Research - such a hard job
Research for an author can be both mundane and fabulous. My research is normally pretty easy. If I have a technical question about something specific involving ranch life, I can usually remember from when I grew up or if I can't, I just call my brother. It's great having a real-live cowboy as my go-to guy.
And then there is the best kind of research...at least in my opinion.
This of course involves finding someone to base your character on, or at least provide inspiration. As many romance authors will tell you, this is one of the best parts of the job.
So in order to find this elusive character, I did what any other modern woman would do...I trawled the internet.
Please enjoy the results as much as I have.
In about 2 days I will be sitting at a table with fellow authors at the Harlequin Authors Dinner, a preempt to the Romance Writers of New Zealand's annual conference which starts on Friday.
This is my favourite time of year. Well, besides Christmas (nothing beats Christmas). I spend all year waiting for the next conference to roll around; and finally it's here.
This year is extra exciting!
I have two books as finalists in the Koru Award, short and sexy category. The Koru award is a reader choice award, aimed at recongising excellence in published romance writing. I must add that 1) I took the description from the RWNZ website and 2) this contest is open to all published writers, not just those from New Zealand. So you can see why I'm so pleased.
I find out the results at the Awards Dinner on Saturday night. The competition is pretty amazing and I'm so happy to see my names next to theirs. They're both authors I admire and look up to. Maybe I am getting closer to my dream after all.
The two of my books that made it through to the finals are the first two in my Copeland Ranch Trilogy, I Choose You and Because of You.
GST = ick
It's that time again.
I hate GST. If I was one of those organised persons (you know the kind), I would start each month by updating my accounting software with all the purchases and sales of the previous month. But I'm not. I'm not one of those organised persons. I wait until the last possible day and then madly try to get it all done at once. And every two months of the year while I'm madly entering numbers into the spreadsheet, I think, yes, next month I will do this as soon as the bank statement comes in. Ha! Even I know I'm kidding myself. I have no intention doing this hated job any sooner than absolutely necessary.
But I know what you must be thinking...and I can assure you that I don't make enough from my books (yet!) to warent doing GST. But I do have to do it for our farm. And really, as much as I hate actually doing it, I do like to know where our money is coming from and where it goes to. And I'm sure my dear husband like that I don't see money in the bank account and then immediately go shopping for a new pair of shoes (although it has been known to happen...I just can't help myself when they are calling my name).
Sitting here writing about doing GST is, unfortunately not actually accomplishing the GST. See, I can even procrastinate when I'm not writing a novel. Multi-talented, that's what I am!
As I'm doing the farm books, why not check out my books? Head on over to my BOOKS page to find out what I write about.
Until next time,
Frosty Mornings and Snowflakes
Winter has started to close in on us living here in New Zealand. The South Island received a good dump of snow this week and there was even flurries at our house. They were gone within the hour and we enjoyed sunshine for the rest of the day, but still, there was snow in May.
The last two or so years we didn't really get a winter. It didn't get cold, not really, and it wasn't very wet and we had no snow. We tend to have a better spring, grass wise, if we have a good cold, wet winter. I'm looking forward to a proper winter with snow.
It must be my Canadian coming out but I miss seasons that you can differentiate from the last. Here, for the most part winter slips into spring which slips into summer. Autumn is the only season I can say, 'Yes, the season has changed.' I miss tobogganing down the hills and the crisp air burning my lungs.
I imagine the Canadians I left behind think I'm crazy. They've just come out of winter and are heading for summer. The last thing I'm sure they want to think about is a deep cold.
Don't get me wrong, I don't miss the 30 below weather or the six foot drifts or driving in a blizzard. I suppose what I really miss is where I grew up and the people I left behind.
The snow this week just made me homesick and must be why I love watching it fall out of the sky in big white flakes.
Lights. Camera. Cowboy.
You have no idea how excited I am to introduce to you a new series, the first book of which is being released next Friday, March 13, 2015!
I Choose You is close to my heart. It is about a cowboy and a movie star. And although I had to research about movie stars, I do know a thing or two about cowboys. I grew up on a ranch. My father was a cowboy, my brother is a cowboy and I married a cowboy. Somethings are deeply ingrained inside my being and some of those things from my childhood have crept into this story. This book is connected to me. I do hope you love it as much as I do.
My publisher revealed the cover today. Pre-order links are posted at the bottom of this page.
Tell me what you think of the cover.
Okay, sorry that isn't the cover, but I can't resist a good-looking cowboy!
Lights. Camera. Cowboy.
Helga Hansen is the movie star of the moment. Wealthy beyond her wildest dreams, beautiful and girlfriend of sexy Myles of the world-famous band The Knights:, life could not be better. Until Myles cheats on her, that is. Then her latest movie is - again! - a career-threatening flop. She’s sacked her friend/agent in a fury. And, to make matters worse, her little sister’s life seems to be spiraling out of control and Helga’s just not sure how to help her out of the abyss.
So the invitation to star in Brian Hargrave’s new movie – yes, the Brian Hargrave - is one she just can’t turn down. And if it means filming in Hicksville for what’ll seem like an eternity, so what? It’s time away from the big smoke and a chance to lick her wounds. And did someone say something about cowboys?
Brand New Year
First things first, Happy New Year!
Now that the crazy season of Christmas and New Year is over, I feel as though I can finally take a breath and regroup.
2014 was an amazing year. One that was beyond my wildest dreams! Looking back, I find it hard to believe all that I accomplished. Two whole books written, two books edited, two book launch parties (for the same book!), one writer's conference, one self development course plus everyday life with the kids, my wonderful husband and my great friends. I feel incredibly grateful.
I won't pretend, however that it was all sweet and fluff. There were (many) moments of panic and 'what am I doing?' and self doubt. My family had to endure a crazy woman and extremely messy house for probably most of the year. I had to ignore my friends when my deadlines loomed. My poor husband wrestled all three kids away from me days at a time so I could quickly type the last words of my manuscripts or pull off my edits in time. There is no way I could have gotten through this year without the help or understanding of a very good man.
I was blessed with a visit from my mom and her sister when my first book released. They stayed for two weeks and we had the BEST time. (except perhaps when my car-sick Aunt had to endure New Zealand roads!)
Just before my kids finished school for the year, I managed to complete the manuscript for my third book. I was so happy to get it done before Christmas. I was able to take the whole of the Christmas/New Year season off writing and just be, and enjoy my family. Until yesterday I hadn't gone to town since the 21st of December. Ah, bliss.
I have many goals for 2015. The first one is to complete the next two books of my contract. By the end of this year, I could have three more books out into the world. I also want to spend my time more wisely. At the end of last year I started getting up at 4 am in order to get a few hours of writing in before the kids got up. I NEEDED to do this because I am the Queen of Procrastination there was no way in hell I was going to complete my manuscript by my deadline if I didn't. I don't want to be THAT author who always asks for extentions. This year, starting tomorrow, I will reinstate my early mornings, but this time I am going to get up at 5:30 instead of 4 am. I can always adjust my time as I see fit. My next book is not due to my publisher until May so at the moment I'm not all panic stations. Talk to me in a month and my tune may have changed. :)
I would like to finish my novel with more time to spare in order to edit it more in-depth before sending it of to my editor. I fear some things I send her are very rough.
One of my other big goals is to tackle book marketing. I will be the first to admit that I am absolute crap in this area. I am conflicted about what exactly I should be doing. I don't want to be one of those annoying people that only talk about their books and shove Buy links in everyone's faces. But I also don't want to be the author that no one knows about because they never even mentioned to anyone they wrote a book. Okay maybe that last one I will never be accused of being, but I don't want to slip into obscurity because I don't make any effort.
On top of all that, I have the very lofty goal of reaching the New York Times Bestseller list. At the moment, as things are going there is no way this is going to happen. But you know what? 18 months ago, I thought there was no way I was going to be a twice published author with another book soon to be released and two more on contract. So why not dream big? Isn't that what life is about? Who wants to stay in the current situation they are in? Doesn't everyone want to strive for something better? I do. I know what I want. I might not know exactly how to get there, but I know that anything is possible. 2014 proved that to me without a doubt. We are all meant for greatness. We just have to find what it is we are meant to be great at. I am an author. That's all I need to know.
For the last two weeks I have been getting up at 4 am. Yes, that's right, I said FOUR AM. For the first week and a half it was a struggle to get out of bed and if I hadn't agreed to call my friend and wake her up at that time too, I would have fumbled for the alarm and went back to sleep.
I do have a reason for getting up this early. My plan was to write for two hours before the kids got up. Mostly I have and although I my speed was greatly reduced due to the early morning rising I still managed to up my word count for the book I'm currently writing.
The last few days however have had an unexpected side affect. I've been baking. My husband and my kids are delighted...my waistline is not.
Here are some of my culinary efforts.
My fabulous author friend, Rebecca Raisin has her cover reveal today. It is for the final installment of her fantastically popular Gingerbread Cafe series. See below for the 'blurb' and for her beautiful cover. I just love it!
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café
Released October 15th
You are invited to the wedding of the year!
Snow is falling thick and fast outside the Gingerbread Café and inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas, she’ll be marrying the man of her dreams - in a Christmas-card-perfect ceremony!
The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe’s in place – for once, everything’s going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives... Suddenly, Lily’s famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.
In the blink of a fairylight, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says ‘I do’, can Lily get to the church on time – and make this Christmas sparkle after all?
Pre-order the book here:
Amazon US http://amzn.to/1qIb9VQ
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1m7wGWP
Amazon Aust http://bit.ly/1uCJVjx
Google play http://bit.ly/ZnNjTF
Find Rebecca here:
Today is an exciting day. The sun is trying to peak out from behind the clouds, it's warm and the daffodils are blooming and the little lambs are bounding around the paddock.
A few weekends ago I attended the Romance Writers of New Zealand's annual conference. I see from my pictures that I spent most of my time eating. In my defense, the food was great...and I didn't have to cook it! I'm not sure if it's that, or if it's getting to network with fellow writers that I look forward to the most.
The weekend kicked off on Thursday evening August 14th with Jim Azevedo who is the Marketing Director of Smashwords. If you are not aware of what Smashwords is, it is the largest online distributor of self published books. Not only do they publish books on their own website but onto other sites as well such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Sony and Kobo, etc.
Although I am not in the self publishing gig, I did find the information very interesting and useful for my own career. Smashwords distributes more than 278,000 titles around the world. PLUS they provided all conference attendees with a USB stick loaded with over 80 novels. What's not to like about that?
Friday I was lucky enough to be James Scott Bell's minder. I'm really sure what else to call it. All I did was make sure had cups of tea and something to eat. The poor man had a sore throat so by the end of the day I think he was floating away from all the green tea with lemon I gave him.
James is the #1 Bestselling author of Plot & Structure and thrillers such as Don't Leave Me, Blind Justice, Try Dying, Watch Your Back and One More Lie. Mr Scott Bell gave wonderful workshops on The Power of Plot, The Power of Structure, Characters That Jump Off the Page and Secrets of Scenes.
Spatted about the day was more food.
And then the wonderful Courtney Milan spoke to us about how to Build a Sticky Readership. Courtney is of course the fabulous Romance author with bestselling books such as The Governess Affair, The Duchess War and The Countess Conspiracy and many, many others.
The weekend was full of breakout workshops hosted by bestselling authors from New Zealand and from around the world. We are so very lucky to have such a wonderful writer's conference in such a small country.
Cover Reveal Time
It was not all that long ago that I was publishing my very first novel, Debutantes Don't Date and now here I am looking down the barrel of the release day of my second novel, Damsel In Distress? Yes, there is supposed to be a ? there.
Damsel In Distress? is the sequel, sort of, to Debutantes Don't Date. Here is the "blurb"
A chance meeting that could scandalise the ton!
19th century England. Harriet is running for her life, chased by three men on horseback through Hyde Park. Knocked unconscious, everything goes black…
Philip, Baron Eaglestone, has never seen such a beautiful damsel in distress. And he’s even more intrigued when she opens her eyes, and begins to speak. Because this irresistible woman can only remember her first name, and has no knowledge as to who was trying to kill her… or where she is!
As Philip cares for Harriet, their attraction burns… and neither can shake the feeling that their chance meeting was truly a moment out of time. But if her memory returns, Harriet will be faced with a question. Will she return home or could it be that family is where her heart is – with a Regency rake!
And here is the cover!!!!!
Please see my Books page for pre-order links.
I am an author and this is my story.