Saturday, June 30, 2007
Mmmmmmmm is for the peach/mango crystal lite slurpee I had today. It was SOOOOO good and guilt free.
Nothing else new, just enjoying the fine weather and bbq and possibly a picnic before the long weekend is over.
Happy Canada Day!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I will say the evening is looking much more promising. As I said to a friend, It's only one day. Tomorrow is another one.
The good news is my mum is home from the hospital and quite chipper. Her only restriction is "don't mow your lawn". The woman has a HUGE lot, it takes her all day between the ride-on and the push mower to trim up, so my nephew is taking up the challenge.
One of the things I need to do is put some sort of order into my house. When my house is in chaos I am too. It doesn't have to be spic and span and perfect, but it needs to look like something other than a tornado has blown through.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sherry gave it five roses and said this:
"Ms. Alward has written a very emotion packed story that will keep you reading until the wee hours of the morning as you wait anxiously for the happy ending. "
The whole review is HERE.
My mum had surgery today, but she's doing well and on the mend.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
My local RWA chapter - CaRWA - had their first annual Summer Solstice Workshop today.
I had such a great time. Good food, great fun, and talking with other writers all day long...people who just GET IT when it comes to what you're doing. One thing I love about my chapter is that it doesn't matter WHAT level your writing is at or where you are on in your journey to publication...everyone has this great camaraderie.
We had 2 workshop sessions - the first by Love Inspired author Carolyne Aarsen on Characters. This was really in depth and a different angle on character development which I thought was fabulous. My stories are so character driven...so this is my territory. EVERYTHING comes from my characters and I took half my notes on the development and the other half jotting down ideas and layers for my characters in my current WIP. Hooray!
After a great lunch, Linda Ford, also a Love Inspired author, gave a talk on Mechanics (no, not the guys that fix your car). I found particularly enlightening the section on scene and sequel and hope that my pacing and tightness will reflect it.
We had an author panel after that, which was a hoot as we were asked questions about the business side of publishing. In particular, when we were asked about cover art Carolyne and I cracked up. Looked at each other and lost it again. Let's face it, there's great covers and then there's not and most of the time we don't have a lot to say about it. If you want to see a funny post about cover art, visit Trish Wylie's latest post.
We finished up with a visualisation from our resident guru Jan Mitchell and after the last of the prizes were handed out, did a quick tidy and headed on our way.
It was a great day, a wonderful experience and I can hardly wait for the next one!
Friday, June 22, 2007
It sucks rocks.
(A p.s. added 6 hours later: I think what I wanted to do was correct, but I started it in the wrong spot and the wrong POV. See? Always another way. Just wish I didn't feel like I'd wasted that time, though.)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
My word count only went up 1k, but that's okay considering how much I deleted. LOL.
And you know, I didn't panic. There were good things...and the things that were good were solid, backbone things. Good characters, good scenes that were in the right place. Because of that, it was really just going back and fixing the places where I'd faltered.
I'd introduced a complication at her suggestion but I did, in her words, try to smash a nut with a sledgehammer. So I pulled back on the complication, so that it has the same effect without overpowering the romance. I was also missing some opportunities for developing the relationship. This is sort of funny, actually, because i have a tendency to rush into that too fast rather than hold back too much. So I've injected some sexual tension into it in the form of internal thoughts, light touches, and a lovely pot of creme brulee.
Changing the impetus behind the subplot was the toughest, as I had to take out those references and replace them with an equally strong motivation.
All in all the reason for this post is just to hammer home a point. Sometimes where you're going isn't wrong, there just might be a better route to get there. And it's no big deal to take a detour! In the end it makes the journey that much better. :-)
Tomorrow: at a friend's request, we shall have more eye candy. Oh, the agony. :-)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Dante is incorrigible, has known Gina since she was a little girl, they totally have a love-hate relationship, and he's also loyal, strong, and totally hot in boxer briefs.
He'd also do just about anything for her, but she doesn't know that. And I'm saving him, though he's already got a pretty good start in the character development in my mind stage.
And found THIS.
In my WIP, the sister is classy, with long nearly black hair and her face is dominated by huge brown eyes. She's a little spunky, a bit of a meddler and has a clear sense of style. She's used to getting her own way yet has such a well-meaning heart it's difficult for anyone to refuse her.
So...now my casting is complete for a new book, and I'm only half way through this one first!
As an aside, I think I'll rent Someone Like You just so I can see Hugh and Ashley Judd do the following:
Monday, June 18, 2007
I had to go to the post office this morning. Now I am there a lot these days, mostly sending out books for review or prizes. So the lady at the 7-11 which is the closest postal outlet was curious a while back and I told her what was in all those envelopes.
She was very cute and asked for the name of my book. I gave her a business card and put the title on the back.
When I went in this morning she jumped right in with "I read your book and loved it!"
She'd been in Edmonton, found it there and bought it. She seemed so genuinely pleased and laughed and said, "I told people I know this author!"
It totally made my day, even if I did have to come home with one of my parcels because the postal code for this town is an utter mystery.
No time to waste - must dash.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
There is an appalling lack of common courtesy these days. And perhaps I simply wasn't built for city living, but to my mind you cannot escape the fact that houses are only inches apart. I think there is 2 feet between my side doorstep and my next door neighbour's. Logically it goes to follow that any noise will carry.
I am not sure if any adults were home there this weekend, but I know for sure there were kids running in and out up to and after when I went to bed (which was at midnight). And the kids there would be lucky to have "teen" in their ages, I would put most at late elementary school age/early junior high.
This morning when I went out, there were boards broken off and missing from their back gate not to mention windows left wide open and it was pouring down rain.
The entire property is in a horrible state of disrepair. I don't think there is a single screen left in any of the windows, the front bay window is actually broken, the backyard is littered with crap and all in all it's simply been abused. Which is a crying shame, because before these tenants moved in, the organization that owns the property spent at least two months renovating it, making it look lovely again.
So I shake my head a lot when I see the complete lack of pride, respect and courtesy. Feel a sense of futility when I put my kids to bed for a good night's sleep and they can't sleep because of the shouting and banging. Of mowing my grass when their yard hasn't been mowed for over three years and is a dandelion farm.
Friday, June 15, 2007
My review for ALMOST A FAMILY went live at Romance Junkies. This is great timing as the print release is actually almost exactly one month away! I have to admit to being a little surprised (in a good way) at how this book has been received....the reviews have been wonderful. Which makes me happy, of course, but more so because it's my first published book that I set in the area where I grew up.
The reviewer says, "Donna Alward does a fantastic job of leading her readers on a wonderful journey of the heart. This is a delightful story that is endearing, sizzling, but oh so refreshing as a glass of cold lemonade on a summer day! "
And I have to add a personal bit she put in my e-mail:
"You write withsuch conviction that your words are deeply felt. The story stayed with me long after I finished the last page. "
How much does that thrill me? Isn't that what every writer hopes for? (Happy sigh)
You can read the entire review HERE.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
The results suggest you are a Pink Square.When asked to name their shape squares are often reluctant to select the square as their symbol. However, they invariably recognise themselves in the description of a square.Squares like order; they are organised, logical, analytical and task-orientated. You have a high degree of perfectionism, but you are also sure-footed and self-confident. When you are given a job to do you will always see it through to its conclusion.As your shape suggests, you are straightforward and honest; you can be trusted both at work and at play. You are loyal and dependable, and always a committed friend and partner. You probably find that people come to you for help, particularly on a practical rather than an emotional level.Squares tend to be left-brained, tactical thinkers. You make notes and lists, but often get bogged down by too much information and this hampers your ability to make decisions. In life, you are invariably striving towards something quite specific and you might have more fun if you could manage a bit more spontaneity. Try taking a few risks and make some spur of the moment decisions. You could be surprised how much fun you’ll have – particularly if your partner is a triangle or a squiggle.Your colour is pink. Traditionally the colour of femininity, pink denotes a sensitive, caring side to your personality and really gives a softer edge to the square personality. Even if you don’t always show it, you are deeply caring and – even if you don’t normally let it show – you can be very sensual. This spills over into your attitude to your health and wellbeing; you make sure you stay well so that you are there for those around you.Celebrity squares include Daniel Craig, Victoria Beckham, Prince Charles, Philip Schofield and Richard Madeley.
I was really reminded of why I'm doing what I am. Writing short, romantic fiction.
You know, there are times I get tired of people who put down Romance as a genre and dismiss it as unsophisticated and utter frivolity. Perhaps we should be reading something more provocative, more high-brow, more educated. And that's great, if that's what you like. But there is room for romance.
In my mind category romance is very similar to Romantic Comedies/chick flicks, especially in the way they are structured. And why not reach that HEA? Why not feel that little bit of hope in the end? The world is depressing enough.
And then last night before Sweet Home Alabama, a professor gave a blurb about the role of romance in the industry and "Stereomythical" characters. He made a fabulous point that the characters in these movies are "types". The ugly duckling, the computer geek, the cocky boss...whatever. Think about it...characters and hooks. Yes'm, just the same as in category romance. And he went on to say that these types of stories have existed for thousands of years, modified by the times but at the core the same story, making them MYTH. Therefore the characters become "Stereomythical". Cool, huh? That even sounds...er...educated.
But the main reason I love it is because it's simple, and clear. And there is nothing wrong with that. God, life is so much of a rat race that you can't throw a stone without hitting someone who longs for a simpler life, less stress, more back to basics. A story of one man, one woman, both searching for something spectacular, and going through trials to get it. And then a satisfactory ending. It reduces things to the common denominator - our need to be loved and validated. Or, as said in SHALL WE DANCE...a witness to our lives. Away from stress and the rat race and so yes, a bit of escapism.
I love what I do, I love how it makes me feel and I hope that my readers feel the same way.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
I went out to lunch on Thursday and had a lovely time with Supers author CJ Carmichael, Desire author Barbara Dunlop (Who is a RITA finalist this year!) and a few other members from our local RWA chapter (waves at Suzanne, Vicki and Astrid). I didn't get any pictures...we were too busy chatting...but it was so much fun, I hope we get to do it again whenever Barb is in town.
And yesterday was the zoo field trip which was so much fun.
Today I finally got a handle on all the jobs needing done around the house. It's clean, the laundry is clean, my flower bed is weed free, the dh washed windows and mowed the lawn, and the new bbq is put together and the garage is empty of recyclable material. I'm so glad, because with all that out of the way, the road is clear to FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS on the WIP next week!
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I've e-mailed to see if I can get a copy...but basically it was a "newcomer" interview.
Today I'm finishing up my copy edits, attempting to finish cleaning my house (I got most of it done yesterday) and then I'm off to lunch...hopefully I'll post pictures tomorrow.
And keep your eyes peeled...very soon my webpage, blog and newsletter are going to have a new look and I'm SO excited! An old friend from home offered to revamp me and she's done an incredible job IMO...and we're just about ready to go live...gosh maybe I'll have to have a contest to celebrate...I'll have a think on that....
Other than that, life is just ticking along. And I must offer congrats to my CP Michelle Styles on her brand new 4 book contract with M&B Historicals. :-)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
HIRED BY THE COWBOY, Translated
No cover yet, but I had no idea so that's so exciting!
Then, the September covers are up at Barnes and Noble...you can see Marriage at Circle M in NA cover format here:
Marriage at Circle M
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
My copy edits for The Soldier's Homecoming arrived yesterday, in the craziest of crazy weeks. I'm not sure how this keeps happening, you know. I should take about four hours and clean my house and iron and mend (because yes, I do do those things, only the stack of mending has been sitting a month without me touching it, just stares at me balefully). But I'm not, I'm going to critique three chapters for my cp and get to those edits, dammit. And if it doesn't rain today I'm watering my flower bed tonight and I am making dinner.
Yesterday an additional kink was thrown in when my daughter announced she had a birthday party right after school. She was lucky I had to get groceries, because I picked up a present and card and paper and had it ready for her at dismissal. I wouldn't normally do that, I'd say it was too short notice and suck it up. Kind, I know. She had the invitation on Friday but forgot to bring it home.
And later this week I have some things going on which eats away at the time, so spending time online should not be an option. I find myself here just because facing that huge to-do list is daunting and this way I can stay in denial just a little longer.
But...enough is enough. If I don't surface by Friday, you know what to do (Hot mounties, for you new readers).
Monday, June 04, 2007
Then, all week long, we have an event on e-harlequin...about boys your father warned you about. If you've read Hired By The Cowboy, if it's on your tbr pile, or if you just want to come over and talk hot cowboy traits....the link is HERE. I don't want to be over there rhapsodizing alone, so come on over and join in the fun!
And for newsletter subscribers...check your inboxes later today!