Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For those of us not at Conference...

For those of us not at RWA Nationals in Orlando - my CP Michelle Styles is doing updates at the Pink Heart Society all week.  She's having a marvelous time and I have severe conference envy.  Well, except that I've lived out of a suitcase for the last 12 days and we're finally home - after a great vacation to Alberta and British Columbia.  We're hanging out with our family this weekend before everyone has to go back to work, lol, so I'll be back next week with pictures.  This weekend I'm looking forward to the pool, the barbeque, a birthday for my youngest and possibly some fireworks on Sunday night.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pink Heart Picks Book Club Day

Today is the Pink Heart Picks Book Club day and we're talking about one HOT summer read - as well as announcing the August pick.

Come on over and see what I've been reading and my thoughts.  I do try to keep things someone spoiler free so if you haven't read the book you might be convinced to pick it up before it goes off the shelves!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick drive by...

Apologies for not being around the blog much lately - having a grand time hanging out with some family and friends and generally eating, drinking and laughing too much.

I did say this was going to be the Summer of Fun, didn't I?

Regular service will resume soon.  In the meantime, there are all kinds of fascinating posts at The Pink Heart Society. :-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

New title and release date

Spending all kinds of time with the family (and have discovered the addictive quality of playing Rock Band). The weather is gorgeous right now and it is truly the Summer of Fun.  But my editor e-mailed to let me know that I have a new title for the Argentina book and a UK release date.  HONEYMOON WITH THE RANCHER will be out in the UK in March of 2011, with a NA release date to follow.

I'm having trouble sending with my e-mail, so if you've sent me something in the last few days and I haven't answered, that's why.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ideas

Even though I'm taking time "off", my brain doesn't shut off.  Oh, maybe for a few days perhaps, but not for long. We writers are always open to inspiration, and truth be told if I don't write for too long I get really grumpy and I start having strange dreams.

Exactly a week ago I handed in my latest and now I'm starting to feel the itch again.  The trip to Prescott House last week gave me a lightbulb (along with one of the staff who said something that stuck with me utterly). The humidity and heat mean I've been lying in bed longer at night with ample time to think and plot. Today, I changed the image on my desktop.  A small thing, but I always have a background image that fits the project I'm working on.

I am nearly at the point where I'm going to drag out my notebook, because this story requires more preplanning. I did realize I started it in the wrong spot, and I need to go earlier, believe it or not.  Which is fine. I also came up with a whole new angle which is very exciting.

I probably won't start on the actual writing for a few weeks, but things are gelling in my mind and I'm starting to get that old excitement back. The only thing I'm missing is my hero casting. I thought I had it settled but I was wrong.  It needs a shift.  Hopefully by the end of the summer, I'll have a proposal off to my agent.

In the meantime, you can find me at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catching up

Today is clean the house day, and it's so muggy right now.  It's been raining for the last 36 hours I guess, and there is not a breath of air.  You would hope that the rain would clear the air, but nope. So I expect to break a sweat cleaning my dirty house.

We were at my inlaws on the weekend.  A work issue meant that our leisurely breakfast/pack/drive of Saturday morning was replaced by throw everything in the trunk of the car/stop for an eat-in-the-car breakfast/drop husband at the airport to fix a plane morning.  Thankfully it did not take him too long, I drove to his parents and waited for him to call and then his mom and I went to pick him up and did some shopping while the girls stayed with his Dad - who took them out for lunch.  :-)  We stayed the night so were up until nearly midnight playing canasta and drove home yesterday afternoon.

I did get my digs in about the quick morning exit not being on the Summer of Fun agenda. ;-) But it was fun just the same.  And today, since it's a rainy day, means that once the house is clean, I can curl up with a book.

I have been "off" for almost a week - and I'm starting to get the itch to work again. Not serious, but I have the next story percolating in my mind and pieces are coming together. It really does pay to take time out to fill the well.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Cross one off the list...

The summer of fun is off to a good start. Yesterday the girls and I headed to the Annapolis Valley. Top of the list for summer of fun activities was taking them to Prescott House just outside Port Williams. Charles Prescott was a pioneer of the apple industry in the valley and I visited the house as a child with my Mom when my Dad was at apple grower's meetings. I had forgotten a lot about it though so it was like seeing it for the first time.  The house did not stay in the family for many years until Charles' great granddaughter Mary refurbished it in the early 20th century. Back in the family again and many of the furnishings etc. in the house are Mary's.

In many ways it is similar to Uniacke House (where we went last year, in Mt. Uniacke).  Same architecture, same house layout, etc although Uniacke House is a bit grander. Another commonality between the two houses is the great staff.  When we entered we were asked if we wanted to wander or get the tour - and we said tour. 

How can you appreciate the house without knowing something about the people and pieces inside? Otherwise they are just articles with no context. And it's PEOPLE who make things interesting. So a tour it was. Another tour had gone through before us and was finished, so we even got a sneak peek at the third floor which might have been my favourite.  It was cozy with deep windows and slanted walls, would have been the servants quarters but apparently Mary had school chums stay there. Lucy Maud would have loved that idea...a handful of girls in a romantic attic reading stories and sharing clothes while the "formal" living happened downstairs.



The library was just...glorious. I could have gone right in, plunked myself down with a book and spent the afternoon.



The house also has a large assortment of family portraits. One in particular of Mary's brother who died in WWI.  Let me just say that it was a fine looking family.  There are also several framed samplers in the house - beautiful needlework and I came away with knit and crochet patterns for the gorgeous bedspreads.

After a picnic lunch in the shade, we wandered the gardens, the highlight of which is the roses. Gorgeous blooms.  There is a stone wall and a gigantic tree, and I was in agreement with guide Margrete who said it was her favourite spot on the property.  I could imagine either perching on the wall looking over the fields or sitting beneath the tree with a book. There is lots of room for romance at this house.







But time was ticking on so we hopped back in the truck for the next stops - to Fox Hill Cheese for fresh jalapeno gouda and dill havarti and a scoop of their fab gelato (I had vanilla, eldest had coffee and youngest had green apple). From Fox Hill it was Noggins' Market for produce - strawberries, potatoes, peas, beans and fresh buns for me (tonight Hodge Podge is on the menu!  Hooray!) and beets, carrots and beans for my neighbour. The back seat was getting a bit full and we had one more stop - Gaspereau Winery where I bought a bottle of Castel for me and a rose with my neighbour in mind.  Good thing too - we arrived home to find she was still at our pool, lol, and so we opened the rose and enjoyed a before dinner drink with our toes dangling in the water.

The day finished off with bacon wrapped sirloins on the barbeque and an evening walk with the dog around the neighbourhood.

Today is more low key - mowing the grass this morning before it gets *too* hot, a quick trip to the post office and then reading on the deck and swimming in the pool.  I'm taking this break thing quite seriously!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Summer of Fun

I hit send.  I finished The Rancher's Ready-Made Family and tweaked the synopsis and off it went. Which means this officially starts the Summer of Fun.

I had fun going through it today, actually.  I'd dropped a thread that needed tying up in the last chapter, and then missed an opportunity so found a way to capitalize on that.  My CP also had a brill suggestion for the last chapter and it meant I had to layer in the foreshadowing in earlier chapters, but it was exactly what was needed.

I also went back to my theme song, which is rather old-fashioned but suits the book to a "t" - I Love You Because by Jim Reeves (my mom would be shocked but proud, I expect).  When you get to the end and know Luke and Emily so well, the lyrics just fit:

I love you because you understand dear
Every single thing I try to do
You’re always there to lend a helping hand dear
I love you most of all because you’re you


No matter what the world may say about me
I know your love will always see me through
I love you for the way you never doubt me,
But most of all I love you cause you're you


I love you because my heart is lighter
Every time I’m walking by your side
I love you because the future’s brighter
The door to happiness you opened wide

No matter what the world may say about me
I know your love will always see me through
I love you for a hundred thousand reasons
But most of all I love you ‘cause you’re you.

So...here begins the Summer of Fun!  Who knows what shenanigans I'll get up to!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sunday

Yesterday was another gorgeous day, and after doing some laundry and writing I did a little weeding in the yard before getting cleaned up and heading to the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.  The girls have been wanting to go and we didn't get tickets last year, but I got tickets early this year and we had great front row seats at the Metro Centre. 

I'll start by saying the dh didn't enjoy himself that much.  There were bits and pieces he liked, for sure.  The simple reason is that all of the things that worked for me are the things that aren't his cup of tea.  In his words, "You see one marching band, you see them all."

I wouldn't strictly agree with that, but I can see his point.  It was more musically heavy than I expected.  Which is great for me, but not as great for the dh.

The things he liked in particular were the obstacle competitions, and I know he enjoyed the acrobatics and the bicycle team from the Netherlands.  In other words - the dh is a man of action. A fan of physical feats.  I think he would have had a better time if there'd been more of that.

Now...the dh does not speak for all of us. Number one, this is a military show so the part of me that adores a man in uniform was in absolute heaven.  And lots of different uniforms - we're talking teams and bands from Canada, the US, Estonia, Germany, Great Britain, France, and different branches of the military as well.  Not to mention RCMP.  It was like watching The Musical Ride but without the horses.  :-)  Dress uniforms everywhere.  Happy sigh. There was one officer in particular that always seemed to end up just in front of us and by my guess was about 6'4".  Being a fan of tall men, the view was very nice.

Then there was the music.  Perhaps the dh isn't a fan of the marching band, but my giddy band geek heart was aglow.  I do think my favourite was the US Marines Band of America's Few.  Simply for playing St. Louis' Blues and then The Stars and Stripes Forever.  As they were winding up, I thought, "All we need now is the Marine's Hymn."  Sure enough - that was next.  And as a former piccolo player, the Sousa really made me happy.  As did a version of The British Grenadiers.  Then there were some WWII standards - lovely - and a Newfoundland group of sisters called Ashelin that did some great Celtic styled harmonies.

And speaking of Celts - here's the third highlight for me - Lots and Lots of Bagpipes. My mother would shudder and shake her head.  She is not a bagpipe fan.  I love them. Pipes and drums and lots of them.

The only problem for me was how LONG the show was.  It started at 2:30.  We didn't get to our vehicle across the street until 6:15.  And if all this has you confused as to what the heck the Tattoo is, check out the site at http://www.nstattoo.ca/.

Anyway last night was pretty quiet and I'm hoping today's fog and cloud is going to burn off so we can actually enjoy the pool again.  Right after I finish this last chapter.  :-)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Perfect Saturday

Today has been very nearly perfect.  The house got cleaned this morning and I also squared up my accounts and finished the filing.  The sun was out all day - simply gorgeous weather.  We mowed the grass and I did a little weeding and by 2 p.m. we'd slathered on the SPF 50 and were floating in the pool with slushy pina coladas in hand.

The afternoon finished off with the dh cooking dinner while I read.

Now I 'm going to take an hour to work before going out to water some of the plants.

Speaking of - here's the latest shots from the garden. 


Friday, July 02, 2010

Cover Love

Had a great Canada Day -  friends over, a swim in the pool, barbeque, cake, fire in the firepit, and finished it off with fireworks.  It's kind of become tradition - this is our third year in a row doing a July 1 barbeque with our neighbours and it's always a good time no matter what the weather.

The new Mills and Boon "CHERISH" line covers for October are up.  For you UK readers - Mills and Boon Romance is changing to Mills and Boon Cherish, and will feature Romance authors as well as selected titles from Special Moments.  To put it in North America readership speak - Romance line plus some SuperRomance and Special Edition titles.  And for NA readers- there is no change for you.  Romance will still have their regular 6 titles a month.

Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle is out in the UK in October (and in February in North America) and the cover just hit Amazon.  I'm paired with the fabulous Barbara Hannay - lovely!  And here's the cover.  A bit of a new look for the UK lines as well.

Now I'm off - to hang out clothes, and to get a little writing done before going to get groceries.