Monday 31 July 2023: July wrap-up

image created in CanvaPro

I spent the first hour or so of Friday morning in the living room reading How to Write Short Stories and Get Them Published because there were video meetings going on in the office again. If I still had a reading chair in the office, I’d still read in the office. But my reading chair is now in the device-free conservatory.

When I did go into the office, the first job I started was this blog post. I started the proofreading and set off the weekly scan. Then I collected my latest Kindle purchases so I could download those onto my hard drive. And then I backed up my hard drive to the external drive. Still doing the proofreading. Backing up my critical data is always a job that takes time.

The poet’s last meeting finished at 11:45am, which meant I (technically) wouldn’t need my ear buds in while I listened to rain, and I carried on with my proofreading.

Because we had a busy weekend ahead, we needed to do the shopping on Friday instead of Saturday or Sunday. So at about 2:30pm, I stopped work and wrote out this week’s meal plan and the shopping list. At 3pm we went out to the butcher’s first and then to the supermarket. When we got back, I carried on with work while the poet split the meat up and put it in the freezer in the garage.

I carried on proofreading until about 7pm, but my eyes were tired by then. So I called it a day with the intention of carrying on Saturday morning. I didn’t write any words, but I did proofread 116 pages. And in my Pomodoro breaks, I watched the various videos for Friday’s revision lectures on the Lester Dent Master Plot.


We had a rough night Friday. We thought the dog must have eaten something that didn’t agree with him because he was up and down, up and down all night. For the first few hours it was me who got up with him, let him out, waited, let him back in again, etc. But at around 3am the poet took over because I had to get up and do some work on Saturday. The pair of them came back to bed at around 6:30am, but it took another hour for the dog to settle.

Instead of getting up at 9am, we were up at 11am. Our friends were coming at 1pm to go to a music festival in our village with us. By the time we’d had breakfast, that gave me just over an hour to catch up a bit. Then I had to get changed so that we were ready to go on time.

Once our friends arrived, we collected up the deckchairs and headed towards the music festival, which was literally minutes from our house. We had a great time, eating street food, watching various bands, original and covers. Our favourites were the Rag Dolls, who were like a Four Seasons-type of boy-group. The Robbie Williams tribute act was fantastic too. The whole show was hosted by one of our soap actors who lives locally.

I nipped back to see to the dog at about 4pm, the poet nipped back at about 6pm, and I nipped back again at about 8pm when our friends collected their car and headed home. By not long after 8:30pm, though, both the poet and I were ready to come home too. We’d had enough ‘outside’ for one day.

The dog was okay when we got back, if a bit clingy and sulky, and he had a better night. The poet had done a tour of the garden earlier and saw that the dog had vomited a massive pile of grass with a sweet wrapper in the middle, and we thought that must have been what made him ill. When he passed some tarry stools later, though, we started to suspect it was a bit more than a sweet wrapper.


We were up early again on Sunday. We took the dog to the mother-in-law’s then we carried on to the drummer’s house. The whole band were emptying the band van, clearing out all the stuff they lug everywhere but don’t use, deciding what could go on Ebay and what could go to the tip. I think they got one of the old PA systems working and they were going to try and repair the lights.

Then they added a tiny bit of racking to the van so the lights can be lifted up above everything else they use instead of being trampled and broken every time.

Meanwhile, the wives started to make inroads into the food that was on offer. It was a dry day but windy, not too cool, so we were able to sit and eat in the garden.

When we got back to the mother-in-law’s, the dog was fast asleep and completely unresponsive, which reminded us of the cat only three weeks earlier. He did wake up eventually, and he came for a hobble around the garden with me while I looked for further ‘evidence’ of how he was feeling. I didn’t find anything, but I wasn’t happy and I decided we’d take him to the emergency vet. Of course, we feared the worse and were really upset.

The emergency vet was relatively happy with him, having just helped three other pets to pass away, but he did diagnose a stomach ulcer. Honestly, we couldn’t have been more overjoyed about a stomach ulcer! Although we are aware that stomach ulcers are also dangerous in their own right. The vet thinks one of the pills our own vet prescribed may have caused it.

He told us to stop giving the dog the anti-inflammatory and he gave us something that would heal the ulcer from beneath as well as an injection to stop the dog feeling nauseous. Instead of the anti-inflammatory, he suggested half a 500g paracetamol twice a day. We were so happy to pay the money, because we were taking our dog home when so many before us hadn’t.

When we got home, the dog turned his nose up at his biscuits, but the poet had bought him some small tins of wet food (meat), and I gave him one of those, and he ate it all.

So, we’re not out of the woods yet, we have a poorly dog. I only hope we’re not simply delaying the inevitable. Fingers crossed we start to see an improvement within a day or so.

July wrap-up

We didn’t have a great start to July. Our cat Holly had been missing for three weeks during extreme heat and biblical rain, and when she came home, she died the next day. So that was a very sad time for us.

We rallied and booked a holiday to look forward to. We’re staying at a cottage just outside Whitby for a week. The day after we come back we have a Charlatans gig to go to, and the day after that Monkey Dust are performing at a friend’s garden party.

Workwise, here’s the plan and how I performed:

  • learn how to publish a magazine in Affinity ✔️ (but ongoing)
  • revise Harvey’s Festival and send it to market ✔️
  • write the next short story for 12 Stories in 12 Months ✔️
  • write The Haunted House and send it to market ✖️ (this one became assignment 1 for the fantasy thriller writing workshop)
  • read set books for Fantasy Thriller workshop x5 ✔️✔️✔️✖️✖️
  • write pre-assignment for Fantasy Thriller workshop ✔️
  • attend Fantasy Thriller workshop ✔️
  • write second assignment for Fantasy Thriller workshop ✔️
  • write third assignment for Fantasy Thriller workshop ✔️
  • continue to proofread the Vietnam book and consolidate proofreader and author amendments with mine ✔️ (continue in August)
  • start to edit Navy book for client ✖️ (deferred to August)
  • write After Tomorrow OR Terrors From the Toy Box and send it to market ✖️
  • finish revising Killer Queen, send it off as a workshop assignment, and plug it into the machine ✖️ (deferred to August)
  • Monkey Dust admin every Monday ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
  • Diane’s gig list admin every Monday and Thursday ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
  • continue typing Catch the Rainbow ✔️
  • proofread Diary of a Pussycat ✔️
  • publish Diary of a Pussycat ✔️
  • start writing Project Management for Writers: Gate 3 – How? ✔️
  • revise the remaining online workshops I’ve already watched and made notes on thus far ✔️
  • write a sugarholic blog every Monday (for Tuesday publication) ✔️✔️✖️✖️✖️
  • write an our garden this week blog every Wednesday (for Thursday publication) ✖️✖️✖️✖️
  • finish planning The (new) Fool ✖️ (deferred to August)
  • continue planning The Beast Within ✖️ (deferred to August)
  • finish the last two NetGalley books I had as holiday reading and write the reviews ✔️✖️
  • draft the July newsletter as I go ✖️

The two books I didn’t read for the workshop were both long novels, and I gave up on Book 3, actually, when the cat travelled in the passenger cabin on a long-haul flight.

The two history books (Vietnam and Navy) were delayed when the Taliban book came back from the proofreader and a load of new material arrived for the Vietnam book. As the Taliban book was almost done, we decided to move that one to the top.

I didn’t write either of the two horror stories in time to send off. I shelved After Tomorrow, but I kept Terrors From The Toy Box as I quite like the concept of that one and might use it for something else.

I just ran out of time to do anything with Killer Queen, so that one’s deferred again to next month. As are The Fool and The Beast Within.

I still have one book from my holiday reading to read and review for NetGalley, but I think that one will be coming on our next holiday with us instead.

Extras, then…

  • proof-read the Taliban book and consolidate proofreader and author amendments with mine
  • returned Taliban book to client
  • wrote at least 200 words a day for 22 days in July
  • watched six weeks worth of videos for classic thriller writing workshop

My target word-count for July was 34,500 words, and I wrote 25,322 words.

So, over all, not a bad month, workwise.

How was your July?

Sign up for my newsletter
If you would like to receive my newsletter, please follow this link or use the form below to sign up and receive your first free short story.

Join my Substack
If you would like to join my Substack newsletter and receive writing tips and articles straight to your inbox, please follow this link or use the form below.

And don’t forget, you can unsubscribe at any time.

2 thoughts on “Monday 31 July 2023: July wrap-up

Comments are closed.