Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Ups and Downs

Monday didn't start well. *Someone* stepped in dog poop this morning and didn't realize. Thankfully they took their shoes off in the entry and then put them on just before work, so any tracking of disgusting stuff was limited to the entry way and *ahem* into my office where *someone* waits for his drive to arrive. Not that we're mentioning any names. But I did have to scrub before 8 a.m. this morning, which is not the most stellar start to the week.

But it's been getting better since then. I finished my first #1k1hr, and I just had e-mail from my editor that Cooper and Mel's story (title still TBD, but A Cowboy To Come Home To on the sidebar) is approved and will be out in July 2013. This is my 20th project for Harlequin so that's a very nice number.

Now I'm off to change laundry around before doing another #1k1hr. It's grey and breezy and drizzly today, but we're not due to have massive effects from Hurricane Sandy. It looks like Tuesday/Wednesday will be heavier rain and winds, but not the same intensity as in the states. It'll likely put a damper on Halloween, though.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Craziness

This week has flown by. Between work and family, it's been pretty steady around here.

I started seeing the chiropractor for my hip, which has been good. I had an appt last Friday, one Tuesday, and have another tomorrow. Plus eldest had her monthly orthodontist appt yesterday morning.

I've been working on the novella and also doing other "admin" type things that have eaten up a fair bit of my time...the novella is supposed to go in to my editor next week-ish so I need to keep my butt moving on that! No rest for the wicked that way, and I will confess that waiting to hear back on 2 other projects is starting to play mind games with me and not in a good way.

Monday my eldest had a volleyball game. Tuesday the youngest had choir. Yesterday eldest had a volleyball game and youngest had band after school and then eldest had a dance, so it was a bit of bouncing around. Today youngest has her volleyball practice. There's no school tomorrow, but eldest is babysitting and then Saturday is badminton and more babysitting and a choir concert....followed by Sunday morning badminton.

It is cray cray I tell you!

And yet...I do love watching my kids participate in things they enjoy. Yesterday my youngest was offered a chance to play a second instrument in concert band as they are short  and have a surplus of her first instrument. Music is her "thing". She is really excited about trying something new. She'll still be playing flute in her class band and in flute ensemble, so she gets a chance to play both. And my eldest is the sporty one, and the next few weeks are going to be hairy but should let us know what's happening throughout most of the rest of the school year. Mainly if she's going to be playing 2 sports this winter or just one.

The one thing I'm getting very good at? Taking a book with me everywhere I go! It gives me an extra excuse to catch up on my reading!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Snowbound In The Earl's Castle

I'm ashamed to say that until today I had not read Fiona's story, Snowbound In The Earl's Castle, from start to finish. We talked a lot about what was happening in our stories, and intersection points and that kind of stuff, but I hadn't actually read it all the way through. And definitely not after it had been revised and copy edited!

But I read it this week, and you GUYS. It is gorgeous. It is one of my favourite books this year (and I've read 43 so far). Definitely my fave category romance. It is a wonderful fairy tale, with 2 great characters, a magical setting, a family mystery, and all set at Christmas. I cried through most of the last 2 chapters, both the happy and the sad kind.

I know I want all of you to read the whole HOLIDAY MIRACLES trilogy, but really, you can't miss out on this one!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Coming in January to Mills and Boon

Just a quick note today as I've got major word count to get down. I found out last week that PROUD RANCHER, PRECIOUS BUNDLE is going to be reprinted in an anthology in the UK called DATE WITH THE SINGLE DAD - along with stories from Ally Blake and Natasha Oakley.

I can't wait to see the cover - they do such a great job with these and it's awesome that I'm in an antho with two people I've known since before I sold my first book!

It's a dreary, grey day here, so I'm off to make a cup of coffee and get stuck in to my manuscript.

Monday, October 15, 2012

RITA Entry Day

Today is RITA entry day! I've managed to make my way through the new form - a bit longer this year but not too confusing.

After finalling last year, I can tell you that my outlook on the contest is much the same. One always hopes that maybe, if the stars are all aligned correctly, a book will final. It is a Big Deal being a finalist. You kind of feel like a rock star during conference.

But the chances of finalling aren't high. They really aren't. It's kind of like writing. If you look at the numbers, the chances of selling are quite small. If you look at the number of submissions and then number of requests, then number of acceptances it's enough to make you wonder if it's worth it. So why write? Well, there has to be a longer, better reason. For me it's because I kind of have to. I have stories to put down, I love doing it, and I'm grumpy when I don't. That's what kept me going through rejection. So why enter the RITAs if the chances of finalling are so small?

1) Because I can. Because I was blessed to have qualifying books out during 2012.

2) Because each year means I get my book in front of 5 peers who maybe, just maybe haven't read anything of mine before. Maybe they really like it. Maybe they'll go buy more of my work. Maybe they'll tell other people about it. Writers are readers. This is another way to grow my readership!

3) Because I judge. I also find other authors that I love, which is awesome. I found one of my autobuy authors the very first year I was eligible to judge. Also - I learn from judging. I learn from things done really well and things done...not so well.

4) And finally, because maybe the odds are against me but SOMEONE has to final and why not me? You can't win if you don't play. You really just never know, especially in this biz. And in my eyes, the RITA still stands for something.

Anyway my forms are printed and I'm getting my books ready to ship. And crossing my fingers, because it'd be kind of cool to make it to Atlanta next summer.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Revisions

Revisions - tweaks, really - have gone back to my editor just in time for the weekend. I was up way too early this morning thanks to a kid with a nightmare, so I've taken it "easy" since hitting send.

Do you have a place where everything gets deposited? In our old house that used to be the top of the fridge. In my office it's on top of my printer. I ALWAYS have a pile of papers, magazines, things that need my attention... well, not today! It is GONE! I've cleared out whatever needed looking after, recycled, and organized. My office looks so much better! Then I read all the adverts that came yesterday and noted some sale items on my grocery list. Printed out directions for somewhere I need to go tomorrow, got my things ready to drop off to the library (also tomorrow). I just have to unload the dishwasher and tidy the kitchen a bit and things will be neater. The house still needs the weekly spit and polish, but things look SO much better when they are actually picked up and put away. My inbox is down to FOUR, too! And if I get my stuff done in the next half hour, I have about an hour to read. I'm hoping to finish my book this weekend.

Sunday is our 17th anniversary, but because things are crazy tomorrow, I think we're going to keep it low key at home. Which is fine by me!

Back on Monday - when I get the chance to get back to work on Beneath the Badge. :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Little Cowgirl on His Doorstep

My editor sent through the blurb for Little Cowgirl on His Doorstep!


Little cowgirl makes three

For Avery Spencer the sight of rugged, sullen and dangerously sexy Callum Shepard is enough to set her pulse racing. Too bad she’s only on his ranch to tell him that her adorable baby niece is his daughter!

Tortured rancher Callum almost can’t believe he's a father. But now he must learn to believe he does have what it takes to become a dad, and convince Avery that both she and baby Nell belong on the ranch—with him!


She also sent through revisions for Cooper and Mel (A Cowboy to Come Home To, working title) and so that's what I'm going to be doing for the next few days. I had a feeling that as soon as I got stuck in my next story (Beneath The Badge), revisions would hit. But once they are out of the way I'll be back with Matt and Lindsay. I had a lot of fun writing the first chapter.

In the meantime, there's a Spotlight event happening at Harlequin's community - we're launching the Holiday Miracles trilogy with a special thread. This month Fiona is talking about the real life inspiration for the setting of SNOWBOUND IN THE EARL'S CASTLE - and yes, it's a real castle and YES, she's been there! Jealous! Come on over and join the conversation.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Turkey Coma

I am full of turkey. My sister and brother in law and their dog came for the weekend and we ate...and ate...and ate. There was the Saturday afternoon "appetizer" of chicken wings - buffalo and salt and pepper and they were AWESOME. Then around 7 p.m. we had homemade pizza. We had bought snacks for playing cards but they stayed in the pantry as we were all too full to eat anything more. Then Sunday morning brought a big breakfast, and a snack around 1 or so to hold us through until Thanksgiving Dinner, which we ate around 5. My niece and nephews came for dinner - they'd been staying at the eldest's apartment for the weekend, so there were 9 of us to sit down and eat.

We had turkey, stuffing/dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes (and there was much complaining about having sweet potatoes instead of squash, so we went and picked up a squash and had that too), rolls, cranberry sauce, coleslaw, and pickles. I didn't have the squash or any rolls or pickles, and I was still really full. After we'd mostly cleaned up that mess, we *thought* we had room for dessert which was coffee and my sister had made a gingerbread cheesecake and I made a pumpkin pie for those who just can't imagine Thanksgiving without pie. The pie turned out great which was a relief because I have a history of not-so-good pumpkin pie.

We played cards. I had to take an antacid. I was so full I was really feeling a bit ill. And the funny thing is I didn't clean my plate either with dinner OR dessert.  My husband said that I was used to not eating as much so that was why I felt so rotten. I'm going with that. It sounds good.

Yesterday was a much lighter breakfast because we were having hot turkey sandwiches for lunch before everyone left for home. I enjoy this meal almost as much as the turkey dinner. Mmmm. It's one of two times a year that we dig out the deep fryer and make french fries and also buy white bread. Hot turkeys on whole grain just do not taste RIGHT. They were so good but again I wasn't able to finish everything on my plate!

Needless to say last night was a lighter meal - I made a turkey caesar salad and we had warmed up rolls with it.

Tonight we are taking a break and NOT having turkey. But tomorrow I expect it'll be turkey soup day. :-)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Finland

Today's post is brought to you by HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE, which is out this month in Finland.

Pretty, right?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

How it all started... and a new excerpt

Yesterday a blog went up on the Romantic Times site - a blog that I co-wrote along with the awesome Fiona Harper and Shirley Jump. We talk about how we came up with the idea of the Holiday Miracles trilogy and what it was like working together.  Pop on over for the deets! It was fun!

I spent the better part of 2 days updating my site. It was an EPIC update because each page had to be tweaked - and considering I have a page for each of my books, that's a LOT of pages. There are two new spots for you to visit - one is an "Extras" page, which I'm going to work on building over time. Right now it's got a couple of photos on it. I've got some fun games that are going to be posted, and hopefully this month I'm going to add a video message.

While I'm still waiting for a cover for LITTLE COWGIRL ON HIS DOORSTEP, I did take the time to make a page for it and posted an excerpt! I really loved writing the first impression that Avery has of Callum, especially since in my mind Callum looked a little like this:


And one final thing - I added four recipes to the Recipe Corner so you might want to check that out. I plan on adding a few Christmas ornament knitting patterns soon.

That should keep y'all busy for a bit while I tackle what's next on the old to-do list!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

And it's....gone

Yesterday I handed in my latest book. It's actually gone in early, which is awesome. It means I get an earlier start on projects that are upcoming and I feel less pressure when life gets in the way as it is surely apt to do in the next few months. October and the first 2 weeks of November are volleyball season. Then December is Christmas concerts and holiday prep. It's very busy, especially with the concerts as the youngest will have a school band concert and probably about 3 choir performances, and the eldest will also have her high school band concert.

It's my first book with my new editor, so I'm crossing my fingers that she likes it. And that revisions won't be too painful. :-) I'm sure there will be a few to help iron out some clunky bits or gaps or what not that I didn't see.

In the meantime, congrats to Shannon Grider who won my Newsletter Subscriber contest in September. I'm not holding a contest this month because next month it is going to be crazy - I've got a fab contest that is going to run all month long, and then I'm doing some major blog touring to celebrate BOTH my releases so there will be opportunities for you to win books all month long.

For the next day or two I'm catching up on "stuff" - updating my website should be done today, so be on the lookout for some new recipes and fun stuff there. I sent my monthly newsletter out yesterday and I have a list of the blogs I have left to write for next month's tour.

It all helps to cleanse the palate from the last book before I launch into the new one - the very last First Responders novella called Beneath The Badge.  If you want to stay up to date on all the Samhain releases and special events, they do have a newsletter. Actually - they have FOUR! Newsletters for New Releases, Romance, Horror, and Retro Romance are all available. You can sign up using this form.

But first - it's a gorgeously warm fall day and I have laundry ready to hang on the line!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Holiday Miracles

While my book won't hit store shelves until November, book 1 in the Holiday Miracles trilogy releases TODAY (SNOWBOUND IN THE EARL'S CASTLE!) and you can get my contribution (SLEIGH RIDE WITH THE RANCHER) too if you shop at www.harlequin.com. The third book, MISTLETOE KISSES WITH THE BILLIONAIRE will be out Dec 1 (and available on Harlequin on November 1).

 
 
If you're in the UK, you can get ALL THREE TITLES in one volume called A CHRISTMAS LETTER. It releases on November 1, but again, if you shop at www.millsandboon.co.uk (It's under "Special Releases"), you can get it now.