Monday, September 29, 2008
We did lose power, but only for about an hour, in the middle of the night. And miraculously my trees are in tact - at least the ones out front and I haven't checked the back 40 yet.
So...back to normal for now. I'll be back later with a book blog - but I am not working much this week as the husband is home today and off for the rest of the week to do "home improvement" jobs.
Friday, September 26, 2008
There is always reading and crafts to keep a girl (and her kids) going...I might have to pull out the knitting needles.
Anyway I'll catch you on the flip side one way or the other.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I'm still in the throes of revisions but my one indulgence the last few days - besides gazing at my new cover - has been reading A Question of Impropriety by Michelle Styles.
I didn't critique this book, so I had the rare pleasure of reading it as a reader would, and not as one who'd already seen a first draft.
This was, perhaps, the most romantic of any of Michelle's books I've read. Diana is lovely, and Brett has the sexiness of a rake with the heartwarming loveliness of a gentleman...imagine if you took Willoughby's passion and Colonel Brandon's ethics and crafted a hero. YUM. The cover is brilliant as well, as a key scene is a waltz and Diana wears a rose-coloured gown.
It was also refreshing to have a Lady who embraced her sexuality despite a previous bad experience.
This book is followed by Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife due out early 09 and features the story of Simon Clare, Diana's overbearing, somewhat blind-to-the-world-around-him brother. I wanted to throttle him. But it's a gorgeous set up for that book, and I know you'll also get to catch up with Diana and Brett. :-)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I notice it is part of the Western Weddings series, rather than By Royal Appointment...I had an inkling, when I got the western cover, rather than the royals....
Back to revisions for me....I'm on the last 2 chapters of the first go-round, then it'll take a refining round to make sure the changes are smooth and make sense.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I was lucky I got nearly perfect first time around. Here's the cover for Hired By The Cowboy - my Connor in casting had hair a little shaggier than the cover model, but then the focus is on the heroine, Alex - and you can see for yourself how well THAT turned out - plus the feel is LOVELY. I was very fortunate.
Then we have Marriage at Circle M - the cover definitely depicts a scene in the book, the colouring is good...it just wasn't quite RIGHT for me but I think that was because I was still in love with the hero. It was a good seller for me so obviously something worked:
And The Soldier's Homecoming - heroine is great, the feel is good, and the only noticeable thing different is the hero's hair:
Now, with my last, here's the cover and the casting. I actually like the hero casting better than my own - first time that has happened! This guy could really be Brody Hamilton. You can see for yourself how the heroine doesn't match up. BUT, I love it anyway because the feel is great. A central scene is a magical barn dance thing and the MOOD of this cover is spot on.
So there are a few examples of my covers and how my casting pictures and descriptions - that I send to my editor - get translated.
Now I'm off to have lunch and keep slogging my way through the revisions. The hard part now is feeling like things are disjointed because I'm shifting things around so much. The hope is that when I go through it again, it will make sense better and read more seamlessly.
Monday, September 22, 2008
My CP Michelle organized this year's AMBA event and I really wish I could have attended. Taking the time...and the money...for a lunch isn't something I can do every year though, and I had to miss it. Afterwards Michelle went home to a computer that blew up and now she needs a new router from her ISP. So she's been offline...just when I got my new cover and am struggling with revisions and miss her lots. Meanwhile she is probably feverishly working on her own revisions without internet (or CP) interruption.
Of course she knows how I miss her, and when I got back from my morning walk after the school bus, there was a lovely message on my voice mail from her. I CAN'T BELIEVE I missed her call! Dammit! Why did she call? To give me a pep talk.
I cannot imagine writing without her. I really can't. Even though we only read each other's first drafts, we bounce ideas off each other, crack the whip or offer a shoulder - whichever is needed.
I hope she's back online soon!
In the meantime, pop on over to the Pink Heart Society today - I'm blogging Male on Monday and it's all about Canadian boys- part 2 since part 1 seemed to be missing a few faces. Today there are more birthday surprises at the Pink Heart too so it's worth a look.
And now, for my book blog 41 - Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson.
My daughters got this book as a present. They had already read Anne Of Green Gables, I've read all the Anne books and we have the movies as well, so they were quite keen.
If you're looking for LM Montgomery's voice you won't find it here. But it IS well written and enjoyable. A few things that drew me out of the story were POV changes..we'd be in a main character's POV and then suddenly two or three lines in a minor characters and then back again.
The other thing is that this book is actually very positive when you expect the story of Anne's early life to be tragic and sad. On one hand I understand completely why this was necessary. No one would want to read a book that was so dark. And yet...it disturbed me that Anne loved Mr. Thomas rather than being horrified that he beat his wife. I don't know. I enjoyed the book but there were times when it didn't feel quite right. The girls really enjoyed it as well and now want to read Anne of Avonlea as our next bedtime book. They are reading chapter books themselves now, but somehow the tradition of reading aloud is still going strong. I'm really going to miss it when we stop.
A good job but when it comes down to brass tacks, I'll take LM's sparkling characterization any day.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
My revisions, such as they are, have arrived and now I have to put aside fun flirty story and descend into the dark, scary abyss known as the Revision Cave. I may not be out for quite some time. Or I may keep up posting, so that at some random points over the next several days I at least have some contact with a world outside a ranch in Montana at Christmas.
You are welcome to send gifts of chocolate and wine. If I am silent for longer than a few days at a time, feel free to call in the cavalry such as marshals, special forces soldiers, or Viper jocks.
In the meantime.....
Today is the annual AMBA lunch in London.
Last year, I attended as many of you will remember. I had used my passport exactly twice, both times going through US customs. But I'd never been overseas. I'd never travelled alone. I'd never left my children overnight, for Pete's sake. And I kissed them goodbye, hopped on a plane, and after 9 very long hours, saw a friendly face in the visage of Biddy Coady in arrivals area at Heathrow.
We took the express from the airport and then black cabbed it to her flat. I remember also being overwhelmed at the craziness of the driver and holding on for dear life...impressions of Speaker's Corner and Buckingham Palace whizzing by me. I was exhausted. We had a late lunch/early supper and vegged with a dvd...oh my god, I was in London. A whole ocean away from home!
During that week I met so many people and made so many memories. There was the editorial lunch and meeting several of the editors. There was the afternoon in Richmond with Trish...and realizing I'd met someone I could travel with so very easily. There was the AMBA lunch where I met so many people - including the unstoppable Kate Hardy and the wonderful Kate Walker. Getting a hug of welcome from her was so very special.
There was also meeting in person for the first time my critique partner Michelle Styles...a true force and whirlwind and without whom I'm certain I would not be published. There was the reception at the Oriental Club where I drank too much champagne, mingled with editors and authors and embarrassed myself by crying when it all became too much...when I realized where I was, and the company I was in. It was a huge moment for me. A moment when it struck me what I'd somehow managed to accomplish. I wasn't dreaming. I was LIVING my dream.
Then of course there was a raucous dinner, a few tearful goodbyes followed by a cab ride home, and hours spent talking into the night with Michelle...our time together was so fleeting and I'm sure we were still talking as we fell asleep!
There was also spending time with Biddy...and Anna Louise Lucia - one of THE most amazing women I know - and having lunch with so many of the Mouse and Pen ladies...oh my God. There was just so much and it was hard to take it all in.
There was dinner with Anna, Biddy, Anna-Biddy's-sister, and too much wine. There was wandering through Battersea Park and Sunday lunch and a whirlwind bus top tour alone and wandering my way back to the flat for one last evening.
It was a week I will never, ever forget. And today when they are all lunching and hugging and having a marvelous time, I'm incredibly lonely for all of it. I especially think of my buddy Natalie Anderson who is attending for the first time this year. She's in for such an amazing time.
So in absence of being across the pond, I'll raise my glass to a most incredible group of writers and friends. And hope that one year soon I'll be able to join you in person again.
If I ever come out of the cave, that is.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The second envelope had a bigger surprise as I did not know it was coming....and it appears to be a South African translation of Marriage at Circle M! At least inside the cover it says Afrikaanse so I'm assuming. And it looks like this:
Now if I could only find my cover for The Rancher's Runaway Princess, it'd be a trifecta of bouncy news.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I kind of out did myself at dinner...I think it was the biggest meal I've cooked since we moved and it was delicious. I tried a new recipe for roast beef that was soooooo good. It involved making a rub and then making the gravy from the drippings that were already rich from the rub, and adding red wine, beef broth, bourbon sauce and flour. We rounded it out with mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon, maple carrots, cucumber dill salad, fresh rolls, and apple pie. Oh yes and I made stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer.
However the good news ended the moment we sat down to Canasta because the mum-in-law and I got our butts well and truly kicked. It was downright humiliating. But we had fun anyway, lots of laughs and this morning we got up and the husband made a big breakfast. Now I KNOW I have to hit the treadmill this afternoon!
First though, I'm finishing the book I'm reading - Trish Wylie's The Millionaire's Proposal. It's wonderful. And I'm going to do a big book blog on it tomorrow because there's something extra special about this book for me.
And tomorrow it's back to working on Highest Bidder...I can't wait! I love it when I look forward to work....
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Anyway...there's my Trucco pics for today, now I'm off to work away on the novella.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
First up is Michelle Styles's AN IMPULSIVE DEBUTANTE.
As Michelle's critique partner, I see things in a first draft stage and then again in the finished book. It's always neat to see how things have changed or morphed through subsequent drafts and revisions.
An Impulsive Debutante has Lottie Charlton as the heroine - the same Lottie that caused such a scandal for Emma and Jack in A Christmas Wedding Wager.
This is a great book...and a fine example of how to take a villain from a previous book (Ok, maybe villian is a little strong, but Lottie certainly wasn't likeable) and turning them into a wonderful main character by exploiting the exact same qualities that we didn't like them for previously. Kind of like taking a personality trait and pointing out positives and negatives of that trait - Lottie is the same person but this time we get to see all the positive parts of that and how she has a HUGE heart. Tristan isn't bad either...though we know his plan is going to blow up in his face, we understand exactly why he's keeping his secret from Lottie.
And it is, I think, one of her best reads as far as keeping threads tight and pacing.
The second book is CJ Carmichael's MATTHEW'S CHILDREN. This is the second in a trilogy called Three Good Men about three brothers. Matthew is a lawyer we met briefly in the first book, who is recently divorced and trying to figure out how to be a good parent when he's given the world's most difficult case - defending a soccer coach who's been accused of impropriety. To top it off, the other lawyer assigned with him is Jane Prentice, the woman everyone thinks is responsible for the breakup of his marriage.
They never had an affair, but Jane had fallen in love with him and doesn't know that he'd had feelings for him too. After his wife made a scene in a restaurant, they've spent the last year avoiding each other whenever possible.
Both of them, along with his rebellious son, his angry ex-wife, the whole community...are invested in this case. All the threads weave together so well I just couldn't put it down. CJ didn't shy away from difficult subjects - is there anything more polarizing than a child whose been abused and the person accused of doing it? I love how she took risks with this book, and as as result I think it's my favourite of all of hers that I've read so far. Way to go CJ!
And the girls and I watched CHARLOTTE'S WEB on the weekend as well. Is there anyone more perfect than Charlotte? Selfless, giving, kind....and such a good friend. The crows added fantastic comic relief, and the cast was incredible. Robert Redford as the horse afraid of spiders was fantastic. And I loved Beau Bridges. Dakota Fanning was, well, Dakota Fanning...adorable. You cannot help but love her. And yes, I cried at the almost end. I'd been warned and my eldest, who is also quite the faucet at sappy movies, was sniffling beside me. My husband just shook his head.
Now...today is crazy day as I am going to update my home page, send out my newsletter, put up the new releases on the Harlequin Romance Author Blog and work on editing the novella. I'm hoping it won't be that difficult. :-)