Friday, July 27, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Oh – I should have introduced myself – I’m Kate Walker and I write for Harlequin Presents. I’ve never actually met Donna in person, though we’ve been chatting for a long time over on eHarlequin on the message boards there. I ‘knew’ her before her first book was accepted and I was able to cheer and celebrate (in cyber space at least) when H M&B bought Hired by the Cowboy. I even have a copy of the book on my monstrous TBR mountain ( Others might have a To Be Read pile – I have a mountain). I’m taking it to Wales with me next week when I get away from the desk and the computer and the phone for a while and maybe (please!) get a little time to read.
And then I hope to meet Donna herself in person in September when she comes over to London for the Mills & Boon authors’ lunch. I’ll be really looking forward to that event, not just because I’ll be meeting Donna – though that will be very special for me – but also because this M&B party will mark a very special occasion for me. It will be the day that I will be presented with my gold pin - gold for the publication of 50 titles for Harlequin which is the total that I’ve reached this year. This month my book The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge is published in Presents in America and M&B Sexy in Australia (it came out in the UK in M&B Modern last month). And this book is my 50th published title for Harlequin.
And that’s what my Great Big Blog Party has all been about. It’s a way of celebrating this very special book and sharing the fun and the happiness with all my writer friends on the blog and all my readers who can come along and join in too. Donna posted a blog there - back in June when I was just beginning the whole celebration. Back then I hoped I might make 50 guests coming to blog – now I’m still collecting up new guests and the total has gone over the magical 50 mark. I may even have to continue the party into August!
Already I’ve had 43 guests and there are at least 10 more – and every one of them has offered a giveaway prize to anyone who takes the time to leave a comment in response to a question they’ve posted. So if you’ve never visited , why not drop by and say hello and see who’s guesting today. I’d love to see you and you never know, you might win one of those great prizes.
Because a party isn’t a real celebration unless you’re sharing with friends. I’ve been so lucky in this writing career that I’ve had since my very first book was published way back in 1984 and none of it would have been possible without the wonderful readers who’ve stayed with me and bought and enjoyed my books along the way. I still remember just how it felt to get my first acceptance letter (we didn’t get a call in those days – just a long white envelope with a big red rose on it through the mail). And I still feel just the same thrill when I know that a new book has been accepted or is due out in the shops – it always sends a shiver of excitement through me to see my book and my name up there with all the others published that month.
So that’s why I’m celebrating this ‘golden’ book – and why I’m looking forward to meeting Donna in September – we’ll be able to share the celebrations of her first book and my 50th. And that will help my personal celebration extra special knowing that I’ll have a new friend and great new writer sharing it with me.
Can’t wait! And I hope Donna will come back and blog all about it afterwards.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Once upon a time...
Nope, not that, either.
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
When Donna asked me to guest blog for her while she was out gallivanting around the countryside, I said, "Sure! Of course I will!" and immediately thought, aw, man...what am I going to write about?
This is performance anxiety, you know.
Because not only am I here to fill some impressive shoes, I'm also supposed to entertain you all.
Tough, I know. Because you're a hip crowd; a discerning crowd. And of course you are, seeing as how you obviously have excellent tastes -- you're reading Donna's blog, aren't you?
But seriously, folks. Entertaining is what we do, isn't it? Writers are entertainers. We're here to tell stories; to (hopefully!) make you laugh, make you cry, (in my case, make you horny... ahem.) -- to take you away from the trials and tribulations of the world around you.
And we all know that in Donna's case, she does one heck (Look! See? Watching language, even! Aren't you impressed, D? ;) ) of a job with that. I don't know about you, but I couldn't put Hired by the Cowboy down. Donna managed to push all my emotional buttons (Yes, I may be a tart, but I am a tart with heart. Heh. Sometimes I even amuse myself...), and I couldn't wait to find out what happened in the story.
Donna provides just what we're looking for, doesn't she? -- an adventure, a fairy tale. And at the bottom of it all, a love story.
She proves to us, once and for all, that even though the night may be dark and stormy, you can bet your boots the sun will shine in the morning.
(And she wonders why I tell her I want to write just like her when I grow up... ;) )
Thanks, Donna, for sharing your talent with the world.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Why? Because she is doing what she dreamed of doing-writing romances.
We grew up in a small community and we were in the same class from grade one to grade nine. I remember Donna promising her classmates she would one day write romances like the ones she brought to school. And now she is!
Donna does not know this, but she also reminded me of my secret promise that I made to my eleven year old self: To write a romance novel and submit it to Harlequin.
Life in the form of university degrees, career, marriage and children made me forget. But the itch is back with a vengeance!
I started with Donna's Construction Zone article on her website. Then went on to the websites of other romance writers I admire and looked at their writing tips.
I renewed my eharlequin membership, joined RomanceDivas and Romance Novel TV. All of these sites have awesome forums to talk to other published and aspiring authors about the craft. And just a note on that: I cannot believe how wonderful the romance community is about sharing and cheering for each other! It is truly amazing!
I bought a TON of romance writing help books, and books on writing in general. I devoured them, and pulled from them information that I was seeking.
I created a blog to document my journey and as a reference for me. Now if I find something profound, I blog it. It saves me from chasing kids, dogs, and husband for missing post it notes. They really appreciate it!
And last but not least, I read Read READ the current books from the line I want to target. I tell my husband it is research and I cannot possibly do his sock laundry until I finish the book. I also use the same excuse while trolling the net for handsome hero pics. Hmmmm. Might need a new excuse. Don't want to wear that one out!! :)
So in closing, a promise is a promise, even if it is to yourself. Therefore dream, put in the hard work required, and never give up. You can achieve your dream.
Thanks Donna! :)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
It's rough, and I know there will be significant work during the second draft, but the bones of it are there for me to mold and shape and make right.
I will say I did enjoy the story despite the trouble it seemed to give me. I think getting to the end and looking back will help clarify a lot of the earlier problems, so that revising it should bring it together much better. I think this one will have a bit of a special place in my heart, though. There is definitely a little bit of magic in it for me.
Starting on Monday, I'm taking a wee break and I've lined up some guest bloggers for your entertainment - from a variety of sources! I have Ellora's Cave author Kris Starr, Presents queen Kate Walker, Modern Extra's newbie Natalie Anderson and Romance's rising star Fiona Harper. I'm going to be spending lots of time reading....which means that depending who I'm talking to, I'm either working or I'm relaxing. :-) Nice how reading fits into both of those categories! Productive relaxation. LOL.
What are you reading this summer?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
"Ms. Alward adds the fair amount of humor in Almost a Family. I enjoyed the lighthearted moments; I really enjoyed how the playful times could turn to full blown passion so seamlessly. This is my first book by Donna Alward, and I’m intrigued to see what else this talented author has up her sleeves." (Fallen Angels Reviews, 5 Angels)
"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! " (Romance Junkies, 4.5 Ribbons)
Monday, July 16, 2007
The blog will feature spotlights once a month as well as heralding each month's new releases and breaking news.
You can click on the link in my sidebar or you can simply click HERE.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
The more I see this cover the more I like it, and I really think it's fun to see how the same cover is packaged differently in the UK and Aussie versions. I think the sweep of pink is very romantic.
Barb won for her book CLAIMING HIS FAMILY.
Changes to the RITAs also happened this year which means that this win is also the very last one for the Traditional category as it is being discontinued, now to be under, simply, the "contemporary" umbrella.
Congratulations to Barbara! You can find out all about her and her lovely, lovely books on her website at www.barbarahannay.com.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Case in point: On Tuesday at Hoover Dam, we decided to cross the dam into Arizona after we did the tour. We stopped at a pull-off spot for pics and I noticed a lady standing by her Ford Explorer, trying to get her spare tire cranked down (as it is stowed beneath the truck).
I mentioned she might need a hand.
Enter the dh. Bear in mind it was 114 degrees that day. He got her spare down, jacked up the truck, changed the tire, put the old one back under the truck and wished her a nice day. (Note: actually I found all the people in Nevada super friendly, and while he was changing the tire at least 2 other guys who had pulled in asked if he needed a hand).
She was very grateful and offered to pay him, which he of course refused. Wiped his hands on a wet-wipe from my handy dandy bag and off we went.
This morning it is hot here...and opening our windows let us immediately know that our neighbours hadn't quite finished the party they'd started at 6 a.m. (which is another long post that I will not subject you to). So we had to close the windows and keep the fans on. We had new windows put in this spring and we were sure our air conditioner and "frame" wouldn't fit the new window. We were right, but it was close. So my very resourceful husband made a few modifications and now I'm typing in air conditioned comfort.
He really is pretty good to have around, you know. And case in point - a buddy just called because he's having car trouble and guess where the dh is??? :-)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
And your prize is a bookmark from Red Rock Canyon, NV and a Romance by an author who calls Las Vegas "home". :-)
We had a great time...were a little overwhelmed arriving tired while the casino was in full swing. And we were put in a less-than-desirable room. But the next morning things were much more rosy. We had breakfast at IHOP, went for a drive, came back and were given a much nicer room on the 6th floor. The dh had to teach Monday afternoon, so the girls and I hit the pool, and the dh joined us later when he was finished. We also did some shopping in the hotel shops, and we did the "Tournament of Kings" dinner theatre that night, eating with our fingers and enjoying ourselves immensely! Almost made me want to write a medieval romance, especially watching the King of Hungary gallop around the arena on his steed! LOL.
Tuesday we went to the Hoover Dam. It actually didn't look like I expected, but we did take the tour which was really, really great. It was hot, by the way. Triple digits the entire time - I think Monday and Tuesday it hovered somewhere around 110 and 114. Tuesday afternoon we hit the pool again, and after dinner dh had to teach again so the kids and I called it an early night.
Yesterday we checked out and then went to Red Rock Canyon, which was my favourite part. It was less busy than anywhere we'd been. The exhibits were great, I found a book about true Romances of the west, and then we did a short walk, seeing memorials to armed forces members as well as the 9/11 memorial. Then we got in our rental car (and we had a Charger, colour me thrilled) and did the 13 mile loop around the canyon, stopping in the middle for a snack in the shade. It was gorgeous.
And then we shopped. 'Nuff said.
We got back home at 2 a.m. with some tired but happy girls, and we all slept until 9 this morning until the phone woke us up. :-)
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I may be able to post at some point, if not I'll be back mid-week next week with an update and hopefully pictures!
Friday, July 06, 2007
It is up today at her blog.
Go over, have a read, and make a comment, because I'm giving away a copy of Marriage at Circle M!
Otherwise, man, it was hot here yesterday and we don't have air conditioning. Last night when we went to bed, it was 28 celcius in the house. We are in a bungalow so can't sleep with the windows open - I just don't feel safe! So the fans were going all night and when I got up this morning it was still 27 in the house and 16 and windy outside.
I quickly opened all the windows and it's lovely in here now. Which will last until about noon and then it will be hot again.
Makes me wish I were at the lake RIGHT NOW, yanno?
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I had a bit of a brouhaha with Outlook yesterday and the latest newsletter, namely getting it to actually SEND and even then it did not make it to everyone.
I've now set everything up with Bravenet and I think it's going to work much better. If you're interested in receiving my newsletter, just fill out the subscribe boxes to the right and you're in like flint. (I've already received some notifications, so THANK YOU!)
As an added incentive to those who have been so PATIENT with me...I'm drawing for a prize from the first 50 subscribers. :-)
Now...I meant to post these earlier but somehow the week ran away with me!
On Monday the family drove to Banff. I'd forgotten how heavy the crowds are in the summer time and also Banff Avenue - the main street - is undergoing SERIOUS reconstruction. Even so, it was a beautiful day and I did a little shopping for those lovely people I'll be meeting in September.
I also took some pictures after our picnic, so I thought I'd share some with you.
Cascade Pond - where we had our picnic
Mama and Baby Bighorn Sheep (and I didn't have to even use the zoom, they were that close)
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
It's summer and so I wanted to make it easy for you. All you need to do is e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me the titles of the 2 releases I have upcoming. Easy peasy!
First prize is a copy of ALMOST A FAMILY and another goodie I'll pick up on my summer travels. And seeing as ALMOST A FAMILY is a bit more limited in its release, this is a great chance for you to get your hands on it.
Second prize is an advance copy of MARRIAGE AT CIRCLE M.
Good luck! Contest closes on August 4- one month from today!
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Can a four year old girl, a snowball fight and a six-year-old diamond ring finally keep Molly and Jason together?
Prominent lawyer Molly Schaeffer rearranges her life to return home and take care of her niece after a car accident leaves Molly’s sister hospitalized. Little does she know that Jason Elliot, her ex-boyfriend-turned-hot-veterinarian, is her sister’s next-door neighbor.
Jason’s been burned by Molly before and has no intention of letting it happen again. He’s made his own success with a lucrative practice. But what he secretly wants is a family of his own, and he knows that a career woman like Molly is not the sort to give it to him. Since Molly turned down his proposal six years before and left town, he’s kept his broken heart under wraps. Can they forgive each other enough to make a new start? Or is this the final goodbye they never really had?