Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best Books of 2011

To date I've read 56 books this year - less than last year, but on average one a week. After seeing lots of "top" lists, I thought about which books really captured my attention and so rather than a top list, here are my categories and faves!

*not all books were released in 2011. Some are tbr backlist.


Favourite Category Romance: Tie between Her Best Friend - Sarah Mayberry and The Heart of a Hero - Barbara Wallace

Favourite Debut: The Outlaw Bride - Kelly Boyce

Favourite Series: First Comes Marriage...the series by Mary Balogh

Favourite Historical Romance: The Duke and I - Julia Quinn

Favourite New To Me Author and Most Likely To Be Glommed: Before the Scandal - Suzanne Enoch

Favourite Contemporary: Bring Me Home For Christmas - Robyn Carr

Honourable Mention: Sherryl Woods and A Chesapeake Shores Christmas

What were your favourite reads of the year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage

Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage is featured on Super E-Reads today! For more info, check it out!

http://super-e-reads.com/2011/12/montana-mistletoe-marriage-by-donna-alward/


In other non-writing news, the girls and I did our post-Christmas gift card spending shopping trip today. We did great. They got new clothes/footwear/purses/makeup sorts of things and I got new slippers, new jeans, and a new shower caddy for the ensuite. We went for lunch together like we do every year, and now they are home and happy and vegging.

Is everyone still eating turkey? Tonight's dinner is one of our favourite turkey casseroles.

Friday, December 23, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I can hardly believe it's the 23rd of December. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we're ALL READY for the big day here. Last night my husband and I went to a work party and when we got home there was a note waiting that said the girls had finished cleaning the house - which meant I got up today and was free to have a coffee with the husband, a leisurely breakfast and then work! :-)

To make it even better, it started snowing before we got up and it's STILL snowing and we are definitely in for a white Christmas! Look at this!



Before I go, I want to mention a few holiday things going on - today I'm at The Pink Heart Society for Must Watch Friday chatting about a movie tradition in our family! 




There's also a chance to win my novella OFF THE CLOCK at the Long and Short Reviews holiday event - Stuff Your Stockings with Books!







And starting on December 24, you should really visit the Romance Author Hotspot Holiday Bash for a chance to win books AND a Kindle FIRE!

Fun, right?

In the meantime - have a wonderful, blessed holiday. Travel safe if you're on the road. We're sticking pretty close to home, eating lots of turkey, and probably playing a bit of Rock Band and enjoying a few new toys.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's on your Christmas List?

Today the fabulous Sea and Be Scene site has a holiday feature asking "what's the best Christmas present you ever got?" It got me thinking about all the presents over the years, big and small, and how hard it was to pick just one. But I did, and you can read about the faves of lots of East Coast personalities.

Then a few minutes ago I saw a tweet asking what writers were asking for for Christmas. My list was small this year and not a whole lot writerly on it - except for some books. I asked for the George RR Martin Game of Thrones series. Otherwise, hopefully Santa is putting a new can opener beneath my tree. Seriously. I asked for a new can opener.

What's on your Christmas list? Practical or indulgent?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sweet Treats

It's my day over at the Harlequin Romance Author site and I'm giving away a copy of Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses which includes 4 stories in one! Plus you're not going to want to miss my recipe either. It's soooooo good. And totally addictive.

Check it all out at www.harlequinromanceauthors.com!

I'll be back tomorrow - the last of the school concerts are today and tomorrow Christmas holiday officially begins!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Recharged

I'm mostly recharged this morning - it was a great weekend and if I'm a little behind the 8-ball it's just because I didn't sleep that well last night. Plus my internet died this morning and I had to trouble shoot it which wouldn't have been a huge deal except I'm teaching this week and I had my first lesson all ready to go. I hit post and lost everything. It's Monday.

But the weekend was great. We kicked it off with my niece and her husband here for supper - I made lasagna and garlic bread and salad and we had Christmas treats for dessert and ate wayyyy too much and then played Rock Band for about 2 hours. Saturday I had coffee with a friend and then the girls and I hit Michaels craft store and spent more than I'd planned as their ornament kits were on 1/2 price. We did crafts all Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. Saturday night I read, Sunday morning the husband and I took the dog for a long walk, and in the afternoon I wrapped stuff and made a roast beef dinner. It was really great.

And now here we are - Monday, and the last week of school before Christmas holidays. I've got lots to do - work on the WIP, teaching Blasting Through Blah at Passionate Ink, 3 concerts and who knows what else. S'ok though. We're ready for Christmas here.

This is also the last week for the Harlequin Romance Author site relaunch complete with recipes and prizes, so don't forget to stop by. A winner's list will be posted on the 19th.

And Mills and Boon Australia is having a sale right now, so if you're down under and looking to do some shopping:

Friday, December 09, 2011

Christmas

We're hard core Christmas here this week. Tuesday I did most of the shopping, Wednesday I picked up the last little things and did a mess of wrapping before heading to the youngest's Christmas concert. It was our last elementary school holiday concert which might be sad except the parking and chaos is particularly insane at the elementary school and I'm not going to miss that. :-)

Yesterday we had a huge storm and lost power for most of the day, so I indulged myself by reading a Christmas book from my shelf - Bring Me Home For Christmas by Robyn Carr and it was sooo good. Then last night the girls and I did a whole mess of Christmas baking. There will be lots of choices for dessert tonight when my niece and her husband are here for dinner. Tomorrow I have a coffee date in the morning but otherwise the weekend is free - so I am thinking lots of Christmas movies and down time. The eldest's concert last night was cancelled because of the power outage, so we still have 2 more concerts to go next week before we can really let down our hair and relax for Christmas.

I had my hair cut this morning, which means I had some time while my *coughgreycoveragecough* was setting to start my next book - in keeping with Christmas stories I'm reading A Chesapeake Shores Christmas by Sherryl Woods - trying to get caught up with this series and I also have An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl on my TBR to help that along.

A couple of work-y type things - don't forget to visit www.harlequinromanceauthors.com because our recipes and giveaways are still ongoing and as far as I know it all ends a week from today.

And starting Monday I'm teaching Blasting Through Blah hosted by the Passionate Ink RWA chapter. You can still register! http://www.passionateink.org/workshops/

See you Monday!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

BREATHE is out in print!

Today is a "second" release day for my book, BREATHE, as it is finally released in PRINT!  You can snag it at special new release pricing at Samhain Publishing or get it from booksellers - if they don't have it in stock, they can definitely order it in for you (or you can order it online).

I loved writing this story and I adore the cover. It's kind of cool that it gets a second release date. :-)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Redux

As you can see, I didn't quite make my NaNo total but I got over 40k written in November which, considering how crazy life ALWAYS seems to be in November is pretty good. I finished, sent, and sold a novella, started my next story, sent the partial to my editor, carried on with the story, took a long weekend to visit my mom, and spent a lot of time chaufeurring kids around. I'm happy.

Today I'm working on the copy edits of The Rebel Rancher (coming out next June) and I've cried twice and I still adore my hero, so yay! This was possibly my favourite book to write. I told my editor it IS actually hard to write the next book after a "fairy dust" book, but after her thoughts on the partial I've had a good think about it and I'm excited about making a few tweaks and carrying on.

Today I'm at Petticoats and Pistols talking about a Down Home Family Christmas and I'm also talking about the Harlequin Romance Author site relaunch at The Pink Heart Society. Don't forget to drop by the site for your chance to win Harlequin Romance books and get a few fantastic recipes!

This past weekend my sisters were here and we did a huge shopping trip on Saturday. They left Sunday afternoon around 2:30; my daughter had to be at a local community centre to sing for a seniors party at 2:50. She did great. Last night, to unwind, we put White Christmas on and decorated our gingerbread house. It was the perfect way to end the crazy weekend.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Brag Board and Hodge Podge

There is nothing that makes me any happier than celebrating the achievements of my kids. I'm always proud, of course, but the last few weeks has seem my youngest really excel at something new. She's done such a great job and amazed a lot of people. She started playing flute in September and is doing so well that she's playing a fairly complicated solo with the school choir at their concert next week, as well as having a part in the school drama and doing another flute solo with one of the classes. Last night she had her concert with the district Honour Choir - they sounded beautiful.

I think that every kid has a "thing". For some it's sports, for some it's music, whatever...but finding that interest and talent is great. She's blossomed so much this year and it's been lovely to watch.

Hodge-podge wise - after months of losing a few pounds, putting it back, losing, putting it back...last Friday I was exactly where I was before I left for New York last June. Sigh. I knew I had to get strict, so a week ago today I decided to go "cleaner" with my eating (as I'd remained active but hadn't lost any more). I cut out caffeine and wine, and had green tea 3 evenings and last night I had 1 cup of black tea - my first all week. The withdrawal headaches lasted for nearly 4 days, but I'll confess I've been sleeping so much better! I also cut back on dairy - very little cheese (I think I had it once all week, beyond a sprinkle of parmesan on my salad one night) and mostly greek yogurt. And I cut back on gluten, some days having none at all, or if I did it was only at one meal. It really was not a difficult week despite the cut backs - I ate a LOT of fruit and vegetables and lean protein and drank a lot of water. Today I was down 4.4 lbs - in ONE WEEK. Tell me I wasn't hanging on to some goo?

I'm out of eggs, so this morning I made quinoa for the first time and put apples and cinnamon in it. It was okay. Not something I'd want to eat every day, but a decent gluten-free substitute for porridge that's high in protein.

And before I dash off - today is crazy busy - today's author at the Harlequin Romance Author website is Lucy Gordon - with a taste of Italy courtesy of her husband and a holiday book to give away. Pop by.

Have a good weekend! I've heard a rumour that one or both of my sisters may land here this weekend, though no one's really let me know either way...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Website relaunch and prizes!

The blog's been quiet this week and for a very good reason. Today the Harlequin Romance Authors launch their redesigned website! Thanks to Anne MacFarlane of Annespired Web Design who made us this gorgeous new template - and set it up so that I could add information so easily! I've been busy adding author profiles to the Meet The Author page and a few photos to the Fun Stuff page with more to come!

To celebrate the launch, we're holding a party that will last long into the MONTH! Stop by each day for a chance to win a book and snag a recipe from the contributing author. There are some real goodies - we kicked it off with Barb McMahon, a 2 in 1 Holiday book AND her recipe for Chocolate Truffle Cookies that look delish (and that my kids are dying to make, must pick up some baking chocolate!)!

Head on over to www.harlequinromanceauthors.com to join in the fun and drop by each day for a new chance to win. We'll be posting a winners list after we run out of books and not before!

Today being December 1 also means that my biannual royalties arrived - woo hoo! I celebrated by treating myself to a massage. Then I ran some errands and finally I'm home to get to work. There'll be a newsletter hitting subscriber inboxes shortly and after that an update to my website....