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Finding Happiness, Week 2.5 (And April Wrap-Up!)

Howdy my beautiful happy bananas!

This is coming to you a little late, partly because of EXCITING THINGS, and partly because I've been sticking to the internet break (for the most part).

Before I get into it, did you know you can sign up to request an ARC of AND THE TREES CREPT IN? You can!

Week 2 was a little less productive in terms of pure writing, but that was because of fun things! I was invited to a brilliant Hachette blogger evening, which was so much fun, and which involved travel for me (which involved recovery for me). Also, I did slip off the no-internet bandwagon a little (owing to the need to coordinate 13 fabulous authors for my Scotland writing retreat—which is in LESS THAN A WEEK!). I'm working to reduce internet time this week and set goals for my week away. 

I also finished planning and booking everything for my trip to Orlando, Florida for ALA (WOOHOO COME SAY HELLO!), and I continued on my journey to live a simplistic, more freeing lifestyle (i.e throwing away all the junk I don't need and donating as much as I can).

I've also been experimenting with vegetarianism and veganism, which has been very exciting. I discovered the most amazing recipe for vegan pancakes I have EVER SEEN. Once I try them, I'll take some pics and post the recipe. *licks fingers* yum yum!

Another cool thing for me—I've been spending more time outdoors, both with this lovely lady, and by myself (or with my cat, who loves going for daily walks! YAY CAT-DOG!).

I have upped my reading time as well. Critiquing three manuscripts as well as reading a friends amazing new novel (early teehee), plus reading for research on my NEW BOOK (let's call it... P.S I love you). Reading for P.S I love you has been immensely fun and horrifying. I can't wait to share. And then one little book for fun: 

Also, I've been thinking of doing a youtube series documenting the process of writing this book, so you guys can see the beautiful ups and downs of the process. What so you think? Yay? Nay? May-bay? 

That's it for now, but I'll chat to you soon! Remember to sign up for my newsletter if you haven't done so already (sign up box is on the home page).

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Finding Happiness, Week 1

Hello friends!

Last week I wrote a blog post about taking a step back from social media (my total addiction), and giving myself time to do the things that make me happy. This is what happened during the first week:

1. I organised my house. I mean, I started organising in that earth-moving, changing up all the furniture, going through cupboards with years of mugs and throwing the crummy ones out, discarding a HUGE load of stuff that had just accumulated. I've been reading Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up, and while I love her system, health reasons prevent me from doing it that way. Still, I follow the system in my own way, and it has been AMAZING (highly recommend this). 

2. I have been making my study (which was also the guest room and sort of makeup room) into my office. Moving furniture into place, removing the guest bed (this is my office, not a bedroom!), and making the whole room feel warm and cosy; a place that I want to write in. I have finally managed, after almost 5 years of living here (3 of which I was sort of functional), to create a haven to work in. (Hubby had a LOT to do with it; he's a muscular guy and did all of the heavy lifting and hanging of my world map, etc, etc). This is still an ongoing project, but the results have been incredible.

3. I wrote. Not a mind-blowing amount, but I actually wrote for good amounts of time, and I was proud of the words I was putting down. They were the right words.

4. I got on top of my last module at University. I was severely falling behind before (a lot of this had to do with things happening, rather than social media), but I had more time to deal with essays, research, prototyping etc (My last module is totally badass!). 

5. I looked into joining a boot camp at my gym. I START NEXT WEEK! AAAHHHHH!!! (I might even be brave and take photos of my progress...!)

6. I got outside and enjoyed Spring. 

reading a friend's amazing manuscript!

reading a friend's amazing manuscript!

7. I went to see Friend Request in the cinema, and feel even better about this decision.

Did I slip up? Yes. I did. (YouTube, my old nemesis.) But, that's OK. I quickly got myself back on track and ended up being even more productive. The thing that is still slow is the reading. I am critiquing 3 manuscripts, reading for University, reading my own manuscript, doing edits on something very cool, helping a friend with some video stuff—and a lot more. So, reading is the thing to improve upon next week. 

In the meantime, I have a blogger event to look forward to next week, a writing retreat in May, ALA in June, my book launch in July, and then YALC! Loads of happy things going on, and I couldn't be more excited.

Chat to you guys next week!

xxxxx

 

 

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Dear Little Happy Bananas...

Thank you SO much to my little happy bananas for all of your entries! The winners have been announced! (Winners have been emailed!

You guys can check the rafflecopter link in the newsletter to see who won! 

Look out for LHB 2.0!

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On Happiness and Taking Time Back

Hi friends!

Something amazing happened recently. I spent a week in Spain, eating wonderful food, spending time with wonderful people, and letting my creativity roam around without a lead. Without distraction, without the internet, and without anxiety. Ever since my new life began, I have lived by once principle: Do what makes me happy. (And be kind to everyone, because everyone is going through something). 

Spain from the air

Spain from the air

And then last week, I saw Elizabeth May's blog post about moving forward and stepping back from social media in order to find her own happiness. Lately, I've been losing my hold on my happiness, for the simple reason that I never seem to have time to do the things that make me happy: Writing, painting, exploring, amateur photography, videos, comedy, reading, hiking, latte days with my friends and hanging out with my husband. No matter what I do, I'm losing time, and I'm not happy.

Writing makes me the happiest

Writing makes me the happiest

Social media is a wonderful thing. I love how it connects readers, authors, and how it allows me to keep in touch with friends oceans away. I will never give up on that sort of community and way of connecting where there is no other alternative. But that only works if you use it as a tool, and in a limited, meaningful;, quality-oriented way.

I live here. And I'm CRAZY for not getting out and enjoying it more! How can a computer screen compare? (It can't)

I live here. And I'm CRAZY for not getting out and enjoying it more! How can a computer screen compare? (It can't)

I wasn't doing that. I'm not doing that. I have lost so many hours staring at my computer screen (and NOT writing), instead of going outside, enjoying the beautiful country I live in, painting, crafting and letting my creative muse run wild in the rolling hills. Come thunder, rain, hail or snow.   The last time I truly felt creatively liberated was many years ago.

I want that back.

So.

I hereby quit* social media. Just for a few weeks, so I can get myself back to a place I want to be. So I can appreciate what I have instead of looking at what I don't have. 

I love how Elizabeth tracks her progress, both with reading and writing. I admire her discipline, and seeing her progress has been very motivating. So let's see what a few weeks away from the Internet does for me!

In the upcoming weeks, I have a lot of publishing-related social stuff going on. Stepping back from social media will give me my time back, and I can really enjoy the extra fun stuff. In May, I've organised an epic writing retreat in Scotland, which will be AMAZING, and with all of these things combined, I am feeling happier already.

So, here I go. Keep an eye out for my weekly progress and stats. Thanks for inspiring me, Lizzie! 

Onwards and upwards. 

Love, Dawn

 

 

*I will post an image to my instagram as I feel like it (since it takes no time at all) but I won't browse. I will snapchat as the mood takes me. I will post any relevant updates or things that can't wait (publishing news or critical updates) on my social media (there is SO much news to share, but I'm not allowed to at the moment). I will post weekly updates about my progress, and I will post to my youtube as and when, since video-making makes me happy. Other than that: I am internet free, baby! <3 <3 <3

 

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Valentines Gift from Me <3

Dear friends,

 

I'm doing something a little cool this month! 

And I hope you play along! As you know, my next novel comes out this year! In the UK it is called The Creeper Man and in the US it is called And The Trees Crept In. (I love both names and both covers, but which do you prefer?)

 

Since it is the month of love, if you guys add the book to your Goodreads TBR shelf (links when you click the book covers), and send me a message on Goodreads with your name and address, I will send you a Valentine!! I am so excited about this!! I want to send you guys personalized Valentines from me, including a tiny little gift (and something extra if you happen to mention that you are a Slytherin... :D)

 

I will check my Goodreads messages until February 10th (THAT’S ONLY 5 DAYS AWAY!!!) and send the Valentines to you, my beautiful friends!

 

Love,

 

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January is done and dusted

January was a month that certainly didn’t go the way I expected, but that turned out to be pretty AWESOME. I ended up spending the better part of the month down London way with my Mum. (The circumstances of the stay weren’t so pleasant, but spending time together WAS!) It ended up being a very refreshing, refueling stay and I left feeling much better than I have in, honestly, months.

 

Speaking of my Mum—I’m not sure if I ever told you guys that she is the CEO of TWO businesses, has Aspergers, and coaches people on how to thrive in business settings when they too have Aspergers, reaching their full potential. She is a coach, an author, a mentor, a director, has a life-time entry into Who’s Who (her entry is SUPER long, too!) and she is in the top 1% of cleverest women in Mensa… in the WORLD. I. Know. You should definitely think about following her on twitter, because she is absolutely awesome (and pretty funny at that!) @DrRABergemann @AspergerLeaders @GlobaliteGMS

 

In fact, the level of her awesomeness goes further, because she is also a speaker at this year’s Empowered Women Conference in April! I couldn’t express how proud I feel even if I tried, but this comes close:

  

I have done pretty well with reading this month—I got through five books (well, four books and one graphic novel). They were:

 

1.   A re-read of Perfume by Patrick Suskind (I read it last when I was a teen, and it continues to be a 5/5 read for me)

2.   The Winter People by Jennifer MacMahon (4/5)

3.   Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (5/5)

4.   Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn (4/5)

5.   Lazarus One (the graphic novel—2.5/5)

 

Not too bad.

 

I’ve not done so well on the audiobook side, simply because of lack of outside time. I’ve been strapped to the house/hotel in January and as a result I didn’t even finish one audiobook!

 

I’m currently listening to Slade House by David Mitchell, and it is fabulous.

 

 

Here’s to a great February! Bring on ze books! 

 

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YALSA Top 10 Pick! | The Dead House

Hey guys!

I am sitting in bd right now, books and notebooks spread all around me (plus a plethora of colourful pens and my Erin Condren planner), and I couldn't wait to tell you that THE DEAD HOUSE made the YALSA Top 10 picks for Audiobooks!

EEEEEEEEEK!!!!

Have you listened to the audiobook yet? It's sooooo creepily good. Read by Christopher Coulsen (Young Voldemort!) and Charlotte Perry (she is SO GOOD), and filled with eerie music and sound effect, it even scared me. True story. 

Check it out on Audible now

Thank you, YALSA and to my readers—I adore you! 

<3 <3 <3 

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2015 in Review

Here we are. The end of 2015, looking over the horizon at 2016. I'd like to take a moment to look back over 2015, because in all honesty, it was one of the best years of my life. You guys should check out Kat Ellis's blog post about her 2015, because she inspired my own. 

January

We saw the new year in with style to celebrate my recovery from a bout of organ rejection the previous month. This was me before I was started on steroids — my face looks so foreign to me here! But the steroids have kept me healthy and stable, and I rather think my chubby cheeks make a girl look younger and, let's be honest, cuter! :p

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The first seedling thoughts about THE CREEPER MAN began to take shape in my trusty notebook.

The cover for THE DEAD HOUSE was revealed in January too, which I recorded live, and which was utterly amazing! I made a video about it and you can watch that here

I also said goodbye to one of my best friends, who married the love of her life and moved to India! She is so, so beautiful, and was even more so on her wedding day.

I had my first Greenhouse lunch and spent some time with amazing authors and friends. 

And I was invited to join the awesome Author Allsorts!

 

February

February was all about firsts for me. I saw my first pass pages EVER and got very, very excited. 

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March

March was all about THE DEAD HOUSE ARCs.

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I posted a video on my channel where I opened the box of US ARCs for the first time. See it here

 

April

April saw the first writing retreat I have ever organised become a reality! We all travelled to Criccieth in Wales for a week of authority shenanigans in an old Auction House. I also vlogged about that week, so check out the video here

Work on THE CREEPER MAN progressed. 

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April was also a month for studies. University work continued. 

I introduced my Happy Banana and even made a video about it here

                        I always recommend that everyone have a happy banana.

                        I always recommend that everyone have a happy banana.

 

May

May was a month for curling up and getting those words out. It was also a good months for my YouTube Channel! 

June

 

JULY

June was all about YALC! (The Young Adult Literary Convention held within the London ComiCon). I did my first author panel, which was incredible, and my little book sold first, and within hours! They even took this photo to prove it, and wrote it up! 

The other amazing thing was that Entertainment Weekly released a preview of The Dead House and previewed the book trailer I made exclusively! You guys can see the article and watch the trailer here

August

August was a bittersweet month for me. The bitter: My beloved Kitty, Tammy, passed away the day before The Dead House launched in the UK. I posted a video about it here

Happiness came in huge doses, though, and I celebrated my third liversary! As I normally do, I posted a video about it, and spoke a little about Organ Donation. 

THE DEAD HOUSE came out in the UK! Wheeeeee! I got to see my little book in bookstores, and you guys HOLDING IT and I could have keeled over with happiness. I started a little Facebook album with my readers and friends holding the book (do send me yours if you haven't already!) You can see the album in the "photo" section of my Facebook Page.

My publishers, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, made THIS CAKE inspired by my book!!! And I fell off my chair because it is the most amazing cake I have ever seen. 

There was also loads of cool swag and designs for my little book cropping up!

I also met this little guy.

August also saw The Dead House Mirror Tour, and I signed my first copies in store.

 

September

The month began well when I took that little mop of cuddly black fur home with me. <3 On the 15th, The Dead House came out in the US! (You guys could probably hear me SQUEE over the oceans and through the mountains...

September also brought more filming fun! Kat Ellis, her sister and I filmed another book trailer for The Dead House! This one hasn't gone live yet, but will be tied to the release of the paperback and mass market paperback in 2016. 

 

October

October took me to the States! I travelled to Naperville in Chicago to take part in the Anderson's book festival and had one of the best times of the year. I made great friends, met the author who got me reading and writing (my gateway author), Michael Grant, and he really is amazing as he tweets! I clogged the entire trip, which you can see here

October also saw Entertainment Weekly interview me about my insertion and writing process. You can read that article here. 

Aaaand, let's not forget Halloween.

Halloween was also the perfect day that my publisher's, Orion Publishing, revealed the cover of my new book, THE CREEPER MAN (don't forget to add it to your Goodreads!), coming on the 14th of July 2016!

 

November

November was a crazy month of birthdays, writing and edits! It literally flew by.

 

December

December was brilliant! Festive, busy and full of copyedits and new words on a new project. It was also the month I went to the Outer Hebrides with my hubby (he surprised me with the trip!) and found my peace again and the heart of a new project that I'm hugely excited about. 

Here's to a wonderful 2015 (the best year so far!) and may 2016 be even better for us all!

See you on the other side!
 

xoxo

 

 

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YALC 2015

Hey fwends! 

It's been a little while since my last post, but I've got a nifty update for you all!

First: YALC 2015, my wrap-up

The whole weekend was absolutely amazing! I got to do my first ever panel, which was all about horror, with Darren Shan, Lou Morgan and Will Hill, with Matt Whyman chairing. I got to buy a lot (and I mean a LOT) of books! I got to meet some of my favourite booktubers in person, as well as some amazing bloggers!

I also got to meet Cassandra Clare (she was lovely) and Kevin Brook (lovely too!)


Fellow (amazing author) Tatum Flynn and I took a lesson in tarot cards for inspiring ideas from the wonderful Anna McKerrow

Working hard! 

Working hard! 

I very much enjoyed the agent panel with Kat Ellis (author of Blackfin Sky, Breaker and Purge) and her literary agent, Molly Ker Hawn of the Bent Agency. It was such a great chance for aspiring authors to gain an insight into the agent-author relationship, as well as the opportunity to hear about kinds of things Molly is currently seeking. 

The cosplay game was high. Katherine Webber and her husband were adorable as Endymion and Sailor Moon! 

And Kat made a very convincing casual Sith Lord. 

Chill as anything.

Chill as anything.

I met Voldemort, and of course I got into trouble for it. 

The whole weekend was simply indescribable, and I slept for what seemed like a week when it was done! 

 

One of the best moments was when The Dead House sold out first, and within hours! I was absolutely wowed, and they took this picture to prove it! 

The Dead House sells out first, in hours.

The Dead House sells out first, in hours.

I had fun with all the colourful sharpies and wandering around lost in the bliss of hooky smells all over. Here are a few more of the cool photos that were snapped:

Dawn, out!

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