Monday, March 31, 2008

Behind the Book: The Soldier's Homecoming



This is long overdue, as I've been meaning to do it for a very long time. And as a break from revisions, I decided there's no time like the present to do a little blog on behind the scenes of The Soldier's Homecoming.

I'm a bit of a military fanatic. My favourite tv shows centre around army life...The Unit, NCIS, Battlestar Galactica...and I think it's a fundamental attraction of acting under pressure, doing the hard jobs while maintaining a core of integrity, and the sexiness of being extremely capable that does it for me. There is something very attractive about the discipline and conviction that speaks to me, combined with a very real respect, even dare I say, a patriotism that just has me hooked.


So, I wanted to write a soldier story for a long time.

It probably started even back as far as when I started my writing journey after 9/11. And a seed of an idea from an earlier book - Almost a Family which was published by Samhain Publishing - kept niggling at me. I kept thinking of a heroine, with a young daughter, and how she would have felt abandoned. And then The Soldier's Homecoming came to me, because this book started with the hero, Jonas. I knew I had a hero coming home, wounded, feeling guilty and broken. And the pieces came together...SHE was the one he'd left behind. And HE didn't know the daughter existed. I did my casting, aren't these lovely pictures of my characters? (Ok, so it's really Sienna Miller and Scott Foley, but you get the idea.)

Well, then I had a problem. And again, perhaps it was that very basic respect within me but I knew I had to do this book RIGHT. So, I got some books on Canadian Peacekeepers, and I read a book called Friendly Fire which documented the case where four Canadian soldiers were killed in a friendly fire incident. It wasn't so much the facts of the case that touched me...it was the reactions of the men in the company. The things they had to live with EVERY DAY. That was what my Jonas was living with, and I felt it very deeply as I started the story.

Of course, I never experienced being a sniper in a far away land, or getting my butt blown off by an IED, so I put out the call for help on e-harlequin. No word of a lie...before the end of the day I was put in contact with Jane and Doug Eaton...if you've read the book, you'll see them in the acknowledgements. Nicola Marsh (Romance author) also helped with the physio info, and the setting, well, that's my home town. It was fun to visit it finally in a book...though with all the changes, I ended up exchanging e-mails with my BFF a good deal, making sure the landmarks I remembered were all still there.

Well, my other problem is that I fell quite a bit in love with Jonas. He was a character that really dominated and well, keeping focus was difficult. I had pretty substantial revisions, and I think the hard work was worth it. When I got the author copies, and I read it, I was, and am, very proud of the book it became.


Did I have a soundtrack? I get asked that a lot, and yeah, I did, in a way. I definitely had a song...Far Away by Nickelback. The first time I heard it I started crying because it was just JONAS to me....see? I get so invested in my characters! But I try to tap into those feelings and then translate them on to the page. After the book was finished, I discovered RyanDan singing Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, and I wished I'd thought of that song sooner, because it just wrecked me.


So, there you have it...a little bit of how The Soldier's Homecoming was born.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Book Blog 12

Well, I finished The Dream Thief by Shana Abe.

Gotta say, I didn't like it as well as The Smoke Thief, mostly because I had a hard time following the initial mythology of Draumr, the diamond. I'm not sure why...but the concept seemed kind of nebulous to me. That being said, I did like it somewhat and the ending was lovely. I thought Zane was a great hero and Lia's courage as she came of age was well done. She had a really good arc.

I am intrigued enough that I'll probably grab Queen of Dragons to see how it continues.

Now...all good intentions to get hip-deep into revisions keeps getting blown to bits...we have another showing tonight so I have to make sure the house is in tip-top shape!

Tomorrow...barring being banned from my house by the realtor, I'll be blogging Behind The Scenes of The Soldier's Homecoming!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Contest Updates

A quick post today as I'm doing a little "housekeeping" before launching myself full throttle into my revisions!

Congratulations to Marcy Bassett-Kennedy who was the big winner this month of my joint contest with Jennie Adams. Marcy won hardcover copies of both THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING and TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH...as well as some other goodies we threw in!

Also congratulations to Maureen Emmons who won a copy of THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING on Liz Fielding's blog, when I helped Liz celebrate her 50th book!

The year of contests continues with one for April!

April's prize is for a Spring Goody Bag. Contents tbd but rest assured it will contain reading material as well as other spring-like items! All you need to do to enter is send an e-mail to donna@donnaalward.com and tell me what your favourite thing is about SPRING!

There is still time, though not much, to enter to win a copy of Jennie's book over at the Harlequin Romance Author blog as well. And stop in there often, because next month we have special celebrations for Liz's 50th Romance release, the new Bride for All Seasons series, the Wedding Planners series, and a Spotlight in Six and book giveaway!

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Little bit of this, a little bit of that...

Well...the for sale sign is supposed to be going up today. Hooray!

And if you get a chance, pop by Diane Craver's blog this week as she's hosting an author week and it's your chance to get to know a few writers with smaller presses.

Also, major congrats to all the Rita finalists! I'm particularly pleased for Natasha Oakley, a fellow Romance author who really deserves the karma fairy to go her way. Pop on over to her blog and congratulate her, why don't you!

All About Romance has reviewed The Soldier's Homecoming...AAR tend to be tough nuts to crack, but I was encouraged at a few of the comments, like, "Donna Alward tackles the tried and true secret baby plot with unusual sensitivity" and "Jonas is a strong hero and watching him deal with his feelings for Shannyn and their daughter creates some of the best moments in this book." She also called it real and poignant, so that is good.

I also got my revisions for my latest, and they are going to be a lot of work. However they DO make sense to me. And I do think it will be a stronger read....the bones of it are there...it's bringing out what's there and making it the strongest possible. I might have to print and paste that to the monitor when I start pulling out my hair over the next few weeks!

And...it looks like I might have some pr coming up in the near future....so that's also quite cool. I am reminded of Trish's comment that she has a face for radio...thankfully that is where I'm headed! LOL

For now...I'm off to have some chicken soup for my poor sore throat. Hopefully I'll be back on tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday already?

I can't believe it's already Wednesday. We had a great Easter visiting family...but now it's back home and things are still hectic. It was lovely to have the break.

I didn't quite finish my third book yet but I DID watch another couple of movies...so I'll do a couple more REEL REVIEWS.

First up is No Reservations - starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart.


I was watching with my sister in law and my teenage nephew, so I had to keep the sniffles down, otherwise I'd have been crying if watching alone. I really liked this movie, and I liked the hint at role reversals, and how a woman normally so in control has to learn to relinquish that to find happiness.


I liked it so much that I got a whole new story idea out of it!


Then the night before we left, we watched Nacho Libre for fun. I have to admit, Jack Black makes me laugh. It was what it was, nothing deep, just pure silliness. But I've watched lots of silly movies that just annoyed me, and this one didn't, so that's a good thing.

I'm doing odd jobs today and scouring the house for the realtor's visit today. Catch you on the flip side!


Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Blogs and Reel Reviews


One thing about extended weekends is the ability to read and watch movies more. Already this weekend I've read 2 books and watched 2 movies, so here are my quick thoughts...

Books 10 and 11:

A Woman To Belong To by Fiona Lowe

I devoured this book yesterday while on Easter holiday. I remember FIona mentioning writing her "Vietnam" book and the setting was a very living, breathing thing and her passion for the area definitely came through. She also had great conflict throughout with the characters, and I can't reveal too much without being spoilery but I actually liked that there were some unknowns at the end...not all of life is wrapped up with a bow, thought the HEA was still solid! You definitely felt like while there was more to come, the constant was that Tom and Bec were going to face it together.

Well done Fiona! :-)



The Dad Next Door by CJ Carmichael

I read CJ's online read that worked as a prequel to this book and so I was ready to read Gavin and Allison's story. After finishing Fiona's book, I picked up CJ's...and read it almost all in one sitting ( took a break for a walk and lunch, lol).

This is a fantastic book...I was cheering for the hero and heroine right from the beginning, I had an inkling of what was coming well before it happened...the characters were all so HUMAN, warts and all and it made for a very relatable read. IT was very well written, with everything blending seamlessly and great consistent pacing.

I can't wait to read the other 2 books in the trilogy.

Reel Reviews:


Enchanted

We got this so all the "girls" could watch together, and guess what...I was enchanted. LOL. James Marsden was hysterical, Patrick Dempsey adorable, Susan Sarandon deliciously naughty, and Amy Adams cute as a button.

My daughters and I also really enjoyed the musical numbers....and the scene at the King and Queen's Ball when they dance and he starts singing to her....ok I know, CHEESY. But I was hooked. This is one I'll likely go out and buy so my girls and I can watch it on those Sunday afternoons when we put on dvd's and make hot cocoa. I'm especially pleased with the musical element as it will drive their father crazy, an added bonus!

Atonement

After all the hype I should have expected it wouldn't live up to my expectations and it didn't. There were moments of brilliance, and I now want to read the book so I get a glimpse of the structure. I do know I would have started the book with Bryony as she was at the end...beginning the interview...and cutting where she took the pills, and ending with it for better continuity. I also would have spent more time setting up the romance in the beginning. I think my problem was I didn't quite believe that Robbie was her great love. We saw some sparks and a very hot library scene but I didn't quite get the sense of the emotional commitment between them. And without that, the rest of the love story was lacking a potency for me.

At one point I wondered what all the fuss was about, until the last 5 - 10 minutes....and then I got it and yes, I got a little misty eyed.

I think, IMO, the movie was made with such an eye for artistry that it really only skimmed the surface as far as digging for emotions. Maybe this is my category romance roots showing but I would much rather have a simple story told well. I just got the sense that it tried to be too many things and lost that most crucial element of JUST TELL THE STORY.

So that's my weekend so far...right now I'm reading The Dream Thief by Shana Abe....and if I finish it tomorrow, I'm out of books until Wednesday. :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book Blog 9


The Principal at my children's school is a big fan of Abe's, and we were chatting one day and she then brought me two of her books. I just finished The Smoke Thief, which I really enjoyed. It was historical enough to satisfy the lover of historicals in me, and then the fantasy/drakon element was really well done.


This does meet the "new to you" for this month's challenge on eharlequin, because I hadn't read anything of Abe's before.


It was a very good book - I wasn't blown away, but I liked it enough to be looking forward to reading The Dream Thief, the follow up.

Happy Easter!

As someone is preparing to install new countertops in my kitchen, I'm going to post here and just ignore the mess.

Romance Junkies has reviewed THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING and has given it a 5 Ribbon rating, calling it "an exciting read". You can read the entire review over at their site.

I also heard from my editor today and I have revisions coming "soonish", so that will occupy my time for a little while. And it looks like there may be some exciting things coming in the near future too, so I'm in a relatively good mood.

Now I'm off, likely until after the Easter Weekend as we're spending some time with family. I'll be back early next week!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Casting Change

You know, I feel a little sorry for Hugh Jackman. There is a bit of a phenomenon where he gets cast in romance novels and then suddenly the casting doesn't work and he gets replaced. Not always, but this isn't the first time. I've actually got a theory as to why that is.

HJ is drop dead gorgeous. He's debonair, charming, intelligent, sense of humour...but you see therein lies his problem. He's just about...well...perfect.
It's quite easy to be enamoured of him at the beginning of a novel. Because he's perfect, you see. But then a few chapters in and I think what happens is we need someone less perfect. Perhaps with more of an edge. Someone a little more...complicated.

So, I'm sorry Hugh...but you've been replaced. It's nothing personal.

Of course I blame this whole change of heart on Natasha Oakley and her well-publicized regard, shall we say, for Richard Armitage. I've watched North and South and yes, I got it. HOT. Intense. Yup. Definitely yum. But it wasn't until this week on the PHS Blog that I watched a Youtube clip she'd put on there (It's really ALL your fault, you know).

Suddenly my book that was flat had new life again, even if my hero is NOTHING like John Thornton. Suddenly I realized that Richard Armitage is my new casting for my hero. You see Dante started out in my mind as a playboy, someone who doesn't take life seriously, but when I started writing him that changed. He's actually highly motivated and intense and he and the heroine have more baggage than I realized. SO I needed someone a little darker. A little more intense.

So I guess I might as well post the pic that works best for me:





What do you think?



Back to writing.

And what blew the lid off....

The lid blew on the pressure cooker yesterday, but I can laugh about it now.

One of the items on the to-do list is steam cleaning our carpets. I was already at my limit when I filled up the soap and the water and plugged it in. Then I turned it on.

I wasn't even using the attachment, but water sprayed up - and out - of it every time I turned it on. I frigged with it, would try again, and would get wet. So picture me in the middle of my living room, holding my hand out against the spray, cursing at the steam cleaner and crying my eyes out.

In the end I was victorious, my carpets got clean (I have the other half to do today) and my stress level was greatly reduced. I went to my writer's group meeting last night, came home and instead of working like I intended, went straight to bed and for the first time in over a week, slept right through until the alarm.

Today is physio so I'm looking forward to finishing the book I'm currently reading, and then hopefully getting some work done.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Life in the Pressure Cooker

Jennie e-mailed me and used this term and I thought it so accurate, it became the title of today's post.

I do indeed feel like I'm in a pressure cooker at the moment, with so many things to be done, and yet so many I CAN'T do because I am waiting on other things first...added in that some very real insecurities and I sometimes feel like I'm going to explode!

I am NOT a patient person. I'm also fiercely independent so that means waiting on other people drives me insane. Hey, I never claimed to be perfect!

However two things that DID get accomplished is drawing the latest winners. Head on over to Liz's blog later today or tomorrow, as I've sent her the winning name and hopefully she'll get it posted soonish. :-)

And Jennie and I have drawn our winner for the hardbacks of THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING and TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH. The winner is.....drumroll please.....Marcy!

Marcy, if you could e-mail me and/or Jennie with your address, we'll mail out your prize!

We overslept this morning so I need to dash...catch you tomorrow!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Last Call?

Time is running out for your chance to win! Jennie Adams and I will be drawing soon for the winners of our March contest...hardbacks of THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING, TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH as well as some extra goodies thrown in from both of us. Part of mine will be the commemorative postcard featuring a Mills and Boon cover from the past, so if you haven't entered yet, why not????? Hmmmm????

Just drop me an e-mail at donna@donnaalward.com.

Jennie was also the guest interviewee at the Harlequin Romance Author Blog this month. There's another copy of TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH up for grabs there, so double your chances by putting your name in both. You can read the interview and then send an e-mail with the subject line JENNIE to hrablog@hotmail.com.

AND, very shortly I'll be picking a winner over at Liz Fielding's Blog where we've been chatting about our favourite Liz Fielding characters. Come over and leave a comment and a signed copy of THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING could be yours!

Phew!

I'm on a field trip with the youngest today, but I feel ever so much better today knowing that our house is *almost* ready for the for sale sign to go up. Right now we're at the point where we need the new countertop installed, and then a good cleaning. But everything has been sorted, discarded, packed or donated. I was in bed by 9:30 last night! LOL.

Alrighty then. Back tomorrow!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quick Saturday Thoughts...

I'm posting in a flash as it's just about bedtime, and I'm a bit bagged courtesy of kid's sleepovers, and packing, and the better part of a bottle of shiraz.

But, I put in my miniseries of Battlestar Galactica tonight and was thinking about how great the writing is. And I was also thinking of THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING and issues, etc.

There is a scene in BSG where one of the mechanics is holding a colleague who has died, and another comes along and they look after him together, and then another scene where one of the captains is walking through a makeshift morgue clutching a fistful of dogtags.

I got to thinking about some of the reader mail I've had about TSH so far and this show and it hit me once again what makes us, as humans, special. What makes us, in the words of Commander Adama, a race worth saving. And that's our capacity for empathy, compassion, and love.

Someone recently commented that I have amazing emotional insight for someone so young and it's all tuned into an emotional core. I can put myself in someone else's shoes and wonder how it must feel to be in that place at a particular time.

It's a huge reason why I do what I do.

And now my dh is out of the shower and it's time to shut down.

Food for thought.

Donna

Friday, March 14, 2008

Reviews

I have to admit that I'm a whole lot thrilled and a bit overwhelmed by the feedback I'm getting on THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING. I got two new reviews yesterday, one from Merri (Who does the reviews for Merrimon) and one from the Pink Heart Society.

Julie at the PHS called The Soldier's Homecoming "one of the most moving romances I’ve ever read! Tender, poignant, dramatic and heartrending..." And she also said that "Donna Alward is a bright new jewel in the Harlequin Romance crown and I cannot wait to read more wonderful stories by this talented storyteller!" I will do my level best to keep her happy!

Merri gave me chills when she wrote this: something is really happening with this author's writing right now. I'm not a psychic or predictor or editor or writer but just a strange reader out there but.... Thinking of her last two books together, I had the thought of major breakthrough ahead in the works. Frankly, seeing this kind of growth in a writer so fast is much more intriguing than any silly number --- at least to me.

That being said, she did give it a rating: Number-wise for my reading pleasure: Between 4.5 and 5.

I couldn't ask for better....

If you're interested in the whole review(s), the links are:

http://pinkheartsocietyreviews.blogspot.com/search?q=the+soldier%27s+homecoming

http://community.eharlequin.com/content/soldiers-homecoming-donna-alwrd-harlequin-romance

I did a mini-signing at the school yesterday, which was lovely but bittersweet as I wrote messages inside for the staff. I will be saying goodbye to a very special group of people this spring who have been a bigger part of my life than they probably realize.

Now for today I'm enjoying time with my kids, finishing my husband's taxes, and going to parent teacher interviews. See ya on the flip side gang!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Blog 8, Birthdays, and Blog appearances

Today's a bit of a mishmash of things, and I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger, so I'll run through it quickly!

Happy Birthday to my eldest, who is moving into the double digits today. We are celebrating tomorrow afternoon as there is no school. She is taking a friend to a movie and Mc Donalds. Cake and prezzies will follow.

Thanks to Jennie for being on the blog yesterday! Jennie is also up on the Harlequin Romance Author blog for our Spotlight In Six this month...and another copy of To Love and To Cherish is up for grabs. Pop on over to read her mini-interview, and enter to win.

I'm guest blogging with a very special friend this week....Liz Fielding, who is celebrating her FIFTIETH Romance this year! There's a copy of The Soldier's Homecoming for one lucky commenter.

I certainly feel like I've made the rounds this week - the PHS on Monday, Tote Bags on Tues, Jenny on Wednesday, Liz on Thurs....my word! I think I'll take Friday off!



And I realized I'd posted a review on Eharlequin last week but not here, so here is my Book Blog #8....The Firefighter's Chosen Bride by Trish Wylie:



I got a chance to read this book at an early stage and all the magic was still there when I read it this time. This is one of my favourite books by Trish EVER. I love Shane. I love Finn. I love that Finn isn't a five foot six waif.


This book was first released as a Modern Heat as the UK, so it isn't your standard Presents hero and heroine. And I think the reason why I love it so much is that it gives the sensuality of a Presents with the every day, realistic deep emotion of a Romance.


The conflicts are deep, real, and when Finn tells Shane all of it, I admit I was blinking rather furiously. And the ending is LOVELY. And a tad bit unpredictable, in the best sort of way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A big Canadian welcome to Jennie Adams!

There's a bit of a standing joke between Jennie and me. One of us will get our release date, and then we'll wait and see if we're out together. So far we are four for four....we both have August books out as well. So we figured it was high time we did something together when our books released.

Then, a mailing glitch meant that I received her hardbacks, and she received mine. And we had this idea to guest blog and give away copies of hardbacks!

I've read Jennie's (as soon as the hardbacks came, I claimed one for myself) and it's a lovely story. But I'll let her tell you about it herself....welcome to my blog, Jennie!



Hi!

It's a pleasure to be celebrating a book release with Donna. We've
enjoyed our run as 'shelf buddies' and decided it was time to bring you all in on the fun.

I had the chance to read Donna's 'The Soldier's Homecoming' when our hardback copies crossed over in the mail, and I loved it. And thought how different it was. Which reminded me anew of the depth of variety there is to be found in the Harlequin 'Romance' line. Donna and I have written two very different 'wounded hero' stories and we hope you enjoy them both!

Donna asked me to share a little about me. I'm an Australian born and bred. That means I get to say 'G'day' with impunity. So -- 'G'day from Australia! If you've heard rumours that kangaroos hop down the streets in Sydney - they're not true. Canberra, however, does have a genuine kangaroo population because the city was built to encase a lot of natural bush area. I live in a small inland city that combines the best of rural and cosmopolitan living, and I've been writing for Harlequin since 2005.

To Love and To Cherish is my sixth Harlequin Romance release, and the first story I've written to date in which the hero simply sat up and told me I needed to write his story. It's one that is special to my heart. Now about that goat......

Yes, there is a recalcitrant goat in this book. Her name is Amalthea and
she is a goddess. Just ask her. Better still, I'll let her introduce herself. Here she is in Tiffany's viewpoint:

'She's over there, watching us from behind that clump of bushes.' Tiffany pointed to Amalthea's hiding place. 'See that beady eye and the bit of white? That's her.'

So yes, this is Amalthea the hell raising goat. She has her own small role in the story. She would tell you it's pivotal to the entire plot. . . Sometimes a story just demands a special pet, and for Tiffany, it had to be Amalthea. And sometimes a story demands laughter and tears. I indulged a few of each as I wrote Tiffany and Jack's story. I hope if you read it, you'll enjoy Jack and Tiffany's journey as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Please drop an email to me or to Donna and enter our joint contest to win copies of our books and some other goodies!

Best wishes from Oz,

Jennie


Thanks for being here Jennie! (Pay attention all - rumour has it there's chocolate up for grabs, this time of the Aussie variety!)

Now....pop over to Jennie's Blog where yours truly is the guest today, and then send us an e-mail at donna@donnaalward.com or jennie@jennieadams.net to enter to win!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Soldier's Homecoming release day!



Today is March 11, which means THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING is officially out! Hooray!

I'm celebrating with a very special post on Tote Bags 'n' Blogs today. I'd love it if you could come and read it, because it might be my favourite post of the year. Certainly one of the most important things to happen to my family.

You can read an excerpt on my webpage as well.

And now is the PERFECT time to announce March's contest...I've held off really giving details until today.




Jennie Adams and I are frequently shelf-mates and we figured it was high time to hold a joint contest. When we were each sent the other's hardcover books by mistake, it was serendipitous. SO, be sure to visit here tomorrow when Jennie is my guest blogger, and then go to HER blog where I'm guest blogging, and then send us an e-mail to enter. The winner gets a signed hardcover of each of our releases - THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING and TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH, as well as whatever other goodies tickle our fancies (and hopefully yours).

Yesterday I finally mailed off my prizes to my February winners (my apologies for taking SO long!). I went to Bernard Callebaut to get the chocolate and was faced with a big decision. Bars are the easiest to ship, and they had 5 bars in a bag. Basically you buy 4 and get the 5th free. The deal-maker in me was seduced, but I knew I was really only after 3 bars. I left with 5 after all. So Anita Mae, you get three bars of chocolate and my husband and I shared a bar of Dark Chocolate with hazelnuts last night. :-) He doesn't know about the other one in the freezer. :-)


All righty - now I'm off for the day. And don't forget to come back tomorrow for Jennie and her recalcitrant goat!

Monday, March 10, 2008

ACK! I'm at the PHS....

I have to dash as I'm off to watch my eldest compete with her group in the music festival - this time handbells. And then it's errands...and our new window is coming this morning....


BUT I'm also at the PINK HEART SOCIETY with my fave day of the week....MALE ON MONDAY and I'm talking about the casting for THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING....

Come on over and have a peek, ok?


Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Friends You Don't See

Before I get started, Michelle Styles has a series of great posts over on her blog relating to craft and process. Worth a look, so go do that.

Ok...I'm going to chat briefly today about friends.

The blog bash at e-harlequin this month is Do You Believe In Love and Jennie Adams had a great post today. It got me thinking about all my friends, and the people I love and how each fills a role that is only theirs.

I have my longest friend (since she was born, I have pictures of us chasing each other around in a horrid green walker at my home), my "I wish I could be as generous as you" friend - the one person that is completely kind and giving, my "Secret keeper" friend whom I know I can tell anything, my "If I'm ever in trouble this is who I call" friend, and my FUN friend (when we get together, we laugh nonstop until one of us goes home or goes to sleep).

My husband is my friend. My children are my friends too, of a sort, and my mum is a friend. I have work friends and church friends and my "adoptive" family who is like another set of parents to me. Incidentally they also have a fondness for Bailey's Irish Cream and Canasta. :-)

And I have my online friends. Some of the friends above are online friends now, and some are about to be as we get ready to move.

But here's the thing. The internet is a wonderful thing. My longest friend and my generous friend both live across the country, and yet we probably communicate more often now than we ever did when I lived only a few km away. My fun friend, my get out of jail free friend and my secret keeper are about to become online friends as we move again, but it doesn't mean I care any less about them, or that they won't still be those people. We just reconnected with old friends living in the area where we're headed, and it's almost as if no time has passed at all, even though it's been nearly a decade.

And then there's my writing community, which, with the exception of my local RWA chapter, is ALL online. I have very special relationships with many other writers and readers around the world. People that I know, if I disappeared for long, would come looking for me to make sure I was all right. LOL. And as life gets really crazy with details and business and packing, and the change that goes with making a huge move and life transition, I'm really grateful that one constant will be my online friends, still there no matter where I move to. Always in the same space - just an e-mail or IM away.

I'm very thankful for all my friends.

I just thought I should say that today.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Review for The Soldier's Homecoming

Hooray! Another review for THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING, this time from Cataromance who gives it 4.5 stars!

My favourite bit is, "The Soldier’s Homecoming is a compelling story about complicated flesh and blood characters. You will stay up late to finish this one."

You can read the whole review HERE.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

March Madness!


No, I'm not a big basketball fan. This March madness refers to me and what's happening this month.

THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING is out this month, and I'm so excited. There have been several reader reviews on eharlequin already and the reaction to this book is very positive. It does a girl good, really. LOL. I think it's even more meaningful because as I said to someone today, Jonas wasn't an easy man to write. But for Shannyn, he was worth it and he was for me too.

I'm just about to do a webpage update, so very shortly you should be able to go on to the book's page, and see what people are saying. Later today or tomorrow I'll post a link directly to it.

I'm also going to be doing a post or two on "Behind the Scenes" so look out for that.


I'm guest posting at the Pink Heart Society and Tote Bags this month, and will also be seen on Liz Fielding's blog. Loads o' fun to be found.

And I'm holding my monthly contest IN CONJUNCTION with Jennie Adams this month, whose book TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH is also out and also features a wounded hero...love it!

On March 12, one day after release, we're going to take over each other's blogs for the day. Make sure you stop in because it will be your chance to enter to win both of our books - IN HARDCOVER! Rumour has it that Jennie has some other goodies to put with her book and so do I, including another one of those fantastic retro postcards, so it's a contest you definitely won't want to miss.


Stay tuned!


Monday, March 03, 2008

Holy Monday, Batman!

When I actually made my to-do list for today, it actually scared me with its length, so I'm pressed for time. Tomorrow I'll be back with some more in depth stuff including the start of launch month for THE SOLDIER'S HOMECOMING.

But for now, two little tidbits of news....

First of all HIRED BY THE COWBOY is out in Portugal this month! Very cool. Interesting to note, that ALL of the versions of this book - NA, UK, AUS/NZ, Spanish and Portuguese - use the same cover art. It really is a lovely cover.

And I promised to reveal the winner of my February contest - for goodies like chocolate, bookmarks, magnets and a commemorative postcard - so without further ado..........

Congratulations to Anita Mae Draper!

I'm gonna pop Anita an e-mail......

And congratulations to Deborah Carr, who has won the UK COUPON book!

Come back tomorrow to see what's in store for March!!!!!!