Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tuesday is D-Day

I only have four more days before I have to go back to work. Ugh. I am not looking forward to getting back to the daily grind. It's not that I dislike my job. It's actually a great job. It's just that life is going to be so rushed--from dashing out on my lunch to pick up my dd at school and take her to daycare, to rushing out after work to pick up the kids, to making a quick dinner because kids are starving, and finally to giving quick baths and enjoying a bit of playtime before bed. It all moves by in such a blur.

My only hope is that if I keep on writing maybe, just maybe someday I'll get published and will be able to quit my day job in favour of staying home to write. Now that would be a dream come true. So I'll keep plugging away at it. I have to keep remembering...I can do it!

Which leads me to my New Years resolution. In 2007 I vow that I will, without a doubt...
  • Finish the first draft of my wip (Jan/Feb)
  • Write a new synopsis and polish the first three chapters and send them off to Richmond (March)
  • Immediately start a new ms so I don't lose momentum
  • Soak up as much knowledge as possible from other authors (which shouldn't be a problem with all of the books I'm getting every month from Harlequin!)

This is not the first time that I've vowed to finish my ms, but this time I mean it! I'm going to do this or go crazy trying. 2007 is my turning point, and hopefully it leads to something wonderful.

What about you? Have you made any resolutions for 2007?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


The day has finally arrived. Harlequin published the winning entries from the Ultimate Reunion contest on their website--including my entry! It was such a rush to see my name on their website. I can only hope that one day it will be followed by " is one of our best selling authors."

I can dream, can't I?

Here is the link to view the contest entries if you're interested. The other winning entries were great! I thoroughly enjoyed them both. Be warned...the last one is a real tear jerker!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Merry Christmas to Me!

I just sent the paper work in to Harlequin to receive my prize from the Ultimate Reunion contest: a year's worth of books from the line of my choice! I can't wait to start receiving them. It will be such a treat to always have a wonderful new story at my fingertips rather than trailing the kids down to the library to get my fix. How wonderful! I couldn't have asked for a nicer Christmas present.

On a separate note, it's officially 3 weeks before I have to return to work from my mat leave. :-( I can't belive how quickly the time has gone. Part of me will be glad to have the adult interaction again, but the larger part of me is sick to death to have to leave my kids. I know they'll adjust and probably thrive in the process, but I can't stop the oh so motherly guilt from gripping my heart at the mere thought. I know...I won't think about it anymore. That will fix it. Done!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Won! I Won! I Won!

Excuse me while I scream...Ahhh! I got an email this morning saying that I won Harlequin's Ultimate Reunion contest! I'd all but given up hope of winning since it had been a week since the winners were chosen and I hadn't heard anything. I was sure that was because three other lucky and talented writers had won, been notified, and were too humble to come gloat on the website. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from an unknown name today with the subject line of Ultimate Reunion contest. It is such a thrill to be chosen knowing that there were many, many talented writers who entered.

So I'm on a bit of a high today. I know that it's nothing like selling a manuscript, but to me it's the justification that I haven't been wasting my time with all of the writing I've been doing. Maybe I really do know what I'm doing. Now that's a pleasant thought. This is just the kick in the a** that I need to get my wip finished.

You better believe I'll be writing tonight!

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Wedding Singer

Since I've been writing romance, I find myself analysing movies instead of just watching them. I was watching The Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler on TV a few nights ago, and as I watched it I started to realize what a perfect romantic comedy it is. Despite being kind of stupid at times (like all Adam Sandler movies), you can feel the romantic tension building as the hero gets left at the alter only to realize that his fiance isn't the kind of woman he wants, but the heroine is. At the same time the heroine thinks she is in love with her fiance, but it isn't until the end of the movie that she realizes that she is with him for the wrong reasons: security, money--everything the hero can't offer her. It has some great indicators that her fiance is wrong for her--if she were to marry him her name would be Julia Gulia. That's reason enough to give him the heave ho (LOL). Where as the hero's last name flows perfectly with her name (even though his name escapes me right now). Mental note to pay close attention to my character's names from now on. And then when she is on the plane with her fiance and he won't let her have the window seat because he doesn't want to get smashed by the beverage cart even though she's never seen the window view before. I love things like that! Subtle yet very telling. Those are the kind of things that really help to show vs tell in a ms. My favourite part is at the end when he writes the song about her and sings it to her over the intercom on the plane. That made my heart melt, and I don't even really like Adam Sandler! Great writing. If you like the movie or not, I don't think you can deny that it has all the elements of a perfect romantic comedy.

Is there a movie that you think is the perfect romantic comedy, and why?

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Party's Over

My daughter's first birthday party has come and gone, and all in all it was a great day. My kids had so much fun, and the birthday girl got lots of nice presents (her favourite was the bag that some of the pieces came in :-)). Here is a picture of the birthday cake I made (very yummy I might add).
On another topic, today is the day that the winners are chosen for the eHarlequin Ultimate Reunion contest. Can't wait to see if I won. It might take a few days to find out since I believe they are contacting the winners by mail. I felt pretty good about my entry, so I'll keep my fingers crossed. If not, oh well. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I Did It!

I just sent my entry to the Ultimate Reunion contest. Yay! I'm glad that it's out of my hands. Now I can put it out of my mind, and if I happen to win it will be a pleasant surprise.

With that out of the way I need to focus my energy on organizing my daughter's 1st birthday party that is on Sunday. So many little things to do, but I can't wait. I'm trying not to get too carried away; she'll just be happy to have all of her cousins here to play with her. It doesn't take much to entertain them at this age. And she'll probably get more enjoyment from all of the wrappings than from the presents. It's such a great age.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Almost Done!

My scene for the Ultimate Reunion contest is almost done! Yay! I was surprised at how difficult I found it to write a complete scene in only 1000 words. In a novel you've got at least 10 chapters to tell your story, but to give enough of a plot so that the reader is interested and can follow it all in 1000 words...that's tough. The one good thing is that it teaches you to make every word count. No flowery descriptions here. It's down to business.

I just hope that the judges like it as much as I do. I love the characters so much I could see this scene as the first in my next story. But I've resisted the urge to go any further. I still need to focus on my current wip. It's almost done. Not much more. I can do it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I've been tagged!

Whether you're interested or not, here are five things you may not know about me (excluding my family...they know everything!)

1) I'm half Scottish (maybe that's why I'm so cheap-LOL). My mother was born in Scotland and lived there until she was 10.

2) I played trumpet for 4 years in high school. It's great for the stomach muscles.

3) I'm addicted to Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. It used to be Sex and the City, but then they had to go and cancel it : ( Such a dark day.

4) More than a few times I've woken my husband in the night swatting at imaginary spiders in the bed (and yet I'm still sound asleep).

5) Up until 2 years ago, I lived in a hundred year old house that I'm sure was inhabited by more than just my family. I can't tell you how many times my dog, a Shih-tzu that rarely makes a peep, growled at a seemingly empty corner in my bedroom (he had a knack for doing this when my husband was away and I was all alone -- Insert scary music here)

Hope you feel like you know me a little bit better. Now let's learn more about Cariann, Kathleen, and Suzanne B.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Contest Entry Take 2

I've been working away on an entry for Harlequin's Ultimate Reunion Contest. Okay, so my wip doesn't have a reunion scene. So I have to write something brand new. I refuse to think of this as procrastination. Granted I'm not progressing in my wip, but I keep telling myself that if I win it will be a nice little gem to put in my query letter to hopefully move it along in the slush pile. And it doesn't hurt that the prize in one year's worth of books from the Harlequin line of your choice. But that's not why I'm doing it. Honest.

Maybe if I keep telling myself, I'll eventually believe it : )

Friday, November 03, 2006

Birthday Invitation

Okay, so it's not writing related, but I had to show off the invitations that I made for my daughter's first birthday. I can't believe that she'll be 1 at the end of the month. Her upcoming birthday also means that my 1 year maternity leave is almost up. I have to go back to work in the new year. I'm getting so stressed out about leaving them. I've found a nice home daycare, but the thought of leaving them with someone else still makes my stomach turn. At least my work has agreed to let me come back 4 days a week instead of 5. I'll have one extra day a week to spend with them.

I just hope that I'm able to keep up the writing once I'm back to the daily grind (there--I knew I'd find a way to bring the topic back to writing).

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Time for Writing

This week, in a moment of frustration with not having enough time to write, I was kicking myself for not taking writing seriously earlier in life. I mean what did I do with all of my free time before I had kids? At the time I thought I was soooo busy, but I didn't know what busy was. I could have written a dozen novels with all of that time. So, why didn't I start?

It wasn't that I didn't have the interest. I showed an interest in writing starting in grade school.(My first novel, written in grade 5, was called Thirteen going on Thirty. Isn't that a movie title? I think someone owes me some royalties LOL). And even when I was in University and should have been reading about abnormal psychology I was making up characters and stories in my head. So why didn't I write them down? I think to seriously start a novel, there has to be a need within you. For me, that need was the need to feel smart again. I was on maternity leave with my first child, and after 6 months of being out of the workplace I called my husband at work and complained that I needed to feel smart again. I needed to use my brain for something other than changing diapers and amusing a baby. He suggested that since I always wanted to write a book that I should take a writing course. That suggestion changed my life (bless his heart). Since the first night of my Romance Writing course, I haven't lost the desire to finish my novel. Of course there have been times when life has interfered, but even when I didn't have the time to write, the desire still burned.

And now, as I'm nearing the completion of my first draft (after 4 years *gasp*), I've already got ideas swirling in my head for my next ms, but I resist the urge to start it. Even though the need driving the desire has changed (now not only do I want to become published so that I can write from home and not have to send my kids to daycare, but I also love to write--it's addictive!), the desire is still there burning just as intensely as when I wrote my first character sketch.

What was the need that drove you to start writing? What keeps you going?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Tuesday!

I'm finally starting to make head way on my WIP again! Last night I was writing and was surprised when the dialogue between my H&h took a turn that I wasn't expecting. What started out as a friendly lunch turned into a deep and meaningful discussion about the death of the H's parents. It's so amazing when the characters take over and my fingers on the keyboard are merely the conduit for them to tell their stories. I guess that's a sign that I'm truly understanding my characters, their motivations, their emotions.

Could this mean that the end is near? Is it possible that I am actually going to be able to finish this story? God, I hope so. I'm so envious of the other writers who have actually finished and submitted their mss for consideration for publication. Even though I know that once I'm in their shoes and waiting to hear back from a publisher I'll be hugging the silver bucket with the best of them, but at least I'll be able to say that I did it. That I actually wrote a book.

I can't wait!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

TV Romance

Alright, enough wallowing!

How many of you can't possibly write on a particular night because you can't miss your favourite show? I know that writing is more important than the boob tube, but there are just some shows that I can't do without. My new favourite is What About Brian.
I love the forbidden love thing going on between Marjorie and Brian. I can't help routing for them to get together. But then it wouldn't be much of a show if they got together right now, would it? As a writer I understand that. There has to be conflict. But as a viewer, I just want to see them happy.

They've got to string us along--at least for a couple of seasons--before that can happen. *Sigh*

Is there a romantic TV relationship that you're dying to see materialize???

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I found out today that I didn't place in the Where the Magic Begins contest. Normally I don't get so upset about contests, but I was really hoping to final in this one. The final judge is the editor for the line I am targetting and it would be so great to get my ms in front of her. I guess now I'll have to settle for sending it in through the slush pile like everyone else :-(

On the positive side, I did get some useful comments from the contest judges. There were some trends in the comments (and some obscure comments too), which makes me realize that there are definitely some areas that I need to work on. Better to hear about it now than in a rejection letter later.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Hate Colds!

Like so many households right now, our house has been overtaken by a yucky cold. My youngest was the first to get it (so sad when they feel yucky and can't even blow their nose), then I got a sore throat and my oldest got the stuffy nose. So far DH is the only one who isn't sick (knock on wood). Hopefully he's able to stay germ-free since someone has to take care of us.

I wish I had some energy to get writing, but I just don't.

This sucks!

But check out this game for a bit of distraction.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some Fun Things for the Long Weekend

You Should Be a Romance Novelist
You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart.
You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer...
And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories.
As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.
What Type of Writer Should You Be?

You Are a German Shepherd Puppy
Intelligent, quick witted, and a bit aggressive.
You've got the jaw power to take a bite out of anyone you choose.
What Breed of Puppy Are You?

Your Hillbilly Name Is...

Penny Sue Duke

Your Celebrity Baby Name Is...
Sahara Amandine

Friday, October 06, 2006

I've Been Tagged

My first time being tagged! Thanks Lainey.
Here I go...

#1 - One book that changed your life: I would have to say the first category romance that I ever read. Can't remember what that was (it was many, many years ago), but it I enjoyed it so much that I started thinking that I would like to write something like that. It would be many, many years before I actually tried though.
#2 - One book that you've read more than once: Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant. Very helpful.
#3 - One book you'd want on a desert island: Only one? I don't think I could choose. I'd like to have a whole box of romance.
#4 - One book that made you laugh: Do Me, Do My Roots by Eileen Rendahl. Has some dark points but definitely made me laugh too. A rare combination.
#5 - One book that made you cry: Fine Things by Danielle Steele. A teacher saying goodbye to her students because she knows that she's going to die--it had me bawling like a baby on a city bus when I was sixteen.
#6 - One book that you wish you had written: Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. Loved the book and the movie.
#7 - One book that you wish had never been written: I can't say. Even if I don't enjoy a book, I can always learn something from it--even if it's what not to do.
#8 - One book you're currently reading: Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell (author of Sex and the City). Three powerful fourty-something women in New York--I'm loving it!.
#9 - One book you've been meaning to read: The Divinci Code. Everyone has read it but me.
#10 - Tag Five People: (How about 3?) Patricia, Colleen, Elaine--it's your turn!

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all you Canadians!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wedding Anniversary

My husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last week. I can't believe that so much time has gone by. We are high school sweethearts (yes...some really do stick together), so we've been together for 19 years in total--basically we've spent our entire adult lives together. Even though things are a bit (a lot) different from our carefree high school years (two kids, a house, and car loans have a way of changing things), I can honestly say that we are still very much in love--a fact which definitely helps when writing romance.

Mind you, it's different from that rush of new love, which is all stomach flutters and sweaty palms. But I think it's better. It's knowing that you can count on someone to be there for you, someone who'll listen to you complain, someone who'll still find you sexy when you're wearing your most comfortable (read ugly) night gown.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Lightbulb Moment

Have you ever had one of those lightbulb moments when everything that is wrong with your wip suddenly becomes very clear...even too clear. I had one of those moments this week. I realized why I don't have enough conflict in my wip--my characters are too much alike. Both workaholics, neither of them wants to get married. I was finding it difficult to keep the conflict going. But since I've had this moment of clarity, I've determined the changes that I need to make to my characters to make it work. It's going to mean some rewriting (ugg), but better to fix it now than to have it rejected for the very same reason.

I have to credit this moment of insight to Trish Wylie's blog. Right now she's blogging about the process that she uses when starting a new wip. She mentioned that she wanted her heroine to have a job that would make her committment phobic hero uncomfortable -- a kindergym teacher. It makes a lot of sense. If the hero and heroine are very different it makes for good conflict. Seems simple why did it take me so long to figure out that my hero and heroine weren't fitting the bill?

Have you had one of those light bulb moments with your wip?


Thursday, September 14, 2006


Last night I started reading Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance. I've had the book for over a year, but recently I've been struggling with the conflict in my WIP and was hoping the book could help me. As I was reading her discussion about small and large conflicts I realized why I'm struggling with the scene I'm currently writing -- there's not enough conflict. I was trying to wrap the scene up nice and neat but my characters weren't cooperating. It needs something more. I just have to determine where this new conflict will take me and how it will mesh with what I've written already. Come to think of it, whenever I'm having trouble with a scene it's usually because something isn't working. It's so nice when that lightbulb goes off over my head, and I get a momentary flash of insight. Why can't it happen more often? But now that I know there's an issue, I just need to figure out how to fix it. That's a whole different problem!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Emotional Suicide

I was reading a fantastic article on Melissa James' website called Emotional Suicide. As I was reading about the depth that she goes to when writing her books, I started to wonder if my ms has enough emotional depth. As I'm writing, I always try to think about how I would react, what I would see, feel, hear etc, but I can't help but wonder if it is enough. Or, on the flipside, when is it too much? When will the reader think, "Oh, will you just get on with the story"?

I know that as a reader myself, if there is a lot of intense emotion and I want more of the story, I'm guilty of...skimming. Yes, I know. As a writer that's a dirty word. We put our blood, sweat, and tears into every word, and the thought of someone skimming over even one syllable is a blasphemous. But we can't control what our readers do. And ultimately we want to write a story that someone wants to read. Period.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. When is there enough emotional depth for you?


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Today was my dd's first day of JK. I can't believe it! She was absolutely fine with the whole thing...but I cried like a baby! I keep telling myself that she is going to have more fun at school than she will at home, but funny enough that doesn't help. Her teacher seems very nice, and patient. I don't think I could ever do her job. I love my own kids but don't think I could be so patient with a room full of someone else's. Give me a nice cushy desk job any day.

Chow for now,

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I've Discovered eBay!

I made my first sucessful bid on eBay today. Now I'm hooked. Like I need another hobby to take my time away from writing. But I think it's so cool to be able to buy anything you want from the comfort of your home. So we'll see if I get the final bid, but either way it was a cool experience.

My oldest child is starting JK next week, so I keep telling myself that I'll have more time to write then. I'll have to ensure that I don't turn on the internet during my youngest child's nap time so that I can focus solely on writing.

Maybe chanting will help.
Must finish WIP. Must finish WIP.

Chow for now,

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's outta here!

The contest entry is out of my hands and into the hands of the capable (pretty, smart, witty -- is that enough butt kissing?) judges. Hopefully they like it as much as I do.

As I was re-reading the entry for the umpteenth time at 1 a.m. last night, I started to wonder--if I'm this neurotic about sending in 25 pages, what kind of a mess am I going to be when I mail my entire manuscript? After all, I've been working on it since the birth of my first child four years ago and am nearing completion after the birth of my second child. It has been part of my life during those lonely maternity leaves, my characters keeping me company when I was dying for some adult interaction. How hard is it going to be to say goodbye to those two close friends hoping that I'll see them again some day in the pages of a book? And what if it never gets published?

But I can't think like that right now. I need to focus on getting it completed so that Tess and Owen can come visit me again some day.

Chow for now,

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Back to Work!

Well, it's time to get back to work. My husband and I threw a surprise 40th birthday party for my sister last night (a lot of fun, BTW), and now that it's done I have no more excuses to procrastinate. I need to get back to writing.

Tonight, provided that I'm still awake (I'm still recovering from the party), I need to take one more look at my contest entry before sending it in. I have high hopes for this one. I hope I'm not disappointed. But even if it doesn't result in a win, I'm still aiming to have my ms completed (and submitted?) before I go back to work in January. I'm still hoping that I can go back to work part-time, but I won't know if that will happen until after I meet with my boss next week. Keep your fingers crossed. That would mean that I'd have more time to write. Yay! If not, I'll just have to use my lunch hours. I've become quite skilled at eating while typing. I'm eating a turkey dinner right now (just kidding).

Chow for now,

Monday, August 28, 2006

Contest Deadline is Closing In

The deadline for the Where the Magic Begins contest is in 2 days and I think my entry is pretty well ready. I made a lot of changes to my first 25 pages for this contest, so I think it's in pretty good shape. Writing a 1 page synopsis was a bit of a challenge. At first I thought one page would be a breeze. After all, I'd written over 140 pages so far -- how hard could it be to write one more? But narrowing my story, my baby down to the bare bones was more difficult than I thought. I just hope that my voice still shines through.

The final judge for the contest is Kimberly Young, Harlequin UK. She's the editor that I'll be targetting once my ms is complete. The finalists will be announced by October and winners by December, so my plan is to have it completed by that time just in case I get a request (trying to keep positive thoughts).

Hope you have a great day.

Chow for now,

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My First Blog!!!

Well, I've been inspired. After reading Nicola Marsh's interview with Barbara Hannay I not only created a collage for my WIP but I also started a blog! This is a first for me, but I think I'll really enjoy having a place to exercise my writing wings.

Needless to say, my blog won't be near as exciting as Barbara's (staying in a tree house on a deserted island -- wow!), but I'll do my best to keep you entertained with life in my world. Such as how I find more than five consecutive minutes to write when I'm at home with two small kids.

It's getting a bit better now. I'm able to stay awake past 10 p.m. and have found that 9-11pm is the best time for me to write. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. And my WIP is coming along. I've got about 36,000 words so far. I'd like to add one of those progress counters to my blog, but that's a bit complicated for my first day out. Give me a week. LOL. I just hope I can get most of it complete before I have to return to my "real job" in January. How I wish I was independently wealthy (sigh).

Chow for now.