Thursday, September 30, 2010

Closing the Bedroom Door

A recent couple of tweets by some writerly peeps got me thinking about the benefits - and detriments - of keeping the bedroom door closed in romantic fiction. I write for a line that keeps the door closed - if characters have sex, it's generally off screen. I've had to tone down scenes a time or two and while in most of my books my characters stop short of the bedroom (or sofa, or kitchen counter, lol) sometimes it happens.

Now I can't speak for every "sweet" romance author out there, but here's my take on it, and it might go a way towards explaining why Jenna Bayley-Burke (Modern Heat, Samhain) says I write sexy cowboys with no sex.

The fact that the door is closed is, for me, inconsequential. What's important is if the sex changes the story - and it should change the story, and the characters, otherwise why is it there? So for example, in Marriage at Circle M, Grace and Mike fall into each others' arms. It's what happens afterwards that gets so messy! Now I totally understand that some readers want to see it happen, but some don't, and so we leave Grace and Mike heading to the bedroom and return to Grace waking up in the sheets alone. Same thing with Jenn and Drew in One Dance with the Cowboy. One moment you know they are in that precious moment where everything is going to change. And the next time you see them, Jenn is remembering how it felt to be in his arms. In his heart. In his SOUL.

And that's what's important.  And it is funny how I can describe things by having my characters remember them, because what they remember is the feelings and impressions and the language is somehow more...I don't know, circumspect?

I also don't think keeping the bedroom door shut is indicative of sexual tension, either. I always try to keep the sensuality up - it's just using different language and methods. A lot of it is in awareness. Little touches. Looks. The way the hero cups her neck before he kisses her. The way she sighs after he takes his lips away. In other words - layering in the senses. I want to feel that breathless anticipation. I want my readers to feel it too.  And if my characters go all the way, then so be it.  We'll catch up with them in the morning. We'll see what an unholy mess it's going to make. If they don't...well then I can just keep building and building the tension.

Plus - in the Romance line I need to go deep with the emotion. That is not to say the Passion lines are not emotional, they are, very much so!  Passion isn't just sexual - those characters are passionate and larger than life in many ways. It's a different way of writing, and a different promise to the reader, but at least for me it's no less satisfying. And in case you're wondering, I have written hotter stuff. If you've read Sold To The Highest Bidder you know that.  If you read Breathe (coming in November) you'll see that too. It's not that either way is better than the other. They are just different. Sometimes it has to do with knowing your voice. And sometimes it has to do with knowing your readership.

And another trade secret - even if I can't put it IN the book, sometimes I write the scene anyway, and just keep it in a separate file. That way when I move on, I know exactly what happened. I know what feelings the characters had and how profoundly they were affected.  I leave it in the file, leave the act unseen and move on to the emotional consequences.

Not everyone finds reading non-explicit romances gratifying, and that's okay. Not everyone enjoys writing them either, and that's okay too! If you don't like it, you shouldn't do it. You need to find where your voice fits. I'd be a complete failure at Presents (and I have the rejections to prove it!) or Blaze or Spice. I think I just read the tweets and it sparked a thought about what I like about writing "sweet".  I do enjoy it. I embrace it, rather than feel like it is a restriction.

Bottom line is I do enjoy both ways, and I read both styles as well.  More than whether the sex is on or off screen, I'm way more interested in if the characters are people I care about and root for. If I don't give a hoot about your characters, I'm not really going to care whether or not they're having great sex. I won't put a book down because there is or isn't sex in it. I will put it down if I'm not invested in your characters.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why the Romance community is so great

I'm an introvert. When I say that I make people laugh. Because I'm not shy. I love talking about writing. I'm friendly and generally bubbly. All things that shout "extrovert!". But I'm truly not. If given the option between going out for an evening or watching a dvd for the millionth time with a glass of wine, the dvd wins.

I do have difficulty meeting new people.  The thought of group situations makes me impossible to live with for the hours leading up to it.  Last night was a case in point. It was a special rwa chapter meeting with a special guest.  Several of us met for dinner and then moved on to the library for the business meeting and workshop.  And since our President, who is terribly reliable, actually couldn't make it until late, it was up to me to chair the meeting - for the first time (I did say she was reliable. She hardly ever misses!).

Stressed?  Moi? Yep. Especially when my printer ran out of ink and I couldn't print the agenda...

But there's a silver lining. Inevitably I go to these things and I end up having a marvelous time and come home wondering what all the fuss was about. I never quite answer that question as I get just as wound up the next time... LOL.

This time was no exception. Dinner was casual and fun. The business meeting was blessedly short. And our guest was absolutely lovely.

And here's where the romance community greatness comes in. You see it really is a small world. Our guest was Medicals author Lynne Marshall. I'd only "met" Lynne online, but we've been in some of the same "cybercircles" for a while now. She's blogged with us over at The Pink Heart Society. She posts on eharlequin. We are edited out of the same office (and for a time, shared an editor). Maybe we hadn't met in person before, but when she walked into the restaurant, it was like meeting an old friend.

It was the same phenomenon at RWA Nationals in Washington when I went in 2009 and it is so reassuring to feel not alone in the middle of strangers.

And Lynne fit right in with our wacky bunch. We always are a bit rowdy at our meetings (I could blame past prez Nikki F but it's really not ALL her fault) but Lynne has a great sense of humour and took it all in stride. She talked to us about the revision process, taking examples from her own work, warts and all.  While none of it was a surprise to me (I did say we shared an editor, right?) it was so affirming to know that we all have a "process" that we go through during revisions.  Yep. Community.

It was a privelege to have her with us and hopefully the Maritimes leaves her with a lovely impression of this part of Canada.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Book Week and Pink Heart Picks

Today is Pink Heart Picks book club day, so head on over to The Pink Heart Society where I've reviewed Bachelor Sheriff by Paula Graves and find out what we're reading next month. :-)

This week is also Banned Book Week. I'm not a fan of censorship. While I understand parents' concerns about what their kids are reading - heck, I go through it a LOT - I don't believe in taking away the choice. When you look at the most frequently requested books to be banned it boggles.  To Kill A Mockingbird. Harry Potter. The Color Purple. The Lord of The Rings trilogy (for those who get so up in arms for religious reasons, it's called religious allegory).

You know what censorship is? It's fear. And I'm willing to bet that most of the banning requests come from people who have never read the books in question. Let's face it - I hear it all the time with Romance novels. How many times have we heard them referred to as Trash? Ask romance's biggest detractors when they last read one, and chances are they'll admit that they haven't.  They haven't lowered themselves to reading such cheap literature. What a great way to make a judgment. And of course I could go on about the fine qualities of Romance novels but that's a post for another day.

My view is, wouldn't it be better to read it and discuss it rather than dismiss it?

Last week there was a whole kafuffle about the novel SPEAK - do a google of it and you'll see what it's about. As a parent, I do understand wanting to ensure your kids are reading material that is age appropriate. If I'm concerned, I read the book first. If I think there are some situations that the kids can't handle, I recommend we wait until they are a little older before trying it.  Here's an idea: read what your kids are reading. You might actually understand more of what they're thinking. And of course it doesn't matter how old you are, reading is a good thing.

I know there was a big deal made about Twilight so I read all four books before handing them over to my girls. When my eldest started them, she was almost 11. At the time I told her she could read the first two and save the last two for when she was a teensy bit older. She read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn this summer. When I read that one of the main criticisms for Twilight was explicitness, I was shocked. One of my main things with Meyer's writing was how she was able to convey sexual tension with what I'll call "chaste" language. It was all very well done, I thought. Yet at least one person was shocked that I let her read the first 2 at her age. I had read them and deemed them okay. One person in particular that expressed surprise had never read them at all.

I was at the curriculum night for the jr high last week and one of the teachers was asked if there was a list of "recommended" books that didn't have any vampires. I was very pleased with the teacher's response, which was along the line of what's important is that the student is reading. That you can recommend until you are blue in the face but if the subject matter has no attraction for the student then it won't matter. And what they aim to do is make readers out of children. I trust that my kids -at this age - can tell fantasy from reality. And while I have one kid who will read just about anything including the cereal box, I have another who is more discriminating. For me, finding something she is excited to read is key.  A good deal of the time it is non-fiction.

The thing is, nearly every book out there has a legitimate gripe about it. We can start banning and then we will have nothing to discuss.

Or we can appreciate the freedom of choice and read, learn, and open our minds. Maybe we can make an educated judgment. And maybe, just maybe, we'll be better people for it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Comfort Food

We were still in a heatwave the first week of September when I started getting the urge for comfort food. I do every fall, and to my family's delight for a few weeks we eat VERY well. Stews, soups, favourite casseroles, fresh bread, maybe even some baking.

Turns out I'm not alone, and this week over at Petticoats and Pistols the fillies are sharing their favourite recipes in the Great Soup Roundup. It's not just soup - there's bread and side dishes and chili and all kinds of yummy stuff. For example, today you can get recipes for white chili, campfire biscuits (I've never made biscuits with yeast in them, I'm going to try them) and my own recipe for Beef Stew.

I also get weird cleaning and craft urges in the fall, which would explain why I took Murphy's Oil Soap to all my interior doors (they are solid wood) and the kitchen cupboards. Several of my doors also have glass in them - 15 individual panes on each door x 6 doors, so it took a while to clean the wood and then clean the glass. The house also got cleaned, laundry got done, the dog got walked and "my" half of the basement got cleaned.

I even wrapped a few Christmas prezzies (don't shoot me, my mum is visiting in a few weeks and taking family gifts back with her), finished a knitting project, and cut out 36 small stockings that now just need stitching and filling.

But today it's back to writing work and I have a list so I'd better get at it! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Taking Stock

After logging my last review (for Judith James' Libertine's Kiss), I decided I needed to take stock of my tbr. I keep a notebook and cross each title off as I read and review it, but I don't go in order so it was getting unruly.


I was very pleased to have read 55 books so far this year, though it is not as many as I wanted. I seemed to do quite well until the end of May, and then things have been so busy and crazy that instead of 2-3 books a week I'm lucky to read 1. But I thought surely this would have alleviated some pressure on my tbr?

Not so! It's bigger than ever. And I blame 2 things - books that come my way from sites like www.everyonesreading.com . If you want a sample of what Mills and Boon are putting out, go there. :-) The other thing I blame is prolific friends. I have so many books that I've bought or been given by author friends and I feel so guilty knowing they are still in my tbr! Curse you all for being so successful!

So I have 73 books waiting.

How many do you think I can get through by the end of December?

And I'd say I'd go on a new book moratorium, but I have 3 more coming from amazon...

Ok, and now for some great Friday Deals:




Click on the above graphic for this week's Freebie Friday deal: Buy any 2 books and get Gena Showalter's TWICE AS HOT for FREE.

And these next deals are in effect for the rest of the year:


FREE shipping with coupon EHQNFREESHIP


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Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My husband makes me laugh

My husband sent me this yesterday. It made me laugh a lot. I'm the arty member of the family.  He's Mr. Science.  Enjoy this "engineering" view of Men vs. Women.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Holy busy, Batman.

It never rains but pours, and right on top of the tweaks I have for The Rancher's Ready Made Family, I got my ARC for my November release Breathe, which needs a read to make sure there are no errors or formatting issues. Oh yes, and then there's the WIP....

So in light of that, I'm just going to leave you with a link to Breathe's Coming Soon page at Samhain:

BREATHE

Happy Tuesday, all. :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Working away...

A couple of things I'm working on this week - kind of unusual but actually being deadline free means I'm looking at what's next on a few fronts and working accordingly.

First priority is a few tweaks on The Rancher's Ready-Made Family that my editor sent back...nothing major at all and I should be able to tie those up tomorrow, Wednesday at the latest. Hopefully this translates into an acceptance, release date and title and hopefully in that order, lol. It is always kind of fun to find out just where a book is going to fit in the schedule and what it's going to be called as I hardly ever keep my own titles!

Then there's the ongoing work on Fortune at Fiddler's Cove, and this week I'm also playing around with an idea I had months ago and never had the chance to play around with at the time. Having proper inspiration does help, and so I'm going to leave you with this:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ahhh....Saturday

I had to have an early start this morning as the dh headed to the airport before it was light out. It has been a good Saturday just the same. I did some paperwork. I critiqued a chapter for my CP.  I caught up on a kajillion articles sitting in my inbox.

I also took 3 bags of now too small clothes to the goodwill bins (it seems both kids had a major growth spurt over the spring and summer) and took in some fab deals at the grocery store. Oh and just for fall I now have 4 lovely potted mums on my front steps which worked out to be half price. NICE.

After lunch we took the dog for a looong walk in the fall sunshine. And when we got back, the kids did homework while I HAD A NAP.  SEE? I told you it was a good Saturday.  I had a NAP!

There's only one other thing I wanted to get done today  - clean out the front closet  - and I'll do that probably as supper is cooking. Then I plan to watch a show with the kids before bed and then READ with a glass of wine. Bliss.

Tomorrow I do need to give the house a good cleaning. But I like having weekends to do those things and then I go back to work on Monday feeling like I'm not behind the 8-ball.

The only lingering question is, what do I make with the fresh pumpkins I bought at the market? Pumpkin bread is sounding pretty good...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rainy Friday

It's a rainy Friday, I have The Young Victoria soundtrack on and I'm working on that pesky chapter three.

Speaking of The Young Victoria Soundtrack, the dh, who is NOT musically inclined, heard bits of it the other day as I was finishing work. His comment? That bits of it remind him the Band of Brothers soundtrack. Colour me shocked.  Because Ilan Eshkeri worked closely with Michael Kamen and it makes sense that those influences would show in his own writing.

And may I just say that of all the jobs I've ever done, parenting is the hardest? I am probably too strict with my kids. How do you strike the balance?

Right. And now back to work! Time stops for no man or writer.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not bad...

The last 2 days I deleted around 2000 words from my WIP and ended up 2300 higher on the word count meter, which means I've written a little over 4000 words. Add into that 3500 words on Monday in my outline and synopsis and then the 2500 words I rewrote when I did a second synopsis and I've had a fair number of words happening this week.

It *is* a little confusing. I now have a pink and blue conflict/subconflict sheet on the go, as well as 2 incarnations of a synopsis. I've inserted scenes, deleted scenes, layered scenes, and tomorrow I'm moving the first scene of chapter four to the end of chapter three and chopping the scene ending and rewriting it with a new chapter ending hook. And does it surprise you to know that all this chopping and writing and moving hasn't actually changed the story all that much?

It's just kind of changed the landscape of it. My critique partner calls it "camera shots". It's the same story but from a different angle. But hopefully a better angle. A more focused angle.

Anyway I'm enjoying it, and I'm hoping to get chapter three settled tomorrow so I can send it to my CP - and then send it to my agent next week.

For now, I'm ending my "writing" day and shifting gears into piano teacher/laundress/cook mode. And I'm dying to get back into the book I'm reading.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Did I mention I hate suckopses?

When I do a synopsis for an art fact sheet, usually the book is done.  And I do not generally use them as a selling tool.  At least not in the same way I did when I was subbing to Harlequin hoping to make a first sale.  And even then, the book was written.  Even if I only subbed the first three chapters, the first draft was done.  I knew how it all worked out.  I didn't enjoy synopsis writing, but it was a necessary evil and I did okay, I think.

But right now I'm in the position of both needing to write a "selling" synopsis and one for a book that isn't completed yet.  It, and a partial, are going to be with my agent by the end of the month.  Yesterday I managed to write a synopsis - 3000 words - that was pretty much completely devoid of goals, motivation, and character arcs.  In other words, I was so focused on HOW the story played out that I forgot to put in the WHY.  And that's important.  Because if I want to sell an editor on this story, I have to make them care about what happens - not just know about it.

2500 words later  = new synopsis.

I think I find this particularly challenging because I'm a pantser.  I don't plot.  I don't have things all worked out in the beginning.  That does involve a lot of trial and error but it would happen anyway, because when I plot, what looks good in summary often doesn't work out in execution. And it's not that I don't think synopses are important.  It's just that I've been in the enviable position of being able to write them after the fact when I do actually know what happens.

This afternoon is being spent working on the first three chapters, which are being reworked for the zillionth time trying to get it just right. And possibly juggling scenes. AGAIN.

Please God, if I can just get these first three in the right place, I might actually be able to move forward.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zoom.....

I'm dashing in and out today and working on my WIP, so I'll simply direct you to my post over at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs where you get a glimpse of what the fall is like for me and also check out a knitting pattern.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Contest for September

You know, I don't think I actually posted the deets about my current contest here on the blog!  So here goes:

The prize for September is a copy of Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle - and this is the UK version so you also get the latest Barbara Hannay story as well.  AND...there's a new notebook, and a pen, and a tote bag to go with... Very back to school-ish, I think!

To enter just send an e-mail to me with the subject line of Precious Bundle Prize in the subject line!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Necessary Evil of Backstory

As many of you know, the Mills and Boon New Voices competition is underway and several first chapters have been posted. I've read a few - not all, as I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger - but I've read some of the entries and so have a lot of other authors for Mills and Boon.  Liz Fielding did a great post on Grammar, for instance. Grammar and punctuation are crucial. I have fairly good grammar, but believe me, when I get edits from Samhain, which are done differently from Harlequin/Mills&Boon, I get to see all my ugly punctuation and grammatical errors.  So when I read a few of the entries I was shocked at the lack of attention paid to grammar and punctuation.  Liz has a great post about it on her blog as well as a dandy resource book.

Then I popped over to my critique partner's blog and found a post on backstory.  That's really what I'm going to talk about today. Here's the link to her initial post, but I'm going to C&P (and put in italics) some parts and talk about them a bit.

Start with dialogue.
Start with action.
Keep the Back story a minimum.
The reader needs less than you think.

Yes, yes, yes.
 
The reader wants the story to be happening now. The writer might need to know the set up, but does the reader? Back story kills the movement of a story and deflates tension.


What Michelle is talking about here is TOO MUCH backstory.  Of course you need a little, because you need to sympathize with the characters and have some idea where they are coming from. You need some so you can put the characters in context. But it needs to be sparse.  You need the problem to be in the now, not in the past. And when you overload a first chapter with backstory, you're just dumping information. Information that you can filter in as you go - through bits of introspection, or physical beats, or the great tension and pace builder, foreshadowing. When you put too much backstory in the beginning, nothing is moving forward.
 
But it remains, you need to be able to put the character in context.  To sympathize with them.  Any backstory you add in needs to add to the present conflict, not overtake it.  I'm going to give some examples from recent stories of mine because I've suffered from both sides - sometimes I have TOO MUCH backstory and other times I have held on to secrets too long.  Like everything else, it's all in the execution, and all in getting the right balance.
 
Michelle said "Save the back story for the confession time. Allow the characters to have secrets and to have something to confess." I had a hard time with this one because in the revisions I just completed, my editor had me introduce a "secret" earlier than I had. I had, literally, saved it for confession time. I had allowed my hero to have a secret - a lovely angle to his conflict that I kept in the dark. Michelle asks: what does the reader need to know to make sense of the story? And in this case, the reader needed to know about Luke's conflict while Emily did not. Emily had to be kept in the dark, not the reader.  The reader needs to know. The reader needs to feel Luke's pain.  The reader needs to think, OMG just tell her. Just explain. She'll understand, because *I* understand.  And this is a crucial distinction! You can leave characters in the dark but reveal it to the reader! Emily can even see the signs, but it isn't until a big scene that the pieces come together.
 
So, I had to go back and layer in this bit of backstory earlier.  But did I put it all in the first chapter?  Nope. Over the course of the book, I hinted, I foreshadowed, I even added a few lines of introspection that stated quite clearly what was holding him back. But we're talking a line here and there, not paragraphs.
 
And that's what the reader needs to know. The reader needs to know the bits of backstory that develop the conflict, that deepen the conflict, and they need to get it in drips and drabs so that the tension is always increasing. I had left it too long, and by introducing it earlier, the reader now wonders when this is all going to come to a head and what the heck is Emily going to do? If you look at Her Lone Cowboy, we don't learn about how Lily's heart was broken until probably half way through.  She saves that revelation for a crucial scene with Noah. But the reader DOES know that her heart was broken. That she doesn't like weddings. And that it has something to do with a wedding in the past.  It's all trickled in over several chapters. Not that it's vague, it's not. But it's done with a light hand.  It puts the reader on her side without giving away the farm, so to speak.
 
But I'm also working on another story, and one of Michelle's commentors may be interested to know it is not a category romance, and category rules don't apply. But good writing rules do. And I definitely maintain what Michelle said: Backstory is not your friend. The writer might need to know the set up, but does the reader?
 
There was an excellent article in the latest Romance Writers Report about "Discovery" and I realized WHY I'd written the opening 3 times now.  The first time I was clinging to category romance structure.  The second time I took it too far and overkilled with backstory. This time, I'm hoping to get it right. Leave the backstory in the past and only use it to "season" the current conflict. We don't need to see it in real time. But I needed to write it.  Why? Because I needed to know. I needed to write it but the reader doesn't need to see it.  The reader will eventually put together a complete picture, but it doesn't have to all be dumped into the first chapter or two.  Because no matter what you're writing, your story starts in the NOW with the current problem, not the past problem.
 
Use your backstory to season. Use it to put the reader on your character's side. Use it to RAISE questions, not answer all of them at once.  And use it with a light hand. That way you keep your story moving and keep your readers turning pages.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Movies and massages

This morning I am having a massage at the local Chiro. The therapist there is very good and I decided that I am going to go every few months as it does wonders for the tension in my shoulders and neck from sitting at a desk most of the time.  It's an hour of pure bliss.

Last night I realized I've watched 3 movies in the last week!  The first was OLD DOGS, with John Travolta, Robin Williams, Kelly Preston, Rita Wilson, and Seth Green.  It was a great family movie with lots of laughs. Only thing was we were within 15 min of the end when we lost power on Saturday morning, so we couldn't watch the end until Monday.

Then 2 nights ago the dh put on UP IN THE AIR. A little slow in parts, it was still a good movie.  Also predictable, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. And it's never a hardship watching George Clooney.

Last night I finally got to see THE YOUNG VICTORIA! Emily Blunt was fantastic and so was Paul Bettany. It was very well casted. But the true surprise was Rupert Friend. He brought lovely layers to Albert and I loved him in this role which is surprising because I thought he was horribly miscast as Wickham in the Knightley/McFadyen Pride and Prejudice.

Albert appears shy and unsure of himself early on, but during the chess scene there is a great gleam in his eye and a hint to the quiet confidence he has underneath.  You see more and more of this as he goes on...and when he and Victoria have an argument the dh and I agreed that Albert was no pushover. Albert was a gentleman, but a strong woman like Victoria demanded a strong man and he was it, even if people didn't expect it. The love between them was beautiful to watch, too. 

Now it's time to walk the pup so I'm off, as a busy day lay ahead!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Groundhog Day

I feel like I've been in an ongoing circle of edits and revisions since mid-August.  First I got revisions on my latest Romance. While I had those on the go, I got first round of edits on Breathe, then second round...I handed those all in and took a few days to work on admin: webpage updates, promotion that's coming up, doing up blogs for the month...I just thought I was going to do some actual writing when final line edits for Breathe came.  And I was just finishing those - on like chapter eleven - and thinking wow I could get back to the WIP when bam! Print Galleys for Sold To The Highest Bidder came - and that's on the agenda for today.

My eyes are going to cross soon.  Edits are hard on the eyes.

Beyond all that, though, I have organized and accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, and yesterday I had an awesome conversation with my agent about where we're at and what we hope to do in the next while.

I know I complain about edits but really how fortunate am I to have them? Quite...having edits and galleys means I have books coming up and that's a very good thing.  It's always nice to have work. :-)

And keeping on with Random Acts of Publicity, I'm going to be posting another review today.

Julie Cohen has an awesome post about secondary characters on her blog, by the way.  Really worth a read.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Random Acts of Publicity

This is Random Act of Publicity week - a chance for writers to show support to their fellow writers by writing reviews of their books etc. and posting them on amazon or goodreads or what have you.

I read books by my friends but I'm not always so good about posting reviews so I'm going to promise to post one review each day this week.  To learn more about Random Acts of Publicity, check it out here.

I got a lot done yesterday which was fabulous, but I still have items on my to-do list.  One funny thing happened though - my CP's daughter was looking through one of the October Mills and Boon releases and saw that Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle is the Book of the Month for October!  I got my author copies last week, but I always give a read of the hardback and keep the paperbacks for giveaways etc.  So I hadn't even opened the paperback and would have missed it!  Anyway it's kind of cool as the ad will be in all the series books during the month.

First up today is my final line edits for BREATHE and then hopefully a chat with my lovely agent...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hurricane Earl

Well, Hurricane Earl decided to blow through Nova Scotia on Saturday, and paid us a visit. It was nice that the dh wasn't traveling for once and I think I was more relaxed about it because he was here. We put all our planters etc. inside, tucked the deck furniture away, made sure we had water to drink (and for cooking) and gas for the generator. Good thing too.  We lost power in the morning before the storm even got really wound up and it was out for nearly 24 hours.

We also lost the top off one of our maple trees in the front yard - it landed in the ditch and then blew up on to the road, blocking it. We lost several branches and a large spruce in the back yard.  I've been listening to my husband's chainsaw a good portion of the morning, so I'm thinking there might be more of a mess in the "woods" than we realized. The people whose lot backs on to ours had TONS of tree damage so we might have more we couldn't see from the deck.

But all in all we did okay - our neighbours lost over 12 trees and have quite a mess to clean up.  We drove around Saturday night when it was all over and only saw one house with a tree on it and one where the tree was on power lines.

So... we hooked up the generator and ran it for a few hours at a time.  Just to keep the fridge and freezer going really.  It all happened during the day, so we didn't need it *that* much. We used water from the rain barrel to flush the toilet and I cooked dinner on the camp stove. Later on we did plug in a floor lamp and sat in the kitchen playing cards with the kids. We were in bed by ten. And the next morning we got our power back so it was not that bad at all.

Here are a couple of after pics, and you can watch the video on facebook as blogger couldn't load it.


Also on the weekend we heard about the earthquake in New Zealand. I heard from a friend who was fairly close to the epicentre and everything is okay with her, though Christchurch took a beating.  So thoughts and hugs to those cleaning up from that.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Crazy Friday

I had a chapter executive meeting today that was great.  For one, we meet for breakfast.  For another, the exec is fun.  And three- AIR CONDITIONING.  Enough of the heat wave.  It was so hot last night I couldn't even read.  I was actually in the pool looking up at the stars at 10 p.m.  And it's just as hot today, dammit.

But the meeting was exciting and affirming which is as it should be.  We've got some great things coming up for the rest of the year and that makes me happy.

We did finish watching Pillars of the Earth this week and I've blogged it for Must Watch Friday at the Pink Heart Society.

Now I have to finish off the to-do list.  But first we have to pack up/tie down patio furniture etc. as Earl is still determined to put in an appearance in Atlantic Canada and we're in for a nasty day tomorrow. We've got water to drink, gas for the generator, food to barbeque and a stash of drinkies to get us through.  I think we'll manage okay. :-)  And if the power is out - I plan on indulging in some reading!

So have a good weekend, and hopefully I'll be back Monday, though it *is* a holiday...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

BREATHE SQUEEE!

I have been waiting what feels like FOREVER to show you the cover of my November Samhain release, BREATHE. 

Here it is.  I don't have the blurb yet, but I can tell you this is an emotional story set at a British Columbia winery.  Anna's life has fallen apart at the seams and she seeks out her childhood friend, Jace, for help.  But she and Jace have a past of their own, and both have their own version of why their relationship ended.  Working through it is both beautiful and painful and naturally they fall in love again. :-)



The wonderful cover artist Kanaxa is responsible for it - she did the cover for Sold To The Highest Bidder, too.

BREATHE releases on November 2.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

September First

It is September 1, which means I am handing in my revisions, and that I have first of the month admin to do once they are gone - things like updating my website and sending out a newsletter as I haven't since June.  There's a new contest coming and some great info, so keep your eyes peeled in the next few days.

What else does September 1 mean?  It means that PROUD RANCHER, PRECIOUS BUNDLE is available from Mills and Boon a month early - in both print and e-book. E-book is a good deal because this book won't be out in the US and Canada until February. To read a first chapter etc. just click on this link.

And for any Spanish readers - HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE is on sale on the Harlequin Iberica site.

It is still so very hot here - over 30 today with a humidex of 40. Sleeping is so difficult as it does not cool down at night and any breeze from the day completely dies. I am counting the days until Sunday when it is supposed to let up. I just hope the storm coming our way before that isn't as bad as forecast.