Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On The Second Day of Christmas: Susan Meier

Favorite Christmas memory? Wow that’s a tough one. I come from a family with eleven kids. Christmas mornings were chaos! Christmas Eves, however, were quieter with all of us sitting in front of a newly decorated tree, speculating about whether or not we’d get the gifts we’d wanted.


Of course, not all Christmas Eves were quiet and calm. One Christmas Eve, we had to travel twenty miles into the city. We were smart kids so we knew we were being taken Christmas shopping. One of my parents would lead us through the store and the other would follow behind, secretly buying the gifts we ooohed and ahhed over. (If it sounds fun, that’s because it was!)

But something happened. As we were driving along, the car’s water pump broke or maybe it was the fuel pump. My dad found the part and luckily had a brother who only lived a mile or so away from the junkyard (we bought secondhand in those days) and he drove into my uncle’s garage to fix it.

As my dad worked feverishly to get it installed, we sat in the backseat of the car, talking amongst ourselves. There were at least six of us at the time, maybe even eight. In the days before 24-hour Walmarts and credit cards, the older kids knew the stores closed at nine and it was after eight. The clock was ticking.

We also knew our parents weren’t made of money. Had the part cost too much? Was all their money gone? Would we even get presents?

It was after nine by the time Dad got the car fixed and we drove home in silence. We went to bed even more silent. Our parents hadn’t even driven by the local department store. No point. Time had run out.

The next morning, we awoke bleak. But my brother, the first one downstairs, yelped with joy. Santa been there!

We raced downstairs and under the tree were tons of gifts. It was a miracle…or maybe there really was a Santa.

Years later, we recognized the gifts we got were all little things bought at the local drug store that stayed open until eleven. My dad had probably gone out after we went to bed.


But, though small, some of those gifts were my absolute favorites. I remember the pop beads and the medical bag with candy pills. Yet I can’t remember things I got in years when my parents had tons more money to spend and more time to shop. It was the joy of the miracle of it all that made everything more memorable.

It’s that kind of Christmas joy that I tried to capture in the Christmas story I wrote last year – and the book I sent for the 12 Days of Christmas basket – THE MAGIC OF A FAMILY CHRISTMAS. The heroine’s a widow. The hero’s a rich guy who doesn’t realize how alone he is. They come together when she gets temporary custody of her deceased neighbor’s son, Harry. She desperately wants to prove herself so she’ll get permanent custody, but she’s never had a child…or a difficult past…and she really isn’t sure how to handle Harry. But the hero was a boy himself…and he also had an unexpectedly difficult past. She turns to him for help with Harry and Harry makes a few wishes of his own. Not just for Christmas treats, but for real parents and a real home.
I think Christmas is all about magic. And love. But if you think about it, real love is magic of a sort, isn’t it?

Happy Holidays! And good luck to you all in the basket drawing!

You can catch up with Susan at her website: http://www.susanmeier.com/

To enter the contest, send an e-mail with the subject line of MIRACLE. One entry per person per day, please!

Monday, November 29, 2010

On The First Day of Christmas - Barbara Wallace!

On The First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....a debut author! Say hello to Barbara Wallace, who has her first Harlequin Romance out this month! 

I’m probably slightly warped, because my favorite childhood Christmas memories aren’t the heartwarming, magical memories, but rather the ones that made us laugh. For example, there was the year my father told me Santa was tired of getting milk and cookies and would prefer I left him a ham salad sandwich and a cold beer. Or the year I got my first portable tape player, complete with a tape of my parents singing their Christmas favorites. Or the year my cousin convinced my older brother the red Mustang parked in his driveway was my brother’s Christmas surprise. My poor brother spent all Christmas day waiting for the car to appear. Even after my parents told him the car wasn’t his, he held out – hoping their denial was simply to keep the surprise alive.


There were other moments as well. The year my father “surprised” my mother with a centerpiece for the kitchen table - a huge monstrosity of plastic fruit complete with an oversized reddish-brown pineapple and plastic walnuts on sticks. The year the Christmas tree thawed and we discovered there were no branches on one side. And of course, the year we almost packed the cat in with the Christmas decorations because she fell asleep in the tissue paper. The one thing linking all of these memories was the laughter. Christmas was one of the few times when my family could relax and simply enjoy each other’s company. School problems, job stresses, and other issues were set aside in favor of laughing and having fun.

So today, let’s talk about those moments that made you laugh at Christmas. What’s your funniest memory?

Thanks to Donna for inviting me to be part of the Twelve Days of Christmas. As my Christmas gift to you, I’m donating a copy of my debut Harlequin Romance, The Cinderella Bride. In it, the heroine, Emma O’Rourke, is so caught up in being efficient; she’s forgotten how to relax. Cue Gideon Kent, a man determined to remind her.

Since Barbara's post reminded me just a little of Christmas Vacation, today's clue is GRISWOLD. Send it to me in an e-mail to be entered!

And remember - one entry per day, please.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

If I weren't a writer...

I'd be a musician. Or at least a mediocre struggling one.

I always thought I'd like to compose - a writer of a different sort. Many times I sit down at the piano and leave the sheet music behind and just let my fingers talk - like freewriting but with music.

Every now and again I think about it - why I chose an English Lit degree over Music. I especially think about it when I listen to certain composers or performers (or both). The latest to make me think a lot is Stephan Moccio - if you watched any of the Olympics you probably heard the song Believe - that's Stephan.

I have his new album Color thanks to itunes and it is fabulous to write to. I can hear shades of David Foster in some of the harmonies and key changes and shifts. I can hear similarities to Jim Brickman in some of the melodies and syncopated timing. I hear reminiscences of Ennio Morricone in some of the supporting orchestration. I hear emotion in all of it.




This is from an earlier album - Exposure.

What music do you listen to that inspires you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to my neighbours to the South...

Even though I'm Canadian , I confess I can't help but have Thanksgiving fever listening to so many friends chat about pecan pies, brining turkeys, and family get togethers.

Of course Thanksgiving also means full steam ahead into Christmas, so I thought giving stuff away sounded like a good idea.

I'm currently holding a Goodreads book giveaway - here's the info. If you didn't get a chance to read my holiday story from 2009 this might be your chance.


Goodreads Book Giveaway





Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage: Snowbound Cowboy\A Bride for Rocki... by Donna Alward



Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage


by Donna Alward



Giveaway ends December 15, 2010.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.



Enter to win


As well, it is less than a week until the return of...drum roll please....

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!

We're starting up on November 29 - 12 authors sharing Christmas memories and one big prize pack at the end!  You can enter for a chance to win once each day so come back often. The winner is guaranteed a minimum of 12 books (there are usually closer to 15-20) and other random goodies the authors feel like sharing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Totally Forgot - Book Blog

I totally forgot to post the latest book reviews. My reading lately has been next to nothing sadly - just so much going on. But here are the latest:

A FAIRYTALE CHRISTMAS - Barbara Wallace and Susan Meier

An enchanting duo of holiday stories featuring two sisters, Gwen and Gill.


In Meier's Baby Beneath the Christmas Tree, we meet young single mum Gwen, hot hero Drew and his teenage son, Brody. Instantly likeable characters and a unique, whimsical setting made this a page-turning, enjoyable read.

Wallace's debut Magic Under the Mistletoe blends a gorgeous Boston setting, a driven heroine (Gwen's sister Gill) and a hard-headed hero (Oliver) in a heart-warming read. If this is how Barbara Wallace begins her career, she's got great things ahead of her.

GAME OVER - Taylor Keating

This is the TOR debut for the writing duo of Taylor Keating. I can honestly say that it is different from anything I have ever read before - blending the paranormal elements of Fae and Guardians with a post-apocalyptic world and the setting of INSIDE a video game.


River is a wonderful heroine - strong and kickass but with a feminine side too - is that the Fae element coming out? She's the game's designer, and goes inside the game to test/develop it. She has a sidekick while inside, but this time the sidekick is Hawk, placed in the game by the Dark Lord/Soul Man - who is after River and is holding Hawk's soul captive. To complicate matters, there's a whole military/conspiracy element on the OUTSIDE. The Soul Man/Dark Lord has to be defeated - or else he claims River and Hawk's souls forever and uses River's magic to get himself out of the prison he's in - and if he does that, look out world. The stakes are far higher than a simple game.

If you're reading this and thinking this isn't for you, think again. Add me to the list of people who have said this is not their usual reading fare but came out loving it. It's a fantastic story, complicated and sexy and funny by turns, and with a twist at the end that I didn't see coming at all. It's also the first in a series by this writing team - I can't wait to see what trouble they throw River and Hawk into next.

Teens and Cats

This morning was not a happy bye honey have a nice day morning for the eldest. Since she hasn't returned, I'm assuming she managed to catch the bus, but we didn't get off to a good start. And I hate that, because it sets a negative tone for the rest of the day. I suspect she put off an assignment, and then worked like mad to get it done, but also had a meeting last night. Normally I would have driven her to the bus stop or even to school, but we had snow and freezing rain last night and there is a nice sheen of ice on the road - at least in our subdivision and the truck is also covered in crusty snow.

I shouldn't let stuff like that bother me, and I should probably get used to it considering the upcoming years, but saying goodbye on a sour note is a lot like going to bed angry. I don't like doing it and it makes me unsettled.

Anyway my cat has also been tormenting. He has a revived fascination with pencils and I do not know where he finds them all but he does. And bats them around the floor - which is ceramic tile. I think it's his revenge for me airing his dirty linen in an interview with Meankitty at Writer and Cat. Pop on over and find out exactly what my cat thinks of me.

In the meantime, I'm going to work on my WIP and see if I can get the third chapter tidied slightly and off to my CP before launching in to chapter four.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Feeling squidgy

I am not sure if the eldest and I are coming down with something or not, but I am feeling a bit squidgy this morning. Headache, runny nose, general blah. I met eldest at the bus stop as I was walking the dog and realized she has substantial bags under her eyes...she's not feeling 100% either. And she has a packed day so hopefully she feels better as the day goes on.

I had a hugely productive weekend, though. I did up my accounts, did the filing, laundry, ran errands, finished a few books, did the mending, tidied the house, supervised some holiday baking that the girls did. Oh and I handed in the revisions on my online read as well. Now it's back to the WIP for me. My CP sent chapter 2 back and I have started Chapter Three. I am aiming to get the partial off to my editor for a quick read this week.

I don't think I've mentioned a few movies I've watched lately so I'm going to do that today - I like talking about movies because I often look at them with an eye for character and story (you can't turn a writer's brain off). I'm often inspired - either because I've truly enjoyed something, or because something really worked, or even because of something that perhaps didn't work and provided insight.

So

I watched The Jane Austen Book Club. I enjoyed it, but there was not enough Jane to satisfy me. Still, on a story level I liked most of the storylines and characters - not sure Hugh Dancy was the right casting (and it pains me to say that because I really do love HD). The one storyline I didn't like? Emily Blunt's character (and a shame because I also really like Emily Blunt). For one, it seemed a little skeevy for her to be crushing on a student. Ick. And if someone knows WHICH heroine she represented can you enlighten me? The closest I can come to is that the student is Willoughby and her husband is Col Brandon but she is the least like Marianne of any character I've ever seen. And I believe the book associated with her was Persuasion - anyway at the breaking point when she got her husband to read one page aloud (a la Brandon reading the poetry) and then OMG he turns into a total Austen lover...after a whole movie of abstract references we're smacked in the face with something I just couldn't buy into.  So yeah, I had problems with it.

Not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did. But it was not what I expected. Austen is fab and deserved a better homage in my opinion.

And

After several people telling me what a great production the latest Wuthering Heights was, I watched it. I hadn't when it broadcasted initially because I watched the latest production of Tess of the D'Urbervilles and thought it horribly miscast. Eddie Redmayne was great in Pillars of the Earth but as Angel Clare...no. Neither did I like Gemma Arterton as Tess. So when WH came on the next week with Tom Hardy as Heathcliff, I was like...are you serious?  He looked NOTHING like Heathcliff to me. He looked like a plump-lipped boy with bad hair.

So this is me eating my words. I have seen Hardy in shows since and he is a brilliant actor. He truly is.  His portrayal of Dudley in The Virgin Queen is fantastic. I was assured by reliable sources that he was splendid in this role and guess what? HE WAS. Tortured, angry, charming when it suited him. When he arrived at the Grange and asked for Isabella, I could see how any woman would fall for him.  Hardy was splendid.

But that was not the true Heathcliff and so watching this version made me realize why I don't have any lasting affection for Wuthering Heights.

WH is not a Romance novel. It has a romance in it, but it is not a Romance. There is no happily ever after, and I like happily ever afters (which is probably why I have always preferred Jane Eyre).  Heathcliff and Cathy love each other, but love should always make a person MORE - and their love for each other brought out the worst in them rather than the best. I never liked Cathy - and I didn't particularly like her in this version either. She married Edgar, and yet kept her claim in Heathcliff - maybe she couldn't have him, but neither could anyone else.  She is selfish and self-absorbed. And Heathcliff LET her marry Edgar - before he ever left he knew that was in the cards so it is his own fault. For years they love each other and punish each other. There is so much passion between them, but I'm not sure it's love...if it is, it's a twisted version of it, and I think perhaps that's the point. It consumes to the point of death and madness, and I'd rather be uplifted.

Anyway, it is a superb production and I enjoyed it very much, even if WH isn't my favourite classic on the planet. LOL.  Actually once I realized exactly why it didn't work for me, I was able to enjoy it that much more.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Squeaking in a great deal before the weekend...

TOTALLY forgot to post this earlier - but you have time to take advantage of a deal at Mills and Boon. It's particularly timely for me because the reprint of A Bride For Rocking H Ranch is available this month on the Mills and Boon site in the anthology Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses.

Here's the deal:

At this chilly time of year it's definitely time to get the heating on and snuggle up with a good book.



We're giving you one less reason to step out into the cold this November by offering you 30% OFF on all orders at millsandboon.co.uk for 7 days only!


Enter the code SAVE19 into the promotion code box as you check out and your discount will automatically be applied to your order.



If you click on the Mills and Boon box on the right sidebar, it'll take you right to the shopping page!

Foreign Editions

Yesterday there was a box in the post box and lo and behold both One Dance With The Cowboy AND Her Lone Cowboy were out in Russia recently. I had no idea, and it's the first Russian copies I've had. Very cool - add another language to the tally.

So I thought hey, let's look for anything else that's out this month.



Hired: The Italian's Bride is out in Greece.









One Dance With The Cowboy is in Mexico.


And Argentina.











A Bride For Rocking H Ranch is out in an holiday antho in Denmark - and Finland.








Isn't that neat?

It's Friday, which means pay the bill day, grocery shopping day, and squeeze in some writing day. :-) I'm enjoying working on the new book, so that is good! And once my revisions for my online read go back, I *should* be able to really kick some butt on the word count. :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Last night the RWA hotsheet arrived in my inbox with the info about conference rates for this year's Nationals. To say I'm excited is an understatement. The room rate is very good, and because I'm actually splitting the cost by having a roomate, the money I save will pay for the conference fee AND some of the meals that aren't provided.

This morning my roomate, the lovely Fiona Harper, and I exchanged some short emails that made me laugh and got me more excited. I have no desire to live in a city, but spending a few days and seeing the sights sounds pretty good to me - and I've never been to New York. We're planning on doing some sightseeing in addition to whatever happens during the week - there's always an outing or two planned by various groups. Then there's the exciting things about conference itself: inspiring speakers at luncheons, the booksigning for literacy, fabulous workshops, and meeting up with old friends and new during the course of the week. And that doesn't even include the "big" events: I know my agency is holding some sort of get together (yay!) as well as the spectacular best party ever in the world Harlequin Party and the glam RITA awards ceremony.

Is it any wonder people are exhausted when they leave?

This year I'm part of three separate workshop proposals too, so fingers crossed one of them gets selected.  And I'll definitely be at the booksigning - I should be signing copies of my May Harlequin Romance as well as one of my Samhain titles that will be out in print by that time.

This excitement will pass. Until the next time, like when I register, or get my RITA books for judging, or book my flight, or...

Yeah.

In other news, I have revisions for my online read, Remember Me, Cowboy and they are light. Wheee! They make perfect sense and I'm looking forward to getting them back to my editor.  It will begin on Valentine's Day and run 3x a week for 3 weeks, coinciding with my February release of Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle.  I know it's only a 10k project, but getting light revisions has done wonders for my confidence. And I am particularly enjoying working on The Cowgirl's Convenient Groom too.

Now off to work as I have an appointment later...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Love to Laugh

This morning I am contemplating how often I look like an idiot because I laugh a lot. I LOVE to laugh. Laughing feels good in every way - mind, body and soul. I cannot imagine not being able to laugh - and when I was ill several years ago my husband said it was what he really missed about me - I didn't laugh anymore. And when I did begin laughing again, he said he knew that was when he knew I was okay again.

And not just laughing. I like being silly.

Last night was the last night of volleyball for my daughter and she said that it was billed as parents vs. kids and would I go. I love volleyball and despite my lamentable age, weight, and state of fitness I said sure. If I want to reverse the weight thing, hiding in a corner isn't going to fix it. So off I went. Guess how many other parents went?  ONE. Luckily it was the mom of one of my daughter's school teammates, and so when the game started it was about 12 girls vs. 4 of us - two on-the-downhill-slide-to-40 moms and the two high school boys who run the program (who were great fun, btw).

I did better than I expected - I wasn't at all sure I could still overhand serve but first time it sailed over the net and the look on my daughter's face was priceless.

I made a few good returns, missed a few more, and laughed A LOT. I laughed at my daughter and her friends who were silly, I laughed when I dove for a ball, bumped it and then realized my bum hip was going to pay the price, I laughed at the boys who hammed it up, I talked a little smack to my daughter who gave it right back...I'm sure they thought we were crazy.

So I probably looked like a total idiot. But boy, I had fun. I came home and took a few advil for the hip while commenting that my tummy hurt from laughing so hard.

I thought about the other parents sitting on the bleachers talking and looking very parental and dignified and kind of felt sorry for them.  Then I wondered if maybe letting my inner child out to play (who is somewhere in the 12-14 age) was a good thing. 

But then we were driving home and my daughter and I were STILL laughing and she said, "You know, you can be really witchy sometimes, but when we have fun, we REALLY have fun." I'm not sure everyone gets our wacky sense of humour, and I know it must appear that I haven't grown up, but I'm still known as The Hammer (rules are rules, you know) and I'm pretty strict. But having boundaries has NOTHING to do with having fun and laughing. My kids talk to me. We enjoy doing things together. And I don't plan to change that anytime soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Beginnings

Today my husband is starting a brand new job. It's very exciting for our family as we get to have him around a lot more. He thinks we're crazy and that we'll get tired of him, but secretly I think he's looking forward to it as well. So this morning I packed his lunch and poured his coffee and kissed him goodbye at the door as he is carpooling with a friend who works at the same place. Next week it'll be his turn to drive.

It will be cool to have a regular schedule again, I think.

Meanwhile I'm working away on CCG, doing a load of laundry, and whatever else needs doing. We got a lot done around here yesterday which was great, and we still managed to fit in a fun wine and cheese night on Saturday and had our Sunday morning coffee with the same friends yesterday.

In addition to writing, there's an interview with me up at Marie Nicole Ryan's blog today. Pop on over if you're so inclined.

And one last thing - my cp Michelle Styles has an online read beginning today at eharlequin called His Stand-In Bride. You can read the first chapter HERE!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Think I'm In Love

I started my new Harlequin Romance today, and after angsting over a working title I settled on The Cowgirl's Convenient Groom. I'm not sure if that will stick - most titles tend to be Hero-centric as far as possession goes. But there are a few twists in this one that I think kind of makes the title work.

I have been waiting a long time to write Clay Gregory's story. I tried a few different scenarios but nothing really stuck for me or for my editor either. But I think truth be told I didn't have the right heroine for Clay and when I finally realized who was PERFECT for him it all came together. Megan Briggs is the sister of his best friend. And if you've read One Dance With The Cowboy you've met Clay and Dawson a time or two.  Did I mention this book is set in Larch Valley? I LOVE being able to go back there for another visit.

There's some powerful conflict in this book and I'm keeping a lot of it close to my chest just because...well...I don't want to give it away yet. But today I wrote the opening and despite emotional fireworks to come I just had a BALL. Clay is going to be a real pill in a lot of ways.

And Megan is young, strong, and determined. I don't want to say more yet. But Clay is in for a big surprise.

I have my casting - an unlikely duo for a western but in my mind's eye it works. Clay's slightly older and dark and sexy. Megan is younger and is a lot stronger than she appears.

And I have a song, which I discovered a month or so ago. At first it didn't apply to Clay and Megan, but when I listened to it last week while on the treadmill, I realized it was RIGHT.



I fully expect that at some point these two are going to cause me a wagon load of trouble. But until then, I'm going to enjoy the honeymoon phase of this book as long as I can.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Breathe Bits

It is STILL raining. It has been raining since last Thursday night. Thankfully we have not had flooding up here on the hill, but lots of places have and I think everyone is ready to be done with the wet stuff. It's getting downright depressing.

One good thing though is that you can read the first chapter of BREATHE today at D. Renee Bagby's First Chapter blog.  Go ahead - meet Jace and Anna and see what you think. :-)

Then you can pop over and read an interview with me at Romance Reader at Heart's Novel Thoughts Blog. If you comment you're entered to win a copy of BREATHE. :-)

Now I'm off to edit my latest and get it ready to send.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

How much time is spent NOT writing?

It has occurred to me this week, as I press on with NaNoWriMo that there is a shocking amount of my work time spent not writing.

There is receiving and sending e-mails. Today e-mails included checking royalty statements, promotion, weird occurences with delivery of books to my door. The biggest chunk? Promotion and branches thereof. I co-edit the Pink Heart Society as most of you know so coordinating guests and posting blogs and what not is time consuming. Total labour of love, but time consuming. I also apologize if I have sent you a rather *brief* e-mail this week as I have kept things to the point in order to keep my inbox to a minimum.

Then I did actually finish writing my Online Read - hooray!  Need to update my word count meter. Tomorrow I begin editing!

Then there's paperwork - for example my latest contract and other forms arrived this afternoon, which need printing, reading, initialling, signing, and sending back to my agent.

Last week it was arrival of Author Alterations - AA's, or galleys. And the time spent reading my ms through line by line, making changes, typing those changes in and sending them to my editor. While I haven't had any this month, there are always revisions and edits to go through before we get to the galley stage - as well as art fact sheets, etc.

This month is also heavier on promotion as well because of BREATHE's release and things I have set up around the web.  I also went shopping for some promo items on sale that will carry me through a good portion of next year.

Speaking of next year, some promo for books that are coming out in 2011 is already in place - I've had to do up ad material and set up payment for things like Romantic Times, Romance Sells, etc. as well as some special newsletters for books coming out in February and May.

Did you also know it is contest season? Add in filling out contest forms, processing entry fees, and mailing out books.

Now. Add in laundry, meals, cleaning, dog walking, chauffeuring, helping with homework....

So really when I look at all that and add in writing 3-4 books a year, I'm doing all right.  I think with the focus on word count output during NaNo, I was already getting frustrated. But when I stepped back and looked at what else was going on...I felt better.

It really is true that writers aren't really JUST writers. We're small business owners. And I can't tell you how happy it makes me to say that at least I don't have to add "do taxes" to that list. That is one job I was happy to outsource!

Have a good 'un,

Donna

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hot guys, Pesky Critters and back to work

The weekend zoomed by thanks to working on copy edits (done! woo!), Band Hero, and me not feeling so great yesterday. But it is back to work today, catching up on some things, looking after others, and writing on the online read.

But for now you can catch me chatting about Chris Pine, the lastest addition to the Male on Monday hall of fame at The Pink Heart Society.  And you can also find out what critters are a pain in the patoot in our neck of the woods and how we keep them away from my garden and out of the house at Petticoats and Pistols.

Breathe is currently sitting at number 4 on the My Bookstore And More bestseller list. Hooray!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Smokin' Deals you should take advantage of....

Just click through for some great shopping deals - especially if you're keen on starting your Christmas shopping!

FREE shipping with coupon EHQNFREESHIPGet FREE shipping with coupon code EHQNFREESHIP




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Friday

I am DETERMINED to be productive today. I want to get a good chunk of writing done on my story and I need to get a start on my copy edits. I have banking to do as well...and a grocery list to make. But I think a good work day will get my weekend started right - I have a meeting on Sunday afternoon and I really want to spend some quiet quality time with the girls this weekend - it seemed this week was stupid busy and we were in crisis mode most of the time.

I'd also like to finish reading GAME OVER which just released by Taylor Keating from TOR. I haven't had time to read all week and I left it in a really good spot. :-(  After that I have Barb Wallace and Susan Meier's Fairytale Christmas to read and also a very special arc that made its way to me last week - as well Pam Yaye's November release which is the Pink Heart Picks Book Club selection....

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Jonah Days

Every now and then I have a Jonah day. You know, a day when things just  don't go as planned. Inevitably it is a day where I have TONS going on and something throws a monkey wrench into things and suddenly things fly apart, including my patience.

Yesterday was like that, from about noon onwards. The writing was going slowly. My copy edits arrived for A Family for the Rugged Rancher (they never come at an opportune time, btw, like last week when I was doing admin and not in the middle of a story). I went to print my ms, as this is the one and only time I feel the need to work from paper, and my printer jammed.

REALLY jammed.

So I frigged with it for several wasted minutes, figured out how to pop off a panel at the back to get out the rest of the paper and THEN I COULD NOT GET THE PANEL BACK ON. Thank you, Kodak, for showing me now to insert an ink cartridge in 6 different languages, but not showing me how to orient this silly panel (as you can tell I'm still slightly bitter). And it would not print without it.

I left with youngest to pick up eldest who had a volleyball game in the next town. I'm already frazzled and feeling rushed and I get there to find out that the time of 3-4 is not really 3-4 because there are 3 teams and we are NOT playing first. I had errands scheduled to happen before we went home, but seeing as the game didn't end until almost 5, it was straight home to dinner (which I'd put in the crock pot thankfully) and clean up and homework because youngest had basketball at 7:30. It didn't help that there were a few arguments along the way to frazzle my already frazzled mind...

Errands happened while she was at basketball. And did I mention dh fixed my printer and I finally finished printing out my manuscript? (FWIW, he said it was tricky. But he might have been trying to make me feel better.)

But at the end I was tired and grumpy and just out of sorts. As much as I got a lot accomplished yesterday, all I could see was what I didn't manage to get done.

Today I acknowledge that I am grumpy, but there are some positive things. Like my niece being here for dinner -  she's always fun. Like BREATHE hitting the top 10 over at My Bookstore And More. Like reader mail. Like the Lindt chocolate with sea salt that my dh bought me last night!

And fingers crossed I will be in a much nicer mood tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Breathe, Word Count, and a Review

November is surely turning out to be a busy month!

Yesterday's launch of BREATHE was fantastic - chatted to a bunch of people over at the Samhain blog and on twitter and FB, which was great. Today I'm scheduled to blog at RomConInc...being on the East Coast I suspect I'm up a little earlier than they are. :-)  EDIT: It's up!  Go here.

I'm working away on my online read, nearly at the 4k mark now and already realizing I'm going to have to streamline some things in the earlier chapters and bring out a conflict thread a little more. Most of all though I just need to keep going, because then I can fix everything after it's all written. I forgot to update my word counter yesterday so I'm going to do that and then hopefully add more to it later in the day. I do have a volleyball game to attend and a few errands and then more running tonight, so I have to make the most of the next few hours.

And finally - Cataromance has reviewed Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle. Donna gave it 4 stars and said "PROUD RANCHER, PRECIOUS BUNDLE pairs two heart-warmers, cowboys and babies, with an interesting plot and fascinating characters to deliver an engrossing read." 

Now I'm off - word count must be met, dinner must be put in the crock pot if we've any hope of having something to eat tonight!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

RELEASE DAY!

Break out the tootie horns - today is FINALLY release day for BREATHE!

I wrote this story back in 2008, then put it on hold, then made changes, then even MORE changes of a heavier variety, and late last winter my editor at Samhain gave me the good news. Then I went through editing and proofing and got this fantastic cover art! Now it is finally available to readers and it's so exciting!

To celebrate, I'm over at the Samhain Blog today (though the post isn't up yet, it should be soon, so depending on what time you're reading this you may or may not see it).

You can purchase it on amazon for kindle, or at Samhain's bookstore site, or generally at any online retailer that sells Samhain books like Barnes and Noble (for Nook) and http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/.

Today it is still business as usual with NaNo and then parent-teacher interviews, but also with as much celebrating as I can manage to fit in!

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNo, Newsletters, and Birthdays

My site is updated, and my newsletter will be hitting inboxes very shortly. :-) I did several things up last week and even on the weekend a bit in preparation for today - Nov 1.  Two reasons. One, BREATHE releases tomorrow! and I have a bunch of promo set up to celebrate. Looking at my calendar - everything is written, proofed, and ready to go.

Two, I'm NaNoing this month. I never have before - I have always been in the middle of a project or intending to and had revisions hit my inbox. But I shouldn't have any revisions, there is the possibility of AA's hitting from my editor and I can do those on top of writing. I also have a really busy writing schedule for the next year and so I'm doing a "Build Your Own" NaNo consisting of my 10k online read for Harlequin and then starting my next book and hoping to get 30-40k done on it. The 10 k will take me longer than just the first draft of it as it does need to be revised, polished and handed in. But the overall goal for me is to get the first draft of my next book done before Christmas. If I can get even 30k done on it by the end of November, I'll be in good shape. Then I can take Christmas off with the family and spend January revising as it's due Jan 31.


And today I'll also be popping in to the Samhain Cafe yahoo loop as Samhain is celebrating its 5th Birthday today! I sold my first book there when it was just getting off the ground - and tomorrow Breathe comes out and is my 14th book.  Happy Birthday Samhain Publishing!