Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolutions

Ah, it's that time again. There seems to be two camps of thought on New Year's Resolutions. Personally, I like them. It's about setting personal goals and I'm all for that.

2 years ago it was to be published, which happened. Last year was to deliver 4mss which I did NOT - though I came close (the 4th is the WIP). And also to learn more about PR - which I also did. We won't talk about the typical weight loss one that somehow went the way of the dodo about March.

Though maybe we should - because this year my goals are personal ones. I know I'm going to deliver a couple of books to my editor, and work on a separate project. But if I learned anything especially in the last six months, it's that it's no fun if I'm barely keeping my head above water.

So this year it's all about personal well-being.

1. Take my vitamins. They do help. And eat right.

2. Regular exercise...no excuses. I'll feel better in all ways. Of course with the wrist thing now, it's more likely to be walking and yoga and such, at least for a while.

3. Read more.

4. Get outside! Fresh air and sunshine also SOOOO good for me...

5. Say yes, less. I really did over-commit to things last year. I need to keep it simpler.

So my resolutions are the no-brainer things I already knew but ignored. I will feel better and have more energy. Which will make not only me, but my family happier.

Life is way too short - we need to enjoy it, not just live it.

Happy New Year and blessings for 2008!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

S-L-O-W

I am typing slowly since the official verdict is a broken wrist and I'm in a cast. For 6 weeks.

This does not bode well for finishing the WIP. Typing with one hand sux as it is not only slow, but I miss looking at the monitor. At some point over the next week or so I will know if I can type in my cast and if not I'll likely be looking at voice recognition software, though I don't particularly relish the thought of dictating a book. Especially with the kids on winter break. LOL

You do not realize how much you rely on two hands until you're down to one.

I'm off to get some breakfast and some tylenol. :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Faith

Merry Christmas!

I wish I had typed up this blog when I first thought of it. Because yesterday I fell skating and sprained my wrist, which means I'm typing with 1 hand.

So you'll please excuse me if you get the Reader's Digest version.

I was thinking the other day about how blessed I am. It is very easy these days to become very cynical about the state of the world in general. I know I despair about it lots. And all the horrible - and even not so horrible - things still go on whether it's Christmas or not. So why is Christmas special anyway.

It's because it's a season of faith. Faith in what the day truly means and faith that there is still hope. Hope for all of us as people. I'm a big believer in hope, after all it's why I write romance to begin with. But I lost sight of that a little bit...I've needed some tlc in recent days and through it I cannot help but feel my faith in people restored.

I have wonderful friends. Friends here where I live; friends that have offered an ear, a hug, even an open invitation do drop my kids for a while if I need time. Friends that worry about me and care more than I realized. Whose genuine caring has made me cry.

Friends in my hometown, who I talk to most of the time through e-mail. Two in particular who I "talk" to on a regular basis and who keep me connected.

And online friends, some who I've met in person and some I haven't, who nevertheless are there for me when I most need them. I can easily say that the last few weeks have been better because of them. I have the best critique partner in the world btw and a cybermum that defies description.

And I certainly can't leave out the blessings that are my sisters. They've made me laugh lately when I've least expected it.

Now, my cp has ordered me away from the keyboard (to rest my wrist I suppose) so I will leave you with some of the lyrics from Josh Groban's song "Thankful" from his album "Noel":

Somedays, we forget to look around us,
Somedays, we can't see the joy that surrounds us,
So caught up inside ourselves we take when we should give
So for tonight we pray for what we know can be,
And on this day we hope for what we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Love Donna

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Best Laid Plans....

How often do we make plans only for them to go awry?

For someone like me, who is scheduled and organized (that sounds SO much better than anal) having a monkey wrench thrown in to the works creates major stress and havoc.

*as an aside - my 7 yr old daughter just informed her older sister when Halley's comet is scheduled to appear and how it was named. Sometimes I am truly amazed at my kids.... *

ANYHOO, one of the things to go sideways is the big present we ordered for our kids. We ordered it November 25...planning enough, wouldn't you say? My husband has spent several minutes (like 40 each time) on hold trying to figure out what's going on with it, and finally last night we got an e-mail saying it had shipped and that we would have it for Christmas.

I'm not holding my breath, so we DO have a backup plan.

Today is the last day of school before holidays, which means early dismissal, undoubtedly treats, caroling, and teacher presents. I for one am helping deliver teacher presents and then coming home for a few last blessed hours of kid-free work - this book will be handed in while they are still on break.

And a little bit of comfort - from the moment I started this book I said that the key to it was going to be layers. For once I was bang on. It's all in the layers, making everything tie together. Hopefully it'll be tied up with a bow and sent to my editor soon after New Year's!

*** update: Said parcel was left at my door during the one hour I was gone today. Hurray! Love it when a plan comes together! ***

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days

Here it is....SO FUNNY!

Holiday Schleppiness

I warned you last week I would get into the holiday spirit!

I tried to post a youtube clip and it doesn't seem to be working, so I'm going to do it as a separate post and hope for the best. It's christmas carols run amuck! I laughed so hard when I first saw it...

Onwards...today I'm at the Eharlequin Open House today with scads of other authors. Come and visit and talk about your favourite books this year, what you're looking forward to, ask authors questions and there's even been a recipe or two thrown in already!

And....

I'm also at Tote Bags N Blogs today talking about some of our family's Christmas Traditions. Pop on over for a peek at how we Alwards celebrate our holidays!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Back with a Passion

I'm back! Feeling a bit better and with several things off my to-do list- like school concerts, making a gingerbread train, homemade cards, a dinner party, wrapping, cleaning, laundry, knitting mittens for our church mitten tree (where the items go to charity) and a day at school putting together author club books and laminating. Oh and I managed a *little* bit of writing in there. This week is much clearer - an appt and a few last minute items tomorrow and that's all the running around needed. Fingers crossed for a good writing week - I need one!

Michelle Styles posted a fabulous blog today on passion after reading an article in the Spectator. I read the article and loved it and it reiterates what I feel (and say) a lot of the time. This is a rough business. If you're in it to make money, you're destined to fail. If you have that fire in the belly - the need to write stories - then you will make it. We talk about dedication and discipline and desire....but that doesn't necessarily translate into a dedication to the goal - the end result. It also means a dedication to the stories that you are compelled to tell and that you would want to tell even without publication. That passion is what keeps writers writing during all the rejections.

You can read the article HERE.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Going AWOL

Just so you know I'm going awol until next week.

It's Christmas concert week and I have company coming on the weekend, wrapping to do before then, progress to make on the book and I'm also under the weather and getting it all done right now seems like a huge chore.

But I should be back Monday to catch up on what's been going on and it's also THE LAST WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS and I'm hoping I'll be feeling better and indulging myself in all kinds of schleppy Christmas cheer!

Til then...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Great Thing Known as Book Orders

Do you guys remember getting those Scholastic book order sheets when you were a kid in school? I loved it. And I still do. And not just for my kids.

Don't get me wrong, I order lots for the girls and their prices can't be beat. I got the first 6 Harry Potter books for fifty bucks. I can get Magic Tree House books for $1.99 sometimes. And a lot of their non-fiction is wonderful.

But let's face it - if I'm researching I don't want a high school or university text book. And so this is where I come in. I stamp and staple the orders for my kid's teachers - they send them home and I send them back. So I get to look through and see what's on the teacher pages too. And they are nice enough to order stuff for me and I pay them back, isn't that great?

Doing that I've gotten story starters for Author Club (on the way), an Introduction to Art text, an Introduction to Archaeology text - can I just say right now that I LOVE Usborne books? And yesterday my youngest got her order which included (not from the teacher pages but from hers) - TEN POETRY BOOKS.

I have several of the Norton Anthologies but I hate sitting down to try to read through them. SO MUCH stuffed in one huge volume. This set is called "Poetry for Young People" and includes Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare, Coleridge, Frost, Whitman, Poe - and themed ones like American poetry and Seasons. When they got home from school we had a great time, sitting around and reading some of it aloud. They especially laughed at my interpretation of the witches in MacBeth. And I got very nostalgic over the Frost - I love Frost.

Anyway I'm going to miss the book orders when my girls no longer have them and I have to shop for books like regular people. :-)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A gorgeous morning...
















These pictures just about say it all. We had a splendid morning. There is one with a nuthatch sitting on my daughter's head which is hysterical.



It was very worth the cold feet. :-)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ups and Downs

Life runs in ups and downs and I have to say, yesterday was challenging for me just because I felt very ineffectual. LOL. I was grumpy as well and by the end of the day I was feeling the need for solitude and a glass of wine.

But there were ups as well - like receiving my spanish copies of Marriage at Circle M in the mail. And the biggest one was our RWA chapter Christmas meeting last night.

It started off with a potluck (mmmm....not to mention the chocolate that was brought) and then Secret Santa....mine did an awesome job as I got truffles and WINE and a tin of clotted cream biscuits that are going to go so well with my tea later....

And we had Eve Silver come to speak to us as well.

I had a great chat with Vivi Anna both on the way to and from the meeting. And came home feeling much better about the day.

And there are leftover meatballs which made my kids happy and I promised to heat them up and make some rice so they can have them for lunch.

Today the sun is shining, I'm working in my comfy yoga pants again and despite a slight headache the world is a little more rosy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Guardian Article

Another hubbub has erupted in the press over Mills and Boon in the form of an article in the Guardian. I think I was more annoyed yesterday when I saw it than today, to be honest, because the more I think on it the more I realize that Julie Bindel, the "journalist" (and yes, I put that in quotes for a reason)is so very difficult to take seriously. Who are you going to trust as your reliable source? An author for the company, writing RIGHT NOW and so about as familiar with the subject matter as you can get, or a woman who read a handful of books FIFTEEN YEARS ago and quoted authors from as long as FORTY years ago?

Ms. Bindel, do your research. If you'd put any effort into it at all (beyond reading the BACK BLURBS ONLY of a few books) you'd realize that there are a variety of lines within Mills and Boon, a variety of styles and tones and not a single one of them promotes rape or violence against women (or anyone for that matter).

As an author of Romance (and the capital R is intentional too) I am in the position of having to defend our genre quite often. Would I want my daughters reading my books?

Well at their age now, no! But in a few years? Absolutely. When asked I reply that I write stories about 2 people overcoming obstacles to form a lasting, loving commitment to each other. There is absolutely nothing trashy or detestable about that. I think it's a lot of what's missing in society, to be honest.

I was going to post the entire article but Natasha Oakley has already done that as well as posted a great blog. So have Michelle Styles and Kate Walker and Trish Wylie (who appeared on Radio last night as well, except I can't get it to play for me now).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Covers galore! And over at the PHS.....


Before I post my info, I should let you know that I'm over at the Pink Heart Society today for Writer's Wednesday...Talking about THE SECRET to getting published.


I don't know if it's Christmas head or Deadline head or what, but I nearly forgot that Marriage at Circle M is out in Australia this month!


I'm doubly excited because Michelle Douglas, an Aussie author, has her debut out as well and we're shelf mates. So thrilling!








The other very cool thing is that I just got the jpg of my cover for The Soldier's Homecoming yesterday! What do you all think?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A quick P.S

I realized I hadn't answered Janet's comment she left about ideas.

In the comments she said, "I have plenty of ideas but not many of them are good ones."

And my answer to that is, don't worry hon! They don't have to be good ones. They just need to have a seed that you can grow into a bigger better idea.

I had the basic premise for my current wip, and I'm discovering more things all the time. I knew the housekeeper was a necessary character, but WHY? I knew Brody felt responsible for her and the ranch but WHY? But I just kept writing away, having faith that it would come to me. It took a couple of chapters, but it did. And yet...something new hit me again today as I finished going through chapter four that I didn't see that ties a few things together.

You don't need to see it all at once and you don't need to get it 100% right. I honestly think that's what holds some writers back sometimes - the whole fear of getting it wrong. And I think sometimes you have to get it wrong first to know what right is. You can make ANY idea work, I think...(well, there are SOME things that won't fly, but not many) as long as you get to the root of the characters motivations for doing what they're doing. And it might take some tweaking and adjusting. But if you think of your idea as a kernel that you're going to build a world around, I think it helps. And brainstorm! A plot hole that you think is terminal can somehow magically be turned around in a good brainstorming session.

Thanks Janet for commenting - I love it when you ask questions!

PENCILS2MEDIAMOGULS


Trish put this up on her myspace blog (at least that's where I saw it) and I also got it in my inbox yesterday. I've already donated. Here's the skinny - and my apologies to Trish but she just put it so well.....

You kinda have to be very very deeply buried in the cave to not know about the Writer's Strike currently bringing Hollywood to a standstill and with a seedling of an idea planted by fans of TV Shows they've come up with a somewhat ingenious plan to literally bring the 'point' home to the big studio moguls...

PENCILS.

Yup, boxes of pencils. For a teeny weeny donation of a dollar a box, you can send a pencils to the studio heads supporting the writer's cause. And if solidarity doesn't move you, perhaps the knowledge that those shows you put on your pvr or watch faithfully may only have a few weeks left before running out of episodes or may even ultimately cease to exist....

I really believe that good writing trumps everything and you only have to go to United Hollywood and read Ron Moore's blog from November 7 to see some of the issues they're fighting FOR.

And they got creative - shows like Battlestar and Smallville and Army Wives are all getting in on it by donating everything from phone calls to hockey games with Aaron Douglas to Jamie Bamber's towel....

You can click on the link below to be taken right to the donation page.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Holidays

It's December already! Hard to believe, and today I spent celebrating the first Sunday of Advent, putting together my prezzie parcels for my family in other parts of the country, and making gingersnaps with my children.

The whole month is special to me and so I'm sharing this card with all of you. It reminds me so much of the area where I live...in fact we have snow right now and more on the way!

It's my card to you and since this hasn't cost me a cent in postage...I'm making a donation to UNICEF in lieu of.

I'll be blogging lots between now and New Year's, but I thought this was a great opportunity to say thanks to all of you for visiting the blog, sharing your comments and supporting me and my books.

Cheers,
Donna