Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Getting there...

I finally finished chapter four of The Rancher's Ready-Made Family, putting me at approximately 1/3 done.  Which is good news.  Barring weird and funky happenings, I'd love to finish the first draft of this by the end of April.  Of course lots can happen between now and then so it's a flexible plan.  Still. 

And I've also indulged in some fabulous reading - A trilogy by Julianne MacLean.  In fact I finished one this morning because I couldn't put it down.  I probably should have done some other things first.  But I cannot find it within myself to be sorry - it was way too enjoyable. 

However it does mean I still have a load of laundry to do and a trip to the post office before picking up kidlets from school.

And that is all that is exciting around here.   Right now it's just day to day drudgery!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pink Heart Picks day!

Today is Pink Heart Picks Book Club day!  Come on over and chat about Secrets of the Playboy's Bride by Leanne Banks - if you haven't read it yet you just might be convinced to pick it up before it disappears.  I've also announced next month's selection which is very exciting - the sort of thing that doesn't come around very often!

Otherwise I am working away.  This week and next are short weeks due to both Easter and appointments, so I need to make the most of the time I have.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Has Anyone Seen My Stone?

I am really, really happy to say that I've lost a stone since Feb 1.

Granted, a long time ago I had to go look up how many pounds were in a stone as that is not a measurement we use here! 

But a stone it is just the same. 

I'm not telling how much farther I have to go though.  ;-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What have I been reading/watching?

I haven't done a book or movie etc. roundup for a looong time and I'll likely forget a few, but I thought today I'd give an overview of what I've been watching and reading.

Watch-wise, we've seen Monsters vs. Aliens (cute), Imagine That (also cute, starring Eddie Murphy, lots of laughs) and New Moon.  Still Team Edward in the books and Team Jacob in the movie.  Taylor Lautner saved that movie IMO. 

The DH and I have been watching Spartacus, finished watching Season 3 of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and have started watching The Pacific.  Enjoyed and are enjoying all three.  We also watched The Ugly Truth with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl.  It wasn't bad.  Not great either, but I felt utterly cheated at the end.  For a movie that could have been a category romance, you kind of expect a payoff that shows the heroine's growth arc, and I just didn't think it was there.

The best thing we've watched in the last month or so is The 39 Steps on Masterpiece Theatre.  The girls and I loved it.  Seriously loved it.  Like will probably get the dvd now loved it.  Rupert Penry Jones was fab and the chemistry was great as well as the intrigue and the fast pace.  Does anyone know if there is another in the works?  And tonight marks the first of 2 new Sharpe movies - I'm beyond excited.  I'm dvr'ing as it's on too late to watch with the girls and we'll watch sometime this week or perhaps over the Easter weekend.

Reading wise, I've been a bit slow this month as things have been busy around here!  My reviews are up at eharlequin so apologies for not posting them all here.

I've read:

Falling For the Playboy Millionaire:  Kate Hardy
Good Girl or Gold Digger:  Kate Hardy
The Konstantos Marriage Demand: Kate Walker
Compromising Miss Milton: Michelle Styles
The Last Battle: CS Lewis
Secrets of the Playboy's Bride: Leanne Banks
In My Wildest Fantasies:  Julianne MacLean

Currently I'm reading Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs and there's an Anne McAllister tempting me.
One of my goals is to read some of my e-books.  They are all waiting for me and Mr. Darcee is charged and ready. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Round-Up

I didn't blog yesterday.  I was attempting to work (I managed a whopping 300 words) while keeping up with RITA finalist announcements.  My phone was silent (not surprising) but it is hard because there's always that little teensy bit of hope.  I loved seeing the finalists emerge on the RWA list and what seemed cool for me was that a lot of the finalists were not "the usual suspects". 

Major congrats to Linda Goodnight and her title The Snow-Kissed Bride - for representing the Romance line in the Series Contemporary category. There were tons of friends and colleages nommed and I'm so happy for them, but one in particular really made me so excited I cried a little.  Michelle Willingham finalled in the Historical category with Taming Her Irish Warrior.  Michelle and I sold to Harlequin at about the same time and had our debuts on the shelf together.  We both still hang out at eharlequin and when we met in person (finally!) in DC last year, it was just like meeting an old friend.  She is the sweetest, nicest person who always seems to have it together.  I was so excited to see her name on the list I gave a big squeal and had to get tissues.  She is rocketing on to the Historical scene and so a big huzzah to her!  I wish I could be in Nashville for the ceremony, alas no Nationals for me this year.

I realized today how much I love Harlequin/Mills and Boon's distribution.  Both One Dance With The Cowboy and Her Lone Cowboy (the Cowboys and Confetti duet) are out in May and August respectively as hardback large print versions. Her Lone Cowboy is being spread out - March in NA, April in UK, and then May in Aus/NZ.  Then there are the two reprints this year, in July and November and a new book coming out in the UK in October (still no US/Can date yet, but I should know soon).  That doesn't take into account any foreign editions either.  It kind of staggered me to realize that there is something out there nearly every month this year.  WOW.  There are times when you're writing and it feels like you're writing in a big gap or hole.  It makes a huge mental difference knowing that while you're toiling away, there's a book out in the stores somewhere.

AND Sold to the Highest Bidder showed up on amazon.com today - kindle version of course.  It officially releases on the 13 April.  Still, it was cool seeing the cover and link up there.

Before I dash off to make lunch (and have promised dd1 we'll watch a movie as dd2 is at a friend's house and it's just us on this rainy PD day), it's Freebie Friday at eharlequin.  Today's deal: Buy 2 or more books and get Magnate's Make-Believe Mistress by Bronwyn Jameson absolutely FREE!* Just click on this link: FREEBIE Fridays. We guarantee something FREE every Friday. It could be FREE Shipping, a FREE print book or a coupon for a free eBook!

You can also get this deal:
AFFILIATE EXCLUSIVE FOR APRIL: Buy any 2 books

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Industry Insider

Every month at the PHS we have an Industry Insider post. This month our guest is Marti Corn of Corn Creative, the company in charge of putting together RWA's monthly issue of the RWR and also the Romance Sells publication. It's a really interesting post and I got to know Marti a little better - we met briefly in Washington DC last summer.

Today I'm not getting a lot accomplished. I ended getting sucked into some research, but I'm still hoping to make my word count for the day before heading to the grocery store.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If you build it, they will come

One of the things I'm really learning this year is to trust my process.  I blogged earlier about being a pantser and trusting my characters to reveal the layers of themselves as I go on - I don't need to know it all at the beginning and that's okay.  It will happen.  Because it always does.  Trying to nail them down too soon sometimes means I write myself into a box.  And my process is unique to me.  My process will also change and morph as I grow as a writer and that's okay too.  Really, I just need to chillax about it.

I did my casting for this book and next up was a song - 3 weeks ago.  Nothing was working.  But I was like...whatever.  The right song will turn up because it always does.  I love having a new song for a book.  Sometimes there's more than one, and sometimes what was the right song gets punted for a new one as the book goes on.  But rather than look and look and look, I waited.  The universe has ways of sending me what I need.

The universe spoke last night and so I'm off to i-tunes to download Hedley's Perfect.  But just so you know what it sounds like, here's a you tube clip.  The video didn't fit my perception of the song so I let the lyrics do the work.

NOW I'm ready to get back to work.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Working away

I'm working away on Author Alterations today and everything will be sent back to my editor later this afternoon.  Then it's back to work on TRRMF.

I am freezing, by the way.  After several days of gorgeous weather (On Saturday we were the warmest spot in Canada) it has cooled off to about 8 degrees at the moment and it was foggy and damp this morning.  The fog has burned off and now it's just cloudy...but I cannot get warm.  I have the fireplace going but it doesn't matter.  I am cold! Am thinking of making a cup of tea or hot lemon to keep me warm.

The weekend was groovy.  Saturday, especially.  The girls and I went shopping.  My eldest had birthday money burning a hole in her pocket and some gift cards too, and I had a few things I wanted to pick up as well.  We hit WalMart for the generic type things first.  My youngest had some money so she bought a small paint by number thing - and bought one for her sister as well.  She also bought herself a cactus which has been named George.  Let it not be said that my children are predictable.  The cactus is on the kitchen sill above the sink, keeping a grass "head" and another unknown plant company.

Then on to a clothing store where dd1 bought a shirt, then the music store for a clarinet book, then lunch.  We went to a pizza chain and I LOVE going to eat out with my kids.  They will try things so dd1 had a personal pizza and side salad - her pizza toppings were chicken, bacon and spinach.  Dd2 had garlic fingers with pasta salad.  The waitress commented that she had never had a kid order pasta salad before.  LOL.  I had a chicken and mushroom salad thing and we had a lovely meal.

Then the sports store - my biggest purchase of the day.  Shoes are EXPENSIVE and the one place where I do not scrimp.  Cheaper shoes do not hold up and dd1 has arch issues so it is worth it.  From there - the bookstore - where I bought a book for my sister and Leanne Banks' latest for the Pink Heart Picks book club coming up next week.  Dd2 bought herself 2 books and Dd1 used gift cards and got four.  Then it was a quick stop to pick up the new pool cover and we were home again - at 4 p.m.

We did have a great time though and we bought New Moon at WalMart, so once dinner was over we all watched that together.

But now fun is over and I must get back to work!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A bright spot

My author alterations for Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle arrived in time for the weekend, which is good as I am glad they are here but bad because...well, it's Friday afternoon.  LOL.

The good thing though is that the cover for Mediterranean Men and Marriage is up on amazon.  This is the anthology with the reprint of Hired:  The Italian's Bride coming in July.  What do you think?

UGH!

Today is one of those days I feel I should have stayed in bed.  Little things - like forgetting to put out the recycling, or screwing up an appointment, or whatever.  To be honest, I'm looking forward to tomorrow as the girls and I are going shopping.  The daughter hit the motherlode on her birthday so it will not cost me all that much.  I do however need to take the truck as I am picking up a new pool cover before coming home.  There will be a trip to the bookstore - always a treat.  Buying my eldest a new pair of outdoor shoes. Probably lunch out for the three of us.  The dh gets to stay home and have a man day and watch the dogs.

Today though I have to get some work done and I also want to point out that Barbara Vey is holding her annual anniversary bash at her Publisher's Weekly Beyond Her Book blog.  There's a ton of books and prizes up for grabs and today I'm there too.  :-)

Now - off to walk dogs and put in a load of wash and that sort of thing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Face lift

I've given my website a wee facelift-  nothing too drastic or a major redesign. Mostly freshened up some formatting and some colours.  Hopefully it is still easy to navigate.  It's kind of like changing the paint in a room...sometimes you just get the urge for a little updating.  :-)

Our gorgeous weather has departed, no rain yet but cooler and cloudy today.  We still need to walk the dogs...kids have biked to the park and should be back soon - ah yes, here they are. 

Right - walking and lunch and a wee bit of word count.  :-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Karen K - you've won the copy of Her Lone Cowboy/Tough To Tame from yesterday!  Have sent you an e-mail.  :-)

I'm currently working on the WIP and tinkering with my website.  I'm also over at the PHS today with a salute to St. Patrick's Day.

And there is absolutely NOTHING else new for today.  :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's try this again...



Okay...so I really mean it this time.  TODAY is the release date for HER LONE COWBOY!

Next month it will be on the shelves in the UK, with Diana Palmer  in a 2 in 1.  And the month after that it is out in Australia and New Zealand. 





As a special treat today, I'm going to give away an advance copy of the 2 in 1 - My HER LONE COWBOY and Diana's TOUGH TO TAME.  Just pop in to the comments and let me know what the last western romance was that you read.  I'll draw at the end of the day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, dogsitting, and DST *blink*

It's Monday.  Someone prop my eyelids open with toothpicks, okay?

It's also spring break, and we're dogsitting, and we lost an hour of sleep Saturday night thanks to DST.  The dogsitting isn't a big deal except the barking.  Especially barking at 11:30 p.m. when everyone is asleep. 

Anyway I figure I'll catch up on sleep in a few weeks - as there's something cool coming up next week that may keep me from my regular snoozing schedule.

In other news today-  I am restarting my current book.  Ugh and Sigh.  But it will be much better and stronger for it and a strong beginning is SO crucial.

Today I'm at the Pink Heart Society with Male on Monday and there's also an interview with me at LoveCats DownUnder!  Come on over to the PHS to meet a gold medalist (mmmm) and then visit the LoveCats! 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cats and Dogs

The dog has had to do some adjusting since the Very.Bad.Cat. came on the scene.  For one, Boo is a kitten.  It is easy to forget as he is nearly full grown now.  But he is a baby in energy and play attitude and the dog...well, she's seven.  And she has always been a bit timid and reserved, unless you are a)holding a tennis ball or b) at the lake. 

Boo terrorizes the dog.  He hides on chairs and swipes at her tail when she walks by.  He hides behind corners and when she comes into the room, leaps out and scares her.  He wants to play so jumps at her back, her head...Dreamer puts up with a lot from that little guy.  And usually with great tolerance and a put-upon air.

Her crate is sacred though.  If she is in her crate and Boo wants to enter, he is rewarded with a snarl.  Last week she was on her mat and he actually went IN her crate and curled up.  Oh my, what a problem.  She is not a barking, agressive type dog so she paced and whined and tried to go upstairs (she's not allowed) before I figured out that he was in her crate and ON HER BLANKET.  I kicked him out and she went in and had to remake her bed.

Last night he jumped on her head and she growled as if to say "Enough!"

But twice now she's done something so funny I have to share.

Earlier this week the dh and I were sitting on the couch and the cat was curled up at the opposite end.  After much pacing, hopeful tail wagging and bright eyes, she hopped up on the couch where there was exactly six inches of room for her to lay down.  She tried valiantly to curl up into the space left and it was almost like she was trying to tell the cat to scooch over.  Well, he didn't.

So she sat on him.

We laughed so hard, and Boo extricated himself from Dreamer's posterior and curled up on the dh's lap instead, completely unperturbed.

Night before last, I was up alone and so the entire love seat was free, and I was at one end of the couch and Boo on the other so the middle was free.  I patted the seat and said "come up with mum" and she wagged her tail but no.  Paced in front of the love seat but no.  I mean there was TONS of space.

This time there was no hesitation.  She jumped up on the couch, and sat squarely on the cat.  All I could see were eyeballs and the end of his tail.

It is her passive-agressive way of asserting herself (jumping on one's head is SO childish and undignified, much better to sit on them instead).  Boo was slightly alarmed, and I had to lift up Dreamer's butt so he could get out, but he got the choice seat of my lap at the end of it.

Now I'm off to hit word count for today.  Spring break is next week so I know I won't be getting a lot done.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday

Time really seems to be racing by me this week, with little things taking up too much of it and me feeling really, really scattered.  This morning got off track with muddy shoes and then my husband called (he's on the road) and then my MIL and I chatted...and there are no real party preparations made for Friday, which is my daughter's 12th birthday party.

So I will keep the blog short so I can finally get to word count.  The bright spot of the day was getting the Mills and Boon newsletter and seeing Tough To Tame/Her Lone Cowboy featured as a recommended read...and then seeing a few squee-ing kind of messages from friends because of it.  I never know when those sorts of things are going to happen and so they are lovely surprises that really help keep a writer motivated when the daily grind of word count etc. is wearing....

Anyhoo...off I go.  I fixed the POV issue from yesterday and am surging forward with the end of chapter 2.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

HER LONE COWBOY release day!

Today is the official release day for HER LONE COWBOY!  Yee haw!  I'm so excited...I love this book SO much and Noah will always be a bit special.  I've had some great feedback about the book so far from readers who snagged it early via eharlequin and that's just awesome.  There is nothing better than reader mail!

I'm blogging around to celebrate and today finds me at RomConInc.  Post in the comments and you can win a copy of the book. 

**I LIED.  I went by what I know - that the release sched is the second Tuesday of the month.  Which today would be.  HOWEVER amazon etc. is showing the official release date of March 16.  One more week.  Apologies.

Why does it feel like someone just popped my balloon?

Now I'm off to fix my chapter one of TRRMF.  I realized yesterday that I had been far too nice to my characters and it needs a good old injection of conflict.  :-)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Spring is in the air

It is a gorgeous springlike day today.  Our snow is gone, we did some yard work yesterday and today the sun is shining.  It was lovely to have the alarm go off at 6:23 and it not be pitch black in the bedroom.  Even nicer to eat dinner last night without needing the dining light on.  I LOVE the longer days.  The girls over-taxed the dog yesterday during a rousing game of fetch and she's hobbling a bit this morning so we did the shorter loop for our walk - but it was just lovely. 

I'm just about ready to get to work but before I do I wanted to let you know I'm over at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs today.  I made a promise to my daughter back in 2006 and I'm going to have to make good on it this week.  Pop on over and find out what it is.  :-)

Now - I'm about to introduce my single mom heroine to my very sexy bachelor rancher.  :-)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ten things...and galleys


A couple of lovelies sent me a cupcake award because my blog makes them happy!   Now it's my turn to list 10 things that make me happy and spread the joy.  So here we go:

1. My one and only coffee first thing in the morning.

2. Hearing baby belly laughs.  And occasionally when my eldest STILL does it even though she's nearly 12.  It is impossible not to smile.

3. Crossing items off my to-do list.  It gives great satisfaction knowing something is completed.

4. Battlestar Galactica.  Buying every season on DVD was so worth it.  The brilliant writing on that show makes me happy.

5. The On Demand feature on cable, meaning I can watch movies or series at any time I want.  Also the DVR feature of my cable box that lets me record anything not available On Demand.  Convenient and commercial free is wonderful.

6. Reading books that are difficult to put down.  It's not very often I get utterly swept away in a story, so when I do it's amazing.

7.  A good red wine and a relaxed Saturday night.  The ultimate relax and recharge time.

8. Time alone with the dh...a rare occasion so something to be cherished

9. Reader mail.  When I get a note from a reader it makes my day...week...month.  Nothing validates like hearing from readers.

10. Having the best job in the world, with a wonderful editor and amazing agent and fantastic colleagues.  I can't imagine doing anything else.

Bonus answer:  Michael Buble cd's.  :-)

I know a lot of my peeps have done this already, so truly - if you're reading, it's your turn.  Come up with 10 things that make you happy.  I bet your day will be brighter for it.  :-)

Now - some galleys arrived in my inbox last night so that's on the agenda for today.  Starting the new book will have to wait until Monday I expect. 

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The best laid plans...

This is one of those days where the best laid plans suddenly go right out the window.  ACK!!!!!! I am *so* not good at "rolling with it" so this morning has been kind of interesting.  Right now my dh and I are trying to sort out some things at the end of the month that we thought were settled.  Oh well it usually all works out in the end.

And before I head out the door to the accountant's, today I'm at Magical Musings talking about...well...magic.  :-)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

Working on: The Rancher's Ready-Made Family (whee!)
Listening to: a little Buble
Reading: The Konstantos Marriage Demand - Kate Walker

I'm having a fab Wednesday.  I have to bake a cake soon as it is the dh's birthday and we're having homemade pizza for supper - yum! (And still keeping it on track with the current eating/work out plans).  I have finished my admin (except for one phone call, must do that next) and have started work on The Rancher's Ready-Made Family - the title came to me in a flash which might be a VERY good sign as that tends to be an indication of having it really well grounded in the line and reader promise thing.  Plus I've been thinking and am looking at a few twists I haven't "done" before (and after 13  books, I DO find myself covering old ground at times, so this is also good!).  Yesterday I worked on a brief synop which I will probably not look at again, but it did help to form the basis of the story in my mind before I "get on with it".  I was enjoying it so much I didn't want to stop.

THEN I got a note from Barbara Vey today and ONE DANCE WITH THE COWBOY is up on her Beyond Her Book Blog today as part of the book club post.  I am so pleased about that!  Thanks Barbara and Denise!

There was also a great review on the M&B site for HER LONE COWBOY that gave my day another boost too.

Hopefully by the end of today, that word count meter will have made a small move.  I am doing up the character sheets first and then launching in.  Though I do still need to bake that cake and make a quickie trip to the grocery store.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Admin

Admin for the month is pretty much done, and I'm working on some fun plans for towards the end of the month.  Now it's time to lose myself in some new characters - figuring out who they are, what makes them tick...and starting a new word count meter on the sidebar.  Just as soon as I come up with a title.

Monday, March 01, 2010

In like a lion...

March came in like a lion as the dh lent me earplugs so I could sleep during the winds of last night.  It rained again and so 90% of our snow is GONE.  I can't say as I'm sad about that.

And being the first of the month today is all about admin.  Updating my site, doing up my newsletter, writing the month's blogs for any guest spots...

March is also the release month for HER LONE COWBOY which is SO exciting for me!  It feels like I've waited forever for this book to hit the shelves, and a week from tomorrow it WILL!  Of course it's already available at eharlequin and I believe you can get the kindle version already at amazon. 

For those of you on my newsletter list-  stay tuned.  This month's contest is for newsletter subscribers only, so if you want to sign up, the box is on the sidebar.  I promise not to inundate you too often with e-mails - usually just one a month max.  :-)