Big News!!

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I’ve been waiting and waiting to be able to tell you my news… and I finally can because the contract has been signed!

My lovely agent, Rachel Beck from Holloway Literary, started shopping around my Amish romance just before Christmas, and we didn’t expect things to move very quickly, considering the time of year. Boy, were we wrong!

Several editors asked to read the full manuscript, and then it was down to two who were competing for it. But in early January, I chose Kensington Books. They are the last family run publishing house in New York City. I like the “smaller house” feel of the place, yet they are absolutely everywhere!

They offered me a three book contract, and I’ll be writing Amish single title romance for Kensington Books, while still writing the stories you love for Harlequin, too!

So stay tuned, and I’ll keep you posted on my Amish romances coming soon!

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Welcome to the process

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On Twitter, I see a lot of authors who either post or retweet something like this:

My writing routine consists of me starting strong, then questioning my ability, hating my work and then sobbing that I will never write again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I’m not like that.

I know that a lot of writers do feel that way, at least from what I can see on social media, but my natural inclination is more hopeful. Stephen King once said, “Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.” And that’s how I tend to react to a bad day, or a disappointment. I’m pretty confident that if I just keep trying, I’ll get there.

Even when I was just starting out, I figured that I had an English degree and it had to be useful for something! There’s that natural optimism for you. Of course, I have my own moments of insecurity, like when I was submitting to agents. I had my favourite agent picked out, but I had convinced myself she wouldn’t want me. Silly–because she did! And I signed with her. But still… disappointment is part of the writing life, and like so many others, I prepare myself for the worst. But the worst is never career ending, it’s just… carrying on without that one success I wanted so badly. Still writing. Still submitting. Still getting published. A lot of times, the worst never happens.

I have sixteen Harlequins out so far, and that helps with my confidence, too. So when I sit down to write, I know what I’m doing. Can I improve? Of course. Am I perfect? Not a chance. But I don’t live in a haze of self-doubt, either.

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Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

  1. It gets easier. Really! You learn how it all works, and you see some success. You learn the process and stop second guessing everything you do.
  2. Rough drafts are rough. They are crap. Give them permission to be crap. Those are not the finished product you see in a published book. They’re like a skeleton of work that needs to be fleshed out and have life breathed into it. But they’re a necessary part of the process.
  3. Good books are not perfect books. In fact, every book you write will get some good reviews and some bad. Every reader brings their own experiences and biases into your novel. Some will feel at home there, and others won’t. That’s just part of literature! Even editors do the same. So one editor might not think your book is worth very much and another one will love it so much they can’t stop ranting about it. It’s subjective. Plain and simple.
  4. Persistence is the magic formula. Just keep trying. Every author you enjoy, at one point, was a newbie who was just writing and writing, trying to see if she could make it. It’s hard to beat someone who just won’t quit. So even if you get a rejection, keep at it. There are more books where your first one came from.

Even after a crummy writing day when nothing would come together for me, I don’t feel like failure, a loser or a hack. I don’t feel like an imposter. I’m an author. I write. It’s hard work. Some days flow better than others. But at the end of a writing day, whether it was productive or not, I’m still a writer.

Welcome to the process!

The things authors celebrate

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If you work in an office building, you get to celebrate things. Shirley in accounting has a birthday, and they get a cake for the break room. The VP celebrates ten years with the company, and there’s a little reception. Your team makes top sales for a quarter, and you all pat each other on the back.

But when you work from home writing books, it’s hard to have that “camaraderie” feeling that you get from Shirley’s birthday cake. So day-to-day, you have to find your own things to celebrate that makes your little successes feel real.

Well, last week, a friend of mine from Edmonton, Alberta told me that my newest release, THE LAWMAN’S RUNAWAY BRIDE, already had some holds on it at the library. And that was exciting for me! It felt… real. People wanted to read it and put a hold on it, willing to wait to read my book. That’s a high compliment, in my humble opinion.

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So there you go! The screenshot proof that my friend sent to me.

The little things we celebrate. 🙂 It reminds me that there is indeed life away from my desk!

Birds of a feather

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They say that it isn’t your enemies you need to be worrying about. For the most part, your enemies don’t get you into trouble–your friends do.

 

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Now, some people see that as a sign of an exceptional friendship–the ones who get into trouble with you. They joke that a good friend will bail you out of jail, but a best friend will have been arrested with you.

I’m… not that kind of person.

I’m careful about my friendships. First of all, my free time is scarce and I want to spend time with people who are mutually beneficial. I work really hard, and I don’t want to undo that hard work in my downtime. Secondly, I’m the kind of person who enjoys a few close friends. It’s my personality type. So if I’m going to be influenced by only a few people, I need to make sure they are the kind of people I want to be rubbing off on my life. Kind people. Moral, compassionate, resourceful people. I don’t have to agree with my friends on everything, but I do have to be able to trust them.

Here’s how I see it:

If you have a goal for your life–an ideal you are struggling to attain–then I think a good question to ask yourself is how your friends are affecting that. Because some people will be incredibly well-meaning, and muddle up your life at every turn. It doesn’t make them bad people; it just means you aren’t going in the same direction.

So let’s say there’s a Very Important Person who can give you exactly what you’ve been working for all these years… But she knows nothing about you and has to figure you out based upon ten minutes spent with your friends… what would she think about you based upon those few minutes?

Would she want to help you in your goals? Be associated with you? Would she trust you?

And are you okay with how you appear by your associations?

It might be unfortunate, but people see us through the lens of our friends–the people we associate with. So I’m careful.

But that’s me. 😉

My Free Read did WELL!

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Do you remember my Free Read on the Harlequin site called Thanksgiving With Her Boss?

Well, I just heard from Harlequin head office that it did incredibly well! My novella outperformed online stories published at similar times of the year over the last four years–and that’s all thanks to you, my readers. ❤ I’m so grateful for each and every one of you!

So if you haven’t read it yet, or if you want to recommend it to a friend, it’s still free on the Harlequin site!

 

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THANKSGIVING WITH HER BOSS

By Patricia Johns

A late-night kiss is the last straw. Emmie Thomas has tamped down her crush on her boss, Rob West, for almost a year, but she just can’t anymore. What else is there to do but quit and fly to her hometown of North Fork, Alberta, for her family Thanksgiving celebration?

When a mixup sends Rob to Alberta, too, he’s determined to get her back. But does he just want her to be his assistant again? Or is he finally ready to admit he wants something more?

It’s awkward…

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I always find visiting my books in the wild a little awkward. Most people don’t creep up on books and then take selfies with them. It’s… weird. Unless you wrote the book, of course, but no one assumes that straight off.

So this time, I visited my book in my local Superstore grocery store. I braved a blizzard to  get out there, but I would have braved the blizzard anyway, because we needed groceries and if you stop going places just because it’s snowing northern Alberta, you’ll never go anywhere.

So there it is… all beautiful and shiny on a shelf!

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Isn’t it gorgeous? ❤

And here I am taking a selfie with it… and this was a bit sacrificial on my part because a lady watched me like I was nuts, and I had to just soldier on as if this was rational and normal behaviour. Which it is… if you wrote it! Geez! No one thinks of that!

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So there you have it–my lovely book is out! I hope you’ll all pick up a copy. And if you see it in the wild, snap a picture and send it to me on Facebook. 🙂 I’ll post it so everyone can see. Plus, it would seriously make my day!

The Lawman’s Runaway Bride

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THE LAWMAN’S RUNAWAY BRIDE is now in stores! This is the second book in the Comfort Creek Lawmen series.

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Forced to work with the woman who left his brother at the altar five years ago, police chief Chance Morgan must also face his own guilt. Sadie Jenkins’s return to town stirs feelings he thought he’d buried along with his soldier brother, who died overseas. Almost kissing Sadie the night before her wedding was a mistake—one he won’t make again. For Sadie, planning a remembrance ceremony for the town’s military men will help build her event-planning business. But working with Chance is bringing up all the emotions she once ran from. Is she ready to finally take that leap into the future…with him?

You can pick it up anywhere books are sold! 

Or, if you prefer online:

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And if you haven’t read the first book in the series yet, this is it:

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Enjoy some brooding cops with hearts of gold. 

Cover Vs. Cover

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I just love it when Harlequin used my covers for their Cover. Vs. Cover promotion. It’s just fun!

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Can you spot the difference?? I had to ask someone one Facebook to point it out for me, in all honesty. It’s right in your face, but I just couldn’t see it. LOL

THE LAWMAN’S RUNAWAY BRIDE is in stores now, so pick up a copy! I think you’ll like this one! I really do!

We finally have snow again!

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Here in Northern Alberta, Canada, we’ve been having a crazy warm winter. It’s been this way for the last few years. We get a cold snap, then the temperature pops up to above freezing and everything melts for a while. It’s kind of unnerving to see green grass sprouting in January and February. It’s like the sound of a baby’s laugh when you’re home alone and you don’t have a baby. But it’s been happening the last few years!

Anyway, I breathe a big sigh of relief when the snow comes back again… like it did today. (At least the day I’m typing this.) So I took a few pictures.

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This is from walking my son and his friend to school. The kids were having fun in the snow and complaining that they wouldn’t have indoor recess because it wasn’t cold enough and the snow might very likely choke them to death. LOL! I was the wrong person to complain to. They’d have to take that up with their teachers. 😉

This is me–in all my winter-wear glory. I was trying to include the tree behind me, but it looked much more impressive in person. And then people were walking down the sidewalk, and a 39-year-old woman does not stand around taking more selfies to get the angle right with an audience. She just doesn’t. 😉

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So this is my Canadian winter. I hope you’re enjoying yours, too, wherever you hail from!

Put a twitch in your step

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Dress_form_(AM_2017.18.1-1)In my head, I’m 40 lbs lighter and ten years younger. Is anyone else like that? Now, I’ve tried on enough clothes to know what size to look for in the store, but in my head, when I see a medium on a rack, I figure it should fit! Which makes me chuckle a little as I type this.

I’m NOT a medium. I’m nowhere close. But seeing myself as a medium in my head isn’t just about size, but about how attractive I feel. For the most part, we’re fed that message that tiny=beautiful. If you look at the supermodels, there isn’t very much woman under those clothes. So I catch myself traipsing along with the societal messages twisted around in my head–seeing the size medium and feeling like that’s for me, because I feel beautiful.

That’s the thing–I do feel utterly beautifully at my current size. (Somewhere around size 14-16, depending on the cut.) I don’t want to change my body–it’s done well for me! I love the way I look and the way I feel. I just need to change my mental attitude about it. Beautiful isn’t necessarily a medium. Beautiful, in my case, is plus-sized.

92574efcfa9a1502a03cd5de9ed50d4d--ashley-graham-plus-size-modelI’m currently starting a brand new book entitled, HIS LITTLE GIRL’S HERO for Harlequin Heartwarming. The heroine in this book is plus-sized and gorgeous. This is my second plus-sized heroine for Harlequin Heartwarming. The first comes out in October of 2018. I like writing plus-sized, beautiful heroines because I think it’s high time we start recognizing that beauty has nothing to do with a clothing size.

When I read a romance novel, I like to put myself into that heroine’s shoes and feel what it’s like to be her for a few hundred pages. And sometimes I enjoy being the tall, lithe athletic type for a little while. But what I love more is seeing a heroine who looks a lot like me, and having her be the most beautiful woman in the room. With some extra padding, ample cleavage, a softened tummy and silky skin. When the hero sees her, he’s put under a spell. Her femininity is intoxicating.

And that’s how I like to feel about myself. No need to starve yourself–just shop in the right stores and put a twitch in your step. 😉

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Beauty begins in the way we see ourselves.