Friday, October 30, 2009

November is gonna be a good month...

Errands and promo stuff due ate up my morning, darn it.  But I'm moving forward now on Chapter Six and hopefully thing will pick up speed.

November however is shaping up to be a good month for books.

First we have the North American release of Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage (UK direct and online).

Then we have the hardback release of One Dance With The Cowboy.

And THEN we have The Rancher's Runaway Princess - in Italy.

Finally, Hired: The Italian's Bride is out in Portugal.

Now that's something to cheer about!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pouting

I'm working on bringing chapter five up to scratch courtesy of my CP and the dentist had a cancellation so I took the opportunity to move an appointment ahead.  But I'm pouting.  Partly because I'm COLD - my fingers can't seem to stay warm lately - and mostly because I really wish the dh were home.

We knew when he took this job it'd be a lot of travel, but every now and again it just feels like a little much.  Much of this year it seems we've had very little of the time we've been used to. Either he's been away, or when he's home there have been other things going on.

I kinda miss having him all to myself sometimes.  :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caring is Sharing, right?

Ok so you know it's NOT a  good morning when you wake up with a headache, have to drive one kidlet to school while it's still DARK, stop at Tim Hortons for a bagel and coffee and...drive away from the drive thru without your food.

Stellar.

At least I was still in the parking lot when I clued in, parked, went in, and had a laugh with the girl behind the counter.  But still.  Sigh.

So today's topic - sharing e-books.  A conversation erupted on amazon's forums after a twitter incident last week and let me say that once people got over the whole urge to lynch the people involved the conversation was kind of interesting.  It brought up all sorts of points about what constitutes sharing and what constitutes piracy, and I learned a lot.

I learned that you can have six devices registered to your kindle account, and that there's a loophole that makes it so all those devices don't have to belong to you.  They just have to be registered to your account.  So the woman that bought a book and put it on her friend's devices was within the TOS.

So...is this right or wrong?

It's a slippery slope, because we got talking about sharing books.  Most people I know read books, share them with friends, borrow them from friends, pop into a used bookstore, donate books to different places.  Heck, I do it myself. Is this wrong? 

Most authors I know also agree that word of mouth - reader recommendation - is an author's best friend.  If someone goes into Barnes and Noble, picks up my book, reads it, loves it, and gives it to their sister to read, I'm going to say hell yeah.  Maybe the sister will become a fan, or maybe she'll tell two friends...the simplest form of viral marketing there is.

But most people all agree that e-books are a different issue.  For one thing, when you give someone the book, you are actually making another COPY of that book, and that goes against copyright.  So...I get paid for the first copy, but I don't get paid for the copy you just sent your friend. You also have no say about what that person does with it.  Maybe you recommended and sent a copy trusting they'd be honest with it, but then maybe they send a copy to someone...and so on.  At this moment we have three copies of the book on the go and the author has made royalties on one.  Maybe one of those people decides they should pop it up on a torrent or file sharing site.  And there we go.  You can't control what happens to it after you've sent that file to someone else. 

The difference between sharing a paper book and an e-book is that with a paper book there is only ONE COPY floating around. 

And yet - of course we want those readers to recommend our books to other readers.  The stupid thing is...the vast majority of e-book readers out there are simply dedicated readers.  It's a minority that are causing all the uproar.  But then - isn't that true with most things?  :-)

Barnes and Noble have launched their "Nook" device and with it a lending feature.  This allows you to lend a book to someone, but during that time, you cannot access the file.  I'm not 100% sure of the time frame but I believe it allows you to lend it for 14 days.  After that - back to the original owner.  This feature is also coming under scrutiny.

Libraries are now lending e-books (hooray, I say!).  In the same way, you borrow the e-book.  On the due date, you cannot access that file anymore.  I love it.  I truly do.  Why?  Because it is fabulous for those people who can't get out to the library.  And because libraries that might not have copies of my books because they are unavailable can still add me to their circulation.  Case in point - the Halifax Public Library bought up my backlist on e-book when one of my readers requested it. 

The problem is we need to make things as user friendly as possible.  Being an author, I buy my online music and I purchase dvds rather than download from sites.  But what happens when I try to obtain a song or a show and I keep hitting brick walls?  Look, I understand the temptation.  We need to make our books accessible to readers so they don't have to look elsewhere.

At the same time, we need to protect copyright. Right of First Sale means that once that book is sold, the consumer can do what he wants with that book in regards to ownership.  The catch is, the consumer cannot make a copy.  When you share an e-book, you're making another copy. 

Complicated issue, isn't it?  And there are SO many opinions on the matter of DRM (digital rights management) and what it should be, is, and isn't.  At the end of the day, here's what I know for sure.  The e-book market is changing - and faster than I expected.  With change comes adjustment, and like any other development, a lot of the time it is a matter of playing catch-up.  It's exciting and perhaps a little scary to see it all unfold.  And while I'm keeping my eyes and ears open, the number one thing I'm going to do is keep writing books.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mess in Progress (and that's okay)

Working on: Doorstep Baby
Listening to: Hmmm gotta decide what cd to put in!
Reading: Secret Sheikh, Secret Baby - Carol Marinelli

I read a lot this weekend. End of the week I finished off Dreams of the Oasis IV from Ellora's Cave, which was okay but the problem lay with me and simply that some of the content was not my thing (and that had nothing to do with sensuality and more to do with story type).  Then it was on to finish Falling For Gracie by Susan Mallery.  Can you believe this was my first book of Mallery's?  I wish I hadn't taken so long; it was so enjoyable, the best book I've read in a long time.  Her construction was so solid, so well balanced between character and plot, quirky and yet emotional...just wow.  I definitely had some "Can I be her when I grow up?" moments.  And finished it with a happy sigh.

Then yesterday I read His Baby Bombshell by Jessica Matthews and I know now why those that read Harlequin Medicals are so supportive of them.  To me it read very much like a Romance but with a medical backdrop that I truly enjoyed.  I find medicine very interesting so it made for a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

So today I'm back to working on the mess in progress.  I call it a mess because it isn't coming out all pretty and easy, and I'm having to tweak and adjust and especially layer as I fight for words.  I refuse to let this stress me.  1) I always somehow manage to make it to the end and 2) usually it frees up at some point and some of it comes a little easier.  Most importantly is giving myself permission to write a mess for the first draft.  That's what they are for.  So many times I don't understand why things are not flowing right until I move forward, and can look back at it and see where I've gone wrong.  And sometimes it's not even wrong, it's just missing an element and once I know it I can fix it and it all comes right.

So, it's a mess in progress and that's okay.  The important thing is to keep moving forward, and craft it into a much better story as I go.

Oh and I think I need to stop knitting so much.  My left hand is starting to feel a little RSI-ish.

UPDATE:  Very very close to 2k today.  Huzzah!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun stuff!

Working on:  Doorstep Baby
Listening to:  Piano practice
Reading: Falling for Gracie

Today we have fun stuff!

First of all, there's an interview with me up at the Finding The Write Words blog - go check it out.  Darlene is lovely and it was a pleasure to do the interview with her.  While you're at it, check out the other interviews she's posted this month.


Today is also Freebie Friday at eharlequin! Buy two books, get this one free. If you haven't bought Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage yet, this is your chance. Don't forget to use the code from the right sidebar to save another 10%, and if you spend over $25, you get free shipping.




Mills and Boon Australia has a fab offer on - purchase this Christmas title and they'll send you three more books for 1 cent!

Yesterday I put out the call for my 12 Days of Christmas contest...remember last year's?  I think there were over 18 books and other goodies in the final prize.  There's a great - and varied - lineup for this year's event, so stay tuned for more info.  The fun will all start on November 30!

Now I'm off to top off my coffee and maybe grab some breakfast.  The kids are off today and I'm being low maintenance in my polka dot sleep pants!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

FINALLY

Working on:  Doorstep Baby
Listening to:  Kids home from school - until Monday
Reading:  Falling For Gracie - Susan Mallery

I finished Portrait of a Lover - and blogged it at eharlequin.  It wasn't my fave of Julianne's, but I still enjoyed it a lot.  She sets such a high standard that I'm not sure I could NOT enjoy her books.

Anyway I have been pondering and pecking away at the WIP and feeling awful for not having more words done etc.  Now, just as I have to move on for the day and do Mom and wife things, it started to open up.  I changed POV and finally it felt like I was covering new ground.  Anyway I added 2300 to the word count meter today - which is a horrid amount for 3 days work, but some weeks are like that.  Some chapters are like that.  At least I'm leaving it in a good place for tomorrow, I think.  And I'm a third of the way there.  There is still a week left in October, after which I am hoping to be at the half-way mark.  As things speed up towards the end, I am still in good shape I think.

I do suspect I have a lot of story to fit into 50 k though. 

I also signed my name on the dotted line re: Sold to the Highest Bidder, so now it's official.  Can't wait to see where I end up on next year's schedule.

And I'm curious about revisions and edits as well - first time with my new editor there so it should be fun.

Okay - so dishes to do - dinner to make - kids to deliver to badminton/drama and the dh and I are grocery shopping while they are there.  What a glam life!

Before I go - bon voyage to my CP Michelle Styles who is off to Istanbul tomorrow for a short vacation.  Safe travel and have fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

INSIDE ROMANCE

Check out Harlequin's INSIDE ROMANCE mag - in PDF.

In particular - the cover and also PAGE 11!

Very excited, me.

Wednesday

Working on:  Doorstep Baby
Listening to: The husband
Reading:  Portrait of a Lover, Julianne MacLean

Note to self - it is helpful when writing to make sure the scene includes a goal and perhaps some conflict.  Something that was missing yesterday.  Still not sure it is quite right but at least it is a bit better. 

It is a glorious fall day here.  The husband is doing a "late" day today so we walked the dog together this morning.  Most of the reds are gone off the trees but there are still lots of orangey and rust coloured leaves.  Add in a flawless blue sky and it is quite nice.

Now back to the WIP.  It has been tough getting back in the groove, and Chapter four is usually one that is a bit more difficult.  I am confident I'll hit my stride soon and it will move a little smoother.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Update...

Some of you might remember when Sold to the Highest Bidder was on my word count meter sidebar thingy.  Good news - heard this morning from Samhain that it is going to be on their 2010 schedule!

It was a wonderful way to start the morning.  Will update again when edits hit and I have a release date.

A review, and one more cover

Working on: Doorstep Baby
Listening to:  Michael Buble - Crazy Love
Reading:  Portrait of a Lover-  Julianne MacLean

The Pink Heart Society Reviews has posted a review of Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage, saying that both stories "leave you with a very good feeling in your heart."  Considering my "branding" is Emotional, Feel-Good Romance, I hope this means I've hit the mark.  :-)  You can read the whole thing here.

Now, finally, I have scanned the UK hardback version of One Dance With The Cowboy.  The UK paperback version is different because it is a 2 in 1, and they have used the cover that goes with Jessica Steele's book.  The US version is different again.  So...which one do you like best?



Monday, October 19, 2009

Lazy Weekend

Working on:  Doorstep Baby
Reading:  Portrait of a Lover, Julianne MacLean
Listening to:  new Michael Buble

Michael Buble is the perfect antidote for a drizzly Monday morning.  PERFECT.  He needs to do a Bond video for Cry Me A River. 

I'm also back to work on Doorstep Baby as my deadline is in six weeks and things are quiet around here again.  I'm working on Mr. Darceee to avoid certain distractions and breaking up the day into sections.  I do better when I am uber-organized so hopefully this means a really productive week.

I had a lazy weekend.  Saturday especially, we left the breakfast dishes on the table and the four of us curled up and watched The Incredible Hulk together.  All I can say is yum for Ed Norton.  Or perhaps Mmmm.  We did enjoy it.  Around 2 p.m. I finally changed out of my sleep pants and we ran some errands.  Came home and had hot turkey sandwiches for supper. 

Sunday the house demanded to be cleaned, so we got up around 9 and got started.  Finished by 12:30, hooray.  So then I made turkey soup and buns for supper and splurged and baked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  It's a recipe from childhood and I've been craving them lately.  I had some with my tea last night and that will have to do me.  The rest I'll save for after school snacks for the muchkins.  Did some knitting and laundry and began watching the Hornblower series with the girls.  They are getting to a great age - they love it.  Quite taken with Horatio, actually.

Now I'm off.  Before I go - catch up with an account of the AMBA lunch in London at the Harlequin Romance Author Blog, and be sure to catch Michelle's PHS post today for Male on Monday.  And watch the ad.  Oh MY.  Very nice.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Brrr - and catching up

It is COLD here this morning.  My dahlias are black since the frost yesterday took them out - I'll have to dig up the bulbs soon and put them up for the winter.  My planters also got hit big time so they've been composted.  But the lovely mums I bought are still standing guard at my front door.  :-) 

I'm over at eharlequin today at the Harlequin Romance Author Group Blog talking about risk taking in my writing and what traps I have to avoid.  There's a book up for grabs if you head on over and leave a comment.

As for me, I'm working on the minor revisions my editor sent on my partial, taking the dog to the groomers, being home for the service man to come inspect my boiler, and making a turkey dinner for my husband for when he returns from his trip.  So nothing much.

I did manage to finish book 60 for the year yesterday and here's the review I posted on eharlequin:

Labor Day - Joyce Maynard

I got this book in DC and grabbed it last week to read. It's not a long or hard read, and it's compelling, though very different from my usual fare. I read recently that the movie rights have been picked up and so had that in mind when I was reading. It could be an interesting adaptation.


There were a few niggling points. One being that no dialogue is ever placed in quotation marks. I kind of get the effect the author was going for, but I'm not sure it was necessary or that having it another way wouldn't have worked. I for one would not have felt distanced from Henry simply because of a little bit of punctuation. In fact, I think I would have been more engaged. Quotation marks let me know someone is speaking, whereas in several places it was related as dialogue but in conversational style. That punctuation clue can suck me into the scene even more deeply, as I can see and hear the scene rather than being a third party to it. So with me - the lack of it actually had the opposite effect than what I suspect the author was aiming for.


The other thing that pulled me out was Frank's sexual prowess only short days after having an appendectomy and then injuring himself escaping (no spoilers there, you find that out right away). I've had minor abdominal surgery. On day three or four, I was still sore enough to be cautious getting up and down not to mention sexual gymnastics.


But otherwise - quite compelling and thought provoking and an enjoyable read.

I also finished watching The Governess last night which was good but had potential to be more, I thought.  Tom Wilkinson was quite sexy actually and Minnie Driver is always wonderful.  But there were places it just stopped short of being great.

I also watched The Virgin Queen over the last month (but didn't blog it) which I really liked.  Tom Hardy normally doesn't do it for me but he surely did in his role of Dudley.  If you know many English actors at all you'll recognize a lot of faces in this 2 parter.  It was good, but I've seen a lot of productions about Elizabeth I and this is not my favourite.

Now I'm off...work to be done!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Big Excitement

First of all, I'm over at Tote Bags 'N' Blogs today talking about empathy and how my soft heart deals with bleeding on the page.  Come on over.  :-)

There was a great deal of excitement here last night.  In the end, when my husband called from Winnipeg, I said that in his absence I had to resort to several firefighters on our anniversary.

Shortly before the kids' bedtime, our smoke alarms went off.  They would shut off momentarily and then start wailing again - to the tune of half a dozen times.  I checked the house and found nothing, but they kept squealing and I'm sorry but I err on the side of caution.  I called the fire dept and they came out to check things.

We're in a small neighbourhood.  Two fire engines with lights flashing parked at the top of our drive while we stood outside was a bit of a sensation.

Thankfully all was clear.  I still don't know why they went off.  I turned off our air exchanger in case it was everyone's new wood stove fires in the cold weather sneaking through and triggering the alarms.  Thankfully the rest of the night was quiet. 

And I had fun joking around with the firemen.  Especially when at the end I had to give my name and phone number.   I figured if we had to stand outside in the brisk air we might as well have fun. 

I felt slightly stupid, but I figure it's better to feel stupid that way then to be stupid and not call - and have disaster. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anniversaries

Today marks 14 years of marriage for us.

Unfortunately, we are at opposite sides of the country and the dh says he thinks it is the first time we have been apart on our anniversary.  I think he must be right. 

However, our guests took us out for dinner last Friday to celebrate as we knew the dh would be out of town.  And last week he also popped in to a shop while we were downtown and bought me a beautiful necklace with my birthstone.  I don't generally like peridot but this really was cute and I think it's the setting that makes it.  I looked for a website so I could find a pic, but unfortunately the store doesn't have one.

Which brings me to a slight rant - why DON'T businesses in this day and age have a site?  It doesn't have to be elaborate either. But the number one place I go to research something is online.  If you don't have a site, and I can't google information, chances are you're missing out on my business because I'll find your competitor and go there.  I know first hand it does not have to cost a lot to maintain a web presence.  I can't imagine that I'm the only one that checks businesses out online before going shopping.  Especially specialty places.

Also the bad thing about going to someone else's house for Thanksgiving is the lack of leftovers.  The dh wanted a hot turkey sandwich something awful on Monday and do you think we could find one when we were out for lunch?  Nope.  He was very out of sorts about it all.  But good news.  I bought a turkey today and am going to cook it this Friday. 

Anyway  back to the biz at hand - happy anniversary sweetheart - and we'll celebrate on the weekend when you're home.  There's a hot turkey sandwich with your name on it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Final Tally

The final canasta tally is Boys 14 Girls 7.  Not a great showing by the estrogen brigade, but we sure had fun anyway.  Company is still here until Thursday, but the dh had to fly out for business this morning and won't be back until Friday, so we're missing our fourth.  Perhaps it will become three-handed cribbage and I might yet redeem myself. 

Last week was a crazy week, and hopefully I'll be back later with some pictures.  We went to Musquodoboit Harbour and Martinique Beach, Lawrencetown Beach and Eastern Passage one day.  Another day we went downtown and did the Harbour Hopper tour of Halifax - great fun - as well as a tour of the Alexander Keith's Brewery.  Also great fun that included...no surprise...beer.  Last Friday we went to Uniacke Estate Park where I got to go through the house again - I enjoyed it just as much the second time.  Saturday was Thanksgiving Day baking and then drinks at a friend's house.  Sunday we all piled in the truck and drove to Moncton area for Thanksgiving dinner with the dh's family - 22 of us in all, and then the 3 hour drive back.  And yesterday we wrapped up the long weekend with a trip to Lunenburg, lunch, and the Fisheries Museum which was much better than I expected.  In my travels I also managed a fair bit of Christmas shopping, which is good news as I am taking all the family prezzies up to my mum's in early November.

I did get my hardbacks for One Dance With The Cowboy - and yet a different cover - so I'm going to scan that one of these days and show that to you too.

And I heard from my editor, who was very pleased with my first three chapters of the new book, so I'll be diving back into that shortly and putting it together.  It's due end of November so no time to waste.

And now - I'm off to have a coffee as I've yet to have one today.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Slipping

Boys - 8, Girls - 4

We cannot seem to catch up, but it sure is fun trying. It all hinges on who picks up the frozen deck. Sigh. First game last night, everything I discarded ended up being in the hand of the person I was playing into, darn it!

Off touring so a short blog today. I hope to catch up with some pictures soon.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Save an extra 10%!

Working on: critiquing, first of the month admin, Jewell
Listening to: Chamber music today
Reading: Falling For Gracie, Susan Mallery

Yesterday I gave you the links to get Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage in Harlequin's presale. Today I have a few more for you.

First, because it's a Christmas title you can find it for 20% off in their Holiday Store along with some great titles by other fave authors (hello, did you SEE the November lineup for Romance? What a month!). I'm on page 2.

Then, since it's Free Book Friday, if you buy any 2 books you get The Vampire's Bride by Gena Showalter for FREE.

Did you know that orders over $25 get FREE SHIPPING?

AND....you can save an extra 10% from now until Dec. 31 on all your orders by clicking on this:


Extra 10% off print & eBooks with coupon code SAVEMORE. Ends Dec 31 2009

How great is that?

I'm adding the link to my sidebar, so anytime between now and the end of the year you can click it and get your extra savings.

I don't know about you, but if you have people you want to give books to for Christmas - and there's lots of choice considering this also includes MIRA and HQN - this is a great way to save off bookstand price. Harlequin/Silhouette books also make great stocking stuffers....