Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's only Wednesday?

In some ways this week is flying by and in other ways...I want to say is it over yet?

It's been a bit of a roller coaster here in Casa Alward. The good news is I've focused my energies on getting a lot of work done to keep my mind occupied. And I've taken the kids on some nice walks with the dog. Hopefully tonight my husband will be back home after a bit of a family emergency on Monday. Circumstances being what they were, it was better if he went alone but I did spend some time waiting for him to call or text with updates.

Today my mom is having minor surgery and last week my step dad went in hospital for an operation, so there's been plenty of worry and also plenty of chatting between my sister and me. We're related on both sides of the family as we married 2 brothers so one of us is usually in the loop about one thing or the other. We always have a laugh about something, and it brightens my day.

And good news for my youngest who went back to the doc on Friday, finally got some meds and is already doing better after a summer of being mostly miserable and exhausted. The last time she was in they suggested letting nature take its course. Nature kind of goofed off and went on holiday, I think. So this time we hit the pharmacy.

But you know, despite it all I'm thinking we're all kind of floating along and doing okay. I've really enjoyed the time home with the kids and other half this summer and the weather's been great. We've done some odd jobs and spent some time in the sun. The kids have had friends over and on the whole it's been fairly relaxing, other issues aside.

And now I've gotten a lot of stuff done that was outstanding for this fall, meaning that when the house is empty again in a few weeks, I can knuckle down and focus on the book due October 1.

The other thing I'm really looking forward to? The Mills and Boon New Voices competition starting September 13. It's going to be hectic and fabulous! If you're an aspiring romance author, check out www.romanceisnotdead.com for deets on it all.

For now I'm going to go walk the dog while the good weather holds!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Four stars

Just a quick blog to share the first review for HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART - I found the RT review last night and I'm very pleased with the 4 stars! Here's what the reviewer had to say:


Megan Briggs survived breast cancer, and now she must fight to keep her family ranch operating profitably. Clay Gregory has always thought of Megan as his best friend’s little sister. Now he realizes that she has grown into a beautiful and courageous woman, but he may have come to this realization too late, because Megan doesn’t seem interested in anything other than saving the ranch. Great characters bring life to this beautifully written story that explores trust, friendship and hope.

I really couldn't ask for a better first review!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tick Tock

Time is running out on a few contests, so I thought I'd issue a quick reminder!

My Summer Contest will close on the 31st of August and I'll be drawing a winner on September 1. Here are the details:

The winner will get a tote bag filled with goodies: a Donna Alward mug, notebook, magnet, keychain and pen; signed copies of my 4 2011 Harlequin Romances - PROUD RANCHER, PRECIOUS BUNDLE, HONEYMOON WITH THE RANCHER, A FAMILY FOR THE RUGGED RANCHER, and HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART, an ARC of my upcoming Samhain print release BREATHE, and a Samhain gift card valued at a free book ($5.50).

To enter, e-mail me at
donnaalward@hotmail.com with the subject line of Summer Contest and tell me the name of the series of my October Samhain Publishing release. Good luck!

And my Goodreads giveaway also ends August 31:





Goodreads Book Giveaway





Breathe by Donna Alward



Breathe


by Donna Alward



Giveaway ends August 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.




Enter to win




Good luck!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The old and the new!

The very first early review of OFF THE CLOCK, coming from Samhain in October, popped up on the LibraryJournal.com site!

Guilt and misunderstandings create dramatic tension in this novella that launches Canadian author Alward's "First Responders" series. Set near Halifax, NS, the story focuses on Gabe Brennan, a former scholarship football player who was a bystander when his teammate and friend Brandon overdosed at a college party. Now a paramedic, Gabe witnesses a hit-and-run accident that injures Brandon's newly divorced and pregnant sister, Carly. Family secrets are revealed and tender love builds as Carly adjusts to being a single mother and her blossoming relationship with Gabe. 

 Verdict A satisfying read combining all the right measures of apprehension and reconciliation.


And BREATHE has also been reviewed (out in ebook now, coming in Print from Samhain in December) and this totally made me smile! Check out Romantic Rose's Bookshelf:

One thing I find I really enjoy about Alward's novels is her ability to write real problems and conflicts that are well-written melodrama. However, instead of feeling like the characters are being cheesy and going over-board in their hurt, I find that I really enjoy how truthful and honest the characters are about how much hurt they suffered. In comparison to many other romance authors, Alward seems to be exaggerating the emotions in her story - but I find that she can really make it work. Alward writes some of the most human romances I’ve ever read, and I truly appreciate the realistic edge to her books dealing love in life – instead of love in fantasy.
All in all, Alward has written a true winner that will pull on your heart-strings, curl your toes, wet your eyes, and remain in your memory for a long, long time.

Exquisite. Simply exquisite.
BUT WAIT - There's more!
Fast-paced and completely absorbing, this book with captivate you from start to finish.
Thank you Rose May for the fantastic review!

Nas Dean also reviewed BREATHE:

 Donna Alward brings her trademark tenderness, warmth and sensitivity in telling this story. I had grave doubts about how the issues would resolve and how she would manage to get this two characters together for their happily ever after, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Donna Alward has written a spellbinding tale of powerful secrets, new beginnings, redemption and hope that will make readers chuckle as well as wipe away a tear or two. A poignant story about letting go of the past and seizing the day, BREATHE is another first-rate keeper by Donna Alward!
Thanks Nas!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer stuff

I realized I haven't updated since last Friday! That's because I've been running around doing fun stuff. On Saturday I did the day long workshop at Prescott House Museum - it was lovely, the weather was great, the staff was fab, and when it was done my friend Kelly and I hit Blomidon Estate Winery, Noggins Farm Market and Fox Hill Cheese.

I got home to find supper on the go - and a clean house. Plus we celebrated my birthday a day early with fave foods like my husband's barbequed ribs and fresh corn and cake. Yum!

That meant Sunday was a lazy day of reading and walking the dog with the neighbours and swimming in the pool.

Monday my eldest started volleyball camp so there's earlier starts and extra driving. She is having a marvelous time. My youngest and I also took Monday as a "girlie" day - we went shopping for jeans and indoor sneakers, made a trip to the library AND the bookstore, and I took her for a proper sit-down lunch that was delicious. Yesterday we made 2 kinds of muffins together. This morning we (youngest, the husband and me) went to a nearby park to walk the dog. I'm going bike riding later.

Summer is coming to a close soon - the end of next weeks marks the first of "us" to go back to a regular work schedule (the husband goes back on the 26th) and the kids follow soon after. On one hand, I'm looking forward to the fall schedule and fall IS my favourite time of year.

But on the other, summer has gone very quickly and I'm not totally ready for it to be over.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Taking the day off

I wanted to get to 15k this week and I surpassed 16, and THE SUN IS OUT. This is big news. It has been completely dreary and dismal ALL WEEK. All of us have been grumpy. And I did work more during the yucky weather. So this morning it was foggy when the husband and I went to the grocery store and it was blue skies and sun when we came out.

I could work this afternoon, but tomorrow is a "work" day as I'm giving a workshop at Prescott House Museum for most of the day. So this afternoon I'm going to enjoy the sunny reprieve and work in the yard. First things first - walking the dog and going to my neighbours to collect my load of laundry and hang it out. Our new washer won't be here until next Wednesday or Thursday, so I'm doing the odd load at her house to get us through. :-)

It is amazing how a little sunshine can make someone's mood do a total 180. I was tired and really unmotivated this morning. Now I'm ready to kick Friday's butt! This is very good news indeed.

Have a great weekend - this is birthday weekend for me so it means cake on Sunday and there is a rumour that the husband is making me barbequed ribs and fresh corn for dinner. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART available on NetGalley

If you're a book reviewer, I have good news. My October Romance release, HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART, has just become available on NetGalley.

You can request it here: http://bit.ly/nzYVFt

Right now Harlequin is putting up one book from each line as a trial run, and I'm thrilled that Clay and Meg's story has been chosen!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Day Camp, Schedules, Candles and Word Count (not to mention washing machines)

I've been nose to the grindstone the last few days, and I kind of like where my story is going right now. Today was all about adding a scene as the one I had needed something before it. And the one that I had is going to be extended too - into a first date scene (I think by chapter 3-4 they've earned a date, don't you?). So yay - I'm up to over 14,000 words now. And I'm really loving Ty.

I've been blogging around though - so first of all you can catch my post from yesterday at  Petticoats and Pistols. It's all about childhood dreams and horses. :-)

Then you can venture over to The Pink Heart Society where today I talk about how a fun day of candle making turned into one requiring several bandaids (and a few choice swear words from yours truly).

And at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs I chat about how my usual "scheduled" way of life changes in the summer and how I've been handling that (hint - there's fun involved).

As far as the washing machine thing goes? We're waiting to hear on parts costs. It is not looking good. We have only had this washer for maybe 6 years? And it was not a cheap one either. I rather suspect a new machine is in our future.  It may be time to do some creative accounting...

Friday, August 05, 2011

New words and Friday Reads

I finished galleys yesterday and so today it was back to work on the WIP. I took my editor's input and made changes to the first chapter, which meant making a chapter break earlier on at a POV change which works really well, I think. I also realized that the scenes that I had that weren't working don't have to be deleted - they can be adjusted and fixed and so I've added them in and to my wondering eyes I saw a word count total of over 12,000 words! Wooo! It's a great start, and puts me a lot further ahead than I expected. I'm sure some of those words will be cut and replaced but that's okay. It gives me something to work with.

I wonder if it's enough to keep my CP from cracking her whip so much? (ouch!)

Have a good weekend - I'm off to do some weeding. Exciting, yeah? And then I'm going to indulge in some reading. I'm reading SEDUCING AN ANGEL by Mary Balogh right now, and I'm going to review all five books in the series here when I've finished them (this is book 4).

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Goodreads Giveaway for 3 ARCS of BREATHE




Goodreads Book Giveaway





Breathe by Donna Alward



Breathe


by Donna Alward



Giveaway ends August 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.




Enter to win


New excerpts and stuff

I've done my August website update, and so now you can go to my site and read blurbs and excerpts for my 2 books coming out in October.

Pop on over and see the stunning cover for HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART, releasing on October 4 in Canada and the US (and in November in the UK).

Then you can also go to the page for OFF THE CLOCK, my novella releasing from Samhain Publishing also on October 4, and read an excerpt from a story I set in one of my favourite places, the Annapolis Valley here in Nova Scotia.

Right now I'm working on galleys for BREATHE (coming out in print on December 6) and going to start a hot chicken curry for supper.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Very Cool Things

I have found with foreign releases it is feast or famine for me. After a few "dry" months I had a release in France mid-July. And this month I have 2 more that are exciting.

First up is Turkey and HONEYMOON WITH THE RANCHER. It's out in a 2 in 1 with Rebecca Winters.


And then there's Japan. This is my FIRST Japanese edition and I'm THRILLED! How cool! It's HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE.



Now I'm going to hang out clothes, stain my front steps, and work on updating my first chapter with my editor's fab suggestions. Have a wonderful Monday!