Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blurb for The Viking's Captive Princess

Because I asked, my very lovely editor has sent through the blurb for the VIking's Captive Princess. It really does capture the essence of the book.

“No one touches my woman. She bears my mark. I claim her.”

Dangerous warrior Ivar Gunnarson is a man of deeds, not words. With little time for the ideals of love, Ivar seizes what he wants – and Princess Thyre will not become the exception to his rule!

Mysterious and enchanting, Thyre rouses Ivar’s desire the moment he lays eyes on her. With Viking factions engaged in a bloody feud, Thyre is yet another captive this hardened warrior conquers – but to be king of Thyre’s heart will entail a battle he has never engaged in before….

I know the editors work very hard to perfect their blurb writing and it is such an art form.
My fingers are firmly crossed for the cover...

End of June

Today, the other editors of the Pink Heart Society and I talk about summer drinks. What a difference an ocean can make! I don't think either Donna or Jenna had really heard of Pimms. Then to be fair, I hadn't either until I moved over here and suddenly in the summer, people were inviting us over for Pimms and croquet! Croquet in the UK is different as well...

Hardy the anti-womble enjoys rummaging in the undergrowth and at the moment keeps emerging covered in green sticky seeds. He is not over fond of the comb...something which he keeps encountering. Because Tess's fur is different and she never seems to have the same problem.
As they have had the second lot of shots, I am currently working on the lead. Tess is generally fine. Hardy on the other hand, sits and refuses to move. He will often roll over and play tug with the lead. Treats help a bit.

One thing from the Tharp book that has really struck with is the need to keep polishing. You do pick up little things or forget them. Because of the whole pro active protagonist thing, I went and picked up McKee again. He makes the point that character and structure are interdependent on each other. You are designing events to reveal character and so it is a matter of personal choice whether you choose to work on the structure or the character but character and character change cannot be expressed except through the events in the story and the characters' reaction to that story. True character is the choices that people make when under pressure and the pressure can only happen from events that require characters to take bigger and bigger risks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Writing thoughts

As I was thinking about the woman at the Girl's Night In who self-published as a way to attract the attention of a large mainstream publisher, I was interested to come across a JA Konrath blog on the subject. It lays out quite clearly why and when an author might want to do so and what the pitfalls are, including how and why self-publishing can actually harm your chances of becoming a published fiction author. There are reasons why self-publishing is also know as vanity publishing. JA Konrath is a high priest of self promotion and PR and his blog often yields useful information. I do recommend it.

Jackie Ashenden is a MH aspiring writer who allowed me to have a peep at her synopsis. Okay so I was nosy...Apparently my words were helpful which was great. My fingers are so crossed for her. She definitely has the right attitude.

Anyway, one of the points that immediately sprang to mind and it is something I have to carry in my head all the time is the whole make the turning points active and that the protagonists are wilful beings who make things happen rather than reacting to the world around them thing. It is something that I had to learn the hard way. Protagonists take action and the world behaves differently than they expect. Protagonists possess the will power to make things happen. It is all about increasing the risk, making what they stand to lose greater with each step until the black moment when their life/emotional well being is at stake.

McKee is great on this -- in real life, many things happen spontaneously, but not in a story. The world reacts to the protagonist in ways the protagonist does not expect, and thus the protagonist is forced to take more action to re balance his or her life.

If you start with too high of stakes in all areas of their life, there is nowhere for the protagonist to go. You have to keep complicating and adding so that inner character is revealed and the protagonist can grow and change. But it needs to be a piling of the pressure, rather than having all the pressure there at the start. And sometimes, you discover that you added bits too early.

My wip is going on and hence all these thoughts about action/reaction.

Tess and Hardy were well behaved yesterday and there was no real anti -womble behaviour. Hardy did accidentally jump down from a wall and straight in front of the beehive. He exited stage left very quickly.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Last night, I went and picked up a nucleus of bees. A nucleus has a newly mated queen, and several frames of brood and workers. It is in essence an artificial swarm.
Once I got them home, the nucleus was put on top of the hive and the bit of sponge blocking the entrance hole removed. Later today, provided the weather is fine, I will place the bees in their new hive, give a feed of sugar syrup (1:1 sugar and water) and then leave them to it.
Hopefully there will be a small bit of honey in the autumn.
But having bees in the garden again means the off kilter feeling that I have had since March vanished. There is just something about a beehive and the hum of a hive. I have also missed telling the bees various important events.

Donna asked about Tess & Hardy mischief while I was out. They decided to go hyper chasing each other round and round and playing Exocet puppy in the living room. It ended when Hardy decided to nip my husband's finger. They were both sent to bed. The pantry door was left open and Hardy discovered how to get into the shoe basket and capture my going out into the garden shoes. These were carefully carried to the bed.
Yesterday, they were lovely and behaved impeccably, coming into my study and sleeping. This morning however, it has been back to puppy racing. No picture as blogger upload is being strange.

Friday, June 26, 2009

One Night in Middlesborough

Yesterday I drove down to Middlesborough and the Berwick Hills library for their annual Girls Night In.
The directions at one point had me turning left rather than right or maybe it was how my daughter read them. Anyway, a very kind gentleman pointed me in the right direction and we got there. The event seemed to be well attend and there was a buzz in the air.
Unfortunately, none of my books had arrived for a signing so I felt like a fraud, an author without books out rather than a multi-published international bestselling one. But oh well.
The other authors -- a self published author (Emma Martin) and a debut bonkbusting writer who was also the deputy editor of Heat, Jo Carnegie were there with lots of books.
Emma Martin was interesting and my fingers are crossed for her as her book has done well through her own efforts in Yorkshire. The unfortunate truth about self publishing and commercial fiction is that the exception that makes it rather than the rule. The amount of handselling she has done for the book is truly phenomenal but then she has a background in sales. But she has an agent interested and so it may be the start of a career. And I hope that the agent is one who will be right for her.
Jo Carnegie was also intriguing. But I had to keep reminding myself that she was a debut author and so perspectives were a bit different. Her first completed novel, Country Pursuits has done well enough that Transworld have offer a further 3 book deal beyond her two book one. They are hoping to build it into a series.
We had different points of view on series and aspiring authors. I have seen so many crushed through the rejection of the first book in a planned series. But I also do see the lure and why they can be great. It is a little matter of making sure all the books are standalone, even though you may have recurring characters. Also when do you tout the series. In the query letter? Or when the agent takes you on. My view is that the time for saying -- hey there are possibilities for a series is when you and your agent are having your first proper conversation.
And after a conversation with my senior editor, I am firmly of the view that all planned series should be either of a multiple of two or three for ease in printing of omnibus editions.
Anyway, I suddenly realised as she was talking that I am not a debut author but a mid-career/mid list author who has seen authors being dropped, series cancelled etc etc. and who worries. And who is making a comfortable living off my earnings thank you very much.
But the shock was -- hey, I am no longer new. 14 books is really not new but multi published.
But the only way to keep being published is to write and writers write. Every day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The VET -- shots the second time.

Tess & Hardy were surprisingly well behaved at the Vets. Hardy did not treat us to his woe is me song as I drove there and neither was car sick. Fingers crossed that they become good travellers.
At the vets, they encountered a greyhound and its worried owners who collecting the greyhound, a lady collecting medicine for a neighbour's dog, a cat and its owners, and a jack russell puppy and its carer (the grand daughter owns the dog but the grandmother looks after as the girl's father is not fond of dogs). They were most interested in the cat and the puppy. The jack russell even though a week older was much smaller.
Ten days and then they can go out and about. It is a matter of balancing their mental health and need for socialisation against their physical health. But it is good that they met a few more people and animals.
After fourteen weeks apparently it is harder to socialise but not impossible.

Oh the Viking's Captive Princess has appeared on Amazon.com. This is great news but I have not seen the copy edits yet (despite asking). They should be coming soon. Amazon will have the cover before I get it (probably in about 2 months) and then the quickest way to get a book will be through eharlequin. But it is always a special moment when it appears on Amazon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Compromising Miss Milton

My editor let me know the title for wip formerly known as Engaging the Governess. Compromising Miss Milton. Suffice it to say that had I thought of it first, it would have been my working title. No word on scheduling yet, but I am pleased to have a title. The pictures of Jason Isaacs are because he served as inspiration for my hero Adam. The going from the cold arrogance to a warmer face suited the growth arc. Now all I have to do is to finish the linked book.

Tess & Hardy are going to the VET for shots today. My daughter is going to ride in the back as last time he was in the car, Hardy wriggled through one side of the dog grate. It will be to have their vaccinations complete as then they can start socialising in earnest. Yesterday, they met the window cleaner who was very good with them. They gave a joyful bark and then settled down to being good puppies. Hardy though did investigate the window cleaner's bucket and decide that it was a little wet for his tastes. He had a rather unfortunate incident with tipping over a watering can earlier in the day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The anti- womble mole search and destroy mission

Hardy has decided that the mole must die. Yesterday, he gave a sudden yelp and started digging. Within moments, he had uncovered a mole run. Was this a new mole run? Or merely the remains? Personally if I was a mole, I would not stick around where there are border collie puppies who keep digging into the tunnels.
Hardy was rather dirty when he finished. No mole but a good time.
My eldest will fill in the hole with compost today. Interestingly, once the hole is filled in, both Tess and Hardy leave them alone. Or possibly the mole gets the message.

Tess on the other hand is obsessed with fetch rather than moles and digging. She sits under one of the camping chairs with her collection, just waiting for someone to play with her. The green ball in particular is a favourite. She gets very angry indeed with Hardy if he attempts to run off with it. Hardy has his own personal tennis ball which he enjoys except when he is on mole patrol.
The writing is moving along as time is slippingthrough my fingers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hardy goes dene sliding

Yesterday, I decided that Tess & Hardy should explore the garden more. Mainly they have been kept to the back lawn because the dene (a small wooded valley) is full of places where puppies can get lost. So as I was busy sorting out the bee garden (the bees should arrive at the end of the week. Hooray!) they came down there and rummaged about in the undergrowth. They were terribly obedient and came when called.

Tess encountered a white duck who is currently being allowed to sit on eggs. Tess decided that the white duck was not her friend and came back a much chastened puppy.

Later, they went on an excursion across the bridge to the winter garden. Hardy did not like the bridge as the ducks were squawking under it. He crouched low and ran back to the back lawn. My daughter and I tried again, carrying him over the bridge. Both Tess and He began to explore the area where we have bonfires and the winter garden.

I had assumed that Hardy had a thing about heights and would be sensible. And so when he snuffled over to the edge of the winter garden, I was not worried. He would see the edge and stop.
My daughter shouted a warning.
Hardy kept on and suddenly a surprised yelp filled the air. My daughter rushed around and released him from the brambles as luckily he was stuck half way down the bank between the winter garden and the pathway.
She has since pointed out that I was wrong -- Hardy does not have the sense he was born with.

The real exploration of the dene will have to wait.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Middlesborough Girl's Night In

Next Thursday from 7pm, I will be appearing at the Bewick Hills Library to take part in their annual Girls Night In. I know Julie Cohen has been before and said that it was a blast. So it should be fun.

Yesterday, my daughter dragged me off shopping as she wanted to spend her birthday money. Going up the escalator at M&S, Julie will be proud to know that she started chanting BRAINS. When I asked why, she said that I needed to read The Girl From Mars. I pointed out that she STILL has squirrelled away my copy in her bedroom. My daughter was unrepentant. And despite her contention of zombies in the shop, we did find her a pair of jeans.
We found a dress at Bravissimos. It works. With my greying hair, I find my colouring has changed a bit and red now is a better shade than blue or purple.
And Bravissimo has clothing that is cut to accommodate one's top half. It makes a welcome change. Because some of us have curves.
No real mischief from the puppies. I tried Tess with a lead again and she behaved beautifully. Hardy still thinks the lead is a tug, but as long as he can carry it in his mouth, he is content to trot alongside me. It is a significant break through.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The anti-womble

Wombles like to tidy up. Hardy being an anti-womble sees tidiness as a personal challenge.

It was RIP to the Amaryllis yesterday when I thought they were being good and quiet. To be fair the Amaryllis had not flowered and thus had a limited life span. The dirt did not take long clean up. My husband did wonder why the sun room was suddenly neat and tidy though...

I am continuing to read Fire In Fiction and do agree with my original assessment, but because it is a new craft book, it does make me concentrate on my writing rather than on the puppies. All the dog training books have done is make me think about the dogs.

And despite anti-womble tendencies, they are very good at being house trained (including giving a sharp bark if no one is there so they can go out), and playing fetch, plus sitting, downs and rolling over. Border collies like to use their minds.

And today is Waterloo day. 18 June. The Duchess of Richmond's ball was 17 June 1815. This means in 6 years time, it will be the bicentennial. The best book on the subject that I have read is A Week At Waterloo. In the meantime, it is also my 21st wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Encounters with psychotic checkout computers

You know that the quick trip to Tescos is going to take a lot longer when you encounter a psychotic computer at the self serve kiosk. You have not put the item in baggage area. Yes I did I can see it. Try again with cheese. Unexpected item in baggage area. And on it goes until it is obvious that it would have been much quicker to use one of the checkout counters manned by a human.

Tess & Hardy discovered that by stretching they could reach the top of the cabinet where I had ill advisedly left my keys and sunglasses. The sunglasses will have to be repaired. Unfortunately puppies do not understand the words -- where are the keys. They simply look at you with bemused expressions as the house is turned upside down. And then follow you about as if enjoying the game and ex claim in polite delight as you unearth all manner of things -- old socks, half eaten biscuit, the note your youngest swore he gave the teacher three weeks ago...
The keys were found...eventually-- between the dog bed and the counter.

Janet in the comments asked about scenes and sequels -- should romance novels have them? Everything needs to justify its place and needs to advance the story,particularly in series where every image has to justify its existence. Sometimes it is necessary for a short scene/sequel which allows other tensions and layers to be brought in.
I keep thinking about the central premise of Fire in Fiction-- that Passion or Desire and Determination can be taught. That is slightly wrong. Passion must come from within. You work hard at perfecting a story because of the desire to tell the best story possible. All the tricks etc will not work if you do not have that drive. Drive cannot be taught. Ways to harness the drive can be. There is a difference.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fire In Fiction (or not)

Super agent Donald Maass has published another writing book --Fire In Fiction. It is about putting the passion into your fiction writing. However, because of the scope and the scale of the book, it ends up retreading much of his earlier work and indeed some of the exercises are the same as Writing the Break Out Novel Workbook. I think the wholesale repeating of the exercises was the most disappointing part. There again the skills of writing a best seller do not really change. Much of the theory was articulated brilliant in Swain's book -- Techniques of the Selling Writer. It is how a writer applies these techniques that matters.

It is quite possible my expectations were far too high after all I had several epiphanies when I first read the Writing the Break Out Novel duo. I still use my Workbook and certain exercises every time I write a manuscript. My copy is now dogeared. None of the new exercises grabbed me but it could be the stage of my writing and the way I work. And maybe that is an epiphany in itself.

Maass' The Career Novelist which is available as a free download gave me a lot of useful info about how publishing works and why it is important to do the local PR work. And despite being dated, I do recommend it.

Somehow Maass's words seemed flat and he did not appear to have as much raw passion about this book as he did with the others. With The Career Novelist there was a sort of raw excitement as there was with Breakout Novel.

I suspect that the subject is very difficult to explain as because the passion and drive must come from within. It is not something that can be taught. It is part of the raw storytelling talent. And sometimes, the teaching of various parts falls into the mantra -- keep your eye on the doughnut and not the hole. Too often, Maass seems to have his eye on various potential holes, rather than on looking at the story as a whole.

I do agree with Maass that writing is a career for the long term and the most important part of writing is making sure that the book goes up to the next level. Because the concept of storytelling is so huge, you can never fully grasp it and there are always parts which one can polish.

I will go back over the book and see if there is anything more I can glean (the bit about turning points looks interesting). Sometimes, gems can be hidden and missed on the first read.

Will I buy his next book? The jury remains out. It depends on the subject matter.

Should aspiring writers buy this one? It depends. I prefer Writing the Breakout Novel duo but that is me. The one advantage this book has over Writing the Break out Novel is that the exercises are contained within the book. But umltimately is all about applying techniques so that you can achieve a page turning read.

The fire in your fiction has to come from you as the novelist. The way you temper and shape that fire that is where craft comes into. But ultimately you have to have that drive to succeed and to craft your stories. Some authors are able to simply write and never worry about the construction of their rainbows. Other writers worry too much about the construction and do not pay attention to the reason why people gasp. I like to think I do both. But I am at the latter stages of the early part of my career and therefore am starting to grasp what works for me.
The last page of your book sells the first page of your next book.

Ultimately the only thing I can control is my writing and the knowledge of craft can help. It is the application of that knowledge that makes for a page turning read. And an author should never be satisfied. It is always all about how to make the current story absolutely sing. If readers get an emotionally satisfying read, then they will be back for more or at least it is what I keep telling myself.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The war of the bottle

Yesterday, I stripped the label off a plastic bottle and rolled it on the floor. Tess & Hardy chased it here, there and everywhere -- crying slightly if it became stuck. First Hardy carried it into their sleeping area with Tess following and then Tess emerged with Hardy in hot pursuit. Tess has the hang of fetch far more than Hardy. I did try two bottles but they both wanted the same bottle -- whichever that bottle was.
They were not fond of air being blown over the top of the bottle. But as demonstrated later that night, fireworks are ho hum. It was not the Castle letting off the fireworks, but someone else and my goodnessthey were loud. Luckily, a plastic bottle held more appeal.

In an effort to better train and understand my puppies, I have been reading more books. There is no right way to train a dog, simply ways that jive better with your personal philosophy. Personally, I have no time for choke chains. I like to think of puppies as individuals and perfer a positive approach. So getting a bit bored with the four simple rules of Jan Fanell (is gesture eating really necessary? Every single time? And ignoring the puppies when someone comes home is not an option, sorry), and finding some of Cesar Milan odd, plus wanting more from Barbara Sykes (and not wanting to crate), I took a look at Gwen Bailey and The Perfect Puppy. I have been surprised to discover that there are huge arguements in the dog training world about the methods to use.

The thing I like about Bailey is her philosophy that dogs are different than wolves. They are not feral and have evolved. Dogs are dogs. And a well trained puppy will become a well adjusted adult. She also has an emphasis on training and socialisation. So she gives ideas and games that you can play with your puppy. You do not have to ignore your puppy when you come home. Like everyone else except may Jan Fannell, she counsels against getting two puppies as they are hard work. She also does not feel that everything is lost if a puppy is not trained by a certain time (Ian Dunbar is very rigid on this). It can just take longer after 14 weeks. And she is all about postive reinforcement rather than punishment.
Ultimately I think people use the method that suits them best. Littles bits from each.
Tess & Hardy are basically housebroken now. There may be a few accidents, but they both know enough to break off from games and go to the back door to be let out. There have been no puddles at night for awhile either. It really is all about getting the owners trained.
With my work in progress, I really think that doing the longer synopsis has helped and I have figured out some of the holes and where I want to go with it.
Oh and Julie Cohen's latest The Girl from Mars arrived yesterday. My daughter inhaled it and adored it. She is now threatening to go around the shops chanting Braiins. So if you want a feel good read, and an antidote to post exam stress, The Girl From Mars is a good place to start.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lead work

Where has the month gone? I promised my editor a partial by mid month and yelp it is nearly here! Although I know they will read the full when it is submitted, the hope is that by submitting a partial plus a more detailed synopsis, I will avoid some of the revision stages. However, I do think the books have been far stronger for the revisions so it is swings and roundabouts.

I do however think the process is valuable as it is forcing me to focus on what is going to work rather than what I think might work and the why. Anyway, it is all about trying to work smarter.

The puppies are starting to be trained with a lead. Or rather they would be but they both appear to be frightened of the lead. Tess jumps like a jack in the box and Hardy assumes that the lead is there to tug. I spent some time with each of them separately yesterday, simply sitting on the lawn, holding the lead lightly so they could used to it. In the end, Hardy was better, and stopped attacking it, if only because he was told to sit and given treats. And Tess seemed to accept it. She came and curled up next to me. Hopefully I can build on that.

In the main, I have decided that Chile is at times a Grumpy Old Man. He is quite content to have Hardy curled up next to him. I always feel that if two animals voluntarily sleep in the same room, they are friends. Hardy worships Chile, but he is not quite big enough yet to properly greet Chile and it irritates Chile to have this creature jumping at him, trying to lick him. Chile is far more tolerant of Tess. Chile should be careful though because little people grow. And Hardy may be small but he is one determined puppy.

My daughter has finished her exams. Her first act on entering the house was to toss her uniform in the bin. She has cleaned her room and tossed her notes etc, chanting about various subjects as she did it. I have taken repossession of my bulletin board as I do find it useful when constructing a synopsis. She did use most of my note cards though...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Courgettes in socks

As the puppies' bladder control has improved, they are slowly being allowed into the other rooms. The upstairs remains off limits but they are allowed supervised access to the living room and my study now.

There was a concerted escape attempt to get into the dining room when we eating but this was firmly foiled. Dogs do not beg from the table. Children do not feed dogs scraps of food they dislike. According to my daughter, sometimes dogs will not eat the food. The only thing that would get rid of courgettes when they were young was to stuff them in their socks! The things you do not want to know when you are a mother.

Yesterday a friend came over and brought her one year old black lab, Daisy, for a playdate. Daisy dutifully played with the puppies, but her big joy was to play with Chile who decided to act like a puppy despite his years. When Hardy attempted to join in and lick Chile's face, Daisy moved around very quickly and stood between the two, preventing Hardy. Dog politics is fascinating stuff. The dogs all had a wonderful time and we were able to enjoy a cup of coffee. Afterwards, the puppies slept!
My characters are behaving themselves a bit which is good as well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

King of the castle

The puppies needed a new challenge yesterday so I dragged out a sturdy box. It proved a little too deep to be a boat so I turned it over. Tess & Hardy rapidly figured out that it was perfect to play King of the Castle. Tess loved the game. Hardy with his slightly shorter legs was not to pleased at continually being the Dirty Rascal. He did develop a strategy that involved bringing a variety of items to play with just in front of Tess, and then pushing down on the box with his paws so that Tess toppled off. A great time was had by all.

Tess is growing so rapidly that her collar has been loosened another notch. She is very much a girl and continually goes for shoes, preferably high heels or strappy sandals. Hardy prefers to find things like plastic bottles and dirt.

With my work in progress, I have realised that in order to get the depth required, chapter 3 is actually chapter 3&4, with my old ch4 being ch5. It will get there. But it is the layers that are necessary.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Ashes 2 Ashes final

First of all I am blogging today at the Pink Heart Society about the temptation of border collie puppies.

Last night was the Ashes to Ashes final of series 2. There will be a series 3. Because of the puppies, I have not watched this season as closely. Thankfully, we have sky+ and so recorded it and I was able to watch bits, but when a puppy needs to go outside, they really need to go -- regardless of what is happening with Gene Hunt etc.
I thought this series was much better. Or rather what I saw of it...
Now at the very end, did Alex wake up back in 2009 or did she wake up in a new construct world? I wondered because her daughter Molly in the first series, has a mole on the side of her face and then at the end, she doesn't. Alex also seemed to be far too mobile for someone just out of a coma.
There again, I thought the reason why Sam Tyler jumped was that he had stopped feeling in his world... and the other world had become real to him. I believe the creators of Life on Mars gave a slightly different explanation.

Today is working on my wip and hoping that the puppies do not get into too much mischief. Unfortunately because at the vet's, they lined his carrier with newspaper for the journey home, Hardy discovered newspaper is fun to shred...He remembered this and waited his chance. For awhile during Ashes to Ashes, he was very quietly shredding the sports section. It was only when Tess decided that she wanted to join in the game, that it was noticed. Thankfully my husband had read it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Il Sole di Mezzanotte: Viking Warrior, Unwilling Wife in Italian

Viking Warrior, Unwilling Wife comes out in July in Italy. I adore this cover. It captures the feel of the book very well. One of the great things about being translated is seeing how they do the covers...

Viken, 794
Dall'alto della sua fortezza, Sela assiste impotente allo sbarco dei guerrieri vichinghi giunti a spodestare suo padre, troppo malato per opporsi. Ma non sono tanto il rullo assordante dei tamburi di guerra e il bagliore sinistro delle spade che preannunciano violenza e distruzione a turbarla nel profondo del cuore, quanto piuttosto la sua reazione di fronte al volto fiero e ai muscoli possenti di Vikar Hrutson, il condottiero degli invasori nonché suo ex marito. Benché siano trascorsi ormai quattro anni da quando lui se ne è andato senza darle alcuna spiegazione, Sela si rende conto che i suoi sentimenti non sono mutati. Ma a dividerli, ora, è un segreto troppo a lungo celato.
You can buy it here

Hardy in a box

Sometimes, particularly when it is raining, all puppies need to have fun is a box!
The box has now been loved to death...
My wip is coming along slowly and I have remembered the importance of polishing various skills. This time, it really helped to go back and read about ennegrams. Exactly how would my characters react in certain situations and what would their challenges to growth be? You think you know this, only to realise that it could do with a refresher.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Exocet Collie

Yesterday, my daughter was playing with Tess in the living room. Tess climbed on the pouf and then suddenly launched herself in the air straight into my arms. Luckily I caught her. But leaping like that is not to be encouraged....Dogs should not attempt to fly. Gravity gets in the way.

Hardy has thoroughly recovered from his ordeal and is livelier than ever. Tess is simply pleased to have her partner in crime back...

They have both discovered that they are not overly fond of the rain and getting wet. Tess in particular goes outside to her business and without any prompting scurries back to the kitchen. Hardy takes a little longer as he wants to do his checks.

My work in progress is coming on even though I had a little hiccup with Hardy's trauma.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Hardy and the Vet

My eldest son's prognosis of Hardy not eating any raisins turned out to be wrong. Shortly after I wrote yesterday's post, Hardy developed the runs with raisins...I phoned the vet and was told to immediately proceed to the vet hospital.
I drove rather fast, but thankfully despite seeing police cars was not stopped. A friend who happened to see my car on the A69 did ask...as she knows I am normally fairly cautious. And there were rather a lot of police about...
There, Hardy underwent blood tests. One of his urine enzymes was raised -- not enough to be dangerous but enough to cause concern. He was put on a 24 hour IV drip.

This morning, he had more blood tests and his kidney function was back to normal. I went and picked him up -- driving at my normal pace.

While getting discharged, Hardy managed to eat his discharge papers. He also managed to chew his vet bed, plus the newspapers in his carrier. I have agree with the vetinary nurse that it is best for him to be kept on the Pet Plan insurance scheme as goodness knows what other mischief he will get into.

Note the interest in the bandage!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

No puddles

This morning I woke up to -- no puddles. Both puppies were very good and waited until we went outside. Significant progress as I have spent the last few mornings cleaning the kitchen floor.

They are really growing rapidly and where once they could squeeze through gaps, they can no longer. Although, they have developed other habits...for example, one running off in one direction and the other deciding to go the opposite way after I have let the duck off the back lawn. Or my son ignoring my warning about flour monsters, and leaving the cupboard door open. No flour, but the puppies did investigate. I discovered Tess inside the cupboard...whereas Hardy had simply pulled a nearly empty bag of raisins out and was playing with on it the floor, enjoying the scrunching sound.

Luckily Hardy had not gotten into the raisins as raisins can cause renal failure in dogs IF they consume a large quantity. But hopefully my eldest will remember next time. Although he did think I was being paranoid. Uh no, there have been a number of cases. But all is well that ends well.

And the puppies have decided that they prefer dry dog food (Purina Beta) to wet Pedigree puppy food. Do not ask me why. They keep eating the biscuits and leaving the meat behind. Chile the Labrador is quite happy when he is given the bits of leftovers. Perhaps this is why he is being far more tolerant to Tess and Hardy.

Today, it is my talk to the Blyth writers' group. It should be fun.

My wip is coming on so I am pleased with it and I am trying to bleed on the page -- something I normally hate doing until revision time but this one calls for high emotion.

Monday, June 01, 2009

La Pasion de un guerrero: Viking Warrior, Unwilling Wife in Spanish

Thanks to the lovely Michelle Willingham who spotted it, I discovered that Viking Warrior, Unwilling Wife is out in Spain. They used a slightly different version of the North American cover. Note the hand has been moved to his leg.
And yes, Harlequin Mills & Boon authors do go looking at the various international sites to discover if our books are out. As Michelle Willingham said to me -- it is a bit like discovering Easter eggs. I spotted Michelle W's were out in Greece and Brazil so it seems a fair trade.

La pasión de un guerrero
Tenía la intención de reclamar lo que era suyo
Con el eco de los tambores de guerra martilleándole en los oídos, y los ojos cegados por el brillo deslumbrante que desprendían las afiladas hojas de las espadas, Sela aguardaba inquieta en la orilla. Acababan de llegar los barcos dragón repletos de guerreros preparados para la batalla y la gloria.Pero no era la amenaza de la conquista lo que la inquietaba hasta lo más profundo de su alma, sino la manera en que su corazón respondía al orgulloso rostro y el cuerpo cincelado del jaarl Vikar Hrutson, el cabecilla de la fuerza invasora ¡y su ex marido!
You can see more here.

La Magnifica Preda (Taken by the Viking in Italian)

Lindisfarne - Viken, 793
Mentre Annis di Birdoswald si trova sull'isola di Lindisfarne, un gruppo di vichinghi giunto dal mare saccheggia il monastero in cui la nobile scozzese si è rifugiata. A impedire che le venga fatto del male è proprio il loro capo, il bellissimo guerriero Haakon Haroldson che la porta con sé nella sua terra al di là del mare. Al suo arrivo a Viken, due possibilità di scelta attendono la giovane Annis: adattarsi ai lavori più umili destinati ai prigionieri o cedere alle lusinghe del vichingo alto e bruno diventandone la concubina. Seguendo i suoi sentimenti, si abbandona alla passione tra le braccia di Haakon, ma qualcuno trama nell'ombra per dividerli.
To see the full listing go here.
The cover appeals in a very retro bare chested way!

The bliss that is pig's ears

Yesterday I woke to fresh gnawings on the butcher block. The puppies had decided that wood was the right thing for teething. I brought out the two pig's ears that I had been saving. They went to work on them instead.

Pig's ears are what I used for the other two and Chile still adores them. I suspect they are like chewy bacon. Certainly it has to be tastier than wood. Once they leave the pig's ears, they are gathered up and given again when the puppies look like chewing.

Both Tess and Hardy spent about an hour contentedly chewing. They only gnawed around the edges. Chile can demolish a pig ear in about 5 minutes.

SO fingers crossed that the apple tree, the butcher's block and other bits of wood will be less appetising.

It is another visit to the pet shop to buy more pig's ears though. Pet shops seem to have more substantial ones than the supermarket. And a puppy has to chew.

Both my eldest son and my daughter have major exams today. They think that they are prepared but I do hope the questions fall right for them.

I think I have figured things out on my latest work in progress. Or maybe it is just lack of sleep dementia.