Thursday, July 31, 2008

In a hurry

Scads to do today...so here is a very brief Book Blog 29 - Sexy Beast, a Kensington Anthology. Contributors Kate Douglas, Noelle Mack and Vivi Anna.

Sexy Beast - 3 erotic stories with a premise of shape shifting. I think of the three my fave was Kate's, though Vivi's was so atmospheric...she's so good at that. The only thing I felt with that one was that perhaps she had pressure to wrap it up quickly.

Sorry to post and run.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The double-edged sword

I love being able to work from home. I get to work in whatever clothes I want, take a break whenever I want, there is no battling rush hour traffic...I get to be home with my kids when they are home. We have no babysitting costs. It is, in the scheme of things, a nearly perfect set up.

I love being a mom. I love spending time with my kids. I also love my job. However rarely do these two things work well actually together. So I feel divided much of the time.

In a perfect world, I have the windows open in my office and the girls get up, hatch a plan for some activities, and enjoy themselves. We have a huge yard they never had before. They bring me flowers or berries or come in to tell me something new they discovered.

Of course life is rarely perfect. My husband's new office doesn't exist yet, he's been working from home for over a month now, except when he's been traveling. The kids are still kids and fight and argue, need refereeing, reminding to do their chores, you name it. In the midst of all this I'm trying to write and let's just say it's NOT working well. There are, simply, so many distractions. My eight year old is struggling with a bike because truthfully, where we lived in the city she simply did not get enough practice to be confident. SO I'm typing and hearing sounds of "whoa whoa whoa" out the window.

I feel so guilty wishing school would go back in. I remember my childhood days and I'm sure my mum could tell all sorts of "Donna's I'm Bored" stories, but what I remember is going out bike riding, walking, picking flowers, shooting hoops, reading...I was much younger than my siblings so did a lot all alone. And they do grow up so fast and I don't want to miss a minute because once it is gone, it is gone.

On the other hand, a few hours of complete peace and quiet would go a long way towards concentrating on what is proving to be a very difficult story. In some ways it would almost be easier to take the 2 months off of writing, except a) I get very grouchy when I don't write and b) there are those deadlines to consider. Considering this year I already took over a month off due to our move, I can't afford to take any more time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An annoyance - edited post

For those of you who read and commented on this post, the amendment and resulting "feeling stupid" post is over at e-harlequin.

Over time, improper grammar sometimes becomes so well-used that it becomes acceptable...even deemed correct.

Take for instance, was/were. How many times do I hear, "If it was me...." No, if it were me I'd try to speak properly. Anyway/anyways is one that drives me crazy. And one that REALLY raises my hackles is 'til and till.

TILL is something you do to the ground, to prepare it for planting or to get rid of your pesky weeds between rows.

'til is short for UNTIL. However it is becoming the norm to see it spelled as TILL. If until were spelled untill, perhaps you could excuse the small lapse of the apostrophe. But it's not. I have read several books lately with the misuse and the realization that the book has gone through the author, the editor and the copy editor and no one has changed it.

What started me on this tangent? I just got my book club newsletter and saw William Shatner's book...UP TILL NOW.

It makes me want to pull my hair out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New books!

I got some GREAT news today.

I've got a new four-book contract! Wheee! The first book in the contract will be out next June, though I'm still waiting to hear what the title will be. Then there is a novella followed by 2 linked books, so I'm a very happy writer today. That's enough to keep me out of trouble for a while!

Otherwise, I'm working on the novella which is proving to be..uh..interesting. I just keep reminding myself that I can write crap and fix it later.

And thank you all for your input re: my heroine casting. I've posted all the pics so far on my eharlequin blog.

Anyway I'm off, birthday celebrations for my youngest tomorrow and preparations need to be made!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Book Blog 28 - Beyond Band of Brothers



I finished reading this one last night. It showed more sides to the "hero" of the series Band of Brothers than the movie did, and was quite interesting. Heavier on tactics than previous reads about Easy Company, it was still really enjoyable.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Open Call for Casting...and a First


I'm still needing some entries for my heroine casting call... keep sending! I'm just finishing up my character sheets, and I've started my opening though it's not quite right. So the search continues for my heroine, Kelley Hughes!


A quick note today though for a first. You know after a couple of years, a lot of the firsts are over. So when one pops up unexpectedly, it's kind of neat.

I was getting a link for someone when I noticed that The Soldier's Homecoming is wearing a red and white banner over at e-harlequin - saying SOLD OUT.

I got a thrill. I admit it. I think somehow it seems like real proof that people have been buying my books. And that they bought a lot of this one. I've never had anything sell out before.

The good news is as far as I know, new copies are still available on the amazons etc. as well as in e-book from Harlequin and Amazon Kindle.

But thank you to all of you who ordered TSH from Harlequin!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wanted: One Cowgirl!

I'm having FITS trying to cast my heroine for my new novella.

I have a hero. Of course I had a difficult time finding him too. I wanted a manly man. Someone who could go toe to toe with my heroine, Kelley. I also wanted someone who appears confident. Charming. Funny. And yet with this side that we can see that is just under the surface, that he's protecting. SO my hero is:


Now my heroine is a little different. She's pretty much taken over running the ranch, and she's capable. She knows it. She's a bit of a control freak, a damned hard worker, and hates failing at anything. She sure as hell hates asking the hero for help. Can I find a picture? Nope.
So your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to help me find a manifestation of those inner qualities as well as the physical characteristics of...not soft, yet pretty...her face has angles that show a beauty within the strength. And her glory is her hair...most of the time she keeps it up in a braid and under a hat. She's definitely a jeans and cotton shirt kind of girl. But when she lets it down...it's a long mass of golden curls that will momentarily take Mack's breath away.
Go ahead and e-mail me your suggestions at donna@donnaalward.com, and then we could make it fun and I can post the contenders!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Genius of BSG

Now, before your eyes glass over, I’m not going to talk about Battlestar Galactica (although it fracking ROCKS). But I just read most of an interview with Ron Moore, the brains behind the whole thing, and I had to copy and paste something that I just thought was BRILLIANT from a writer’s perspective.

MR: And speaking of the series finale, you’re happy with how that came out?


RDM: Very pleased with it. It came together all at once and it was a strange experience. In the writers’ room, we spent the first day [of breaking that episode] in a lot of difficulty, a lot of frustration. We sort of knew what the plot was, we knew the action story, we knew the plot of the finale. We spent that whole first day just struggling with the mechanics of the plot, how you got from A to B. We were spinning our wheels. I went home and I was in the shower and I had this “Duh” moment – the show was never about that. That’s not why I love the show. It’s not about the plot.


I went into the writers’ room the next day and wrote on the big dry-erase board, “It’s the characters, stupid,” and the writers laughed and we all sat back and said, “Who gives a [expletive] about the plot? Let’s just talk about these characters.”


MR: And what happens to these people.


RDM: Who are these people, how do we want their stories to end, what is it really about? Once we did that, it all broke free. And then it was, “OK, this is what the finale is about.” And the plot was simple, the finale has a fairly simple through-line to it. But it’s really not about that. It’s really about these people you’ve taken this journey with and what the end of their stories are going to be.


I wish ALL writers thought this way. It is the key to full stories with complex characters and plot and honestly this show is so well written that sometimes I cry at the beauty of it. I’m not joking. Something will come out that is so genius it’s a beautiful thing.

I’m not a sci fi kind of girl. I’m NOT. But this show is one of the most underrated things ever to grace the small screen. Ron Moore is a genius. He is a STORY TELLER.

I’m catching up on my first part of season 4 watching, as the epis I missed are on in a few weeks. It is a shame the series is ending.

Linky Love and a Reel Review

I had so much fun on this post over at Petticoats and Pistols, that I thought I should send a link. So here you go: http://petticoatsandpistols.com/2008/07/21/you-know-youre-a-writer-when/



And thank you all for the lovely comments on the house!



I realized I hadn't done a Reel Review in quite some time. That's likely because I really haven't watched that many movies. But when we were waiting for the house to be ready the kids and I watched this at our friend's place on VOD.


When I went looking for a picture of EVAN ALMIGHTY to put on the blog, I came across another blog review that really wasn't that favourable. And that I didn't agree with. I will say, that while I liked Bruce Almighty, the themes were a little more adult and the comedy a little, well, different, from this movie. I liked this one better, actually. I thought Steve Carell was fantastic and you can't help but love Morgan Freeman. Most of all, I loved it because my husband, who is not a church goer, enjoyed it, and we could also sit with our kids and not worry in the least. It was a great family movie. The girls watched it several times!


If you are looking for a Christian Movie with serious Christian themes, perhaps this isn't for you. (Go watch Amazing Grace, which I also loved on a historical and moral level. ) There IS a faith element in Evan Almighty. What this movie has done is make it accessible to everyone without being preachy. It is a family comedy first and foremost. And the blogger I read said there was no real message or greater understanding in the end. Well...considering the guy thought everything was tosh from the beginning and at the end he and God "do the dance"...I'd say a greater understanding was there. Considering this is a modern take on Noah, and that a man in today's society, in a prolific position, turned away from that life to build an ark because God told him...that's a pretty big leap of faith. I don't want to give it all away, but I thought the "flood" angle was inspired.


There are even monkeys.


Anyway I liked it, and it's got lots of laughs for great family viewing.


Now I'm off to find a paddle, courtesy of Tropical Storm Cristobal. Our pool is now on the verge of being TOO full as we've had several inches of rain this week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A few more....

The exterior


The dining area, with the door to the deck, which goes down to the pool...



The sitting room with the sofa bed, and in need of pictures on the wall...just to the right of the door is my piano, not pictured.



And a new family motto...we saw the pillow and had to have it. Words to live by!



Pictures of the new house - FINALLY!

I finally have some pictures of the new house to share. I'm not going to go overboard and show you every room, but I thought you might like to see my office and a few other rooms.

First up: My office. 2 views here...one from the door from the foyer, and the other from the family room. I can close it off from the family room via pocket doors, and from the foyer with a french door. We have 2 desks in here - I have my OWN computer and space now! Wheeee! A new filing cabinet...so much more attractive than the old metal versions, don't you think? My futon for curling up and reading or working on those silly copy edits, and a brand new bookcase considering the movers ruined my other one. No pictures on the wall yet except one...This one is called SUNDAY MORNING and it's a signed limited edition print by cover artist Larry Roibal, who did my cover for Hired By The Cowboy.


I love working in here with the windows open...I can look outside at our front yard and hear the birds as well.

Next up - the kitchen. Again with the pocket door, because that closes the house off from the garage door, the half-bathroom and the laundry room. Mostly we leave it open, at least for now. But look at all the glorious cupboard space! And my island with a wine rack! It's a dream. The table and chairs "nook" is bayed out, with a door to the deck.




Then we have the bathroom. Bathrooms as a rule are not a highlight, unless you've had 4 people sharing ONE, then having an ensuite is a huge deal. The one on the right is a pic of the tub - which is jetted. Ahhhhhhh. The other pic is of course the pedestal sink...and beside it, though you can't see it, is an oversize shower. It is, of course, connected to the master bedroom, which is also connected to the walk in closet.















Here are my stairs....I love them too. Or at least the look of them. I am getting exercise going up and down - we lived in a bungalow for 11 years! There are fifteen of them.







And finally, this is the very front portion of our yard. We busted our butts and cleaned it out on Saturday, and then mulched it. I took this picture from our bedroom. This is what I see from my office window as well.




So this is our little bit of heaven...now I'd better get to work!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blogland

I'm blogging today over at Tote Bags n Blogs about my 10 favourite things about summer...in particular, THIS summer. Come on over!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Book Blog, number 27 AGAIN

It's a good think I'm a writer because apparently I can't count. Thank goodness the little ticker on E-harlequin keeps me up to date...anyway this is book blog 27, as I must have skipped a number somewhere along the way. I need to write a synopsis this morning however so the review is brief...but I wanted it to count on e-harlequin's challenge so I added it in.

Number 27 is A Match Made in Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad, Love Inspired.

It's a sweet story about past mistakes and finding love again, and part of Janet's Dry Creek series. If memory serves, the next book is about the cafe owner and her old flame a musician...it certainly was set up in this book.

Sorry to be so brief but writing a synopsis is hard enough. Writing it about a book I haven't written is 10 times harder. Then it's off to get our driver's licenses switched over, and try to make sense of more of the house for the weekend.

Book Blog 27 - Dark Prince


I read Dark Prince (Zebra) by Eve Silver...I met Eve last December in Calgary and ever since really wanted to read some of her work.

I wasn't disappointed.

It was a gothic blend of romance, mystery, and edginess that I really enjoyed. Really atmospheric and it kept me turning the pages.


I'm still plugging away at revisions...today should do the trick though, and I have a new bookcase coming tomorrow after my office bookcase was damaged in the move.

And I found out that, after commenting about Dickens, that 2 Masterpiece Theatre productions of early 09 are Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop. To be honest I watched MPT productions of Great Expectations and Bleak House and liked them, so I'll probably watch anyway. There is also a 2 part series starring Billie Piper coming in September that I will likely watch.

I'm currently reading "Beyond Band of Brothers" by Dick Winters. He mentions flying over the Channel Islands going to Normandy. It made me think of the MPT series Island at War which I really loved and always felt never truly ended...it was a very open conclusion and I longed to know what happened.

Right-o. Work calls.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

WELCOME HOME MARK!


I interrupt regular blog postings to say a big WELCOME HOME to Mark Graham, who hopefully has had NO flight delays en route from Kuwait and is back with his family after several months in Baghdad.


Mark is the US Marshal that helped me so generously with the research for Falling For Mr. Dark and Dangerous. I've sent him a little welcome home prezzie...a copy of the book. Do you suppose he'll read it where the boys can see him?

I "met" Mark through my husband; a bunch of guys that enjoy blowing things up online in their spare time. He's got a great sense of humour and so when the time came, I asked and he said Sure! He sent answers to questions and pictures, and we had a few laughs too. I hope that when my family is in Florida next year, the two families get to meet up for some wobbly pops (and not so wobbly for the jr. contingent.)

Anyway, glad you're home safe and sound, Punisher. :-)

And the first official review (other than RT) is out for Dark and Dangerous, over at Romance Reader at Heart. Reviewed by Kay and given 4 Roses! I loved her line: "when love comes calling, there's nothing to be done but open the door and let it in!" You can read the whole review HERE.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How do you do?

I got this from Michelle.

The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. How do you do?

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE. --

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

For some reason there is no 44 or 51!

I have read 29, which isn’t great but not that bad. A confession: I can’t make it through Dickens. And some of those listed I’m ashamed to say I’ve either seen the movies made of or listened to the dramatisations, and I didn’t cross those off either. Those titles (ones I have seen but NOT read) equal 12.

As well, some of those selections are more than one volume. For example the complete works of Shakespeare, which I’ve read, and Harry Potter which is 7 books, as well as the whole Narnia series. And some I've read others by that author but not that particular book.

I’ve favourited some with italics, but of them all, my very favourite is Jane Eyre.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fall Workshop In Calgary - Rebecca York and Allison Lyons


Whether you're a writer looking for a great, informative weekend of workshops and pitches, or a fan of Rebecca's, this might get your attention! The weekend begins with a booksigning with our "headliner" Rebecca York, but also including CaRWA authors such as Vivi Anna, me, and Pamela Yaye. I can personally guarantee this is a great time...so much so that when we moved I pledged to fly back for it. Read on....


WELL-KNOWN ROMANCE WRITER COMES TO CALGARY

For its annual fall workshop, The Calgary Association of the Romance Writers of America (CaRWA) is thrilled to host REBECCA YORK, bestselling and award-winning author of 115 novels of romantic suspense and paranormal fiction.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Rebecca’s calibre coming to town,” said Tawny Stokes, president of CaRWA. “She’s won praise from the big names in the romance field, people like Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz.”

“Rebecca’s also known in the industry for her generosity of mind. Every writer of commercial fiction is guaranteed to benefit from her wisdom.”

The CaRWA workshop is on October 18, 2008 from 10 am to 3:30 pm at the Greenwood Inn NE, Calgary. REBECCA YORK will run two workshops: TENSION: Keeping Them on the Edge of their Seats and THE MARRIAGE OF PLOT AND CHARACTER: You can’t have One without the Other.

Also attending will be ALLISON LYONS, senior editor with the New York Harlequin office. Ready to shop for all NY Harlequin lines, she will take pitching appointments immediately following the workshop with any interested workshop registrant.

As part of workshop events, there’s a booksigning at Sunridge Chapters on Friday, October 17, 2008 from 4 – 6 pm. CaRWA authors and Rebecca York will be there to meet the public. “We did this last year with Brenda Novak, NY Times bestselling author,” said Tawny Stokes. “It was terrific fun, and a great way to meet readers and writers.”

The workshop is priced at $75 CaRWA members / $85 non-members. To register, go to http://www.calgaryrwa.com/ and follow the links.

For more information, contact:

Moira Stelmack
Program Chair, CaRWA
stelmack@hotmail.com

Tawny Stokes
President, CaRWA
tawny88@shaw.ca

Focus

Well, the time for dilly dallying and shilly shallying is well and truly OVER. I spoke to my editor yesterday and came away with a second round of revisions for The Italian's Surprise Proposal. Hopefully I will do them right and that title will change. The problem with these revisions is that they are the kind that actually sound easy but are more difficult to execute. I look at the comments and then at the book, and then back at the comments and back at the book....and still I'm not sure what to change. So I'm really struggling and I need to get them in by the end of the week.

Then I spoke to another author for nearly 2 hours....we're working on a project together and doing all the ground work now. The other thing that needs to be done in the next 10 days is a workable synopsis for that story. I am spoiled. Most of the time I send my editor a blurb with the generalities - who the characters are, what the main conflicts are, and an assurance that I'll fill in the blanks and wrap it all up with a happy ending. This is a little different. Because the two of us are writing linked stories that are happening concurrently, I can't be nearly as ambiguous as I normally am. So that's on the docket as well.

And then there's that last chapter of BAWB that I've been ignoring, but I can't any more. I need to finish it up once these revisions/synopsis writing are done, so that I can begin the new story fresh without loose ends. In case you haven't noticed, I don't do well with loose ends.

Added into that, when most are at RWA Nationals, I'm at my mum's wedding, and there's still a lot to be done around the new house....

Yep. Focus.

I CAN do it. I have before and will again. I think sometimes you just pretend you don't have to and then suddenly can't ignore it. As my cp said recently, once I get the bit in my teeth I just go. And after reading The Creative Habit, I know that part of my attitude lately has to do with the complete absence of a regular schedule. I thrive on my work habits. When the world is in sync is when the dh is working and the kids are in school and we do the whole routine. I work fewer hours, actually, but I accomplish more. For right now, that means cutting out any time that's not productive...that's not something that needs to be done (blogging the exception, naturally).

Anyway now I need to get to it, as this afternoon I have to run to the grocery store, the post office, and then get my berries to make jam. I should be able to get the end of the strawberries and the early raspberries and do it all in one go.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lizzy

Darn that Michelle.

We are twins....though I suspect it might have gone towards a Dashwood if I'd responded differently to the crisis question....

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back

I'm back...what a weekend. Thursday was a dip in the pool at my sis's...then Friday was running errands with my mum. We got home and she made brown bread and I threw together supper as she had a shower to go to. The kids went with eldest sis for a drive and I went to my bff's for a drink. Got home...kids in bed...me tired.

Saturday we got up and went to market. We met my niece there and then took her shopping for a dress for the mum's wedding. She and I got similar styles though hers is solid and mine is print. Neither of us have shoes. We almost also bought nearly identical casual outfits (silky shirt and capris) but I was not as eager to spend as she was, lol. My girls have their dresses but got hair accessories and jewelry to wear. We met up with eldest sis again and her youngest and she went home with TWO dresses, lol. She is so cute I can't really hate her for being a size 0. Even if she is still a teenager. I was NEVER a 0.

Saturday afternoon mum wasn't home yet with the fiance, so we went to elder sis's for a quick swim. I was all ready to leave when I was informed that mum and intended were coming over...we ended up staying late, having hamburgers and strawberry shortcake and the girls went tubing. Only trouble was...we then had to go to the fiance's for a quick house tour and then back to mum's to load in my furniture that I brought back with me. SIGH.

Up early this morning and drove back. But the good news is after only a month in the house, it was HOME when I came back to it. It was a great feeling.

Now I'm dithering between watching North and South or reading.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A weekend offline, and translations

I'm not going to be online this weekend as I'm spending time with my mumsy before her grand day (the wedding). So you all be good and read lots or write lots or garden or do whatever you like to do best on weekends. Just load up on sunscreen and fluids of your choice and have a grand old time - I'm going to.

But before I log off, I'm gonna share some nice news, and that's that 2 more translations are out this month.

First off, Marriage at Circle M has been picked up by Portugal.


Conta-me os teus segredos

Era difícil guardar segredos numa cidade tão pequena…

Grace Lundquist queria ocultar a sua dor. Bela, trabalhadora e sempre alegre, toda a gente a adorava…Mike Gardner sabia que Grace escondia alguma coisa. Por muito que tentasse afastar o bonito e forte rancheiro, Grace não podia negar a atracção que existia entre eles. O problema era que nunca poderia dar a Mike o que ele mais precisava: a sua própria família. O que ela não sabia era que o que Mike realmente desejava era estar com ela.



And The Soldier's Homecoming is out in Spain. I knew it was being released, but had only seen the amazon.com listing which is for October.


Retomar la pasión

La guerra lo había cambiado, pero ella conquistaría de nuevo su corazón
Jonas Kirkpatrick se había marchado del pueblo sin mirar atrás para convertirse en soldado, pero Shannyn lo veía cada día en los ojos verdes de su pequeña.

Seis años después, Jonas volvió a casa siendo un hombre muy distinto al muchacho despreocupado que Shannyn había conocido en otro tiempo. Endurecido por la guerra, Jonas era incapaz de abrir su corazón a nadie.

Hasta que descubrió lo que había dejado atrás al marcharse: un vínculo irrompible con una niña que no sabía que existiera… y el amor de la única mujer que podría hacer que volviera a sentirse completo.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Book Blog and Contests


Book Blog 26 - THE CREATIVE HABIT by Twyla Tharp


Michelle Styles is horrible in that she keeps me spending my book budget. Of course she will, in turn, blame this on Anne McAllister. I'm not sure if it was Anne who suggested this one or Kate Hardy, but whoever it was, thank you.


This book makes a lot of sense, not about the craft of writing but about the technique of being creative and how forming habits frees creativity. I can't recommend it enough to those who write, paint, dance....even in business. Habit can really up your productivity.


Some of my favourite quotes:


"Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity. Self-reliance is a happy by-product."


"Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing now with what we have experienced before."


"Without passion, all the skill in the world won't life you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life."


"Sometimes you can't identify a good idea until you've considered and discarded the bad ones."


Most of all though, her last page really resonated with me. She relates to the reader what happened on 9/11 and how she called all her dancers and told them they didn't need to come to rehearsal the next day. Every one of them showed up. What stayed with all of them was the instinct to dance. She says "even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up. I cannot think of a more compelling reason to foster the creative habit."


Neither can I. I began writing my first novel shortly after 9/11 because I was searching for just this habit to accomplish exactly this thing. Creativity got me through and opened up a whole new world that became a career.


Before I go, don't forget to enter my contest. All you need to do is send me an e-mail at donna@donnaalward.com for your chance to win this month's prize - a signed copy of FALLING FOR MR. DARK AND DANGEROUS, bookmarks, magnets, a Mills and Boon postcard, and some other trinket I find in my travels. I find little meaningful things harder and harder to resist!


And over at the Harlequin Romance Authors Blog, Jessica Hart is the Spotlight feature and she is giving away a copy of her new release, NEWLYWEDS OF CONVENIENCE as well as a Jessica Hart tote bag.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Book Blog 25 - The Price of Redemption

The Price of Redemption by Pamela Tracy

I beg pardon for brief reviews...after the move I'm desperately trying to catch up still, but I wanted to log a few reviews for the Eharlequin challenge.

THis is a good book, with a solid story that's not outweighed by the faith element. This is the kind of plot/faith balance I like in a Love Inspired.

Missed Book Blog- Mistress in Private


I somehow posted this on e-harlequin but neglected to cross post it here, according to my search.


I picked up this book thinking to read a chapter or two, and couldn't put it down.


Julie is a friend of mine and as a bit of a gag, I entered the contest to win one of 20 copies on I Heart Presents. I won one! it's been sitting in my bag of books for travel but I dug it out the other night (as my bookcases are now all packed).


It's a page turner. I loved Jane. I loved Jonny. There was one point where I was ready for the identity confusion to be over, but once it was, it was cracking. There conflict of the characters was really tight and layered in perfectly. And the hot stuff....was good and hot. :-)


Great job Julie....now I think there's only one of your Modern Extras I haven't read. I'm definitely going to have to remedy that.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Frustrated

I have to admit, I'm getting a little frustrated. A lot of the time I feel like I'm spinning in circles....so much to do and I get little bits done in snippets but nothing feels truly accomplished.

One of the things is reading. I have a stack of books waiting to be read...books I'm ANXIOUS to read....and somehow it gets relegated to the bottom of the list...because it's not a priority.

I've got a chapter to finish. It doesn't seem to be getting done either.

I admit I'm having a terrible time focusing, partly due to the fact that the entire family is in the house...kids are on break, husband is working from home. We are in the new house but there are still things unpacked. Expense claims to fill out. Business type stuff that I didn't do for the month we were offline. A garden that is suffering from neglect and needs my attention. A list of "little" things that needs to be done as long as my arm.

So yep. Reading is falling wayyyy down on the list.

It's especially frustrating because what I'm reading now is GOOD. Really good. And I so want to get back to logging books for the 100,000 book challenge on Eharlequin.

Anyway as I told my mum (who is also in the moving thing right now), somehow it all manages to get done, we just hope we're still sane at the end.

And dammit, tonight I'm going to read a chapter.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Read my smooch...

An excerpt from FALLING FOR MR. DARK AND DANGEROUS is up at Cataromance in their "Smooch of the Day" feature.

You can pop over and give it a read HERE.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Give me Five: Feed Nova Scotia

As I was wading through my to-do list, I realized that some royalties had made it my way and I had yet to make my 5% donation as I'd pledged earlier this year. Along with that was the realization that I'm now living in a lovely community in the nicest house I could have imagined, with food on the table and no question of where the next meal is coming from.

So giving to a charity that helps those in the reverse of my situation seems a no-brainer.

My latest donation has just gone to a charity called FEED NOVA SCOTIA, and here's a little bit about them:

Mission Statement

FEED NOVA SCOTIA's Mission:Our immediate goal is to feed hungry people.
Our ultimate goal is to eliminate chronic hunger and alleviate poverty.


Founded in 1984, FEED NOVA SCOTIA is a not-for-profit, non-denominational charitable organization working to eliminate hunger in Nova Scotia.Formed by Nova Scotia's food banks, resulting from the need for a central collection and distribution centre, FEED NOVA SCOTIA serves more than 155 member agencies across the province. Each month, over 40,000 Nova Scotians access these member agencies, which include food banks, shelters, soup kitchens, breakfast programs, prepared meal services and emergency food assistance programs. It is through the support of the community that FEED NOVA SCOTIA is able to continue its two-part mission: to feed hungry people as well as focus on the development of new programs that aim to end chronic hunger and alleviate poverty.

If you're interested in making a donation, you can click HERE to be taken to their page on CanadaHelps.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A new release for The Soldier's Homecoming, and a new contest


I happened across this at Amazon and I think it's pretty exciting...perhaps because it's another first but you know any time a book is picked up by another market, it's a good thing.

The Soldier's Homecoming is being released in Large Print by Thorndike Candlelight Romance. It is slotted for August 20.

I don't have pictures yet as the dh still has to put together his desk and set up his pc, but today I am working in my office! I have the desk, a brand new pc, a new filing cabinet and a futon. I love the futon. It gives me a place to read if I want, and it's more sleeping space for company. It has a very nice cushion that I found to be more comfortable than many sofa beds.
My newsletter has just been sent, complete with details of a new contest. This one is for everyone. Send an e-mail to donna@donnaalward.com for your chance to win a copy of Falling for Mr. Dark and Dangerous, some killer chocolate, a postcard, and who knows what else. During the course of the move I've gotten into the groove of shopping. VERY dangerous, folks. I see it, I buy it. However I would love to share some of those "catch my eye, touch my heart" kinds of things with a lucky reader so be sure to enter! I'll do the draw at the end of the month.

Anyway today is trying to rush some review copies of Falling For Mr. Dark and Dangerous since my author copies just arrived...an address mixup due to the move delayed them a bit. And I also have my contest winner's book ready to post. I see a long trip at the post office in my future!

Catch you on the flip side...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday...with a lot going on!

There's lots for me to get into a short post today so get ready!

In the spring alumni magazine for St. Thomas University, alumni that write for a living were featured. I was excited to be involved, and discovered the cyber version of that blurb online. You can read it HERE!

In this month's RWR I get a mention in Julie Rowe's article on Voice. My friend Diane Craver picked up on it and posted about it on her blog. Check it out.

I'm also blogging about having a room all to oneself to work...at THE PINK HEART SOCIETY. I'd bring up the lovely graphic however, we're moving the office furniture in today which means I'm still on the laptop which means most of my pics are on a boxed up hard-drive!

I've also been totally remiss in getting out a recent newsletter, so bear with me another few days and hopefully I'll have a website update and a new newsletter and contest. Life is slowly getting back to normal, but I still predict a very busy summer as I haven't even begun working on the yard yet, we're still trying to get the inside polished and put together. Now we're down to painting some trim, painting the hall and half bath downstairs (easy peasy), and cleaning the upstairs blinds which I might splurge and hire to have done.

Moving on....

Eharlequin has a new promotion on - buy 2 books get the 3rd free. The selection is HERE, and lo and behold FALLING FOR MR DARK AND DANGEROUS is one of the books chosen...and so is Matthew's Children by my RWA chapter -mate CJ Carmichael, and Taken By The Viking by my critique partner Michelle Styles.

And in case you didn't get it...it's July, which means Falling for Mr. Dark and Dangerous is released on e-harlequin, so you can get it early if you don't want to wait for it to hit store bookshelves on August 12.

Now I have to get to work...I have a chapter to critique and another to write before I can do that web update.....how did it get to be Wednesday already?