Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Prairie Chick uses Hooks

I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today about those write hooks. Specifically, first lines and how they can reel you into a story. At least that's what I hope.

I'm using some examples of my own writing because I don't want to get in trouble for using someone elses.

So head on over to the Chicks if you have time and let me know you're there.

On the other hand, I guess you could leave a comment on this blog so I'll know you were here. :)

Todays questions about first line hooks are: Do you have a good first line hook? Do you have a not-so-good one you'd like help with? Do you have another way of starting a story? Am I missing any info?

Stop on by and let me know what you're thinking...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunroom Pics

So if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I've been spending a lot of time in the sunroom. I love it out here but held off until now because the plastic was still covering the screen windows due to the cold, rainy weather we've been having. Then on the hot days, the room heated up so fast it was unbearable.

Well, a few days ago I decided enough was enough. With it being the 3rd week of July already, if the plastic didn't come 0ff now, we may as well leave it up since it's only 7 wks til Labour Day. Yes, already!

This is what I see when I look out the patio door in the dining room. And yes, the sunroom is also used as a storage room.
The black thing on the table is my laptop because that's where I work.

The boys took down the plastic and now I have an extra room to in. So much more light and fresh air than in the garage/rec centre. A lot more dust, too but we won't worry about that. I can clean off my laptop just as well as the next person.

If I look up from my laptop and look left, this is what I see in the southeast direction.

So here I am, kidless until Saturday. I'm posting pics of where I am and what I see so you can spend the week with me. I'm in my 'writing cave' this week but it's about the most unlikeliest cave environment ever. Like I said, lots of light, very breezy but comfortably so, trees filled with chattering birds, barn swallows teaching their babies how to fly, and the occasional baler or farm tractor out on the road or field. I even got buzzed by a crop duster the other day. Didn't like that.

This is the view if I look more to the left which is in a northeasterly direction. Behind the flowers are a row of mugo pines which divide the patio from the driveway.

Okay, enough procrastinating. I have a manuscrip to crit and a suspense novel, Silent Keeper, to write... see - hubby's off work today and he knows I'm working but I just caught a movement at the corner of my eye and there's these hands waving above the mugo pines and yup, Nelson's just appeared, grinning, and hands still waving, as he heads south toward the front of the house. And here I thought I was kidless this week...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Gigantic Book Giveaway

If you want a chance at winning a box of books, look at this:

Visit Camy Tang's website at for a huge website contest.

Camy is giving away:

- fourteen boxes of books; and
- 30 copies of her latest release, DEADLY INTENT


Camy is guest blogging at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today (Sat). If you have a question about her books, her services or her giveaway, this is the time to ask.
Remember, for this contest you must go to Camy's website.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Found A Winner; Looking for a Hero

The winner of Shirlee McCoy's Cold Case Murder is Lynne from over on my eHarlequin blog. Lynne correctly identified the 'yellow stuff' of my previous posts as being wild mustard.

Did you know that wild mustard has anticancer properties? I think it's so neat that God has made all these 'throwaway' plants with secrets just waiting to be discovered.

I'm blogging at Prairie Chicks today so pop over there if you have a chance. Since not everyone has the gumpton to write a 100,000 word tome, my blogpost explains the ways people who write shorter pieces can still get published. Like this one:

If you write historical/vintage fiction, here's something to check out:

The Wild Rose Press is looking for novellas and novels for an American Hero series for the Spring of 2010. Here’s the criteria:

- 30,000-100,000 word Historical (No cowboys)

- Vintage line – 1900-1992 - can be on Canadian or foreign soil but the H/hero must be American.

- American line – 1492-1992 - it must be set on American soil and have an American flavor

- Hero can be either male or female and must make a difference in the life of someone or some people. He/she must go beyond normal heroism.

For more info, check The Wild Rose Press blogpost about it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Book for a Guess

I've been looking for an excuse to give away this duplicate book and my efriend Katherine from eHarlequin gave me the perfect opportunity. See the post below for the full story but the gist of it is this:

I'll send you this book for free:

If you are the first person to correctly identify this plant:

Actually, I said below that the leaves weren't radish-like but I guess they are kinda. The fine, dill-like leaves seem to be up around the flowers. So, this might be a wild forerunner of today's canola.
So, anyone want to take a guess?

Deadline is midnight July 31st.

If no one guesses the correct answer, I'll make a random draw on Aug 1st from all the people who commented on either of these 2 'yellow stuff' blogs or the same on FB and my eHarlequin blog because these are simulposted there.

Update: Lynne over on my eHarlequin blog correctly guessed wild mustard.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pretty, But it Must Go

So there I was yesterday, preparing Chap 1 of Silent Keeper for emailing to my critique partner when the little guy runs in and shouts, ‘Dad’s taking down the fence by the garden!”

“What? Why?”

“He wants to get the Kubota in there!” Slam.

Ever the reporter, I grabbed my camera and rushed outside. I knew what he was doing – he was clearing the ridiculous amount of big yellow … weeds that took over our garden this year when we didn’t use it.

Since I’ve been concentrating on writing, I let Nelson and the boys take care of the outside work including the garden and…well...

These pics show Nelson tackling the yellow…stuff. I’m not sure what the weed is but I can find out if anyone wants to know. Anyway at one point, Nelson got off the Kubota and started looking digging around.

He finally emerged with one of the tractor seat stool. Isn't it amazing what you can find growing in a garden these days? Actually, I bought 2 of these stools at an auction for 2 bucks a piece years ago. The ‘fitted’ seats are very comfy.

Now that he's got the weeds cleared off, Nelson will rototill it. Then, the little guy and I are going to start hauling compost from the huge pile that's been sitting out back for about 5 yrs. Water drains through the garden soil so fast, we're hoping the compost will slow it down enough to benefit the plants. So by the time next spring rolls around, the garden will be ready to try again.

Has your garden or lawn ever looked like this? Have you needed equipment 'bigger' than an lawnmower or rototiller to clear it out? What was the end result?

My efriend, Katherine commented that she thought the yellow stuff might be canola - LOL - This is the view from my living room and porch windows. It's the view I see whenever I open my door and step outside. The view is 104 acres of canola growing on the organic land we rent out to a friend. And yes, people do pay money for canola (used to be called rape or rapeseed). It's an important oilseed sold around the world. I'm not sure in other parts of Canada or the US, but here on the prairies, canola oil outsells any other vegetable oil on the market for cooking and baking purposes.

Thank you Kay, for letting me brag on the qualities of this important prairie grain. And I have to admit, I actually thought it was canola as I passed the fence on a daily basis. But when I watched Nelson cut it down, I saw that instead of the leaves beeing like a large radish, they were fine and silky like dill. But that's an awful good guess, Kay.

Actually, I have a new book (so many books I even ordered one twice) that I'll give away to the first person who correctly guesses what the yellow stuff is.

Photos on a close up of the yellow stuff and a photo on the book giveaway will be up soon.

You have until the end of July (July 31st) to guess.

Update: I have a winner - Lynne over on my eHarlequin blog guessed wild mustard and she's absolutely correct.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's Never Dull Here

It's Saturday morning and I'm hosting Vince Mooney over on the Chicks blog today. Awesome post about emotionally rewarding your reader. Is that really the secret to Nora Roberts' success?

Yesterday I slipped down to my ND post office box to pick up a Sony eReader I'm test driving. I could have had it mailed to my home address but it would've taken another 2 wks by the time it crossed the border and I only have it until the end of Sept. My first obsevation is that the screen isn't backlit so I need supplemental lighting to read in the dark. Or if there is a light, I can't find it so someone please tell me how to find it.

Nick comes back from camp tomorrow which means a week with both boys home before they head off again. It was nice with just the little guy this past week. He used earphones when on the computer and I went to write in the Rec Centre when he wanted to play the Wii in the living room.

Funny thing happened overnight. Nelson said the power went off at some point and when it came back, some of it stayed off. So we have 90% of the outlets working. However, the water pump isn't working in the basement and in the kitchen we have no stove or microwave, yet the fridge is fine. The kitchen is in the original portion of the house and for some outlets, the top part works but not the bottom. They seem to be hooked up to 2 different breakers which is really weird. The power bar in the dining room which has Nelson's laptop, the answering machine, TV, stereo, etc is not working but the computer in the opposite corner is fine. The outlet where we charge our cell phones is a bust. We have a booster there which boosts the signal otherwise our phones would deplete over the course of a day while it searched for a signal. Already today, my cell has run out of power. :( Thank goodness Nelson is off work today so he can figure out how to fix this power problem.

So, how's your weekend so far? Going like you planned? Wanted?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Snow in July?

Actually, it's a very heavy frost. Look at the van!
I've haven't had the heart to go look at my patio flowers since hubby took this photo yesterday morning. Yes, I know the date says it's the 15th but Nelson was up early for work and still kinda dozey. :)
The days have been hovering around 18C/68F but this frost is totally ridiculous.

Prairie Chick Talks Kissing

I finally finished my plotting chart for Silent Keeper and have started writing the book. I'm on a very tight deadline for it and my blogging is/will suffer because of it.

With the 2 older kids at camp, I only have the little guy here but he's being terrific at letting me write. I think the new video game plus the stockpile of library books has something to do with it. :)

I'm blogging about kissing and some of my experiences with that topic over at so hop on over and join the discussion. My questions today are:

Do you have a kissing experience you’d like to share? Either a bad one you’d like to forget or a good one you want to remember? You can comment here or on the Chicks site. Come on, I'm curious...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Last Day Kidless

Just a quick note to let you know I'm keeping myself occupied while the kids are away at camp.

I've almost finished plotting my new wip, Silent Keeper which has taken longer than I expected or wanted. But that's okay because I want to think it out thoroughly first and in the meantime I've started writing it.

My blog post on Brainstorming yesterday at Prairie Chicks Write Romance didn't get much of a discussion going but my comment on today's POV topic sure did.

Speaking of the Prairie Chicks, we're welcoming Steeple Hill Love Inspired author Allie Pleiter as a guest blogger today so drop on over and say hey.

Okay, I pick up the youngest from camp on Sunday and I don't want to waste my last day of uninterupted writing time so I'll sign off for now.

I'll be checking here and the Prairie Chick blog tomorrow so I'll see if you leave a comment about how your weekend is going. And I don't mind talking about the weather - it's been cool and cloudy here all week and I'm ready for some hot summer days.

Book Review: A Weaver Wedding

A Weaver Wedding by Allison Leigh Silhouette Special Edition #1965, Apr 09

Once again, Allison Leigh proves why she’s an ‘auto-buy’ for me. She hooked me with the prologue and got me so interested, I’d read a third of the book before I realized it. Allison turns on the emotional train with a secret baby story that had me wanting to tell the hero he was going to be a father. And although I didn’t think it fair of the heroine to keep it a secret, she was such a likeable character, I didn’t really mind because it added so much conflict and tension to the story.

Tara Browning figured she was destined for spinsterhood after a very brief marriage when she was eighteen. It’s not a big secret why she doesn’t date, she just hasn’t been attracted to anyone since. But when tall, hunky Axel Clay stands in her way, her inhibitions flee and she’s ready to follow him anywhere. A couple days later, she awakes in their motel room to find Axel gone without even a note. He did leave her a nice present, however, which she discovers a couple months later. Since Axel hasn’t made any attempt to contact her though, she’s not going to go searching for him either. She’ll raise their baby just fine by herself.

Seems Axel Clay has been in love with Tara Browning since he first spotted her 5 yrs ago but his job as a secret operative stopped him from making his feelings known. He wouldn’t have spent the weekend with her either except she was involved with his job and he had to keep tabs on her somehow. Of course if his boss found out how close he’d watched Tara, he’d be pulled off the assignment for conflict of interest but Axel was going to ensure no one knew. He’d stay away from Tara and everything would be fine. Things don’t go according to plan when Axel has to go back as her bodyguard, though.

Tara is determined to hide her pregnancy from Axel and his family who insist on pulling her into their lives like a long-lost daughter. If she thought it was hard keeping the baby from Axel though, she finds it’s agony not to tell Axel’s mother.

Heat Level: Sensual

My Rating: Great (A Keeper)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Early July Happenings

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Here in Montmartre, SK the sky was cloudy and drizzly but it didn't dampen the spirits of those coming to attend the 100 year celebrations.

I stayed home. Since we've only been living here 10 yrs, we don't have ourselves invested into the history of the Rural Municipality (RM) as much as the long-standing citizens. So the boys went, but I stayed to get some plotting done.

Today after church, however, I stopped in to take a few pics of the new replica of the Eiffel Tower. There's rumours going around that it will be taken down because of the threat of kids climbing on it. I wonder if the RM's insurance rates will skyrocket because of the structure. We'll have to see.

Anyway, there's been a change at home as I'll be dropping off both boys at camp on Monday which leaves me kidless for the week. Yay!

I'm also participating with eHarlequin's JunoWriMo Challenge. My goal is to write 3,000 words a day starting Tues once the kids are at camp. I'll let you know how I do.

So, how do you like writing in the summer? No problem? Or would you rather be enjoying the summer?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America

To all my American friends, I'd like to wish the best birthday ever!

Imagine, 233 yrs ago today, you fought for Independence against England - and won!

From my point of view on this side of our long-standing border, the American people have grown strong in body, mind and spirit. And I'm very glad to call so many of you my friends and relatives. *waving to Judy

Happy Birthday, America. May God keep your nation strong.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's Canada Day!

I'm sure there are parades happening all over the country today and I hope for dry skies for all the firework shows.

But here in Montmartre, SK the parade happens on Saturday when the Rural Municipality we live in celebrates its centennial year. Called 'Paris of the Prairies', a 28 foot replica of the Eiffel Tower has been installed downtown. Plus, an 8 foot replica beside the highway draws attention to the local electronics store. Here's a photo of the 3 foot version available for homeowners. And yes, they're all made of metal.

In case you're wondering why Paris and the Eiffel Tower - Montmartre, Saskatchewan is paired with Montmartre, a community in Paris. I did a web search and found this tidbit on Montmartre, France:
The area where Renoir, French Cancan and Van Gogh (among others) all came of age...
Still a little village in the big city, Montmartre borders the Red Light district (Pigalle) to the south, and the less than tourist-friendly Saint-Ouen neighborhood to the north. Therefore caution is needed when making hotel arrangements.

Well now, isn't that an interesting tidbit for a romance writer, eh.

No matter how you celebrate today (in Canada) or on the 4th of July (in the US), thank God for giving our forefathers the wisdom to create these great democratic countries where we can celebrate, or not, as we wish.

So, whatcha gonna do to celebrate? Huh?

After reading Captain Hook's comment, I realize I meant to say, 'What are you doing to celebrate either national day?'