Ugly it up

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So, I strained my shoulder a couple of months ago, and I knew why. It was my beautiful desk… So I was in denial about that for a while, until I finally had to go to the doctor, get some anti-inflammatories, and follow up with physiotherapy.

Yeah, it was a very bad strain. 😉

So anyway, one of the things I knew I had to do was get a back support thingy for my chair. My lovely, new, inspiring chair! It’s now marred with this eyesore.

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I feel like it uglies up my workspace a little bit. I have to say! But is it every comfy. And I’m no longer straining my shoulder while I type.

And that is my update for you. 😉 Your local romance author is comfy once more.

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Bring on the spring!

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It’s March, and I’m ready for spring. Now, I’m a pretty cheerful winter person. I like snow and cold, cozy writing time and hot soup. But come March, I’m ready for some warmth. Luckily, it isn’t far away, but it feels like it during a cold snap.

This weekend, we got a blizzard. Lots of snow, lots of cold, and when I walked my son to school this morning, it was -26C. For those of you in Fahrenheit, that’s freaking cold still. And I wore out a pair of nice, warm winter boots recently with all my walking, and had to buy a new pair. In March. (That feels like such a waste!)

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These are my new boots–very warm and nicely supportive. I can’t complain!

So I got home from dropping my son off, and laid down on my bed, just clearing my mind before I started my writing day, and I heard a noise outside. It was that cheerful, rumbling motor sound, and while my logical brain knew it was a snowblower, when I closed my eyes… that was a lawnmower!

I just lay there for a few minutes listening to it and imagining the flowers I wanted to put into my planters on my balcony.

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I’m ready for spring.

 

Sorry, hi…

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I’m Canadian.

We’re a unique bunch of people, and our country is far from perfect, but we do have a few things we’re really proud of:

  1. Universal health care. That means I just walk into a doctor’s office and get seen and treated without ever paying a cent, or wondering about insurance. EVER.
  2. We’re multicultural. We have so much space that we’re more than happy to share! As long as the newbie is polite, they fit in just fine.
  3. We’re polite. It’s our thing. We live by it, travel by it, and are humiliated country-wide when one of our athletes shows poor sportsmanship.

 

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I had to get over my Canadian politeness in order to write romances. Because Canadians talk between the lines. We’re like the British that way. When we say, “Yeah, sorry, I can’t,” we really mean, “Nope, not a chance, don’t even ask again.”

We apologize for everything. You bump into me? I’ll say sorry. You scratch my car? I’ll probably apologize for interrupting you on your cell phone call before I point it out. But we all understand what’s between the lines.

I had to unlearn a lot of that in order to write romance. In romance, you have just say it, already! I can’t tell you how many times my editors used to point that out. I’d think I was clear as day when my heroine apologized for interrupting the hero and gave him a scathing look, and they had no idea what that meant! LOL!

Now there are a few times when a Canadian will lose their cool. And if that happens, you need to duck. They’ve been stuffing all that frustration down into the pit of their stomachs for decades, and if it finally blows, you’re in trouble.

The good news is, they’ll apologize profusely afterward. 😉

Join me

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I’m blogging on the Heartwarming blog today about our dreams. Sometimes once you achieve something, you forget that there was a time when you dreamed of this!

When I was in college, I dreamed of this life, right here… it just looks different once you finally achieve it!

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Come on by and join the conversation!

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!