Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday...again

Friday has been a popular day this month.  It seems like every time I turn around, it's Friday.

The weather here is gross.  I totally thought school would be cancelled, but no.  It is not snowing as much now as it was (though that's not to say it won't pick up again) but the bus is going to have a horrible time getting up the hill.  As much as I enjoy a quiet work day, I'd rather have the kids home than worry about the bus.

Then there's the fact that the dh is supposed to be flying home this afternoon.  And the crappy roads he's going to have to drive between the airport and here.  We sometimes complain about the gas mileage as our car is an AWD, but days like today I'm really grateful.  It is a BEAST in the snow.

Ah yes.  Snow has already picked up slightly.  I should have kept my mouth shut.

I also fell while walking the dog this morning.  The youngest piped up, "Is there ice under the snow?" and before I could even think of an answer, down I went.  Answer enough in itself.  It didn't hurt (I did mention we got a decent dump of snow, right?) but my pride was a little dented as the neighbour's driveway was being cleared at the time and I did it right in front of the plow guy.  Nice work.

So, I'm nice and cozy and tucked into my newly de-cluttered desk with a space heater by my feet, happy I'm home but wishing everyone else was too.

In work news, I have been chatting back and forth with my editor at Samhain about cover art and I can't wait to show it to you, but it has to go through final approval before we can release it to the world.  I LOVE it.  Seriously love it. 

And if I can finish chapter 8 today I will be in good shape for next month - just over the 30k mark and I am already feeling a bit of the urgency pushing me to the end.  The only thing I'm really questioning at the moment is if I'm going to have to add scenes - if some things need to be shown in real time. I'll know better when I get to the end and see how many words I have to play with, and how the pacing reads as a whole.

But for now I'm off.  Despite the space heater, I am freezing and I think I will make a cup of tea.  Hopefully by tonight we'll all be under the same roof drinking hot chocolate and maybe watching a dvd.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pitch Contest Notes - 2

A few more notes today C&P'd from the pitch thread at eharlequin.  I am in the middle of another one of those "where is the time going?" weeks, so I'm trying to do this as efficiently as I can. 

Yesterday I did a short bit about proof reading.

For the most part, the pitches came through without very many errors. Sometimes there was the odd miss-typed key or funky space. Every now and again though I would find a spelling mistake, and so I would recommend running a spell check on your work before you send. I read through them as I printed and so the spelling concerns already had the red line beneath them.

Did I put anyone's aside because of a misspelled word? Of course not. Again, this is just a suggestion for when you submit elsewhere, so that your pitch etc is as polished as it can possibly be.

The most problematic thing is sentence structure. Awkward sentences, tense agreement, pronoun agreement; those types of things make a pitch difficult to read. If you have long run on sentences or funky syntax things going on, your pitch isn't as clear as it needs to be. This applies to any writing - synopses, query letters, your manuscript...

So here's my hint for you. Read every sentence out loud. If it feels awkward to read, if you read it and it doesn't come out smoothly and clearly, you might need to rethink it. I try to read every manuscript out loud from start to finish before I send it to my editor. I pick up on awkward phrasing, word placement and repetition that way, much more effectively than if I simply gave it an extra read through.

I'm also going to chat very briefly about keywords. In the same way that a logline condenses a story down to encapsulate what it's really about, the use of keywords in your pitch can really help with clarity and can show the strength of your plot and conflict.


It's hard to fit what you want to say about your characters and story in a few short paragraphs. REALLY hard. So one of the things I noticed in the pitches that I particularly liked was when certain words jumped out at me. Were these "hooks"? Sometimes. Not always. Some words that popped out were things like Marriage of convenience, secret baby (those are the hooky type ones), revenge, redemption (those are thematic) and survivor's guilt, painful divorce, secrets, trust, desertion (character issues).

You have limited words to get your point across. Using keywords can lend clarity without taking up a lot of space and again - giving the person reading it instant context.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Romantic Times

I need to post more of my pitch contest notes but time has been getting away with me the last few days in a BIG ugly way.

And since the morning got off to a rough start, I feel compelled to be less writerly advice and more good news and so I am only going to blog about the fact that my March release HER LONE COWBOY, which is the second book in the Cowboys and Confetti duet and features my one-armed hero, got a 4 from Romantic Times.

The reviewer said "Well-defined characters and a powerful conflict drive the plot, and the story's especially touching because of Noah's plight and inner strength."

I'm so very pleased because this is one of THOSE books that I hold especially dear to my heart.

Carry on.  I am off to pick up kidlets and come back to more work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pink Heart Picks Book Club


It's also Pink Heart Picks Book Club day and the convo about India Grey's Powerful Italian, Penniless Housekeeper is hoppin'!  Come on over and see, and find out what the pick for February is!

Pitch contest notes

While I go through the rest of the pitches and crit them, and wait for the first chapters to arrive, I wanted to share with the "pitchees" and my blog readers some of the observations I made while reading. 

I'm doing this over at the eharlequin thread, but for those of you not involved there I thought I would cross post on my blog.  So here we go.

The first post is on formatting and intro lines.

I was so pleased to see that many of the pitches followed the format that Winnie set out in her workshop! Getting a clear pitch that was approx a half page that hit all the high notes of the story made things so much easier.

I have to admit that I looked at these with a new respect for editors and agents who get tons of submissions every day that are on top of their other work. Let me tell you, when I picked up a pitch and it was clear, concise, and just like I'd requested, it was really appreciated. That's definitely something you should keep in mind when you're querying agents and editors. They are going to appreciate that you took the time to follow the submission guidelines as it makes their job that much easier. So thank you for those who did that.

I saw lots of loglines followed by a few paragraphs which was great. Loglines, by the way, aren't compulsory but it really does help with a word I've heard bandied about a lot lately - context. With a logline I can immediately put the story in a type of context and it really anchors the thought. So...I hope Suzanne doesn't mind but here's the logline from her entry:

"To Deceive a Duke is a Cinderella story with a Runaway Bride twist."

That's high concept. However other loglines are more summary rather than "hooky" and that's perfectly fine too. Here's Jamie Webb's:

"A former football player must decide what's most important in his life - love or the return to a dangerous career - before he can win the love of the woman of his dreams."

Nice, isn't it!

Now - about setting the tone for your pitch!

Do start your pitch e-mail with a short intro. Again, most people did this and to me it is just a simple courtesy. You wouldn't start a conversation without really saying "Hi" would you? And this doesn't mean you need to be particularly witty or chatty. It's just a polite opening that sets the tone for the rest of your pitch. That opening is kind of like an introductory handshake, if you will. Always a nice footing to begin with!


There were lots of pitches that opened with something like the following:

"Hi Donna! Thanks so much for doing this. Please find my pitch for "ABCD", which is targeted for Harleqin blah blah and is about 55,000 words."

That's nice. You know how you don't like getting rejections that say "Dear Author" and signed "Editorial"? Well, I would imagine most agents and editors prefer a brief, polite greeting by name before getting hit with your story. The majority of pitches did this, by the way.

I do want to mention to that this was also meant as "Practice" for you, so if you didn't open with a brief bit don't sweat it - just think about doing it next time when you're pitching to an agent or editor. :-)

It's a small thing, but I think if you want someone to care about the story you're sending, you should care enough to offer a small greeting by name. It's just courteous. And believe it or not - in this business, a little courtesy can go a long way.

Now, that being said, some people hit me with the story first and put the info as a closing rather than a greeting.  Some agents or editors may prefer this - again, this is only my perspective.  And really - if you keep it to a couple of lines, I don't think an editor or agent will mind the 20 seconds it takes to read your polite greeting. 

This isn't the place to write a half page about YOU though.  (And I will be tackling the difference between a pitch and a query later on).

Also I realized afterward that if you are doing something like a pitch session at eharlequin, you're only given 2 paragraphs to pitch your story and obviously the line and word count is a non issue because you are already pitching to a specific line.

So there are exceptions.  Check with the individual guidelines first and always.  The point is - being courteous and clear is ALWAYS a good idea!

Finally, I wanted to clarify what a pitch IS.

It is easier to say what a pitch isn't, when it comes to submitting.


A pitch is not a synopsis.

A pitch is not a first chapter.

In a pitch, I want to know who, what and how in a few short paragraphs. I'm going to get into the ins and outs later, but unless invited or it's in the guidelines, you don't send a chapter. And a synopsis is too long. A synopsis is usually a couple of pages and people struggle getting it down to one.

Someone did ask me in the questions if they could use their pitch for a synopsis and I think my answer was yes but with expansion. In a pitch I want the characters, conflicts, and a basic idea of how it plays out. With a synopsis, it's more detailed with character arcs, development of the romance, conflict, and a definite ending.


Ok.  Now I'm off to add to word count for the day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Perfect Pitch, 2010 Edition!

First things first - let's get right to what you want to know.


I narrowed the 80+ pitches down to about half, and then from there down to 11. Let me tell you, it's a tough job.

The 11 that made the shortlist are:

Jennifer Hilt
Joanne Cleary
Caroline Storer
Suzanne Forrest
Chelle Sandell
Jane Flynn
Soraya Nicholas
Jamie Webb
Stephanie Schneider
Jennifer Faye
Jodie Gergel

Narrowing it down to the FINAL FIVE was even more difficult. I let them sit and went back to them several times before deciding on the five who are now eligible to send me a first chapter. I'll critique it and hopefully be back next Monday with the final winner.

Joanne Cleary
Jane Flynn
Soraya Nicholas
Suzanne Forrest
Jennifer Hilt

Thank you to all who entered. Congrats to the finalists! I mentioned to my CP that the final five are such a tight field that it really is simply going to come down to the first chapter holding up.  It is going to be a tough, tough decision and I wish there were five of me to go around.

This week, I'll be posting some of my thoughts on the pitches in general, though each entrant will receive an e-mail with some specific feedback.  I learned a lot about pitching as I got to put myself in an agent's or editor's chair for a few hours.  Submitting what an editor or agent asks for must make their job easier and I'm sure it's appreciated.  People like things that make their job easier.  :-)  The majority of entrants did this and it was great!

Right - back tomorrow with a few thoughts and observations about the pitching process.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Busy...

Today is turning out to be manic.  So a couple of quick things before I move to the next item on my list.

First of all, there's a great sale at Mills and Boon. 

Romance is definitely in the air as Valentine's Day swiftly approaches. Leave nothing to chance in 2010 ~ make sure the men in your life deliver with this exclusive offer of 30% OFF all books and eBooks at www.millsandboon.co.uk until the end of January!



To claim your discount go to www.millsandboon.co.uk and start shopping. Enter the code CUPID11 into the promotion code box as you check out and your discount will automatically be applied to your order.

Since One Dance With The Cowboy is out this month, and also Mistletoe and Marriage is still available, I thought I might bring it to your attention.
 
Next up:  The pitch contest.  Today is your last day for entering, so get your pitch to me before midnight tonight EST.  I'm going to be reading the pitches over the weekend. 
 
And finally - tomorrow I'm guest blogger over at Praire Chicks Write Romance.  I was the Chicks' first guest blogger ever and that was just about a year ago, so it's a nice bit of symmetry.  Plus I think the post is something that writers in particular should read.  :-)
 
Right - off I go. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A NOTE ABOUT CONTESTS

I just checked my hotmail account and discovered there has been some confusion regarding this month's contests.

I always run my own website contest during a release month etc.  This contest is completely separate from the contest that might have come your way via the Newswire from Author Sound Relations. 

The Newswire asks a question, the answer to which is found in the Once Dance With The Cowboy excerpt on my site.  In the Newswire, the address given to enter is staff@authorsoundrelations.com.

But I think because people are going to the site, they are also seeing my personal contest on the home page and that might be causing some confusion.  I found tons of newswire entries in my inbox, and unfortunately since Lee at Author Sound Relations is looking after that contest, those entries aren't counted.  I've responded to those entries with the correct e-mail address.  If the reply is short it's only because I had so many entries to redirect.  :-) 

So:  to clarify.  To enter my website contest, send me an e-mail with the name of the ranch in One Dance With The Cowboy and send that answer to donnaalward@hotmail.com.

To enter the NEWSWIRE contest, name Jen's bakery (answer found in the excerpt) and then send that entry to staff@authorsoundrelations.com

Sorry about the mix up, but look at it this way - you have 2 different ways to enter to win now!  :-)

Finally responding to the meme....

Before I go further I want to point out that Borders Romance Buyer Sue Grimshaw is our Industry Insider guest at the Pink Heart Society today - and in addition to her wonderful interview, there's a $15 Borders e-gift card up for grabs to a commenter.  :-)


Ok.  I have been tagged a few times and haven't responded - honestly things have been so manic I couldn't wrap my head around it.  But today I'm finally going to do the Kreativ Blogger thing and tell you seven things about me that you probably didn't know. 

1. My favorite kind of apple is an Empire.

2. I can (or have) played four instruments in addition to singing.

3. I used to make up stories complete with dialogue while sitting on the lawn tractor.

4. I'm left handed, but my writing looks right-handed.

5. I hate driving in the rain since I totalled my car in 1993 when I hydroplaned during a thunderstorm at rush hour.

6. If I had had any boys, my first pick of a name had been Jared.

7. My T-9 and T-10 vertebrae are fused together and have likely been that way since birth.

I know I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but every time I think of it the people I try to tag have already been tagged.  So I'm not.  I'm just going to enjoy going around the web and reading the 7 random things other people have put up.  :-)

Now - back to the WIP, and later I am going to take the scoop and clear the snow from the driveway.  The school bus was a wee bit late this morning after the dump we got yesterday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Update...

I just found out that The Cowboy's Doorstep Baby has sold!  Revisions have gone through and all is well with the world.  No word on the official title (it ALWAYS gets changed) or release date but I'm sure I'll find that out in due time.

I am probably more excited about this than it truly warrants.  My only excuse is that since selling Her Lone Cowboy I ended up with a few rejections that knocked my confidence for a wee bit of a loop.  It feels REALLY good to have an acceptance e-mail.  And what makes it that little bit sweeter is that this is my 10th book for Harlequin Romance. 

It is a very nice milestone to meet.

Anyway, that's what's new.  In other news, dd2 came home today saying she and her partner had chosen to read some Poe aloud for language arts today.  She borrowed some books of mine, which made me laugh as she's NINE, and then she wondered whether to pick Shakespeare, Frost, or Poe.  She ended up going with the "dark, suspenseful" one, she said.

Geeks: The Next Generation, I'm thinking.

Oh, and incidentally - I broke the 20k mark today.  Not bad for a hump day, all told.

A TBR quandary

Working on: Chapter Five of UAS
Listening to: Liona Boyd
Reading: 74 Seaside Avenue

I have a problem with my tbr.  The problem is I have all my books written down and as I read one I check it off and log it on eharlequin for their book challenge.  There are a lot of checkmarks but a lot of NOT checked titles.  This bothers me.

The linear part of me wants me to go back to the beginning of the list and read the missed titles in sequence so that I can work my way through and not have any gaps.

The achiever part of me wants to read whichever books are quickest, so that I can cross MORE titles off my list faster.

And the small, teensy part of me that just wants to get lost in a story that turns my crank says, "Oh hell, just pick what looks good at the moment."

The problem for my linear side is that several of the books on the first page that are unread are very large books.  We're talking The Writer's Journey by Vogler (I must be the only writer on the planet who hasn't read it yet), Wives and Daughters by Gaskell (I think it's over 1000 pages) and Suite Francaise.  Also in that company are about 4 more single title length books.  The 12 books left on that page could fill up most of my year, and that doesn't include the 6 books I have coming to judge for the RITAs or the lovely category romances that I could read in a fraction of the time.

The problem for the achiever is that while the number of books read will be greater if I tackle the category books first, I have still had some of those other titles on the list for a long time and that bugs me.

So which part of my brain do I listen to?

Snow has started here and I am not looking forward to having to go out this afternoon even briefly.  There's no weight in the back end of my truck, and I have concerns about getting up the hill.

Now back to chapter five.  I am averaging between 1800 and 2000 words a day which is dead on schedule, thank goodness. I  should hit the halfway mark by the end of this week.  :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another day, another review....

Working on: Chapter Five of UAS
Listening to: something soothing and motivating is needed - any suggestions?
Reading: A Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer

My reading tally for the year is five so far as I finished Save The Cat! Goes to the Movies last night.  Craft wise it is not as relevant to me as the original Save The Cat!.  The book dissects several movies according to the three act structure.  That said, the section on Buddy Love is particularly relevant to writing romance.

Today it is moving on to chapter five. 

A definite bright spot though is the review I received yesterday from Cataromance for ONE DANCE WITH THE COWBOY.  I have to admit I got a bit sniffly about it.  Highlights include:

"Deftly written, powerfully emotional and resplendent with realistic and believable characters, tear-jerking drama, heartfelt conflict and breathtaking romance, One Dance with the Cowboy is a moving and tender tale about second chances and new beginnings that is simply perfect for losing yourself into on a cold January night!"

I couldn't ask for better than that!  There's more lovely things  in the full review too.

Now I'm off to add to word count.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Perfect Pitch Contest - 2010 Edition

Today marks the beginning of my Perfect Pitch contest.  Things are a little different this year, in that I'm holding the contest at eharlequin in conjunction with a workshop held last week by the fab Winnie Griggs - if you're interested in learning how to craft a pitch it's a must-read.  And I'm only taking pitches this week - instead of during the whole month.

But the results are the same - I will pick five finalists and read their first chapters, and of those five I will pick one person to mentor for 2010.

Specifics are set up on a special thread at eharlequin.  There you can ask questions etc.

I also want to say congrats to last year's winner, Sri Pammi, who has been so lovely to work with and is currently getting a requested full ready to send to Desire.

I'm looking forward to reading your pitches!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Reviews

Things are going a little late here tonight so I thought I'd take the chance and post a blog and then tomorrow morning I can launch straight into writing.  It was an eventful weekend. Between birthday parties, sleepovers, and an unexpected trip to the inlaws on Saturday (which is 2 1/2 hours each way) it ended up being a little hectic.  But I did manage to get groceries and clean the house thanks to the help of both kids and the dh, and I also managed to add 800 words to word count which is nice.  Every little bit helps.

I finished reading The Girl From Honeysuckle Farm by Jessica Steele and also Grace Happens by Jan M Czech.

A couple of reviews have come in for One Dance With The Cowboy as well.  The Romance Readers Connection rated it a four and said "This is a terrific category romance filled with relationship angst, sweet attraction, and a strong dose of small town ethics. Jen and Drew are characters I wanted to root for and readers will not be disappointed in this well-written book about the first of the Laramie brothers and the Lazy L ranch."

And Romance Reviews Today said "Even a friendship between these one-time lovers would be complicated, and adding the feelings that they still have for one another makes ONE DANCE WITH THE COWBOY an emotional and poignant tale."


Now...it's officially beddy-bye time as tomorrow is another work/school day. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

How can it be Friday...AGAIN?

I am not sure how it happened - today is Friday AGAIN.  The last two weeks have been an utter blur. 

Today I'm at the eharlequin Harlequin Romance Group Author Blog, talking about a little something that kept my week a bit off balance.

Tomorrow I'm over at Petticoats and Pistols hanging out with the Fillies.  It's always a great time over there and there is a prize to be won, so pop on over if you get a chance.

Now on with my day.  I'm actually fairly tired today and not sure why. Maybe because it's been sunny all week and today is cloudy.  Or the fact that I stayed up until after 1 Wednesday night reading and then it was after 11 again last night as the husband and I watched the NCIS and NCIS LA that we taped on Tuesday.

Either way-  banking and word count on the agenda.  And possibly the post office.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Book Reviews and Movies

Working on:  Chapter 3 of UAS
Listening to: Gotan Project
Reading: A Civil Contract - Georgette Heyer

I hit the 10k mark last night which felt REALLY good.  Objective is to finish chapter 3 today. I am currently looking at a chart that Deb Hale did on the 3 act structure as I know it will help immensely - already I know I need to have a turning point here in the plot/arc.  I liked her workshop on it so much I cut out the chart and taped it to the shelf above my desk for quick reference.

I will say though that research is taking a LOT of my time for a little bit of info - just making sure the details I include are accurate.  Slow and steady though and it will get there.

I have finished the first 2 reads of the year - A bit slow but considering the craziness of this month - the fact that I've read at all is a bonus.  The first book I finished was India Grey's Powerful Italian, Penniless Housekeeper.  I'm not going to review that today as I read it for the Pink Heart Picks book club at the Pink Heart Society and my review - and hopefully some discussion - will happen on the 26th over at the PHS.

The second book I finished is Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.

I've read both The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons and so The Lost Symbol was on my Christmas list. Especially seeing as I had my first trip to DC in the summer and the book is set there, I thought it would be cool to read and actually be able to relate to the setting. And it was! :-)


I have issues with Brown's writing at times BUT I ignore them in favour of the fact that he does keep me turning the pages and he throws in all sorts of (what I think are) clever twists. I also like the fact that all three books follow a theme of the marriage of science and religion to explain the world's deepest secrets. But you know, of the three - I STILL like The DaVinci Code the best.

The start was a little bit slow, but picked up and the last third was...well, read by me last night as I stayed up wayyy too late but had to know how it ended. I am never quite sure where Brown is going to go with things (hence the page turning quality). I did however guess quite early on the final place crucial to the plot as it made perfect sense to me. AND I will say that the last 20 pages - dragged. Way too much blah blah after the climax. It could have very easily been cut back.

A good read, not something I'd rave about but memorable.

As far as movies, I haven't watched many.  I think I mentioned we watched Burn After Reading which was just meh.  It was very Cohen Brothers, so if you like their work, you'll like this. 
 
And we watched He's Just Not That Into You.  I had heard many mixed reviews about this movie and so I didn't know if I was going to love it or hate it.  Turns out I loved it.  It reminded me a bit of Love Actually in that it followed several couples whose lives intertwined, with some happy endings and some not so much (Except not as good as Love Actually, which is in a league of its own IMO).
 
The main "spine" of the story was lovely and could have been a category romance in many ways.  I was DYING near the end because while in a romance you KNOW there is the HEA I wasn't quite positive that the movie was going to follow that pattern.  Justin Long's Alex was awesome and I loved his change in the end.  LOVED IT.  And I felt so sorry for Jennifer Aniston's character (I'm sorry I'm not remembering names - case of brain overload this month) and when she came into the kitchen and saw Neil washing dishes I cried.  That storyline was so good.  In that moment he was the man she could depend on for always, marriage certificate or no, and led to a really good ending of their story.
 
I kind of felt the overall message was that love is about being with people who want to be with you, and not settling when they don't.  And appreciating them when they do. 
 
Now - I've rambled on far too long and I have scads of work, so off I go.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DUH! *slaps head*

I forgot that today my buddy Renee Field is kicking off a new contest to celebrate launching her new website.  There are some great prizes to be won.  Just go HERE to see the questions in the scavenger hunt and how to enter.

As well we're chatting on the CoffeeTime Romance Chatters loop where you'll be able to read excerpts and find out more about the authors participating.  

Carry on!

Hump Day

How did it get to be Wednesday already???  Hmmm?  It is scary when life seems to go one speed and I am going another.

Notable things seen on morning walk:  The pileated woodpecker is back in the neighbourhood.  It was so cold on the morning walk that doglet kept alternating holding paws in the air while we waited at the school bus stop.  And we have very talented pheasants.  Lately they have been flying.  REALLY flying, which is kind of unusual.  Normally they give a squawk and a flutter and if they do fly it is short distance and kind of a hop from place to place.  The other day one flew up into the top of a spruce tree - I'm guessing a good 30 ft up.  Today, one soared - yes soared! - over my head and over the power lines and disappeared into the woods. 

Notable things from yesterday:  Just as I'm sliding dinner into the oven around 5 p.m., out goes the power.  It's winter here and without power - no furnace.  So on went the propane fireplace and we lit some candles, sat around the table and read.  The weather was clear so we expected it to be back on fairly quickly.  But oh no.  By 5:45 we were hungry and so bundled into the truck (dh is away) and thought we'd drive the few minutes into town for a sandwich at Subway or something.  Power is out in town as well...all the way down to the exit....all the way down through Waverley.  So we headed into Sackville and the girls and I had dinner at Boston Pizza which was very good.  We took our time and got home at 7:55.  The power in town was still off but the subdivision was on.  :-)  I called the neighbour to ask when it had come back on as our house was still very cold and it had only been on a few minutes, so what good timing on our part!

I am not blogging anywhere today but I do want to mention that today at the Pink Heart Society a new column is starting up - First Things First with Mira Lyn Kelly.  Mira is a brand new author to Mills and Boon Modern Heat/Harlequin Presents and today features her call story.  Why not pop over and make her feel welcome?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday

Working on: UAS
Listening to: cat dragging toy around - music later
Reading: Powerful Italian, Penniless Housekeeper - India Grey

Events of yesterday made output a poor effort, darnit.  Am trying to play catch up today.  Only I just remembered now that I forgot to send two important e-mails yesterday so I have to do that first. 

But I am still blogging about the web and today is my day over at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs talking about getting the year off to a fab (if not frenetic) start.  :-)

Sorry for the short post but work beckons.  :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

How Much is that Kitty in the Window?


New week - New start

Working on: Chapter 2 of UAS
Listening to:  Going to be Liona Boyd album Romanza - right after kids are out the door
Reading: STILL reading The Lost Symbol - but making definite progress and finding it hard to put down...despite any and all complaints about Brown's writing, he succeeds in keeping me turning the pages.

The New Start I mention in the blog title is thankfully not a new start to the book.  :-)  It is the beginning of a brand new week and I needed the weekend away from the book to mull over some things.  As a result the house got cleaned and we did some shopping and I critiqued a chapter and had my monthly RWA chapter meeting.  And now I feel ready to charge in.

This week also marks the release of ONE DANCE WITH THE COWBOY - if people have stocked early, you might find it now.  Release date is officially tomorrow.  If people stock late - hopefully you'll find it by the end of the week.  Or if you've bought online - it should ship tomorrow.  :-)  In case you haven't noticed, I'm pretty excited about this duet hitting the shelves. 

And because it's out tomorrow, I'm in the middle of promo as well.  Today I'm over at The Writing Playground with a very yummy post.  Or you can read an excerpt up at Fresh Fiction

I'm looking out my window at a fresh inch or so of snow and a beautiful pearly purple pink sky.  I am off to do the school run and walk the dog, on what looks to be a gorgeous winter morning. 

Friday, January 08, 2010

Where the heck did the week go?

Where did the week go?  A goal of 7500 words ended up at 5900, because I ended up deleting huge chunks of what I'd written (if I had those words, I'd have made word count easily).  Not only that but I realized my hero is devoid of goal and motivation so I need to go back and fix that.  I have an idea.  At least I hope it means no more deleting. 

The house is a mess and things are more cluttered than I'd like - and I don't work well in chaos, so this weekend will be getting everything in hand so that I start next week on target.  It is funny how quickly a well organized household can become disorganized. 


Anyway I have been promising more kitty pictures.  We have nicknamed him the VBC - Very.Bad.Cat.  He's really not, he just has his kittenish moments.  Like chasing our feet when we go to bed...heaven forbid if the dh scratches my back as I am pounced upon.  He also likes climbing up on my cpu.  But he and the doglet are friends now...sometimes playing and sometimes just touching noses.  Cats are remarkably low maintenance compared to dogs, but on the other hand dogs are much better at following commands...

Cats don't DO commands.


Which can cause a bit of a problem when I actually want to sleep and shut the bedroom door and he decides he wants to come in and cries outside the door until I open it....

That being said - he does a good job of keeping my toes warm at night.

These pics are from this afternoon - he discovered the fireplace heat and decided to stretch out, enjoy, and have a bit of a groom.

I'm off for the weekend before my head implodes.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Thursday update

Working on: Chapter 1 and 2 of Under Argentine Skies
Listening to: nothing
Reading: Both The Lost Symbol and Powerful Italian, Penniless Housekeeper

A bit of backtracking today - and finally I HOPE HOPE HOPE the third attempt at chapter one is the one that stays.  Bits of it have moved to chapter 2 and I haven't decided if they will stay or not (some will certainly go) but considering I was out all morning doing my civic duty, I think I did okay.  If I can do 2000 words tomorrow then I will still be on track with word count.

What it goes to show though is that sometimes you have an awesome idea for a scene in your head, but it totally doesn't work on paper.  And that as much as you love certain bits, sometimes it is better to delete even when it hurts.

Now I believe I am going to watch a movie with the dh.  Last night we watched Burn After Reading which was typically Cohen and while it had some funny moments it really wasn't my thing. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Crunch time

Working on: Under Argentine Skies
Listening to: Liona Boyd Romanza album
Reading: The Lost Symbol. No time to read lately.

I am working away on word count already this morning. Otherwise the day is relatively uneventful (besides my dirty kitchen).

The only "special" thing I have going on today is blogging over at the Pink Heart Society about working during "crunch time".

Back to it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A start...

Working away

Working on:  critiquing
Listening to: Muse:  Uprising
Reading: The Lost Symbol

I am working away - getting a chapter done for my CP and getting into word count after having a meeting this morning.  I listened to Boys Like Girls to get me in the frame of mind for the WIP and am currently listening to Muse to kick my butt with motivation.  When I listen to Uprising - they make me think of a present-day Queen.  Which is awesome.

Short blog though because I need to be adding to word count after getting a late start and I really have no news!  I am going to post more kitty pictures soon. 

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year, New Book

Working on:  Under Argentine Skies
Listening to:  Susan Boyle
Reading:  The Lost Symbol

Today marks the start of my new WIP:  which I have FINALLY titled Under Argentine Skies.  I tied myself in knots coming up with a title and for the longest time I thought it was going to be Holiday with the Argentinian Billionaire.  But I changed it.  I'm sure editorial will change it too, as what I've come up with is not typically a Harlequin-esque title.  But it works for my vision of the book and that's what counts at the moment.

I'm really looking forward to writing this one.  By the end of today there should be a word count meter on the sidebar and everything! 

I have also finished my accounts for 2009 so that is one thing less to put together come tax time.  I can start fresh with expenses etc. for 2010.  My house is clean and laundry managed (it's never ended, as we all know) and I have all my blogs etc. done for the month.  So while things are hectic I think I've done an okay job of managing and staying on top of things.  Today my newsletter went out and I also updated my webpage.  My UK cover for Her Lone Cowboy is up there and there is a new page for Sold To The Highest Bidder which comes out in April.  Now I'm just on tenterhooks waiting for the cover... you can read the blurb at Samhain too. I love the blurb - my editor did a great job with it.

January is also the release month of One Dance With The Cowboy - can't forget that!  I'm pretty excited about this duet hitting the shelves.  Official release is January 12.

I am supposed to be blogging at Cataromance today about Charities, and one in particular that goes along with One Dance With The Cowboy.  It's not up yet but then again on the East Coast we are a few hours earlier than many and people do need to have their morning coffee...fingers crossed it shows up soon.

Now -  I'm off for a quick lunch/snack and diving into the book!