Sunday, June 26, 2011

Off to NewYork and the RWA conference

Tomorrow I leave for New York and the RWA conference. Next week should be full of meetings and greetings. I also expect to learn quite a lot about what is currently happening in publishing. All next week, I will be updating the Pink Heart Society blog with my doings and various bits of gossip etc.
This conference is highly important for a number of reasons. The one being e-books and how they are dominating the growth of the industry.
There is a sea change going on with the advent of the e-reader taking a bigger proportion of sales.
In some ways it reminds me of what happened in the early 2000's with digital cameras.  Suddenly you go from needing film and processing to not need them very much.
Will print books ever truly go out? I don't think so and indeed most of the industry's sales still come from print. However,it is about economies of scale and how people purchase those books. The only place there is growth is in digital but that throws up a whole other set of problems. For example -- how much is cannibalisation and how much is new growth as people rediscover the joys of reading?
I have had my kindle for over a week now and really enjoy it. There is a feeling of wow, I can just get a book. The free sample bit is fantastic. It allows me to browse and try an author and a book before I buy. I know I have purchased several books that I might have just thought about getting before. Equally now I have a toy. It needs to be used.
But when you have a revolution or sea change, the entire world gets reshaped and remoulded. And so I shall be interested to hear what is happening.

So I shall report back here on the 4th with pictures and updates.

On a personal note: I get to see my sister whom I haven't seen for 5 years and my son whom I haven't seen for a year. They are travelling to New York and will be hanging about. I spoke to both of them last night and it is all terribly exciting. Will I get any sleep?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RWA Nationals 11 Tips

Less than a week to go before I jet off to NYC and the RWA National Conference. This is my second time and so while I remain new, I do know a bit more about what to expect.
Everyone seems to be giving tips so here are mine.

1. Smile and be friendly. A smile goes a long way.  Everyone who is at the conference has a great love of and respect for the genre. Many are writers -- ask them what they are writing.
2. When you get to a workshop early, introduce yourself to the people who are sitting next to you.  You are there for the same purpose. You meet the nicest people that way.
3. Conferences are what you make of them. Positive attitude counts.
4. Take time out and put your feet up each day. Schedule in your decompression time.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On getting a dedicate e-reader

Yesterday my husband gave me a kindle for our wedding anniversary with a pink leather cover.  I have officially entered the digital age. I had slightly resisted e-books for myself as I tend not to travel much and couldn't justify the cost. So it is great to get it as a present, particuarly as I was about to need yet another bookcase.
Kindles are sinfully easy to set up and use. One of the great perks is being able to download a sample chapter. It is like being able to browse at the bookstore but with no one looking over your shoulder or complaining that you are taking too long. The samples are far easier to read than the look inside feature on Amazon.
The slightly annoying thing is that as I live in the UK, I am limited to downloading UK available books, rather than the wider selection of US books. Yes, I can buy the paperbacks from Amazon but that rather defeats the object...
It does read like a book...but it is harder to skip ahead. This is a bad habit of mine. Lately with the GRR Martin's, I have found myself reading certain threads because he does have this tendency to end on a cliff hanger and only return to the story much later. But I suppose it means I will go faster as I will want to get to the end.
It is nice and light and does mean when I go to New York next week, I will have things to read on the plane going out there.
I do like playing around with the font.
Having got one, I suspect soon I will wonder why I  resisted the change for such a long time...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Update on reshaping my writer's bottom and bees

The big news is that a nucleus of bees arrived yesterday. Long time readers of this blog will remember when beekeeping came easy. Then there was the attack of the mice in 2009 and starvation and frozen bees at the beginning of 2010.  A fellow beekeeper knew he normally gets swarms and offered to capture one for us, if we'd supply the hive. A few weeks ago, he captured the swarm and put it into the hive we provided. He then allowed them to expand. Yesterday, he stuffed cotton wool/sheep fleece in the entrance and drove the hive over here. A very brave man is Mr L.
 The bees have a feeder full of 50/50 water and sugar. My only fear is that the wonderful Mr L doesn't live far enough away and the worker bees will fly back to his hive, leaving the nurse bees and larvae behind. This happened when we first got bees. Starvation is never pretty and I learnt my lesson -- always feed for the first few weeks.
The recent cold weather is not doing the bees any good. Mr L was going back to feed his own bees as they had eaten up their stores because of the cold weather. When it rains, bees don't fly.Plus there is often a drought of good nectar plants in June.
My youngest is now in charge of the bees. He says that I am not to do anything because of my lymphoedemia and the potential for getting stung. There is a suspicion that a bee sting or three might have contributed to the problem initially. I will be good.
In my efforts to reshape my bottom, I have started doing the 10 minute solution Perfect Pilates. I did 5 days of their total body blast off which was excellent and had never attempted Pilates before. The fact that Pippa Middleton did pilates gave me the push. Pilates is not easy but it is less some ways. It takes loads of concentration because it is all about form. As the days went by and I began to understand more what I was supposed to do, and therefore I could work harder. I did like the fact that there was no jumping. And the back of my legs were sore so I was definitely using differnet muscles. Tomorrow means the start of the 10 min belly fat blast off dvd for 5 days. This was the first 10 min solution dvd I tried and focuses heavily on the core. I enjoyed it the first time I went through it. 50 minutes of intense abs work.
The key with this is persistence and working out every single day.
Special mention should be made of my bee suit. the last time I had it on, it was snug about the beam as it were. This time, it looked like I had borrowed a suit that was three sizes too big and I was completely swamped! My son says that as I shall not be wearing the suit that often, this is not a problem.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cat pictures

My youngest  has been using photos of Heathcliff and Mr Darcy as evidence why certain things can't be done.Why he can't do the washing up
Mr Darcy is occupying the draining rack and is on the dish cloth.
Why the clothes can't be put away

Heathcliff resents  being disturbed in the middle of a nap.
Why his bed can't be made

It is best to let sleeping cats lie.
Basically his scheme is doomed to failure as I keep telling him to just move the cats. His response is that the sentiment is typical of my narrow minded outlook on life. And that I care nothing for the struggles of the proletariat and other oppressed peoples or cats.

My very lovely editor has sent through her thoughts so I need to process them and take action. My pacing is off and chapter 1 and 2 need to become one so that the focus is more fully on the growth of the relationship. But she likes the over all idea. So the Single Title Project is shelved for the time being and it is back to my current couple who should be great fun.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


A few weeks ago, I suggested to a fellow writer who was suffering from writer's block that she might try emailing me her word count as it might help. I promised to do the same. Mutual support as it were, holding each other to account.  She did and she has been brilliant. She had last week off as it was half term and she had family commitments.  I have been waiting for my lovely editor to get back to me on the partial. However, I was supposed to be working on the single title project as part of my drive to be more efficient. Over the weekend, it slipped. I did other admin type things and pretended. Then last night, I woke in a cold sweat. I was about to get a word count and would have to confess. I prayed for a miracle. Sure enough my wonderful friend emailed me her word count. And I was the one who had to come up with the feeble excuse. I hate making excuses.
It was enough to get my rear in gear and to start working on The Project. Words have been written. At the moment it is a POS but it has potential. It will get there.
In the meantime, I am sitting here, hoping for my editor's wise words on my partial. Those characters are whispering and I remain super excited about their possibilities. And another set of characters are whispering for the HH after that one.
I think my daemon doesn't like being ignored. But I shall have to hold myself more accountable from now on and not simply play at it. I do have a deadline and more importantly I have dreams. Dreams like breaking out or writing a blockbuster do not happen if you fail to take positive action.
I am capable of more than I think. I can hold myself to account.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Update on reshaping my writer's bottom line

This week, I decided that I couldn't face Jillian Michaels and as I had bought the 10 minute blast off belly fat dvd back when this whole exercise kick began, I would take it out of the wrapper and see what it was like. After all I had bought it. I opted for the full 50 minute workout. Suzanne Bowen is clear, concise and works you hard. She is a different personality to Jillian Michaels. It is a bit like changing editors.  Her manner may be gentle but she works you hard and goes on about the burn and feeling your body changing. I didn't think I was working as hard but I ended up marinated in sweat.
Suzanne is very keen on getting the right form and actually gives lots of tips like tucking your hips, navel to the spine etc that I think Jillian assumes you already do. It was quite fun to do and the next day my abs were sore. Within two days, I noticed more definition, a lot more. So on that basis, I ordered the two other dvds in the series that Suzanne does -- Blast Off Body Fat and Pilate's Perfect Body. Each are divided into 5 segments lasting ten minutes a piece. Body Fat came with a bonus dvd that includes 5 best of segments. Each segment is self contained so if you are pressed for time, you can do one segment. My current plan is to do a rotation of 5 days of each until I get to the RWA conference. I finished the first five days of Belly Fat one yesterday and so went for the Blast Off Body Fat. On the reviews on Amazon, someone mentioned that they had unwisely done the thighs and bottom segments in the same day and could not walk afterwards. Ha, I thought, but I am used to Jillian. Give me your worst!
I did the entire sequence.
My legs were like jelly after the trim thighs. I am capable of more than I think, and kept going. After the bottom one, came the abs and then total body which I remember in a dull haze of sweat and pain. There is NO jumping, just lots of little moves including a sadistic put the weight in the crook of your knee and lift sequence. 'Are your muscles shaking?' she asks -- to which the only answer is YES
 Suzanne is cheerful and perky. She does all the exercises herself, taking time to offer tips and hints and when she talks about it burning etc, you know she is experiencing it as well. Except she seems much more in control. She is also hugely encouraging but without  the forthright exhortation of Jillian.  When I got to the end, I understood and continue to understand that I will ache in a good way tomorrow. I was more than marinated but currently I can walk. Bring on tomorrow.

In a few days time, I will get to do the Pilate's one. It can't be too difficult, right? Hollow laughter here.
Some of it is having the motivation to do the workout. To a certain extent, it doesn't matter which one you do as long as you do it and are lathered in sweat by the end. The good part is that I am excited about exercising again.

And The Viking Princess gave me a Sweet Blogger award. The viking Princess has a very interesting blog so do take some time to visit)

The Rules of this award are pretty simple:
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.

2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.

So, here are my random facts about me:
* My maternal grandfather was Swedish/Norwegian
* I have discovered in order to lose weight, I have to sweat
*My next full manuscript is due on 1 September
* Thus far in my career with Harlequin I have had six different editors and have learnt tons from each one. I adore my current editor who is tough but with loads of heart.
*I have lymphoedemia in my left arm. It is under control.
*I am left handed
*I suffered from early onset cataracts due to my Swedish ancestry (7 generations and counting. I also blame the ancestry for my bad back) Having them sorted five years ago helped to transform my life.
I am supposed to nominate other people but really if anyone feels so inclined please do so and let me know that you have done it so I can visit!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

To Marry A Matchmaker on Sale

It is 1 June and that means To Marry A Matchmaker is on sale at Mills and Boon -- both as a print and ebook. It is the quickest way to get your hands a copy. My paperback authors copies have not arrived. Apparently they were supposed to be dispatched but somehow have forgotten. My editor is on the case... It will come out on kindle on 1 July btw.

Video Review of Viking's Captive Princess

A very lovely reader let me know she had done a video review of The Viking's Captive Princess. It was a wonderfully sweet thing to do and the first time it has happened to me. Luckily, she really liked the book. So thank you very much. I am very honoured.
Anyway, in case anyone is interested: