Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holidays and Writing

They don't mix.  Simple as that.  And in case you're wondering what that pic is - it's the cover for the reissue of HIGHLAND ANGEL coming out in January.  In fact it may well be on the stands right now which shows you how far behind I am.  Did wonder what happened to the chest shot.  Pretty though.

Missed entering my books in the RITA, too.  The sign-up time is a bad one, always coming in the midst of my deadline and the holidays, but I've never had a problem signing up at the last minute or near to.  Well, this time they were full so that's out.  Am now trying to send my books out for a bunch of other contests.  I'll have to find at least 10 more copies of one of the books, however.

See?  Holidays and the work of writing do not mix.  I don't know how some people do it.  There's the cleaning of the house, the cooking, the shopping, and all the various relatives visiting.  And on-line shopping does mean you don't have to go out in the cold but it isn't all that fast, either.   Especially when you're looking for something that isn't exactly a top seller.  And did anyone else notice that every store seemed to have the exact same stuff for sale?

Enough whining.  Right now I'm supposed to be doing my latest vampire novella tale.  Vampires at Christmas.  Is it me or is there something just a little off about that?  I will have to crack down on it tomorrow.  The hubby is back at work for today until Thursday and then it's the New Year time so I need to use those two days for some hard core writing.  Lachann MacNachton isn't going to wait for me to bring him together with Adeline Dunbar for much longer.  He's getting really annoyed stomping around the Highlands in the misty, moisty morning(sorry, been listening to way too much Steeleye Span lately) without finding his woman.  And Adeline's adopted son, poor little Osgar, is probably wondering why I've left him in danger with no stalwart hero riding to their rescue.(oh, dear, all of sudden all I can hear in my head is - Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore, riding through the glen.  The great Monty Python curse strikes again.)  So, tomorrow it's back to the pen and paper and hot vampire men. 

So - since I will be writing and then enjoying the New Year - may I wish you all a joyeous and good fortune-filled New Year.  I will leave you with a little superstition about the New Year - on New Year's Eve open the window a few minutes before midnight to let the bad luck out and the good luck in. (Hopefully you don't live where I do so that doing that will probably cost you a lot in lost heat.)

Oh, and for those of you who saw an announcement on my website about a certain someone blogging here on December 23rd - very sorry but they never sent the blog and didn't answer Leeann's(she handles the bookings) messages.

See you in the New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Emily-Jane Hills Orford finds inspiration in real life

Life is full of stories. There are so many stories to share, to write and to preserve for future generations. People's stories inspire me. Music inspires me. I started writing music mystery/romances because I felt there was a need for musical main characters. With my background in music (I am a private music teacher), I felt I could write convincingly and knowledgeably about a classical musician.

Hence, Melanie was created for my first novel in The Four Seasons series, Spring. Melanie was a talented young classical violinist growing up in southwestern Ontario, Canada. She has a very valuable Grancino violin that contained a mysterious symbol inside and a mystery as to its origins. As Melanie's career blossoms, so does the mystery.

The second book of The Four Seasons series, Summer, brings in a new main character, Hope. This character grows up in northern British Columbia, Canada, and she is part Gitxsan/ part Scottish. She has a valuable violin as well, with quite a mystery. Hope begins as a fiddler, inspired by the folk songs of her joint heritage. As her career changes to classical music and her reputation grows, so does the mystery of the violin.

Having written two novels about musicians in two geographic regions of Canada, I thought it only fitting to write my third book of The Four Seasons series, Autumn, with the setting in Canada's far north. Martha is an Inuit (Eskimo) pianist who is totally self-taught because there are no piano teachers in her community of Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay) on Baffin Island. Her instrument has made a remarkable journey and holds a valuable secret inside. Will Martha live long enough to unravel this mystery? In between writing mystery romance novels, I like to write real-life stories, extra-ordinary stories about truly extra-ordinary people. There seems to be no shortage of stories to write, both non-fiction and fiction.

Click here to visit my website.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

That time of the year

Time for Christmas cards.  Groan.  I used to like doing Christmas cards, scribbling all over the empty part about what I've been doing for the last year.  Well, that slowly slipped away and the notes grew shorter as my deadlines grew closer.  I am now going to do the year's end newsletter bit.  Type it out on the computer and print out enough copies to fill the cards that go out to people I don't see much, if at all.  One big writing down of all that happened during the year with a few sentences of a handwritten message at the bottom. Funny thing is - I write for a living - but have a hard time thinking of what to write in that newsletter.  Maybe it is because I can't make anything up.  You know - no Hannah went to DC for a conference but was kidnapped from her hotel room while playing Luxor and whisked away by a studly immortal who needed her wit and connections to save the world from an evil entity from another dimension who craved the sexual energy of humans, forcing odd couplings everywhere it goes and ...  That would be so much better than 'Hi, I wrote, I drove, I love my grandkids but won't drown you in pics of them, everyone's fine, alive and still kicking(but not as high as before)' and so forth.  Could be fun, though.

So what have I done this year?  I have written 2 books and a novella story.  Each of which has copy-edited pages I need to go through and then page proofs I need to go through.  Then up to half a dozen page proofs of the reissues coming out that year to go through.  Then three conferences, 2 writers groups meetings a month for 8 months and 1 a month for four. And then there's all the other 'stuff' - website, blogs, getting promo items, several booksignings, research, etc., etc.   Then there's the family - the hubby, sons, grandchildren, daughter-in-law, cats.  It make make a page or two.

Maybe it's just that I have been doing it for so many years that it has become a chore instead of fun.  Oh, I love getting cards, no question about that, but sitting down at the table and writing some?  Not so much any more.  Still, I'll do it and, in the end, be glad of it, because in some cases it's the only real contact I have with some people.  So - inbetween cleaning the house and putting up decorations, I will write my cards.

Now - decorating the house for Christmas is a whole other bag of nuts.  I have way, way, too  many Christmas decorations.  Love putting them all up.  Not so much fun putting them all away.  And maybe someone can explain to me why I keep buying things that can be turned on or wound up to play little pieces of Christmas carols, even knowing that my grand-daughter will turn on each and every one when she comes round and I will begin to heartily wish I had never seen a music box, musical snowglobe, or singing reindeer, or santa, or snowman etc.

And then there's shopping.  Am I the only one who begins to think that every time one steps into a store at this time of year a little bit more of the old Christmas spirit is immediately sucked right out of you?  The sameness of the items in each store, the tinny Carols playing, the crabby people, that over-riding sensation of tension emanating from so many of the people seeping into you until your skin itches.  One does wonder why - if they hate to be there so much - they aren't home on the computer doing their shopping there and saving all of the rest of us from their bad mood.   And as a side note - if one more harried shopper nearly sideswipes me because they are so busy looking for a parking place near the mall door they don't see my bright blue car, I will not be answerable for my actions.  Nor for what I do to the next one who nearly runs me over because they aren't paying attention.  I know I'm short but I'm pretty sure I'm visable above most bumpers.  So watch it - you know who you are.

My next big chore is deciding what my new year's resolution will be. Or if I will even have one.  I try to keep my resolutions small and doable so that I don't feel like a complete failure when I don't keep them.  That requires planning and thought.

I do hope everyone is having a good time getting ready for the big day.  I have discovered that - despite how big a hassle it seemed at the time - it was a little bit more fun when the kids were still young and at home.  So all of you who have kids still young and at home - enjoy this time with them.  Trust me - it's gone so quickly and then you wish it was back(and not just because that would make you younger, too)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Holidays Are Acoming!

And to the left you will see why Hannah has a little bit of trouble getting her tree decorated.  She has also put all of her grandfather's ornaments in storage for now and uses only shatterproof ornaments or unbreakable ones.  That's Perkins - one half of the demon duo(Jackson being the other half and yes they were named after the rose sellers but that's another story.).  It was taken the first Christmas(07) but was duplicated last Xmas as well.  I am hoping that she and her brother will eventually reach that mature age that makes a cat not want to clambor up the tree.

As for moi - on Friday I sent in my manuscript for IF HE'S WILD - due out June 2010.  Also a synopsis for the next Highlander book - called HIGHLAND PROTECTOR at the moment - due out 12/2010.  It will be Sir Simon Innes's story and he will have Isabeal Murray Armstrong to deal with.  Fun times are ahead for him.   Now I get to work on the Vamp novella which has to be in by the end of January.  As I work on the Highland tale I have to think of what I want to do next and my editor says another Wherlocke tale would be just fine.  So - we'll see where the mind wanders over the next couple of months.  Right now, just thinking about all that work has me wanting to take a nap.

And - IF HE"S SINFUL - drum roll please - made *23 on the NY Times bestseller list for mass market paperback fiction.  Yes, the happy dance was done all around the house causing great consternation amongst the cats.  I am also doing a bit of promotion.  I was interviewed by Stephanie Giancola for Romantic Novel Examiner http://www.examiner.com/x-2533-Romance-Novel-Examiner   And tomorrow starting at 12 noon central time I will be doing an interview/chat on Bitten by Books.  You can RSVP up until it starts and that will give you 25 additional chances to win one of two prizes.  #1 - a $50 gift certificate to Amazon, #2 - a copy of IF HE'S WICKED plus all that's needed to make yourself a nice cup of tea.  Go to http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=13436  to RSVP.  If you don't want to do that then just go to their site tomorrow sometime.  Not exactly sure just now how long I'm there for but it's at least until midnight.   Have to double-check that.

So gang - hope you are all surviving the big shopping and decorating season of the year.  I'll be back soon but have to go put dinner on now.  Take care, wish me luck in putting up my tree without the Perkin's star at the top. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Have you Danced With Deception lately?

Hi, everyone!

Thank you so much for inviting me to guest blog today, Hannah! My name is Tracy Goodwin and my bestselling debut novel, Dance With Deception, was published by LBF Books in November 2007. It is the first novel in a trilogy set in early Victorian England.

Dance With Deception was the story of my heart years before I ever put my fingers to the keyboard and began writing it. I was inspired by novels by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters and fairy tales like my all time favorite, Beauty and the Beast. Growing up, my mother never allowed me to read romance novels so I immersed myself in the classics. You see, not only do I adore sweeping Historicals, but I love emotional tales filled with forbidden attraction, lost love, and second chances. Epic romances complete with heroes and heroines who make you laugh, cry and wish the story would never end.

What could be more romantic than Mr. Darcy declaring his love for Elizabeth? Or Emma finding love in the familiar face of Mr. Knightley? Or of Jane finally returning home to a blind Mr. Rochester?

Early in my twenties, I read my first romance novel and was immediately hooked. Still, that story I always longed to write was calling to me. Yes, my characters do talk to me – sounds crazy, I know, but it is true. My husband is the one who encouraged me to write my own novel and with that, Dance With Deception was born. While writing it, I thought long and hard about why my favorite stories were so compelling and realized that, for me, it came down to the emotional pull they held within my heart. Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, writing my characters’ angst and exploring their raw emotions comes quite naturally to me and is my favorite part of writing. Thankfully, readers who have written to me regarding Dance With Deception have been touched by the emotional journey that leads Gwen and her dashing Duke of Davenport, Sebastian, to their much deserved happy ending.

The point of my blog today is to encourage all of you to find inspiration wherever you can and to follow your heart. Thanks to my husband’s endless support and encouragement, and inspired by Authors who I greatly admire, I wrote the story of my heart and have subsequently completed my next two. As I write this blog, my husband and I are excitedly awaiting the birth of our first child next month, our miracle son who we’ve long wished and prayed for.

Follow your heart. And may it lead you to inspire others as they have inspired you.

Dance With Deception, a double finalist in the Anne Bonney Reader’s Choice Award, is available at LBF Book and online bookstores such as Amazon, BN, and Chapters-Indigo. It is also available in eBook format at All Romance eBook and Fitionwise.

To learn more about Tracy or to read excerpts from Dance With Deception, visit her website http://www.tracygoodwin.net/. You may also touch base with her at www.facebook.com/tracygoodwin.author, www.myspace.com/tracygoodwin, or at www.twitter.com/tracy_goodwin.