Friday, April 30, 2010

Good Ju Ju

I had to run a few errands this morning and stopped to grab a bottle of wine for the weekend.

I was in a hurry so I headed for the South America section - perhaps it's writing about Argentina that makes me gravitate there lately, but I couldn't resist a particular bottle.

You see, my hero's last name is Mendoza.  And the preferred wine at the estancia at the moment is a Malbec.  So when I saw the Argentina section and a bottle of Mendoza Station Malbec...

Hey, I need all the help I can get.  :-)

Now I need need need to get these few chapters done before the weekend as it is going to be run run run.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Good news, and I got your crazy

I heard on Tuesday that A BRIDE FOR ROCKING H RANCH is a Golden Quill Award Finalist....hooray!  The other finalists and winner will be posted on the Desert Rose RWA site shortly, but I was really pleased to get the news as this novella was really challenging to write.

Via twitter this morning, I saw this article on how successful writers maintain confidence.  Really great advice, but the part I really liked was the last.   Partly because I know I get a little crazy, especially just before deadline, or like now, when I'm in revisions and my brain is working overtime.  The article says: 

 Embrace Irrational Exuberance and Obsessive Compulsions



During the course of writing a book, it’s okay to be a little over-the-top in your focus and devotion to the work. What may seem to others as a bit crazy can actually serve you well. Many writers succumb to an extreme level of behavior that really keeps up their confidence during the hard work.


Then, when it’s done, they relax, wind down, take a vacation and enjoy their time off--at least until they are compelled to start again.

This is exactly what I do and sometimes I feel a bit wacky about it as I know I get strange looks.  Truth is, writing is not one of those occupations where you clock out, drive home, and get on with it.  For me, that's especially true when I'm getting close to the end and the intensity is ramping up, or when I'm deep in revisions.  Going deep with that focus means that I tend to shut out a lot of the other stuff that goes on, and that's okay because that other "stuff" can be really hard on the confidence.  So if you see me a little over the edge, in need of a haircut and with my eyes a little wild, you know what part of the book I'm at. 

But it feels good to know it's OKAY - and that it can actually be a GOOD thing.

And it also explains why when I'm on vacation - I'm on VACATION.  No writing, no e-mail etc...nothing but relaxation.  I do enough juggling the rest of the time.  When I'm on holiday, I soak up every blessed minute of it.

Now, I'm not on holiday but I AM in revisions so I'll sign off.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pink Heart Picks Day

Today is Pink Heart Picks Book Club day at the Pink Heart Society and we're talking about April's pick, A MOTHER'S WEDDING DAY by Rebecca Winters and Dominique Burton.  This is Dominique's Debut - and she's also Rebecca's daughter! 

Come on over and see what the fuss is about.

http://www.pinkheartsociety.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lunch Break!

I just took a lunch break and it was a visit to Teresa Medeiros's blog that made me realize it has been too long since I indulged in some gratuitous male ogling.  That sounds rather sexist, doesn't it.  I mean, objectifying men and all that.  But tell me, is there anything REALLY wrong with simple visual appreciation?  Hmmm?

Now I don't have time to put together a gorgeous slide show like Teresa (though I heartily endorse a fair number of her candy candidates) but I do feel like my day has suddenly gotten brighter by sharing these:





Happy Monday.  And a speedy recovery to Andy Whitfield so we can have more Sparty.

Back to revisions.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend

The house is clean - I even managed to FINALLY get a start on my spring cleaning this morning.  My gardens are weeded and the only thing left to do is plant the forsythia that my neighbour left on our doorstep this morning.  The laundry is caught up and I did another job that I've been putting off ever since we MOVED if you can believe it.

I finished another book (this time An Acceptable Time which I read with the kids) and have moved on to Alexander McCall Smith's No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.  I love it already.  To stay with my goal of 100 books this year, I need to read 8 books a month.  I really didn't think I was going to make it, but thanks to the e-reader, if I finish this one and read one more this week, I'll be right on schedule.  Plus it helps to reduce my tbr. 

And things are ticking along with the revisions.  I do think it is going to be a much tighter book in the end.  It has made me think about why some books are more difficult than others.  There can be several reasons, but I think part of it also has to do with the fact that some conflicts lend themselves more easily than others.  And the truth is, you can't write the same conflict over and over, just like you can't write the same character over and over.  So some will be easier and seem to flow from the fingers, and others will be more difficult. 

But for right now, I have sweet potatoes to slice and after dinner it is Sharpe's Peril on the DVR with the kids.  They discovered the same hero and sidekick love for Sharpe and Harper as I have and we're all looking forward to it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Zzzzzzzzzzz

I realized I haven't truly blogged since last weekend, other than my quickie on sale notice on Tuesday.  And that is pretty indicative of my week.  Running club, errands, meetings, revisions on my revisions...I am swamped, people.  And it's starting to show.  Last night I got the bad mom award for forgetting my kid had badminton at the rec centre.  The hour was nearly through when we remembered.  She was fine with it.  I felt like a heel.

Today I need to do the banking, write a cheque and get it ready to mail before the tax man cometh, I need to wash a load of colours so we actually have clothing to wear, and I NEED to get 3 chapters in SOME sort of order.  I think I FINALLY have the first three chapters where they need to be - it's been a LOT of work.  And the changes there mean fairly substantial changes throughout the rest of the book too. Right now it might be tweaks rather than rewriting, but they're BIG tweaks. 

On the upside, the sun is shining, the grass is green, the trees are budding and my tulips are blooming.  The neighbour's forsythia and magnolias are blooming too, which are lovely.  This weekend one of my jobs is going to be getting my garden in order.  Some things are doing great, but so are the weeds.

ANYWAY, I need to get a move on.  Especially seeing as after school we have grocery shopping and my workout.  I am keeping on track with that which is good.  My brain might be tired, but my body is feeling good - albeit a little sore from the extra intensity this week.  :-)

Don't forget - tomorrow I'm visiting the gang at Petticoats and Pistols.  :-)  There's a prize for grabs too.  Feel free to come on by and sit a spell.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Holy Smokin' Deal, Batman!

I got my eharlequin newsletter today and saw there is a new sale in town. I saddled up and clicked on the link and lo and behold found HER LONE COWBOY on sale.


If you haven't bought it yet and feel the need, it's at a low low price of $1.08. HOLY SMOKES! That's 76% off. In fact there are tons of good books there, so it's worth having a look.

The sale page is at http://www.eharlequin.com/store.html?cid=635&cmpid=EMWNINT201004200006

Now I'm working on revisions but first I have a meeting in town.  We meet for breakfast and I'm looking forward to it because we got to Cora which is pure breakfast deliciousness.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The E-book price threshold...

As a lot of you know, I bought an e-reader last week.  I love it.  Seriously love it.  It is easy to use, easy to see, and I read really fast on it.  It's lightweight and hand-friendly.  I love having a whole library on there.  I love how i can organize it and pull up whatever I want. 

There has been a lot of discussion about the e-book price point and what is too much.  What do publishers have to charge to make money and how much is too much.

There's been much to-do about the agency model of pricing as well, but the one thing I do like about it is that it leaves the judgment in the hands of the consumer.  As an author that's kind of hard to say, but at the same time we all know that money talks.  The problem with that is that an author needs numbers to go to the next contract etc.  Right now that might not be a huge deal, since e-books only account for a small percentage of sales.

But that could and probably will change.

ANYWAY, this weekend with my new e-reader I've been thinking as a consumer -and as an author who wants people to buy her books. Authors don't just write books, they buy books.  A LOT OF THEM.  And of course I went shopping.  I had a look at 2 books from a trilogy that I was interested in getting after having read one of them.  The problem?  They were each priced at three times what I would pay for a Harlequin.  And the books are NOT three times larger.  We're talking between 80-90 000 words.

Over $12 for just one.  Two of them would be $24.  I could buy six really enjoyable category romances for that.

It got me thinking about the e-book price threshold and what people are willing to pay and I'm betting that a lot of people are thinking like me.  That 9.99 is about as high as they'll go for an e-book.  I know it has to be something really special, something truly coveted for me to go over that price.  What did I end up buying?  Rebecca Winters/Dominique Burton's A Mother's Wedding Day, Barbara O'Neal's The Lost Recipe for Happiness (a bargain at just over $6, I think), Jessica Hart's Oh So Sensible Secretary, and Fiona Harper's Housekeeper's Happy Ever After.  I wanted to buy Liz Fielding's Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge, but then realized it won't be available until May where I was shopping (I can get it at eharlequin).

The other thing I think publishers need to realize is that the only people punished by DRM are the legit-by-the-book consumers who have no interest in pirating books.  Example - I was sent a book by a publisher and I downloaded it on to my PC.  This was before the e-reader was purchased.  Then, I got the e-reader and wanted to put the book on it, but it won't transfer.  I can only open it on my desktop.  That made me frustrated. 

People who pirate will just crack the DRM anyway.  At least that's my opinion.  Just like with music.  We stopped buying from Puretracks and moved to itunes ONLY because of the inconvenience of DRM.  Dude, I paid for the music.  I keep it on a hard drive.  I'd like to listen to it on my MP3 player.  Just sayin'.

Anyway, those are two things I've thought about this week as I've played (and enjoyed) my new e-reader.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on chapter seven and things are getting good....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Deadlines, Interviews, and E-readers!

Yesterday Mira Lyn Kelly posted on the PHS about the transition of aspiring author to published author and the responsibility of deadlines.  I really got where she was coming from, then I read Michelle's post on deadlines and I got that too. 

I have seen wayyyy too many authors burn out because they couldn't keep pace.  Or they kept pace and their mental health/personal life went to hell.  I'm not always good at keeping this balance either, and it's hard especially when you love what you do.

But this is why I rarely work evenings or weekends unless there is something really pressing.  I do think authors should endeavour to meet their deadlines.  They are there for a reason and it looks good, frankly.  It is good to be known as an author who can deliver.

The trouble comes when it is at what price?

I've missed deadlines, I'll admit it.  Sometimes I've needed an extra few days, and I've always e-mailed my editor or chatted with her about it.  Once I missed by a few weeks because I broke my wrist.  Another time huge revisions took up a large chunk of time, which delayed delivery of my next.  But it was okay - communication with my editor was key.

And there is usually some wiggle room built into the sched.

Do I like being late?  Not at all.  But life happens, and editors know that. 

Anyway moving on, I did an interview for Maria Durst at Queen of All She Reads for the release of Sold To The Highest Bidder.  I think she's drawn the winners (I'm a later tater to the party) but you can still read the interview and excerpt!

And my new e-reader is here!  I've moved my books from my flash drive to the e-reader, and set up categories and everything.  Harlequins in one spot, another for YA, another for Classics and Lit, and one for Women's Fic.  It's AWESOME!  Can't wait to tuck it into my purse.  My first purchase for it was A Mother's Wedding Day - The Pink Heart Picks Book Club selection for April!  Can't wait to get started!

Now i'm off- need to finish Chapter Five before Running club, parent teacher and a concert tonight.  This is definitely insane week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Aches and Pains

Carrying too much weight and spending hours in front of the computer means my back is troubling me again.  Actually, the pain is quite severe today.  I keep getting up and moving about and sitting down for concentrated bursts of work.  I have to work; I have heavy revisions and another deadline. 

Several years back I had the same problem only I can say honestly that last time it wasn't as severe - and that took six weeks to fix itself after a course of muscle relaxants and xrays - neither of which helped.  It was more isolated that time too.  It didn't actually hurt to SWALLOW.  Only when I eat, mind you.  I'm fine with regular swallowing and drinking.   As a result, I'm logging off for the night and going to do some pilates, trying to strengthen what needs to be strengthened and stretch what needs to be stretched.  Oh, and I took 2 robaxacet.  If I fall asleep during pilates, I'll know why.

Meanwhile, I've booked myself a massage. The only trouble is, I have to wait 2 weeks to get in.  If, after that, it hasn't resolved, I do have a doctor appt early May. 

It is my own stupid fault for allowing myself to be chained to my chair for long stretches.

And so the computer goes off.  I am 17k + in on the revisions and I do believe I'm going to have to make a decision on working hours.  Perhaps work in the morning until lunch, take the afternoon off, and give e-mail one last check at dinner.

Technology makes our life easier, but it can sure wreak havoc on our bodies!

MY DOG IS FREAKING ME OUT

It is 1:27 a.m.  I have just sent a new partial to my editor.  I would have been finished a while ago, except my dog is freaking me out.  Panting, shaking, going outside four times (the last on a leash).  Running around the yard, coming back in, running to the back door, coming and sitting practically in my lap and shaking.  Then she runs upstairs - which is forbidden - and I have to literally drag her out of my daughter's room.

Freaked out?  You betcha.

My friend Jenna thinks it might be coyotes.  I think she might be right.  Haven't seen any in our subdivision, but it wouldn't surprise me.  Then again, I haven't heard any either.

The doors have been checked like three times.

And I had four hours sleep last night.  The most I will get at this point is five, before the alarm goes off.  And that's if I get to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.  Do I think that's going to happen?  *shakes head*

ANYWAY, the good news is I've written over 12k in 3 days to get this new partial good to go, and I'm whipped.  I am taking tomorrow morning off, I think.  I'll check e-mail and perhaps curl up with a book.  Or maybe nap.  That is sounding REALLY good right about now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RELEASE DAY!

Today is release day for Sold To The Highest Bidder!  It's out in e-book starting today and in February it'll be out in print.  I am more excited than I expected to be about this book hitting e-shelves.  But I think it's a combination of things really - the fact that this was a story I started on a whim and for fun but that I fell in love with, for one.  And then there's the great cover.  The cover artist (Kanaxa) at Samhain did a great job capturing the western feel but also the other side of Devin McQuade.  Sex-ay, I think!

There's an excerpt on my website and another on the Samhain site, and for now I'll just post the blurb - which I love:

All she wants is his name on the dotted line. He’s got other ideas…



For Ella, marrying Devin had seemed like a good idea at the time. Friends since childhood and in love with him for as long as she could remember, marriage had been the next logical step. Then the real world called, and Ella’s feet had itched to get out of Backwards Gulch, Colorado.


Now, with a new opportunity on the East Coast beckoning, it’s time to put her past behind her once and for all. When she sees Devin standing on a charity auction block, she decides it’s the perfect opportunity to finally get his signature on the divorce papers he never signed.


Devin’s certain about one thing when he sees Ella for the first time in twelve years—she’s not the girl he married. The way she left him still stings, and if she wants him to sign on the dotted line he’s going to make her work for it…for the full forty-eight hours she paid for.


When the old attraction flares between them, the years apart disappear and resolve melts faster than high-country snow in summer. But when Ella awakens with the same determination to get back to Denver, divorce papers in hand, she has a problem…


Devin still hasn’t signed them.


It's available today at MyBookstoreAndMore, ebook retailers, and also for Kindle.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Prize Winners

If you are a prize winner between mid-March - Present, I've just made a massive trip to the post office.  Your prizes should be with you in a few weeks, depending on your location.

Thanks for being patient!  I just got some of my prize winner info recently, so that's part of the reason for the delay.

Now back to the to-do list.  :-)

Friday, April 09, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL!

I just signed on the dotted line - Samhain has bought BREATHE and it's tentatively scheduled for sometime in November - I hope. 

I love this book, and I love that this summer I'm going to be able to once again visit the winery I visited a few years back when researching for it.  This area of British Columbia has some wonderful memories for me so I'm very happy that my editor read it and loved it too.  :-) 

Anyway I was over the moon yesterday when my editor e-mailed to let me know the good news.  It feels good to come right out and say it now that the contract is in hand.  :-)

Have a good weekend all.

Revisions begun

I have started my revisions and have had to throw out pretty much all of the first three chapters.  There are a few odds and ends I have been able to salvage, but a new opening is hard to blend so I'm recreating.  When you think about it - three chapters is nearly 10 k.  So a lot of work.  But it does mean I'll be bringing other things forward and expanding them. 

Anyway I do think we have more instant conflict this way.  And now that I've had a short break - back to it I go.  This weekend is groceries and cleaning and company and my writer's group meeting, during which time I'll be thinking, thinking, thinking about how to approach things even more.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Out of the darkness....

And into the light.

Yesterday I got some pretty huge revisions in my inbox.  Oddly enough I bypassed the normal 24-48 hour panic phase I normally go through.  It was kind of nice.  But I'm mulling over what my editor said, and thinking about possible fixes and approaches, so I can have a handle on what to do when I launch in.  It feels like I'm procrastinating, but I'm not.  I know this thinking phase is really important. 

Then I read a few articles last night that made the crows of doubt circle...I suppose on some level the revisions were worrying me and then I got thinking and doubting my capabilities.  One one hand, that's hard.  On another, I know that doubt is sometimes what keeps me sharp, and keeps me working to always improve.  But it's difficult.

However this morning has brought some news that made a terrific broom to beat away the crows.  It looks like the winery book - Breathe - is going to have its chance to reach readers after all.  More details to follow, but I'm sending very squishy happy thoughts to t'other Editor today who sent me the loveliest e-mail this morning. 

I'm over at the Pink Heart Society today for What are you Reading Thursday - blogging about a trilogy I just finished and how this author is a guaranteed indulgence!

Her Lone Cowboy also got a 4.5 starred review at Cataromance today.  It opens with: "Donna Alward concludes her Cowboys and Confetti duet with a beautiful love story that will tug at your heartstrings and rouse your emotions: Her Lone Cowboy!"

So that's me for today...I have volunteering this afternoon but I still have a few hours to get some work done!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Psyching myself up...

I always say that I'm going to the cave when revisions hit, and i never do. I always pop in and blog because it makes me feel good.  So I'm not going to say I'm on hiatus or cave dwelling. 

What I will say though is that massive revisions hit my inbox today so that is what I'm going to be working on in the foreseeable future.

Right now it's wrapping my head around alternatives and how I'm going to approach things before I launch in with the chainsaw and start cutting and reforesting.

In the meantime, have some wine.  I mean to.  :-)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Out and About

Today is running around.  The cat is at the vet's having his manhood stripped away, and the dh and dd1 have dr appts that I need to be in attendance for.  Then there's Running Club I'm volunteering for after school, and going back to the vet's to pick up the Very. Bad. Cat. 

Not to mention dinner, clothes on the line, possible word count...

I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, April 05, 2010

We Now Resume Regular Programming

I am back from a very decadent weekend and getting back to work.  The website is updated and I'm about to get my newsletter ready to send to subscribers.  I have clothes to hang out and the dog to walk - and I'm looking forward to that because it's a GORGEOUS spring day outside.  There are a few errands to run as well.  In other words, never a dull moment.  But it is good to be back to work.

Ellen McDaniel is the winner of last month's contest, and will get a prize pack of goodies in her mailbox shortly.  This month's contest is for a free download of my April 13 Samhain release, SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER.  I'm really excited for this book to come out!

The first review for it is in from CataNetwork's Single Titles site, who gave it 4.5 stars and said that "The magnetic chemistry between Ella and Dev pulses through each page..."  The whole review is at http://singletitles.com/?p=3772

And then it's back to work on The Rancher's Ready-Made Family.  I'm enjoying my heroine who isn't "interested" in romance but can't help being intrigued with the hero.  And the hero who swears he doesn't want a family but is feeling protective and responsible for the heroine and her children despite himself.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

No April Fool's here....

It's April 1 and I am too busy today to worry about playing pranks.  But I did want to do a drive by posting as usually some fun things happen at the beginning of the month.




Her Lone Cowboy releases as part of a 2-in-1 with Diana Palmer's Tough To Tame tomorrow.  It's been available on the Mills and Boon website for a month, but now it will be in stores.  Hooray!




As it is out in Australia and New Zealand in May, it means it's available at http://www.eharlequin.com.au/ now, and it means I got a first peek at the cover.  Yum!  I'm really happy with it. 






I'm afraid I'm running around and around today so my newsletter will be slightly delayed as will a website update, but I'll be tackling both of those tasks on Monday - when I'll announce my newsletter prize winner and offering a new contest to celebrate my April release from Samhain - Sold To The Highest Bidder!

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!