Sunday, August 31, 2008

BIAWeekend Saturday Report

One of my deadlines this month was to enter LI author Cheryl Wyatt's Aug Prompt contest. I've entered every month this year and didn't want to skip. Esp'ly since I'd already started it. So I worked on it until I'd honed it down to 310 words. But it was still 10 words over. With the deadline a day away, I set it aside.

I opened OUTLAW but shortly hit a wall. Usually, I write the POV from the H & h only, but this time I started considering a 3rd. In the wip, the h is kidnapped but leaves clues for her Pa to follow. So, when I hit the wall, I decided to switch to her Pa's POV. It worked. I added 4 scenes to add anticipation where the reader would now know that her freedom was possible but just out of reach. By the time my 3rd POV caught up to my 'wall', the story flowed once more.

Interruptions in my day included:
- an hr phone call from my dd in BC whom hasn't called in ages
- a neighbor and his wife dropping by to pick up our oats from the bin. She brought fresh corn on the cob for our supper.

I was in the RV off and on from 9 am til 7 pm when I just couldn't sit there any more. It was a hot day for a change but in the shade of the apple trees with a nice breeze, the RV was quite acceptable. Mind, I'm still trying to get used to all the scurrying - bird hopping on the roof.

Total words for today: 6004

Pages written today: 29

Total percentage complete: 51%

Yeehaw!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

BIAWeekend Friday Report

I agreed to participate in the Book In A Weekend during this long Labour Day weekend because I'd been putting off completing a book that I really needed to finish. This was the perfect weekend to do it and Dee over on the eharlequin.com board was posting a forum for anyone anyone else who wanted to join in.

Now for my progress - When Dee said BIAW starts at midnight - I freaked! I'd been scrambling all week and still had 2 contest entries to get out. So, I worked on them and sent them out - that's 2 entries Charley's Saint and Marry Me, Ma'am? in the Golden Pen contest (deadline Sept 1st) Phew.

Around 2 pm, I started my Outlaw wip. But you know, I hadn't worked on it for months. I couldn't remember what my heroine even looked like! thank goodness for character sketches. So, I had to do a lot of flipping between docs to get back into it.

At 3:45, the school bus dropped off my boys and I quickly packed up my laptop and moved out to the RV - our old Class C motorhome.

Ah the quiet...a bee hummed outside my window near the apple trees... flies buzzed inside the RV near the windows...musketeers zzzzz near my ears...a jet droned overhead...a barncat howled...a duck flapped it's wings...somethng scurried over my head...the dog barked...hubby rattled the BBQ...the smell of charcoal filled the RV...hubby called out that the burgers were ready...didn't take me long to leave the RV...

I love working in the RV. Except, it's uncomfortable to sit for long periods...it's a 70's model and we're talking 2 in foam sitting on plywood. Not a captain's chair in sight.

Anyway, I moved back into the house when the kids went to bed and worked til midnight.

Total words for today: 5217

Pages written today: 26

Total percentage complete: 43%

G'night.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I won Cheryl’s July Prompt Contest!

Yippee!!!

Love Inspired author, Cheryl Wyatt, runs a contest on her blog every month. When I first saw Cheryl’s July word list and prompt lines, I knew the theme was a crime scene. But, I don’t write suspense.

As usual, I copied the prompt list to a word doc and filed it way. And, as usual, every few days, I’d open the doc and look at the list.

Slowly, the words merged into a crime story.

But...I write tender romances filled with faith and forgiveness. I don’t write horrendous, frightening, gory stories.

Cheryl’s prompt contest, though, is a challenge. I thrive on challenge. For 2 weeks I thought about Cheryl’s list.

Slowly, during the last week of July, I started writing the most horrendous, frightening, gory story my imaginative mind could dream up. For 5 days I worked on it, tweaking it, until I’d wrung every word I could out of the 500 word limit.

Finally I submitted it, assured that no one else but Cheryl would see it, because with her contests, you email your entry for her eyes only.

A few days ago, Cheryl emailed me. I’d won.

What?

Yup. She even critiqued it which in itself is invaluable to me.

And, she suggested I turn it into a short story or a novel.

Wow.

And do you know what else? Shhh...it was actually an exhilarating experience.

So, what do I have to say now? Yes, I still write tender inspirational romances...

...but maybe I’ll try a riveting suspense, too.

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If anyone is interested, you have until August 31st to enter Cheryl’s August prompt contest.

For the word list and prompt lines, click here: http://scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Book Review: Lone Star Courtship

Lone Star Courtship (Texas Treasurers #4) by Mae Nunn Love Inspired # 445 May 08

This book made me cry. Casey Hardy has 4 older sisters and an older brother, and since she was a young girl, she's been itching to take over the reins of the family business. This is her chance and nothing will stand in her way - or so she thinks until she runs up against Barrett Westbrook, a lawyer from ‘across the pond' who needs to do an assessment on her for his client.

Barrett Westby Westbrook IV has never been to Texas but he knows he won't like it. The minute he steps off the plane on Texas soil, he wants to turn around and fly back to the cool climate of England. But he has a job to do. He goes looking for Guy Hardy only to find he's recently married and moved away. Barrett now has to do the assessment on Guy's sister, Casey, who seems to be a workaholic loose cannon in the corporate world. Things were looking up and he should be able to catch his plane back with time to spare.

Casey can't believe she has to work with a lawyer. To her, lawyers are the scum of the earth after they put her family through the wringer on a trumped up charge. She has no time for lawyers and certainly not for Barrett but if she's doesn't keep her eye on him, who will? What will be dig up if left to his own devices?

This stand-alone book is part of the Texas Treasures series. It follows the Mom in the Middle book which is about Guy Hardy and the woman he fell in love with. It also goes indepth into the law suit which made Casey so against men in that profession. It was a great book.

I have loved every book in this series. They are imaginative, fun and emotional. My kind of books.

Heat Level: Affectionate (kissing and hand holding but nothing more)

My rating: Great! - 4 ½ stars (a keeper)
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Here's the Texas Treasures series:

Mar 05 - Sealed with a Kiss LI 293 (Tara Elliott & old boyfriend Sam Kennesaw)

Feb 06 - Amazing Love LI 336 (chopper owner Claire Savage & record producer Luke Dawson)

May 07 - Mom in the Middle LI 397 (Guy Hardy & Abby Cramer)

Apr 08 - Lone Star Courtship LI 445 (Casey Hardy & UK investor Barrett Westbrook IV)
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2008 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge:

Total books Read: 84 Harlequin Imprint: 79 Others: 5

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Audiobook Review: A Place Called Home

A Place Called Home by Janet Lee Barton Heartsong Presents Audiobook on CD

Beth is telephone operator in 1898 in Roswell, New Mexico. She's also ward to 2 young children that belonged to her fiancé but then he up and died on her. Now, she has to try to convince Jeb, her fiancé's brother, that the children will do best left with her. It shouldn't be too hard though, because Jeb has a reputation of having wanderlust with no penchant for settling down.

Jeb doesn't think he's ready to settle down to family life, either. He wants to sell his brother's farm, but it's in such a state of disrepair, he decides to fix it up first.

During the months Jeb is working on the farm, he gets to know his niece and nephew, and starts thinking of how he can take them with him. But the children have become attached to Beth who wants to raise the children herself.

And, what would be the best for the 2 children? How would their needs best be served?

Heat level: Affectionate (kissing and hand holding but nothing more)

My Rating: Pretty Good - 3 stars (I enjoyed this story, but was not blown away by it)

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2008 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge:
Total books: 83 Harlequin Imprint: 78 Others: 5

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Book Review: Mountain Sanctuary

Mountain Sanctuary by Lenora Worth Love Inspired 437 - Mar 08

I loved the opening of this book but it went against the grain. I've been working on improving my writing skills and one of the things I've learned is that you should always start with the heroines point of view (POV) and that you she should be in a pro-active vice re-active position.

Well, with over 30 books to her credit, Lenora started this book with the hero's POV and he finds the heroine, Stella sitting there, bawling her eyes out. She's definitely re-acting to her circumstances. This proves that with writing, you have to follow your own instinct and not always rely on a pre-determined formula.

So why was the heroine in this situation? Stella hadn't planned on being a single mother with an ailing father and a bed and breakfast to take care of, but that's where she ended up. The morning Adam walked into her life, she couldn't even bake a decent batch of muffins and it seemed like the last straw.

On a sabbatical from his job as a cop, all Adam Callahan wanted was to rest while hiding out from the world. That is until he heard Stella's cries and offered to take over the baking and cooking for the inn. You see, Adam is a nurturer and it was only natural for him to offer. It was the same reason he started playing handyman around the place -yes, he had time on his hands and wanted to stay busy, but he liked helping Stella and her little family.

But, they both know that Adam is there for only a short time and then he goes back to his family and his job in the city.

Heat Level: Affectionate (kissing and hand holding but nothing more)

My Rating: Very Good - 4 stars
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2008 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge:

Total books Read: 82 Harlequin Imprint: 78 Others: 4

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Review: Legacy of Secrets

Legacy of Secrets by Sara Mitchell – Love Inspired Historical #5 – Apr 08

This suspense book is set in 1889 Virginia. What does a wealthy young woman do when she finds herself penniless and alone in the world? Neala Shaw applies for residency in a special school for women who’ve ‘lost all family connections’. The school is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a run by a wealthy woman on her family estate. Neala enjoys the freedom of exploring the huge estate until one day when someone takes a shot at her.

Grayson Faulkner, detective and bounty hunter, is the nephew of the lady who owns the school Neala attends. In fact, he’s in the forest when she’s first shot at and she thinks he’s the one doing the shooting.

When a near-fatal accident injures her friend, Neala wonders if she was supposed to be the recipient. Guessing someone might be after her for some reason and not willing to risk hurting her friends to find out for sure, Neala leaves the school. She finds refuge at a resort run by an old family friend – until her stalker finds her there and her history starts to unravel.

Knowing that Grayson is a detective, his aunt sends him after Neala – for protection as well as to find out why someone would want to kill her. After all, she doesn’t have anything of value worth stealing. Or does she?

Heat Level: Affectionate (kissing and hand holding but nothing more)

My Rating: Great! – 4 ½ stars (a keeper)

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2008 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge:

Total books Read: 81 Harlequin Imprint: 76 Others: 4
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Book Review: Seaside Cinderella

Seaside Cinderella by Anna Schmidt Love Inspired Historical #12 - Jul 08

I liked this book. Lucie McNeil is an Irish immigrant. Although she's a paid companion, housekeeper and servant, she speaks her mind when she has an opinion. At first, this is hard for her employer's rich son to accept. Gabriel Hunter's a fair man but believes servants should do their job without an opinion.

Not only does Lucie speak her mind, she's somehow slipped into his family like a long lost daughter - in fact, his parents have even spoken of adopting her. Yet despite his worry about Lucie's motives, he's drawn to her. On the verge of becoming engaged to another woman, Gabriel wishes he had a choice.

Lucie has a secret, though. For all the good intentions Gabriel seems to have, she knows he was the irresponsible owner of a garment factory that allowed women to die due to an unsafe work area. Why doesn't Lucie want to admit that she recognizes Gabriel as the owner?

Against all reasoning, these two unlikely people fall in love - fighting it until the last possible moment - and even then not wanting to admit it.

Heat Level: Affectionate (kissing and hand holding but nothing more)

My Rating: Very Good - 4 stars (excellent one time read)

2008 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge:

Total books Read: 80 Harlequin Imprint: 76 Others: 4
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Friday, August 8, 2008

Go, Riders, Go!

Last night we were in the sold-out Mosaic Stadium in downtown Regina to watch our Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders play the Calgary Stampeders.

The last time we went to a game, my 13 yr old son was a toddler, and my 10 yr old wasn’t even a twinkle in his father’s eye...

The tickets were a gift from hubby’s work and the seats were fantastic. We sat on the 30 yard line with only one section below us - maybe 2-3 dozen rows? My little guy was worried that the players would look like ants on the field but when he saw the turf and the players warming up, he said, “This is awesome!” I didn't take this photo, but this is how close we were to the action. So yes, we had great seats.

I’d brought a book to read while waiting for the game to start but I just couldn’t get into it. It wasn’t the noise so much as the excitement around us. The Riders were 5 and 0 for the season, with 10 straight wins if you include last season, and expectations were running high that this game would also be winner.

Within minutes of starting the game, the Riders put 4 points on the board. It would be the last time they scored until the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the Stamps repeatedly scored. When the 3rd quarter ended, the score was 4-30. When the 4th quarter started, however, the Riders roared to life.

The noise was deafening. When the Riders had the ball, Gainer the Gopher would walk onto the field and incite the crowd. Holding signs, he’d urge the crowd on our side of the stadium to roar ‘Go’ and the other side ‘Riders’ and he’d swing his arms and we’d obey.
When the Stamps had the ball, Gainer would raise his arms, fluttering his hands in the air and again we’d obey but this time, it was a tremendous ‘oooooooh’ which blended in with the fog horns to make a noise meant to diffuse the Stamps’ quarterback. I’m sure the sound carried to the perimeter of the Green Mile.

When the Riders finally decided to wake up and get serious about the game, they scored. On each touchdown, a ‘boom’ shook the stadium. And when the football sailed through the uprights for the point after, 2 sets of green fireworks shot into the air.

Then Gainer would jump into his hole which was conveniently located on the back of a pick-up truck and they'd drive him down the length of the stadium with Gainer waving at the crowd. On the other side, he'd out of his hole, slide to the ground and climb on the back of a golf cart, waving at the crowd on that side. Go Gainer!

Different scents reached me as I sat there enthralled. Gunpowder. Beer. Underarm deodorant. Popcorn. Pizza. Perspiration. Hot dogs. Dry garlic ribs...

When we first sat, the empty stadium seats across the field were rectangles of red, yellow and blue. By the time the game started, it was a sea of green and white. I can’t count how many people were wearing watermelon rinds for hats. Or how many green t-shirts. Or Riders’ insignia tattoos on their cheeks. Even in the stores earlier in the day, it seemed like every 10th person wore a Riders t-shirt.

When the game ended and we joined the hoards of people leaving the stadium, with me trying to keep hold of my 10 yr old, I heard people singing the Riders theme song. Others were still chanting, Go, Riders, Go! Yes, the Riders had lost the game by a 25-30 score, but what an exhilarating 4th quarter!

What a game! Go, Riders, Go!


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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Book Review: High Country Bride


High Country Bride (The McKaslin Clan) by Jillian Hart Love Inspired Historical #11 - Jul 08

I loved this book. I'm adding it to my 2008 Top 10 list. Jillian Hart is a true story teller - I think I've read most of her books and have been deeply touched by each of them. In High Country Bride, I could feel the empathy flowing between the protags as they try to live the life God has given them.

When Joanna Nelson was widowed a year ago, she moved onto her father's farm. The arrangement benefited them both - until he died. Her half-brother comes to help her, or so she thinks, but once the funeral is over, he rides off after informing her he's sold the farm and she has until sunset to vacate the property. Joanna is alone in the world with 2 little kids to care for. A team of horses and a wagon filled with their belongings has just become their home.

Aiden McKaslin is a widower. He efficiently runs his ranch but the darkness of his wife and unborn child's deaths shadow his every move. One day, he comes upon Joanna and her kids camping out on the edge of his land. He's filled with rage - not because they're there - but because it's a shame to him that they've been forced into that position. It's almost a sacrilege to a man who's lost his family to see a woman and her children forced to live in poverty out of a wagon. He does the only thing he can - he takes them home and allows them to stay in a shanty on his property within sight of his house.

Joanna doesn't know how to react to this bitter, grieving man. She sees his kindness to her kids. She knows he's a good man. She's falling for him. He acts like he's attracted to her. Except he won't allow himself to give up his grief. When they marry for convenience, they have all the ingredients for a successful marriage except one - Aiden's heart.

Heat Level: Affectionate (kissing and hand holding but nothing more)

My Rating: Excellent - 5 stars (one to re-read; definitely a keeper)

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2008 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge:

Total books Read: 79 Harlequin Imprint: 75 Others: 4

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Friday, August 1, 2008

July Stats

Here’s what I’ve been busy doing in July:

Contests entered:

Indiana Golden Opportunity:
Marry Me, Ma’am? – Contemporary Series
An Outlaw for the Lady – Historical

FTHRW Golden Gateway:
Charley’s Saint – Long Contemporary
An Outlaw for the Lady – Historical

Cheryl Wyatt Prompt Contest for July: Patriotic Passion – using 10 crime scene words. If you’d like to check out the words for Cheryl’s August prompt contest, click here: http://scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com

eharlequin Writer’s Challenge: Kid in a Gravel Pit – Tied 1st
We’ve started another challenge with the theme – 25th Wedding Anniversary – how did they meet? The date to post your 1000 word entry is Aug 7-8th. For more infor, click here http://community.eharlequin.com/forums/write-stuff/writers-challenge-4?page=3

If you’re not a member of the eharl community, it’s a simple matter to register and then you’re on your way. This is an effective way to find out if you are a writer or just a wannabe. Remember, if you can’t put your work out there for us, your peers, how can you get the courage to submit it to an editor/agent?

Writing:

I’ve been working on ‘When You Least Expect It’, book 2 in the Prairie Junction series. I have the widget on the top right hand column to show my progress.

I also have to finish An Outlaw for the Lady by the Sept ACFW conference in Minneapolis – that’s what the countdown widget is for in the upper right hand column.

Prizes Won:

Again, I haven’t won any for my writing, but I have won books for leaving comments on other writers/authors blogs:


http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com I won a copy of A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman

http://petticoatsandpistols.com I won a copy of Destination: Marriage by Jill Marie Landis

http://writersatplay.com/wordpress I won a copy of Not Without Her Family by Beth Matthews


Books read/reviewed for the Harlequin 100,000 book challenge:

July - 9
2008 - 78 Total

Now you know what I've been up to...what have you been doing?

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