobs and formally applied for another.

Tuesday – was mostly the historical fiction, but I also had an appointment in town and I heard from a weekly red top magazine that they wanted to buy one of my fillers. I pitched for 4 jobs.

Wednesday –  I was still editing, and I updated the gig list. I also had a friend over Wednesday evening and together we brainstormed our current writing WiPs.

Thursday – that editing job went on a lot longer than I thought it would, but I finished the manual edits on Thursday … at 11:30pm … I also filled in a massive form I’d been sent and my hair appointment from Friday was brought forward.

Friday – I received proofreader’s and author’s corrections back for a previous project and so spent the day applying as many of those as time dictated. Corrections and amendments are one thing, but rewriting is something else not usually covered at proofreading stage. I pitched for just one job (invited) and worked until about 8:30pm.

On Saturday I went to the CampNaNo write-in in Leeds and had a good couple of hours planning the book and writing the opening paragraphs. I bust my NaNo duck and wrote the grand total of 629 words. I supervised a couple of 10-minute writing sprints (or word wars as the campers call it). On the evening I went out with friends to a gig to help them celebrate a birthday.

On Sunday it was red hot outside. I had an idle lie-in and was going to take the dog out, but it was toooo hot. I only pegged some washing out and had to lie down on the settee to recover. So I spent the afternoon idly watching tennis (we won, just in case you didn’t know), playing mindless games on FB, and generally chilling and relaxing out of the sun. Then we took the dog out at about 7:30pm beside some water and spent a thoroughly pleasant hour feeding ducks, looking for fish, and strolling and chatting.

Today I spent the whole morning on CampNaNo and have added 1,105 words. Not a lot for a morning’s work, but in between I was hanging washing out again, updating the nice neighbours on nuisance neighbour, reading and planning. But it’s 1,105 words more than I had written when I started.

Following last Wednesday’s brainstorm session, I decided I really need to write the remaining Marcie Craig books and bring her as up to date as I can in as short a time as possible. So the current WiP, The Beast Within, is just 2 years on from the last one. We discussed it and discussed it and really didn’t think freezing her age and fetching her bang up to date was the right thing to do, but moving the story on by 2 years at a time, and in quick succession, might be the way forward. As soon as that was decided, a cloud seemed to lift and I was itching to write.

The pub bombing book has been postponed until a more suitable 50-year anniversary, and meanwhile I have 3 Marcie Craigs to write – at least. The Beast Within; Snowblind; Killer Queen. And possibly Burn. The steampunk has been put on the back burner while I learn more about the genre and decide and research which period in history I want to use. During that time I’ll read as many as I can.

I think that’s finally the right decision, as so many things were just stopping me from getting on and writing something – anything. I received a very welcome kick up the backside, put everything else onto one side, and agreed to work on just one book.

This afternoon I have this week’s walk report to write and submit and I need to start the electronic edits for the historical novel I finished manually editing Thursday night. I also still have the dog to walk, washing to fetch in and jobs to sift through.

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Cricket

cricket 08At the weekend I popped my cricket cherry. I do like to listen to cricket with a commentary, but watching it and trying to work out what is going on … well, it’s not football (soccer) is it? So I tend to watch it on the telly or listen to it on the radio. And yes, I do think it gets quite exciting.

So when a friend offered to be my cricket buddy and my commentary, and to explain the rules, I jumped at a run out to the seaside (as well!) and we chose the best day for weather. I wore a floppy sun hat all day, but still caught the sun on my face, and quite a bit on my arms.

“Our” team didn’t win, but only by one … but it was a nice day anyway. And yes, it did get exciting.

Saturday was all about visiting the parents. I nearly went out Saturday night too, but decided to stay in with Rufus as we were leaving him behind (with a neighbour!) the next day. And Friday was all about socialising and nice music. I’ve certainly been more social just lately.

Today, then, it’s back to work. And while I’d normally do a to-do list for the month on the first of the month, I’ve decided not to this time. My diary is packed full (and has met my new weekly income target) for the next 2 weeks and I want to see what else comes in before completing the rest of the diary. I have plenty of work to do of my own, but I need to hit that income target every week first.

I had to do some admin and speak to the energy company about a new tariff. It’s dinner (lunch) time now, though, and then I’ll be editing the historical novel and writing the steampunk for CampNaNo. I also have the walks report to write and submit (I’ve had 2 lots of figures this week, plus we have a new programme to the end of the year), and the regular daily competitions and job board surf.

Tomorrow I have a meeting in town, but work-wise, it will be more of the same.