Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Wrap-Up

It's that time again...the end of another month. Good-bye April, Hello May! 

This month went by so fast. It feels like it was April Fool's Day only last week. Oh well. I'm ready to bid April farewell. I've got nothing against the month. I'm just not a fan of Seattle in springtime, when the weather feels like late November. I'm not a little happy that summer is one month months away. Here's what kept me busy in April...

WRITING

~ I have a critique partner!!! Natalie Murphy is my dear friend and Celtic Hearts chapter mate. I adore and respect her immensely, so I'm super excited that we're now CPs. She also writes Medieval romance, which makes us a great match. And I love her writing and critiquing style. Her excellent critiques have already been a great help. =) 

~ There were a few minor changes required for my prologue, but I have some work to do on my first chapter. Less talking, more action! That's my new motto. I'll be putting it into practice this week as I work on revisions.

~ I set aside my Highlander novella for a week in April to revise a few chapters on my Medieval WIP, Her Heart's Desire. It had been a month since I'd last opened it up. The characters wouldn't let me alone, so I had to revisit them. HHD is truly the book of my heart. The story is near and dear to me. I adore the hero and heroine. I want to give them their HEA (happily ever after) soon. Perhaps later this year.  *knocks on wood*

~ I would really like to become proficient at working on multiple projects at one time. Maybe someday. *crosses fingers*  

~ I added info about my Highlander novella, Wild Highland Bride, to my WIPs page. Check out the WIPs tab at the top of this page.      


PERSONAL

~ I read 4 books this month.  

~ I spent one fun weekend with my toddler goddaughter. She wanted me to do everything: read her a book, feed her, bathe her, dress her, sit by her, hold her hand when we went for a walk, etc. Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma just wouldn't do – it was me or no one. I felt like the belle of the ball. 

~ That same weekend my BFF treated her daughter and me to a mani and pedi. Then she took us to See's Candies and out to dinner. Needless to say, she is an awesome friend. =)

~ As I mentioned at the start of this post, blue skies are hard to come by in Seattle this time of year. Not a big surprise considering Seattle ranks as the cloudiest major city in the U.S., right behind
Forks—home to sparkly vampires. ;)  Amazingly, we had a streak of sunny days just last week. It was pure bliss. Even my Doxies loved the sunshine.  

 Ripley and Sawyer
  
How was your month? Did you do anything fun? Did you bask in the sunshine? Did you read many books or meet your writing goals? Do share!

Friday, April 26, 2013

First Line Friday: Blood Sisters

Happy Friday! 
 
I love it when a first line of a book has me hooked. I want the first line to draw me in, to leave me wondering what happens next. A weak first line won't keep me from reading a book, but a great first line does make a good impression. 

I recently discovered the books of Melanie Clegg. She writes meticulously researched historical fiction set in the eighteenth century. Her second book, Blood Sisters, is a sweeping saga that follows a trio of aristocratic sisters who are caught up in the French Revolution. 
 
Here's the first line...
 
"They came for me while I was still asleep."
 
This is  an awesome first line, IMO. The second I read it, I was hooked. It pulled me right into the story and made me want to know the all-important Five W's: Who. What. When. Where. Why.

What do you think?  Does this first line hook you?    
       
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: To Wed a Wicked Highlander

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose... 

TO WED A WICKED HIGHLANDER
Bad Boys of the Highlands, Book 3
Author - Victoria Roberts
Genre
- Historical Romance

Publisher - Sourcebooks Casablanca
Expected Pub Date - September 2013
   

  
Sybella would do anything to prove she's just as valuable to the MacKenzie clan as her brother is.  She'd go on any hung, take any dare.  But her father has a different sort of mission in mind: marriage.  It's simple, he explains.  All she has to do is marry Alexander MacDonell and report back on his family's secrets.  It will be easy, he says, as long as she doesn't do anything foolish...like fall in love.

As laird of the MacDonells, Alex has a duty to produce an heir.  It's a duty he won't mind with the lovely Ella has his wife--even if she is one of the dreaded MacKenzies.  He's wooed and won many ladies, but Ella is a challenge like no other.  He can tell she's holding something back.  But not for long.  Because inch by inch, he plans to expose everything she's been hiding and claim the ultimate prize: her heart.
 


I look forward to reading this one.  I love a man in a kilt!



 -- Book blurb courtesy of Victoria Robert's website -- 
Saturday, April 20, 2013

In My Mailbox (36)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won or received for review. 

This week I was lucky enough to win a $10.00 Amazon gift card in contest hosted by Harlequin Historical author Michelle Willingham.These are the e-books I downloaded to my Kindle...


WON




I've wanted to read all of these books ever since I first heard about them.

Did you win or buy any good books this week?

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Friday Love (7)

Happy Friday!

 
My Friday Love is a weekly meme, which spotlights the things you loved during the past week.

  ----------------------------------------------

Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt. I love ice creamit's frozen, it's sugary, it's sweet. Some days were meant for ice cream. Tuesday was one of those days for me. I was craving some comfort dessert, for no particular reason except that I have a serious sweet tooth. To satisfy my craving, I ate a cup of Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt Blueberry Vanilla Graham. OMG! The graham cracker swirl is sooooo tasty!

Defiance. My hubby was very excited for the premiere of Defiance, the newest sci-fi series on Syfy channel. I tuned in only because the show was on the TV. I wasn't very interested in the show's premise; there were too many lizard-looking aliens with weird skin. Also, the plot seemed convoluted and unoriginal. 


Turns out, I like what I saw. Despite the less than stellar effects and weak subplots, the show has potential. I like the adventurous flare. And Grant Bowler. He's perfectly cast as a charming, reckless Han Solo type who can't resist doing the right thing, though he has trouble keeping his promises. 



The show needs to fully flesh out the large cast of characters, but that's going to take time. I hope the network gives Defiance a chance to develop into a great, edgy show.


RT Book Reviews. I received the June issue of RT Book Reviews yesterday. Whenever I see the magazine in my mailbox, I smile. I can't wait to read through the reviews and highlight the books I want to read this summer.  


The Library. I love my local public library. It's close to my home. It has such a Northwesty feel—the parking lot looks more like a campground than a parking lot. The tree cover is so beautiful and brings me peace. 


The interior was recently renovated, so there's a new-carpet smell inside the building. 


The huge wall of windows brings in plenty of light, which is a plus on dark, gloomy days.

The staff is nice and smiley. The patrons respect each other and the library's silent policy. There's free Wi-Fi and a large collection of books to check out. The library is a wonderful place to spend a rainy afternoon. 


Writer Friends. The best thing happened to me this week. My good writer friend became a great writer friend. That is all I'm going to say, for now. I'll share all the deets on my month end wrap-up post, so check back on April 30th for the big reveal.


Emma (1996)


What are you loving this week?
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Beauty and the Blacksmith

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...


BEAUTY AND THE BLACKSMITH
Spindle Cove Series E-novella, Book 3.5
Author - Tessa Dare
Genre
- Recency-set Historical Romance

Publisher - Avon Impulse
Expected Pub Date - April 30, 2013
   


Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman.  At least, that's what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana's not excited by dukes and lords.  The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes.  By birth and fortune, the couldn't be more wrong for each other...but during stolen, steamy moments in his forge, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire? 



Oh, how I love Tessa Dare's books!



 -- Book blurb courtesy of Tessa Dare's website -- 
Monday, April 15, 2013

Oily To Rinse


On a chilly night in Paris in 1855 Jean Baptiste Jolly accidentally upset an unlit oil lamp.

He wanted to continue working, so he quickly removed the soiled tablecloth and didn't get back to it for several hours.  When he did, he was surprised to see the spill gone. In fact, the oiled part of the cloth was actually cleaner than the rest.

Thus, the first commercial dry cleaner was in business.

But it was a laborious method.  Each garment had to be dipped in a pan of turpentine and brushed clean, then the smell of the spirit had to be dried off.

French Bronze Oil Lamp, 19th Century
 crescentcityautiongallery.com

 -- Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger --
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Coinage

By the second half of the seventeenth century, most of Europe had adopted the mercantile system.  This new coin-based economy challenged old-fashioned bartering, shaking the power of the guilds, and let nations hoard their gold and silver, rather than use them as currency. 

But whose face do you put on a metal coin?  In 1666, one Frances Stewart was chosen as the model for "Britannia".
 
 King Charles II of England and his mistress Lady Frances Stewart, 1665
thestuartkings.tumblr.com

What did Frances Stewart look like?  Did she deserve such an honor?  Here are two eyewitness accounts:

According to diarist Samuel Pepys: "Methought she was the beautifullest creature that ever I saw in my life, more than ever I thought so...She wears a cocked hat with a red plume, and has a sweet eye, little Roman nose and excellent taille."

The Count de Grammont recalls in his Memoires: "It is impossible for a woman to have more beauty or less wit."

Well, no one ever said they were offering her the penny for her thoughts.  

-- Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger --
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Unfed

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...



UNFED
Undead
, Book 2

Author
- Kirsty McKay

Genre
- Young Adult 

Publisher
- The Chicken House
Expected Pub Date
- September 2013



Fresh meat!  From a hospital of horrors to a runaway zombie train, it's an all-new onslaught of the slavering undead in the sequel to Kirsty McKay's killer debut!

Just when you think you're out...it's the morning after the night of the return of the living dead?!  Or something like that.  After running/bus-driving/snowboarding her life alongside rebel Smitty, geeky Pete, and popular Alice, Bobby thought she'd found the antidote to the Carrot Man Veggie Juice that had turned the rest of their classmates into zombies.  She'd pumped it into Smitty herself after he got chomped!  (Mmm...nom...nom...)

But now he's missing.  What if he isn't cured after all?  Bobby knows she's got to find him, even if it means facing Scotland's zombie-plagued highlands -- not to mention Alice's buckets of snark -- again.  And this time, the zombies aren't the only evil chasing her.  The brain dead are bad enough, but how can she stop the big pharma business behind the epidemic?  Especially when her mom works for the company?!
 




OMG, I can't wait for the release of this book!!!  I loved the first book, Undead.  It was a humorous, witty, action-packed zombie fest in the snow.  The next zombie romp through Scotland is sure to be another page-turner.    


 -- Book blurb courtesy of The Bookish Brunette blog -- 

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 Golden Claddagh Contest




 2013 Golden Claddagh Contest

CONTEST OPENS APRIL 1, 2013

Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh! Don’t let our chapter name dissuade you; your entry does not have to be Celtic based to enter. We have four categories for unpublished manuscripts: Historical, FF&P, Contemporary, and Young Adult.

Our contest opens on April 1st with a final due date of May 1st, 2013. Finalists will be notified by June 15th, 2013 and winners announced at the Celtic Hearts AGM at RWA Nationals in Atlanta. All finalists will be invited to the AGM, if they are able to attend. 

ELIGIBILITY

The competition is open to RWA members and non-members. The Golden Claddagh Contest is open to published and non-published authors but the submitted work must never have been published in any format. The entry must be either a full-length novel (greater than 40,000 words) or a novella (no less than 20,000 words and no more than 40,000 words). Short stories and novelettes are not accepted. 

Entry fee is $15 for CHRW members and $25 for non-members.

CATEGORIES

CONTEMPORARY: Long & Short Contemporary / Romantic Suspense / Strong Romantic Elements: Includes single title, romantic suspense, long and short romantic fiction with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.

FF&P: Future, Fantasy & Paranormal / Steampunk / Alternative History: Romance novel where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).

HISTORICAL: Celtic: Romance novel set primarily before 1945 — any location.

YA: Young Adult / Middle Grade / New Adult: Romance novels or novellas in which young adult themes constitute an integral part of the plot. Main focus is still on the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine. 

FINAL ROUND JUDGES

Contemporary – Julie Mianecki of Penguin Books, Chelsey Emmelhainz of Harper Collins Publishing

FF&P – Alissa Davis of Carina Press and Laurie McLean of Foreward Literary Agency

Historical – Meredith Giordan of Carina Press and Susie Townsend of New Leaf Literary Agency

Young Adult – Aubrey Poole of Sourcebooks and Becky Vinter of Fine Print Literary Agency

Find the Contest Entry Form and Rules at Celtic Hearts Romance Writers website or blogsite.  Sign up today! You know you want to. So what are you waiting for? 

~Permission to Forward Granted and Appreciated~