Monday, November 30, 2009

Winners from the November Newsletter

The winners from the November Newsletter are as follows:

Lorraine C -- signed copy of the Viking's Captive Princess

Suzy Roy -- a copy from one of my backlist books

Tammy Swift gets the dubious honour of me being her mentor for the year.

All have been contacted via email.

Many thanks for entering.

Revisions done and turned in

I finished my revisions today and have turned them in!

Now all I have to do is to finish my over due manuscript!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bad Hardy and the Shouting Coat

Hardy now has a harness from Ruffwear as he kept getting bald spots on his nose from the halti. Plus my husband liked the look of the harness. It is designed with mountain rescue dogs in mind. I suspect we will be getting the boots so that Hardy can go hiking in the Lake District as the flint scree can play havoc with paws.

Hardy does pull less and is now easier to spot in the dusk. But the red colour certainly shouts.

As the children adored Dorothy Edwards My Naughty Little Sister when they were young, Hardy has been rechristened Bad Hardy. The Naughty Little Sister's identity is obvious.

Both dogs would be delighted to eat up any and all trifle. At Thanksgiving, it was a close run thing with the clam dip.

I shall not go on about Hardy's current obssession with rearranging the dog beds. He is never content with how I put them and he tugs them into other spots.

My revisions will be in on Monday.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Meeting readers

On Wednesday, it was my please to do the Hexham Girls' Night In. At the moment, the computer is refusing to recognise my camera. So no pictures despite taking some wonderful ones of Anna Louisa Lucia's taxi shoes as she calls them. My daughter also took a number of the panel.

It was a thoroughly splendid evening and I was able to meet a couple of my readers as well as some people who just love M&B in general. I also met romantic comedy novelist -- Abigail Bosanko who is great fun and a fellow enthusiast about the Anglo Saxon period.

Janet McLeod Trotter shared about how she goes to the Lit and Phil Monday - Friday with her lap top to work on her novels. One of her current projects is a novel about an overland excursion to Kathmandu in the 1970s. She currently putting her diaries of her own 196 trip on a blog. They are a fascinating read for anyone who likes to travel vicariously. It turns out that a friend of mine is a huge fan of Jan's regional sagas and so they had a chat at the Girls Night In.

Yesterday when I was in Tescos looking at the latest M&B, I spoke with a woman who was also searching. Her view was when you are looking for a romance to read, you might as well go with the best! We had a lovely discussion about various Modern authors. My daughter slunk off to get paper...

But it is so fantastic to meet people who are enthusiastic and genuinely get the genre and are interested in it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

May your blessings be too many to count and your troubles too few to mention.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rents in the space-time continuum revisited

Last summer, I lost my Mont Blanc pen. It vanished one bright day after writing outside. My youngest had brought my papers in and I thought he was perhaps careless. We tore the house upside down looking for it, checked the garden. But not a trace. And a result, in many ways, my writing has felt off. I have used that pen to help me write every historical.It was wrong of me but I missed that pen.
The discovery of my earring a few weeks ago gave me hope. Maybe some day, the house would reveal the pen.
Then yesterday, I happened to lean over and look by the sofa in my study. There in plain view was the pen! The sofa was thoroughly taken apart in August and again when I was searching for some piece of paper in September. It was not there then. It was there yesterday. Just like someone had dropped it and walked away. Given the fuss I had made (including dire threats), the children were pleased to know it had been found.
Is it a rent in the space-time continuum? Does the house simply eat objects and spew them out again in odd and obscure places? Or is there a logical explanation?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Career novelist type thoughts.

Over the past week, I have been very busy -- attempting to get my revisions done and make this story the best it can be.

I am also very glad that I worked hard on perfecting my craft and technique of story telling and am published with a commercial publisher as it takes many hard working and dedicated people to produce and distribute a book. The people in the back room are often ignored or overlooked but the jobs they do are vital to the success of commercial fiction.

And make no mistake commercial fiction is highly successful but it is also highly competitive. Success is never guaranteed and you are only as good as your latest book. I know that. It is why I work very hard on all of my stories and am still working to perfect my craft. My success will come because of the quality of my writing.

It is my strongly held belief that aspiring authors should learn as much about the business as possible before sending their work out. Being a career novelist is about far more than just writing a single story. The key word here is -- career. It is what I am attempting to do -- forge a career.
It takes dedication, desire, determination, discipline and a lot of perseverance.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The November Newsletter

The November newsletter has gone out, complete with contests for readers and my annual writer's contest.

If anyone would like to recieve the newsletter and hasn't, please email me.

The closing dates for both contests is 30 November.

Currently I remain busy trying to revise as I keep finding more problems! Still I had lots of problems with The Viking's Captive Princess and it worked in the end or at least I hope people think it did.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Viking Captive Princess in stock and dog drama

First of all , is showing The Viking's Captive Princess as being in stock. So even though the official publication date is not until 1 December, they will be shipping now.

Dog drama or more properly dog attack

Yesterday, my husband and I went for a walk. It is the walk we do very often. One of the farms has a dog which is not under control and never has been. I am not sure if it does anything on the farm. Basically all I hear is people shouting its name --Charlie as it ignores them. We always keep our dogs on leads near the farm as we do not want bother.
Yesterday the hunt was meeting in that area which was sigh as it meant guiding Tess & Hardy through vehicles, horses and people. The hunt is very good about keeping its hounds off and away from the public highway until it is actually started. But we wanted to go on the walk and do have the right to walk on a public road.
Tess was on her halti and Hardy (because the halti rubbed on his nose) was on an ordinary lead.They were nervous but behaving. My husband had Tess and I had Hardy. We moved reasonably quickly.
Over the general noise, I hear -- Charlie, Charlie. My heart sank but I ignored it. Surely no one could be so dumb as to allow a badly behaved dog out when the hunt was about. The meet was at their farm and so they had to have known.
We stop as there are horse in the road. Tess lies down on the verge. Hardy sits a few feet away. We are keeping tight hold of the leads, and in my case Hardy's collar.
Suddenly there is a snarl and a dark brown dog launches at Tess going for her throat. Charlie. My husband pulled Charlie off Tess who was cowering and unable to defend herself with a halti. The dog spun around and attacked again, tried to get Tess's throat a second time. I allowed Hardy to go closer and between Hardy and my husband, they saw Charlie off. No one asked if we or the dogs were all right. No one apologised despite the woman whom I have seen calling Charlie, Charlie standing there holding her horse. She simply looked on stony faced. One of the hunt officials came over to remonstrate with my husband for having dogs but backed away when he discovered our dogs were on leads and properly under control.
The next time, the police will be called as you can not have a dangerous dog running around a public area out of control like that.
Tess and Hardy were very subdued for the rest of the day. Thankfully Tess was uninjured in the attack.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hexham Library and RNA Northumberland Girl's Night In

The Romantic Novelists Association Northumberland present…
Girls’ Night In Party
Hexham Library, Queen’s Hall, Beaumont Street, Hexham
Wednesday 25th November 6.30 (for 7.00) – 9.00pm

On this exclusive evening a panel of authors; Janet MacLeod, Anna Scamans, Prue Philipson & Margaret Carr, will be talking about where they get their ideas from!
Michelle Styles (Mills & Boon) will facilitate the evening’s events.

At the event, the authors attending will be signing & selling copies of their novels, so bring your purse!

Alongside this there is the opportunity to have your nails done by Lynn Foster of Finesse Nail Bar (Wentworth Leisure Centre)

Tickets £5.00 – Includes goody bag, one free glass of wine & mince pie
Handcrafted Christmas cards will be available for sale
Please contact Hexham Library on 01434 652488 to book your ticket.
Contact Finesse for prices on 07799497766 & to book your manicure in advance. Manicures available on the night subject to demand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day or Veterans Day in the US, the anniversary of Armistice Day or the day that the war to end all wars ended. Unfortunately, war has not stopped and brave men and women are still giving their todays so that we might enjoy our tomorrows in peace. It is important to take the time and remember them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes it takes longer...

The revisions are being done and now that I am into it, I can see other problems. Simple changes early on result in larger changes later. The important thing is not to skimp but to make certain that everything is done properly. The time I spend now will make the story a better read and I am after giving the best read possible. Still it is aggravating.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Clearance at Mills & Boon includes Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife

Mills & Boon has put a load of books on its clearance page, including Impoverished Miss Convenient Wife for 99p.

It is a chance to pick up some real bargains as all the series are represented but stocks are limited.
M&B has flat rate shipping around the world btw.

In other news:

I am still working on my revisions. The book is getting better or at least I hope so...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hardy and the halti

Because Hardy and Tess have been pulling so much and I now have repetitive strain injury, I have resorted to a halti -- or head collar. Years ago I used one on Chile our Labrador and despite going back to an ordinary collar and lead, Chile still does not pull.
You do have to take the dog in and get the collar to fit properly btw. Because although they give some guidance, it depends on the dog and you might a halti one size smaller.

When you put on a halti, you instantly have more control as where the head goes, the body must follow. The dogs also can not apply as much tug. So you are not putting all your might into getting them to do what you want.

Once he realised that he could not pull, Hardy took to leaping in the air and trying to fly. But I pushed the lead down as he was starting one of his midair twists and he rather flopped (instead of flying). Since then, he has been walking to a near perfect heel and I only have to shake the lead slightlyto remind him.
Tess is beginning to get used to it and is walking better. And the walks are becoming much more enjoyable even after just a few days.
At first dogs do try to get the halti off, but they do learn very quickly how much more pleasant it is.
I understand some people use a gentle leader which basically acts the same way. The halti works for me though.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Conflicts and Goodreads

First of all, this month I am answering questions on Goodreads about The Viking's Captive Princess, so if anyone is interested, I would be delighted to see you. Otherwise I will continue to answer questions for my own amusement.

Second my daughter had to do a Myer-Briggs personality test yesterday at school for some Enterprise thing. They have been divided into teams of four with each team having one of the personality groups. I have a small problem with this approach as studies have shown that the four groups are not evenly distributed through out the population. Generally you get far more artisans and guardians than you do idealists and rationals. It is the way of the world. Of course, if you are in a specific community, you might find the balance shifted. For example, a community of writers will tend to have more Idealists and a community of engineers will have more Rationalists.
This prompted me to get out the two books I have on Myers-Briggs --Differing Gifts and Please Understand Me II and started to re-read them again.
Using Myer- Briggs can be helpful when looking at conflicts as Myer- Briggs is Jungian based archetypes and therefore ties neatly into the whole Hero's journey structure concept. Because conflict is about the whole personality and discovering flashpoints, even when conflict is simply stated. It is about how world views are coloured.
Anne McAllister is the real expert on this btw. So if anyone is interested, ask her and she might be persuaded to do some thing on her blog.
You can discover more about this personality typing here, and can even have your characters take the free test -- just answer the questions how your characters would.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Puppy escape

I am not quite sure how it happened or when it happened but the puppies have discovered a way to get out of the garden.
On Saturday, the first my youngest knew about it was when he heard distant barks and Tess and Hardy were discovered legging it up the lane by the nursing home. I accepted that maybe a gate was left open as the puppies do not jump fences and none of the ducks were out.
On Monday, I did the duck houses and suddenly the garden was silent. No Tess or Hardy. I called and called. The ducks were all still there. I went inside and there on the answering machine was a message from the Farmer's Wife. She had two puppies by the name of Tess & Hardy, and would I care to collect them?
As I was about to leave, leads in hand, Hardy came running up, looking as if butter would not melt in his mouth. I put him in the house and set off down the track that leads to the farm and the high school all the while calling for Tess. By the dairy, I discovered a miserable Tess, chained up.
The farmer's wife was lovely. Someone from school had spotted them, and she had corralled them and then as they were bothering the geese, she attempted to chain them. At which point, Hardy escaped. Last seen running as if his life depended on it.
I put Tess on her lead and led the frightened puppy up the track. She tried to dive into next door's garden at one point and so I wondered about the water gate. However, the ducks who were notorious for using this method have not used it recently. Then I spotted the gap in our fence, on a steep part of the bank where the children used to have a mudslide...
Tess was put in the kitchen with her miscrient brother and head straight for her bed.
I took a wooden stake and repaired the hole by lying on the ground, filling the gap, making it puppy and duck proof.
Tess & Hardy have been much chastened. Or as cheastened as two Border collies can be.
I have also taken to using a halti with Hardy when we go out for walks as he has been pulling. A halti is like a horse's bridle and so I am controlling the head and where the head goes, the body follows. Hardy thinks that this is a great game of tug, and keeps practising his leaps and mid air spins.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Steve Earle at the Sage Gateshead

Last night, I had the pleasure of taking my youngest to see Steve Earle at the Sage Gateshead (my husband is suffering from laryngitis). Steve Earle's current tour is to promote his new Townes cd where he covers a number of Townes Van Zandt songs.
Steve Earle was in good form and the songs remain classics. The Sage is a tremendous venue and is dedicated to folk music. Luckily it is easy to find and there is a ton of parking as well.
There once was a triumvirate of legendary singer/song writers -- Earle, Van Zandt and Guy Clarke. Unfortunately Van Zandt died before I got to see him perform so this was the next best thing.
BTW I do remain a huge fan of Guy Clarke's after seeing him at the Cambridge Folk festival back in 2000. His song The Cape helped me get through the submission process and be turthful still does. He did not know that he could not fly and so he did. Sums a lot. And in case anyone needs inspiration to keep on submitting and holding fast to their dreams:

Anyway, I can thoroughly recommend Steve Earle in concert. The man knows how to play the guitar.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A Christmas Wedding Wager in Italian -- Valzer D'Amore

As it is the start of the month, I went looking for any foreign releases and discovered that just in time for Christmas, A Christmas Wedding Wager has been released in Italian as Valver D'Amore.
This is the blurb:

Inghilterra, 1846
Da quando il padre si è ammalato, Emma Harrison ha preso le redini della prestigiosa ditta di costruzioni di famiglia, rinunciando alle frivolezze della vita mondana e a tutti i suoi sogni. Ma durante le festività natalizie, ricompare a Newcastle Jack Stanton, e all'improvviso tutto cambia. Diventato uno degli uomini più ricchi d'Inghilterra e abituato a ottenere tutto ciò che desidera, Jack ha messo gli occhi proprio sulla dolce Emma. E lei, costretta a collaborare con il giovane imprenditore alla realizzazione di un ponte, sente rinascere il sentimento che molto tempo prima li aveva uniti. Eppure un dubbio insidioso si fa largo nel suo cuore: e se lui fosse tornato solo per impossessarsi dell'impresa del padre?
But you can read more here.
I can get bits and pieces with my limited Italian. Last year when we were in Sorrento and I fumbled ordering, my eldest looked at me and asked me -- Mom, didn't you learn ANY Italian?
But I am very pleased to have A Christmas Wedding Wager in Italy at this time of year. It is lovely to think that someone will sit down with a piece of panneforte and maybe a glass of vin santo and read it.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Viking's Captive Princess Available from eharlequin

The Viking's Captive Princess is available from eharlequin from today -- either in print or as an e-book. It is the quickest way to get your hands on a copy. It will out in the shops in North America at the end of the month and as a kindle, nook (Barnes & Noble's new device) or available from other e-book stores on 1 December.

You can read an excerpt here.