Three teaspoons of blood and a visible pulse

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I am currently on break. Sort of. I’m actually waiting for my manuscript from my editor, and when I hear from her, I’ll be full-on editing the book that will be coming out in October this year.

Until then, however… I am filling the well. I think I’ve told you before that I’m not very good at resting. I get antsy. But resting is necessary for good writing, so my hands are tied.

So far, I’ve been cooking, cleaning, puttering, watching Midsomer Murders on Netflix, and reading… Now Midsomer Murders doesn’t depress me, even with all those tiny towns filled with nasty people. I think it’s the British accent. It’s just cheery. And everyone drinks tea. It’s hard to get bummed out with British accents and tea. Besides, the actors playing the victims always breath or move, and that just makes it cheerier, still. Three teaspoons of blood and a visible pulse–that’s how I like my Whodunnits. ;)

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My reading, however, has me thoroughly bummed out. Canadian Literature is depressing by nature. I studied it for four years in university, and reading a little Douglas Coupland (excellent author, by the way!) reminds me of why I write romance. There is no guarantee anything will be okay in Canadian Lit. Ever. Canadians are a bizarre breed. We’re known for hanging out together in donut shops and our politeness when we travel, but left unsupervised with a typewriter and we come out with dark themes of isolation and loneliness.

And that is why I write romance. I like a happy ending. I like beautiful homes and pastoral scenery. And I like a good old-fashioned proposal at the end. What can I say? Left to my own devices, somebody gets married. I’d be terrible at serious literature. ;)

Free Love Inspired books!

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As a Valentine’s Day gift to you from Harlequin (ending February 29th), you can get two free Love Inspired reads with these coupon codes. Just click on the picture to get to the link.

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So spread the love, copy and paste these cards to your friends, and have a very happy Valentine’s Day with Love Inspired books and Harlequin. <3

Ta da!

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It’s on the shelves! This is a picture taken by a dear friend of mine who is a bookseller in Toronto, Canada.

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It’s a satisfying feeling to see it on the shelves, and hopefully this evening I will drag Mr. Johns out with me to look at it myself, in person.

In the meantime, I’m working on book 5 of the Hope, Montana series, and I’m closing in on the end of my first draft. I’m halfway through Chapter 12 out of 15, and I’m trying to pace myself. I don’t have to write it all at onceand it will be better for having taken the time to do it really well. Still, reining myself in isn’t really my strong suit. ;)

So that is how things look from here. :) Life is good.

Cover vs. Cover

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The Love Inspired page on Facebook has all sorts of cute games and promotions for our books each month, and this time around, it was my turn.

My book was featured with Belle Calhoune’s in Cover Vs. Cover. The idea is that readers vote on which cover they prefer. It’s fun! I like voting on these, too.

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The “right” things don’t always give me an appropriate sense of accomplishment. Sometimes it takes me a week or two to go see my book on a shelf, and I think, “This is crazy. I should be celebrating this more!” But life gets busy and I know that it’s there, and I somehow miss out on that rush I have every right to experience. I think it’s because I’m hip deep in another book by the time I have a release, so my attention is divided.

But when Love Inspired did this little promotion with my cover yesterday, I got that rush. It felt REAL. It’s funny the things that bring on those authorly shivers of happiness, but this was one of them. :)

This book will be the shelves March 2016, and today is the last day for my Goodreads giveaway for this book, too!

 

 

They crossed the line with the tea…

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Bacon is as bad as smoking now. Beef might be linked to cancer–maybe in copious amounts? When the World Health Organization announced this, the internet had a tantrum.

800px-CookedBaconThen Country Living Magazine warned me that tea can be laced with trace amounts of lead. Nice. And before that, there were e-coli outbreaks from packaged spinach. Nail polish is filled with toxins. Antiperspirant deodorant has been liked with breast cancer. Even fresh fruits and veggies get some side eye because of insecticides and other chemicals.

There are times that I just want to scream. With all the dangers and heightened risks out there, I sometimes just don’t want to know. I eat lots of green leafy vegetables. I paint my toenails. I use antiperspirant deodorant. (You’re welcome.) I cook with beef from time to time, and I prefer my broccoli without bugs. If I follow all those danger signs, then I’m on death’s door.

But do you know the one that made me want to cry? The one about tea. That was the last straw. (I think everyone else’s last straw was the bacon!)

I think I’m going to simply accept that I’m mortal. And I’m going to drink my tea, and I’m going to write my books, and I’m not going to think about my eventual demise. That’s the human experience: blocking it out. It works for me.

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The necessity of real, live female relatives

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Being a mom is a complicated enough job without the internet. Now, in theory, the internet is a great resource. Is there gluten in that? Google it! Do you need to cut up a two-year-old’s grapes still? A mom somewhere has blogged about this. At length. With judgement in her tone.

The more independent we get, the more we turn to the faceless internet to get our answers, and the further we get from good, old-fashioned women’s wisdom.

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With family, you are bound to get some crazy advice, but at least you know the source. “No, Aunt Linda, we don’t give babies brandy anymore…” And if your family is driving you nuts, you can stop asking them, and just rely on your own instinct.

Romance novels are linked to women’s longings… for love, for passion, for marriage… but also for the other relationships that build us up, like community, extended family and best friends. Because if you gave us the choice between a sympathetic neighbor with five kids of her own and a online forum, we’d probably choose the neighbor. Or our mom. Or even Aunt Linda, whose kids all grew up to be ridiculously successful, even with their brandy-addled infancy. ;)

Don’t get me wrong–I Google a lot of things. But I miss the days when asking another person was the only option. We might have been right. We might have been wrong. But the kids survived, and I have a feeling it was a lot less lonely.

Pussy footing around an author’s feelings

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One of my best friends is a Sci-Fi book reviewer. Because of my friendship with her, I get an inside view on what it’s like on the other side of book publication–the people who judge the books. Now, my friend is both professional and kind, and she’s told me that she feels bad when she writes a negative review because she knows that the author will very likely read it. That doesn’t stop her from writing an honest review, but it did get me to thinking…

BookspileI have a degree in English Literature, so I spent four years in university pulling apart books and basically judging them. Being able to freely discuss a piece of literature without pussy footing around an author’s feelings was absolutely necessary. It’s part of the pleasure of reading–interacting with a book on your own terms… without the author peering over your shoulder.

As a reader, myself, I believe very strongly that readers should be able to read, discuss, tear apart, spout off opinions, and basically interact with that book to their heart’s content, and as an author, I should steer clear!

There are a few reasons for that:

  1. It might hurt my feelings if my hide isn’t thick enough.
  2. Once the book is released, my job as the author is done.
  3. My presence shouldn’t get in the way of readers doing what readers do best.

So that is why I’ve decided to do my very best to never read another review of my own work. So far reviews have been great, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some less flattering reviews at some point. These things happen. If a reader contacts me tell me that they enjoyed the book, that will be wonderful! (And please do. It makes an author’s day.) But I’m not going to Google my books or my name to see what comes up, because I don’t want the readers doing their job (honestly reviewing) to impact my ability to do my job (writing freely).

And I’m pretty sure the readers and reviewers don’t want me to get in their way, either. ;)

I think it’s only fair. What do you think?

Love to a 7 year old

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Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, and then he wears it every day.

Noelle, Age 7

 

I got this quote from an email forward my mom sent me, and it reminded me of when I  met Mr. Johns.

We met at church, and the first week I saw him, he was in a black suit. The next week I saw him he was wearing a sport jacket. It looked good so when he came to talk to me, I said, “Nice jacket.” He wore it again the next week. And ever after he mixed things up a bit. Someone told me later that he’d worn a black suit every week until I arrived. I was rather proud of that. I had nothing against his black suit. He looked great in that one, too! But a woman likes to know that she’s had an impact. ;)

Noelle is right. Love is most certainly like that little boy. And I can only imagine the drama in his home every day when his mother pleads with him to wear a different shirt. I have a 7 year old son, myself now, so I have a unique perspective there.

I also think that Noelle should look that boy up again in about fifteen years. He strikes me as a keeper.

Another cover! Isn’t this exciting??

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This morning, just in time for me to think, “Gosh, I really need to blog…”, I got the email that authors love—a link to my newest cover. And I thought you’d probably like to see it!

HER STUBBORN COWBOY comes out May 2016, and the cover shows you the rugged, brooding hero, Chet Granger.

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Mackenzie Vaughn is determined to learn to run the Montana ranch she’s inherited—even if it means relying on Chet Granger. Years ago, the serious (and seriously handsome) cowboy broke up her relationship with his younger brother, and Mack doesn’t want to remember that heartache.

Chet knows gorgeous, spunky Mack is off limits. His brother would never forgive him, and Chet always puts family first… until he can no longer ignore his feelings. If Chet gives in to his heart, he’ll lose his brother and the ranch they share—if he doesn’t, he could lose Mackenzie forever.

What do you think? Are you tempted to pick up a copy?

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