Monday, December 30, 2013

Release schedule and more!

(Note: Links in the following schedule will be updated regularly as events go live.)

It's the last Monday in 2013! That means that, in just two days, The Promise of Rain releases and I'm starting to celebrate and spread New Year's wishes early. Today, I'm at my first blog stop over at Jennifer Shirk's Me, My Muse and I blog. Jennifer's 'place' quickly became one of my favorite when I first began blogging. She's so incredibly welcoming. It feels surreal to be over there as a guest author. Come visit!

And I have more blog stops and events coming up (and I promise you'll find out something new about me or The Promise of Rain at each one):

Tuesday, Dec 24 - Goodreads Giveaway (ended with 1234 entries - according to my email notice :)
Thursday, Dec 26 - The Heartwarming Authors (blog post and giveaway last week)
Monday, Dec 30 - Me, My Muse and I (guest post)
Wednesday, Jan 1st - New Year's and Release Day! - USA Today's HEA blog (Come discover what my 'Three Things' are!)
January - Debut author spotlight at Harlequin.com (interview)
Sat-Fri, Jan 4-10 - Free Book Friday (interview and giveaway)
Sunday, Jan 5 - I'm on USAToday's HEA's list of 'Brrrrrilliant! Newer contemporaries to warm you up!'
Monday, Jan 6 - The Hot Pink Typewriter (interview and giveaway)
Friday, Jan 10 - Pebble In The Still Waters (interview)
Saturday, Jan 11 - Heartwarming Authors blog (interview)
Monday, Jan 13 - Under the Tiki Hut (guest post and giveaway)
Thursday, Jan 16 - The Heartwarming Authors blog game: Who's Who in Heartwarming?
Friday, Jan 17 - The Chocolate Box (guest post on the Harlequin Heartwarming line)
Friday, Jan 17 - Harlequin's So-You-Think-You-Can-Write SOLD! blog (guest post)
Friday, Jan 31 - The Pink Heart Society (guest post and giveaway)

Also coming in January:

USA Today's HEA blog - catch my interview with Harlequin author Barbara Wallace

And in February:

Look for the article on my life's journey to becoming a writer in Harlequin's Simply Books magazine!

USA Today's HEA blog - catch my interview with Harlequin author Melinda Curtis

I have some other stops and events in the works as well and I'll update the list soon. I'll also add links as I get them.

Wishing you all an extraordinary 2014!

(Note: Here for my Jan 1st Twitter Release Day $25 Amazon.com giftcard giveaway? Just follow me on Twitter, follow this blog and leave a PG-rated comment below stating your favorite wildlife critter or a New Year's resolution...and your contact info or Twitter handle. Winner picked and announced at 9pm Jan 1, 2014 EST)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thank you, Goodreads!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone, especially readers, at Goodreads for making my first giveaway a success. Thanks to all who entered and added The Promise of Rain to their reading list...and congrats to the winners! There are no words to describe how appreciative and humbled I am.

And for anyone interested, I'm over at the Heartwarming Authors blog today. Come visit!

See you around :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Snowball Cookies

It has been awhile since I posted a recipe, but it's hard (especially for my kids) to walk by whimsical and, no doubt, yummy Christmas cookies in the grocery store and not be able to have any. Sure, I  know all the gluten free brands and it's not like we're cookie deprived, but I can't resist baking during the holidays and my boys wanted 'Christmas' cookies...so here's what I just finished baking. No snowball fights broke out. They were too good to throw ;).


Rula's GF/DF Snowball Cookies


Mix together:

1 1/2 c softened Earth Balance Buttery Spread (my choice in lieu of butter, but you can substitute)
1 c sugar
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt (in other words, just a dash)
2 1/2 c Bob's Red Mill white rice flour
1 c Bob's Red Mill tapioca starch
1/4 tsp Bob's Red Mill xanthan gum (helps texture so they don't fall apart...might work without)

Add:

1 tsp vanilla extract (Variation - you can substitute 1/2 of the vanilla with almond extract)
2 eggs

Mix well then...

Preheat oven to 350 F (of course you can do this earlier)
Line cookie pans with sheets of parchment paper
Roll dough between your palms to shape 1 inch balls and place them on the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart
Bake for 15-20 minutes...until they just begin to turn brown
Let cool slightly, but make sure they're still very warm

Powdered sugar coating:

Put about 1 c of powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl and roll 2-3 snowballs at a time to coat. Set on paper towels to cool completely (I use paper towels because they absorb any condensation from the warm cookies against my cool counters...you don't want soggy snow balls...and they keep the sugar from making a mess).

That's it! It's that easy. This recipe makes approximately 50 snowballs. Sounds like a lot...but trust me they won't last.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NetGalley: The Promise of Rain

I don't think there has ever been a holiday where I haven't gained weight, but this year I've actually lost a few pounds. Knowing that my debut release is just two weeks away is both exciting and terrifying. With the constant knot in my stomach, I haven't been able to eat much. Whew. Let me tell you...a book release makes for a great diet, LOL!

But guess what? Some of you can read it early because it's up on NetGalley! I have an awesome respect for readers, reviewers and bloggers and I'm truly looking forward to hearing everyone's honest opinion of The Promise of Rain. I'm humbled by the 5 star ratings I have so far on Goodreads. Thank you!!! And don't forget...less than five days left on my Goodreads Giveaway!

BUT...

I don't want you to think I'll only be posting news about myself! Yes, I'll be posting my release blog schedule and upcoming events, but I'm also still doing interviews. My next interview will post in January on the USA Today HEA blog and it's with Harlequin Romance author Barbara Wallace. Stay tuned!

Happy Holiday shopping!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Harlequin Community Open House, Giveaways and more!


I'm over at the Harlequin Community Open House (Day 4) today along with my fellow Heartwarming authors! Come join the fun and GIVEAWAYS. Win an ornament from a Heartwarming author: http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/1788-Thursday-s-Peek-at-Author-Holiday-Decorations or win a Harlequin Heartwarming book: http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/1735-Fun-with-Film-Trivia-and-the-Harlequin-Heartwarming-Authors. There are tons of other fun things going on with authors from Superromance, Special Edition and more!

Also, I'm FINALLY on TWITTER! I'll get follow me button up soon, but for those of you eager to celebrate my induction into modern times I'm at www.twitter.com/RulaSinara. And don't laugh...I'm still getting used to using # and @ LOL.

And don't forget (or feel free to spread the word ;)...my Goodreads Giveaway for The Promise of Rain ends on Christmas Eve!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway!

I can't believe it's already December! To jump start the holidays, I'm giving away five autographed ARCs of The Promise of Rain on Goodreads. This is another post-Call first for me and it's a world-wide giveaway that will end on Christmas Eve, so go ahead and checkout details on the giveaway HERE.

And stay tuned for more giveaway opportunities! Next week, Harlequin will be hosting a holiday open house and a group of Harlequin Heartwarming authors (myself included) will be joining the fun on Thursday. You'll have a chance to win books and/or ornaments. I'll add the links here when I have them, or look for details and events for the entire week at www.harlequin.com. I'll also come back with more news and a release schedule for The Promise of Rain :).

In the meantime, I'm joining the countdown to Christmas over at the Heartwarming Authors blog today. Come visit!

And I just wanted to say that I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I'm sorry I've been MIA and didn't have the chance to post a Thanksgiving blog (or visit yours). My teen fell while running around outside with his cousins after our turkey dinner (I was hosting) and ended up breaking his clavicle. We spent the evening at the ER and, given it was his right side and he's right handed, plus my other kids coming down with some bug, the past week has been interesting. In any case, like I always say, it could have been worse (he hit his head hard, but he's okay). It's funny that the first thing people ask when they hear about his injury is whether he got to eat his Thanksgiving meal first. LOL.

Anyway, I'm getting back in the swing and definitely getting into the holiday spirit, so I'll see you around!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New kittens!

Last week we adopted kittens from our local SPCA. They're brothers who lost their mother to a car accident. My kids named them Storm and Nimbus (as in the cumulonimbus thunderstorm clouds). We got them at 8-9 weeks of age and they're growing very quickly! Nimbus is the black one (I think he's actually turning out to be what's called a smoke ghost...you can see his tabby pattern in the right light) and Storm is the brown Mackerel tabby...both gorgeous and sweet.






And they have purr motors like nothing I've ever heard LOL!

So today, I can be found cuddling kittens while working on my book 2 proposal...the second story in the series that starts with my January release, The Promise of Rain...and I can also be found talking about family, love, elephants and being thankful for kind hearted souls over at the Heartwarming Authors blog today. See you around!


Monday, October 28, 2013

My Cover Reveal and more!

It's here! The cover reveal for my debut Harlequin Heartwarming, The Promise of Rain (January 2014) is finally here!


 And every time I look at it I get all bubbly inside. I love everything about it. The brilliant team who put it together captured so many elements that are significant in the story, including the tree, the elephants in the background and the overall sense of family. Families torn apart by trauma and the struggle to rebuild those relationships is a prominent theme in The Promise of Rain, so it's perfect that the cover 'promises' and captures the sense of serenity, family and happily ever after that the characters almost miss out on. And those characters include 'heartwarming' little ones, like the baby elephant and the little girl, Pippa.

And what better way to celebrate a cover reveal than to ring in the fall with some romantic fun? Turns out, I'm a bit of a scarecrow matchmaker. Check out the scarecrow couple I conjured up as part of a Harlequin event. I promise you'll get a kick out of it ;). Check out my craftiness HERE (I'm the last one)!

See you around!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Projects and Posts

It is one blustery day in my area...a sure sign that November is around the bend. The Farmer's Almanac said we'd be in for a cold Halloween in the mid-Atlantic, and now I believe it. But I'm going to bundle up and brave the wind because I need to finish a Fall project that will be part of a fun week at Harlequin.com starting October 28. Be on the lookout for a link to what I'm conjuring up!

Also, I'm now on Goodreads! I've added links in the right sidebar and on my website.

And today you can find me at The Heartwarming Authors Blog. I warn you, it's a sad post. Earlier this week, Millie, a little kitten abandoned at Harlequin's door and taken in by my editor, passed away. She was the cutest little thing, as you'll see in the pics.

She'll be missed by all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Website launch and new look

My author website is finally live! Check it out at www.rulasinara.com or click on the Luna moth photo on the right sidebar. I plan on adding more photos (especially my book cover when it's available), info and links, but I hope you find it warm and welcoming. Let me know what you think!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Senior Editor Victoria Curran is at Romance University!

We're closing in on Halloween and do I have a sweet treat for you! Victoria Curran, Senior Editor for Harlequin Heartwarming, is over at Romance University talking about conflict and raising stakes in clean romance. Check out her post titled Fifty Shades of Sweet. She makes excellent points, explains in a way that clicks and gives examples of critique comments she has given in the past.  It's truly a must read for any writer, regardless of genre.

Also, a heads up, I'm working on a website and plan to make this blog match...so if you pop by here in the near future and things look different, don't worry, you're in the right place :).

Monday is Columbus Day in the US and Thanksgiving Day for my Canadian friends, so Happy Friday, Happy Thanksgiving and have a great long-weekend!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Latest author Interview and blog post

Happy October (my favorite month along with November)!

I apologize for the short post, but I'm not even sure if this will work. I'm having trouble with new text and updates saving in my side column gadgets, a problem I believe Blogger is working on. I'm not sure if the issue extends to new posts or if it's blog selective. I did manage to post a tribute to Tom Clancy at the Heartwarming Authors Blog today, so we'll see if this post works.

You can check out my post at the Heartwarming blog HERE.

Also, my latest USAToday's HEA interview, with H.Romance author Shirley Jump, posted yesterday and can be found HERE.

I know I wasn't online much last month (I miss you all :), but that'll change soon. I'm working on a website, social media etc...I'll be back with links to all that soon!

Here's hoping this post works... 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

USA Today HEA Interview

I'm thrilled to announce that, a year (this month) after starting to contribute Harlequin author interviews to USAToday's Happy Ever After Blog, I have a Heartwarming interview up today with fellow Heartwarmer, Karen Rock. Getting to interview an author from a line I now call home was an extra special experience. I loved her debut Harlequin, Wish Me Tomorrow. You can check out the interview HERE and find out why! I'm betting you'll adore her grandma ;).

And since I wasn't blogging yesterday, I'd like to take a moment to pay my respect to those lost on 9/11 and to thank everyone who has sacrificed and gone above and beyond to protect us. Words aren't enough, but thank you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back-to-school and the official back-cover blurb for The Promise Of Rain

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! Today is the first day of school here, and boy am I relieved. I love my kids (I simply don't like it when they make me want to pull my hair out ;), but I'm in desperate need of quiet, structured writing time. I have a lot of catching up to do in preparation for my debut Harlequin Heartwarming this January!

I have a milestone to share with you! The back-cover copy/blurb for my book, The Promise of Rain, is officially out! I was so excited when I read it for the first time. My Harlequin 'team' did an awesome job capturing the story. Here it is! 

THE PROMISE OF RAIN - (Harlequin Heartwarming - Coming January 2014) 

OUT OF AFRICA 

The Busara elephant research and rescue camp on Kenya's Serengeti is Anna Bekker's life's work. And it's the last place in the world she thought she'd run into her childhood friend Dr. Jackson Harper. He's been sent to review her request for funding. But with Jack around, Anna has more to lose than just her facility. As soon as he sets eyes on her four-year-old, Pippa, Anna knows he'll never leave Kenya…without his daughter. 

Furious doesn't even begin to describe how Jack feels. How could Anna keep this from him? Not to mention put his child in danger by raising her on the savannah. His first priority is getting Pippa back to the United States. Yet as angry as he is with Anna, their connection hasn't faded. But can this bond endure, despite the ocean—and the little girl—between them?

(Available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble)

I can't wait to see the cover! :)

So on to my first day in months with no kids home...

I have a lot of writing and writing related things to do, but I also need to cook something special. It's a first-day-of-school tradition of mine. I think coming home to a favorite meal and dessert, after a long day at school, is a good way to celebrate and to take the sting out of homework. Plus, they always come home starving. It takes time to adjust to a new schedule.

Now to think of something to cook. Any ideas?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Update

Hi everyone! Just popping in to let you know that I'll be taking one more week off. I've had an eventful August so far, and I have line edits (first time) due next week on The Promise of Rain. I do have a blog post up today at The Heartwarming Authors Blog. It's on teen drivers and you can check it out HERE.

I'll be back soon!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Break

Happy Friday!

Big apologies for not being around this week to blog on my usual schedule. I feel like I'm nearing summer's finish line and need more steam. This is the month where back-to-school shopping, annual physicals, dental appointments etc...take over my calendar. Also, I'm hosting a big family gathering this weekend, so I have a lot to get done. I'll be cooking from scratch for almost 40 people.

I'll be taking a blog break next week as well. I'll try to come around and visit with all of you. I just won't be posting here. However, I do have author interviews lined up, so do check back :).

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Marketing Must Read and More

Huge apologies for missing my Tuesday post (unforeseeable circumstances), but I have a couple of links that will make up for it :).

T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY: Check out fellow Heartwarming author Jennifer Snow's blog and excerpt for the first book in her Brookhollow series releasing this November. She's doing a custom t-shirt giveaway and all you have to do to enter the drawing is leave a comment HERE.

MARKETING BOOK RECOMMENDATION: When I was in Atlanta for Nationals, I attended a workshop where author Valerie Bowman was one of five authors on a panel. I could tell from the tips she was giving that she knew her marketing. I just downloaded her book, Painless Marketing for Busy Authors, off Amazon. It's only 99 cents but it's worth a million in marketing advice, links and resources. It's not long, so it's a quick read for busy authors, but it's packed with ideas and I can't recommend it enough. Plus, her style of writing makes it a fun and lively read as well. Buy it HERE. (Note: I don't get anything out of recommending her book. I simply think it's worth it.)

HEARTWARMING POST: It's my day to post over at The Heartwarming Author's blog, so pop by and see what beauty I found on my doorstep...courtesy of organic gardening :).

Happy August!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RWA Nationals 2013

RWA Nationals in Atlanta was AWESOME and, as always, I'm here to share pics! This was my fifth Nationals meeting and getting to wear that pink 'Sold' ribbon on my name tag was super cool. We all know romance writers are such warm and supportive souls, so there wasn't a hall or room I passed through where someone didn't see the ribbon and say congrats. Thanks to you all for making me feel so special :).

I had the chance to meet so many incredible people I couldn't possibly list everyone's name here. Actually, I feel guilty about that because I loved meeting every one of you (you know who you are) but in the rush to get these pics up for everyone to enjoy, I'm mortified that I might forget to mention someone...so I'm mostly going to stick with who is in the pics...but know that every hello and every minute of chatting with each of you was special to me and I won't forget any of it.

First of all, I felt like I was on cloud nine the entire meeting, so I'll start with a photo I took from my plane window on the way to Atlanta. The photo doesn't do justice to the incredible storm we flew over.
I stayed at the conference hotel, The Marriot Marquis, and every elevator boasted book covers. I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the elevator with chapter mate and historical author Michelle Willingham's latest cover (hers are always incredible) and so many other authors, but another absolutely gorgeous one is fellow Harlequin Heartwarming author, Tara Randel's cover for Orange Blossom Brides.

One of the first people I met in person (we'd met on the Harl. forums) was Harlequin forum moderator, and total sweetie, Danica. She just sold to Harlequin Love Inspired so we both got to wear 'Sold' ribbons :).
I had a incredible view from my 44th floor room window, but as you can see in the second pic, there was a storm brewing...


One that yours truly got caught in, along with best buddies Superromance authors Kimberly Van Meter (she's taking the pic) and Jeannie Watt (left), writer Jamie Steinman and me. We wore those disposable rain ponchos (bags) as we ventured through the city, got up close and personal with MARTA (a transit system adventure), and got lost in the rain. Given the chuckles and head turns we earned, I think we sort of stood out...especially when something like five cars in a row drove through a flooding gutter along the road and sent tidal waves of water all over us. Don't let the bags fool you...my jeans in the pic are soaking wet. However, given the heat and humidity, we all got a nice sauna spa treatment in that plastic LOL. We had the best time and laughed to tears on that adventure ;).

I also had the chance to see my friend Superromance author Cathryn Parry, who is such a sweet and genuine person. She not only gave a great workshop with author Dani Collins, but also won a Bookseller's Best Award for The Long Way Home! Congrats, Cathryn!
And for those of you who hang out at harlequin.com, you know how lovely Jayne Hoogenberk is online and what a beautiful and inviting community she manages. Well, you should meet her in person. She's an incredible hostess who clearly loves Harlequin and its authors...and she always looks so classy and elegant...even in pj's (but I didn't get her pic at the Harleqin PJ Party, so you'll have to trust me on that).
Jayne Hoogenberk and me
But I did get some PJ party pics!

H. Love Inspired author Barbara Phinney sporting party accessories
Harlequin Romance authors Donna Alward and Shirley Jump. Two fantastic and fun ladies.
Me and Donna. You know how with some people it feels as if you've known each other since elementary school? :)
Okay, now let me give you a little back story on the next pj party pic. My dear friend Jeannie Wattt runs marathons and recently ran with a team all dressed in pink tutu's...even the guys. They called themselves the Tutu Twains ;). Anyway, those of us who hang at the Harlequin Superromance forum dared her to show up to the PJ party in said tutu...and not only did she do it...she won a cool Canada mug as a PJ prize :). And I was shocked when I got a mug too for being one of the forums newest authors! 


Jeannie Watt in her tutu
Danica wearing her awesome 'I brought the awesome. What did you bring?' t-shirt (LOL)...and moi.

I also had the chance to meet online friend Superromance author Kris Fletcher. Kris is such a cool person!

And fellow Heartwarmer (what I like to call we Harlequin Heartwarming authors ;) Karen Rock...I can't remember who snuck the bunny ears in that one lol.

And the most special reunion of the trip...Jeannie, my editor Victoria Curran and me (below). Without Jeannie and Victoria, I wouldn't have a book coming out in January! All Harlequin editors are top notch in the industry, but I believe Victoria is truly gifted at what she does. Her remarkable insight, understanding and the time she took to nurture and guide me as a writer (even when I was a newbie several years ago) made all the difference. I'm a lucky gal!
Superromance author Jeannie Watt, Senior Editor Harlequin Heartwarming Victoria Curran, and me
Me, Jeannie Steinman and dear friend, Superromance author and owner of Blue Otter Editing, Amy Knupp
And another with Amy, Victoria and Jeannie below. (I'm skirting captions because blogger isn't cooperating)

Thank you Jayne, Danica and Sarah (sorry I missed getting a pic with you) for hosting such a great party!

On Thursday I attended the Harlequin Heartwarming Open House with Jeannie...the same open house she took me to last year when I pitched the story that ended up selling. It was a surreal moment, having come full circle to the same event that landed me a contract. And I think I blushed to death as Victoria Curran told my story to all the writers in the room. Fingers crossed for all of this year's pitchers!

On Friday, Heartwarming editors Victoria Curran and Kathryn Lye were beyond generous when they took all the Heartwarming authors at Nationals to a divine dinner before the famous Harlequin Party. Heartwarmer Cynthia Reese couldn't make it and was missed, but pictured from left front to back are: Cindi Myers, Jennifer Snow, me, and Melinda Curtis...then right front to back are: Tara Randel, Victoria Curran, Kathryn Lye and Karen Rock.


We then burned off all those calories by dancing at the Harlequin Party. Let me tell you, it was my first time and it was the BEST party ever!!! Below...me and Jeannie...


Me and Harlequin American author Megan Kelly. If you read my interview with her, you'll remember that Megan was the author who reached out at my very first Nationals meeting in DC and met me for dinner just to answer questions and make me feel welcome. I'll never forget!

Me and Amy Knupp...


There were so many other author friends I wish I'd taken pictures with, but it was such a busy meeting I didn't have the chance.

Saturday night was the Golden Heart and RITA Awards Ceremony and I have to say congratulations to all the finalists and winners! The photo below was taken right after the ceremony. Victoria Curran and me...

And of course I have to share what I put together for the Goody Room (for those who haven't been, it's a room full of author promotional material and swag gifts for the taking). I had pens and business cards made with the title and release date of my upcoming debut book, The Promise of Rain, and since the heroine in the book rescues baby elephants orphaned by poachers, each pen came with a little baby elephant :).

Those are all my pics folks. Like I said before, I met so many people from the Harlequin team and forums and wish I'd taken more pics, but I will say that they were all phenomenal people. Everyone was incredibly kind and welcomed me with open arms into the Harlequin family. Thank you all.

And I got to meet dear online friends who have found success with other publishers or self-publishing and again it was so great to get to chat in person. The support and friendship among writers at RWA Nationals is palpable. It's truly an incredible experience just to be there surrounded by all that positive energy and knowledge.

The workshops and luncheon speakers were great. If anyone is planning to buy lectures (I think you can get them individually through RWA...there's probably a link at the main site...shout out if you can't figure it out), I think hearing Michael Hauge at least once in your life is a must. I go listen to him every single time. There was also a great lecture on taxes, finances and the writer with Diane Kelly, Laura Alford and Donna MacMeans. Gosh....and so many more! Too many to list!

Thank you to RWA for masterminding such an incredible gathering for the networking, education and support of romance writers. Thank you to everyone who was so kind to me. Thank you to everyone at Harlequin...literally everone...for making me feel like a princess and welcoming me to the family. Thank you to Victoria for caring so much. Thank you to all my writer friends for being you.

I can't wait until next year! San Antonio guys! Start saving :). And to any readers out there, remember that the Literacy Autographing is open to the public and an awesome way to meet your favorite authors!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shopping

I've been doing a lot of shopping this week. Holiday sales didn't end until today and I wanted to take advantage. I know every now and then shopping for clothes and shoes is a necessity (as in, my favorite, can't live without it, long, black cardigan got eaten by moths recently), but I do not get a thrill out of shopping for clothes. I find it exhausting, though I am overjoyed if I find a piece that fits like it was made for me.

My top ten thoughts on shopping:

1. I could shop for house stuff forever...clothing for me...not.

2. Shoes must be comfortable. Pain free. No stilettos (I'm in awe of those who can wear them).

3. Every single person out there is my size in shoes and clothes, hence my size is never available.

4. Fluorescent lights in dressing rooms are evil. I'm now emotionally scarred.

5. Swimsuit section up ahead...TURN AND RUN! (note: just saw self under fluorescent lights)

6. Online shopping rocks, but I need to leave time for shipping :(

7. One dressing room I used this week (nice store) had no air circulating. The dress I was trying on was a tad small, but it was so hot, I probably could have just stood there awhile and waited for an inch to melt off my thighs.

8. My instinct is to go for black outfits. My son was chanting 'color' behind me in one store lol.

9. Getting locked outside the mall at 9:30pm...on the opposite side of the mall from where you parked....is a sure sign of an inexperienced mall shopper.

10. Ultimate moment: getting stuck in a dress seconds after the store lady knocked on my dressing room door to let me know the store was closing in less than 5 minutes. Sigh. At that point, I started laughing at myself. Out loud.

So are you a clothes/shoe shopper? A comfort gal or a fashionista who'll sacrifice comfort for the look? Or would you rather shop for home goods?

On a quick note, this Thursday I'll be blogging at the Heartwarming Authors blog about library memories, kids and ebooks and on Friday check out my USAToday HEA interview with Harlequin Romance author Jennifer Faye. I'll be back with links :).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Awesome July!

Happy July to all and an early Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! This month is already looking as awesome as a firework display :).

First, yesterday marked the launch of Harlequin Heartwarming's all new stories line up! In the past, the line was in a test phase, where previously published Harlequins (various home and hearth lines) were revised to fit the line's requirements. Last month, out of the 4 monthly releases, two were prev. pubbed books, and two were brand new. This month, they're all brand new stories and many are/will be by debut authors! Very exciting!

Secondly, it's RWA Nationals month and, as if that isn't awesome in and of itself, this time I'll be going as a PAN member, Harlequin author...and I get to wear a first sale ribbon! Yay! I'm so excited.

Thirdly, FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS!!!! I seriously love July 4th and all it's about. Plus, I'm absolutely crazy about fireworks.  I'm not talking about sparklers. I know they're fun but I've also seen a lot of eye injuries, so do be careful. I'm talking about the big sky display. I live in the country so they look extra brilliant against the dark sky. There's a park near us with a massive field and every year there's a live band, festivities and then an extraordinary fireworks show. Love it!

So I'm wishing you all a terrific July. What are you're plans?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Post-call Tip #1

I know many of you have already been through the publishing process and know the ropes, and others are where I was just a few weeks ago, waiting on submission responses and dreaming of the call, but I thought it would be helpful either way, to share specific tips as I experience the post-call journey to that first book release. As for non-writing readers out there, you may enjoy the glimpses of what goes on behind the scenes with authors.

My first tip revolves around Art Fact Sheets (AFS), the infamous, detailed questionnaire completed by authors and used by publishers to plan everything from cover art to book blurbs. I had to fill mine out shortly after The Call. I won't get into every aspect of the AFS, but there is one tip that, had I known, would have saved me tons of time. Pictures.

Now, I had read plenty of blog posts about writers using picture collages in their office as inspiration for their books. Some even used Pinterest or other online photo share sites to collect pictures of models or actors that 'looked' like their hero or heroine, photos reminiscent of their setting etc... What I picked up from what I read (and of course I may have missed something) was that the purpose of these collections was inspiration. Well, I'm very visual, and I do search the internet during my research phase for pictures that jog my muse, but I've never saved them. I kept them in my head. My mind's eye is so vivid, I saw no need for cork boards or the internet equivalent. Unfortunately, when it came to completing my first AFS in less than 24 hours and on 3 hrs of sleep, I couldn't download my brain to my computer.

I ended up spending several hours scouring the internet for those images in my head, or similar ones, so that I could copy the links to my AFS. I desperately wanted to be sure the art department could 'see' what was in my head when they came to designing my book cover. The entire time I scanned the internet, I wished that I had kept a file, dedicated to the book, that had photos or photo links organized by hero, heroine, setting etc...so that I could have simply uploaded it to the AFS form.

So my tip of the day...those picture collections are not just for inspiration. You're going to need them, and not simply tacked on a cork board in your office. Keep a file, on your computer or on a share type site, label it for a specific book, and keep it updated as you write. I'll be doing that from now on. It'll save you a lot of time and stress when AFS time comes around.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Check it out!

Hey everyone!

Just a quick post to let you know I'm two places today.

I was invited to post my call story (not the long arduous one posted here :) over at USAToday's Happy Ever After blog. Check it out HERE.

I also have my very first Heartwarming Authors blog post up today. Check it out HERE...and find out what wild creature I once wore on my head to school.

And...tomorrow is the official first day of summer...so have a great summery Friday and weekend!

See you around! :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

List and Links

Happy Monday everyone!

I'm still in check-list mode, trying to get all the things one has to get done after The Call done. In that spirit, today's post is in list form :).

1) I have an interview with Harlequin Superromance author Amy Knupp posted at USAToday's Happy Ever After blog today. If you have a minute, I'd love for you to check it out HERE.

2) Forgive me if I don't respond to comments left there (but feel free to post them ;). It's done through Facebook, and crazy me doesn't have an account yet. I'm looking to change that soon.

3) I also want to point out that I added a feed on the left sidebar, and a link on the right, to my new, second home, the 'Heartwarming Authors' blog. I'll be posting there every third Thursday, starting with my first post this week (June 20th). The authors and editors there write wonderful posts. Check them out!

4) I'm going to switch my regular post day here from Mondays to Tuesdays (not that I haven't missed a post here and there, but you get the idea). I can't seem to recover from weekends fast enough to get posts up. I'm hoping Tuesdays will work out better, with the occasional Thursday here and at the Heartwarming blog.

5) And finally, since I don't think I mentioned it here, the first book in my series for Harlequin Heartwarming is titled The Promise of Rain (which just so happens to be my working title, yay!) and it's due to release this coming January 2014. Book 2 is set for Jan 2015 and book 3 is set for Dec 2015.

Whew! I can't wait to see my first cover!

I hope you all have an awesome week. I'll see you around your blogs!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

THE CALL!

This past Friday, May 31st, I experienced the most intense writer's rush of all.

I got The Call!

I'm overwhelmed. Humbled. Nervous. Ecstatic. You name it...a slew of emotions. I couldn't name them all if I tried. I'm not even sure I can put together a coherent call story right now. Typing on an adrenaline buzz  is tough! Keeping my thoughts straight...tougher.

I hand wrote 8 pages of 'call' story/writing journey last night. Can you tell how much fun writing a short synopsis is for me? LOL. Don't worry. I know I was getting sentimental and reminiscing. I'm editing out huge chunks, but it's still long ;)

I started writing my first romance August of 2008. Total. Pantsing. I was oblivious to craft specifics or submission protocols. I just loved reading, writing and romance...so I went for it. Ignorance can indeed be bliss because in this case, it allowed my internal editor to stay dormant (I can't seem to get her back in that state;). I finished that manuscript after the second draft.

By the end of 2008, I'd discovered an insane amount of writing information online...and just how supportive the writing community is. I learned so much from author, agent and editor blogs it's not funny. Harlequin's forums and writing resources were another phenomenal source of writing education and friendships. I also joined RWA at this time. I'm so grateful for every single person or source that shared their knowledge and experience with me. I also became a craft book junkie :)

Fast forward through contest and critique feedback that led me to rewrite (as in overhaul) this first manuscript.

In 2009, I attended my very first RWA Nationals meeting. There, I met another first timer, Kaily Hart. We clicked and she's been my friend, shoulder, advisor and rock ever since. I think we were both a little nervous about attending our first meeting, but wow, the warmth and camaraderie was amazing. What an experience and I'm grateful to authors who reach out and make newbies feel welcome.

With all that I'd learned, I went home and rewrote my story yet again. I entered it in contests and subbed to agents. One agent requested a full that bumped me up to RWA PRO status (even if it earned an R). More resources. Then I entered it in the online (2010) Harlequin Superromance Pitch contest...and it won a chat room pitch opportunity with Editor Victoria Curran. I'd never been in a chat room. Pitching in one? Mortifying. I know I sounded like a complete, bumbling idiot, but she requested a partial. I sent it in.

That summer, I attended Nationals again and it was a totally different experience. I had writer friends from the Harlequin forums and meeting them in person was a blast. I also had the chance to meet Victoria Curran in person. I was so nervous. I mean, I was little me and she was THE Victoria Curran. She had my partial and I was convinced, if she'd read it already, she'd look at me and cringe. Of course, that's not what happened :). She was so great and nice and funny....and wise, constructive and encouraging when she sent me a personal R on the submission.

Victoria, if you're out there, I'm laughing at myself (with red cheeks). That manuscript was so not ready for editor eyes!

So what did I do? I re-wrote it again. Yep. I'm a bit OCD, project oriented and persistent (that sounds better than stubborn, right?). That book (what I consider my 3 for 1, since it was the same book rewritten 3 times) finally got stashed away (forever, RIP). My attitude at this time was let all the positive feedback keep you going and all the negative feedback guide you to the right craft books. Experience is never a waste of time. That manuscript was an invaluable learning experience. I also learned that:

1) I could finish writing an entire book (I'm too OCD to start one and not finish)
2) I could tackle edits and rewrites (knowing this boosted my confidence later on)

I was also blessed to gain another dear friend and extraordinary mentor and Fairy Godmother, Jeannie Watt.

After completing my second manuscript, I won a Brenda Novak Auction critique with Victoria Curran. She'd seen my work before and, although I knew she'd been promoted and would no longer be with Superromance, the line I was targeting, I really wanted that last opportunity to 'learn' from her feedback. I valued her opinion...which was spot on, of course. I still needed to work on conflict.

I rewrote that manuscript and subbed it.

On to manuscript 3. The One :)

When RWA Nationals in Anaheim (last year) rolled around, I still hadn't completed a new manuscript. I'd spent too much time on rewrites and reading craft books. I almost backed out of going because I felt so unprepared (no elevator pitch or anything), but my friend Kaily assured me that once I got on that plane, I'd relax and get excited about the meeting (thank you, Kaily, for not letting me back out). I'm a mother of three boys, so I was feeling fried and Nationals in my annual 'me' time. Even without a pitch, I could use time in my hotel room to start my next book. Well Kaily was right. I'm so glad I went.

While having dinner with Jeannie (and her writer daughter Jaime) the first night, I mentioned a story idea I'd had that sprung out of some of my unique life experiences. Later on, she asked if I was attending the Harlequin Heartwarming Open House. I'm ashamed to say I hadn't heard of Heartwarming. It was still 'newish', having gone through a digital test mode, but they were planning to launch new authors and stories the following summer (as in this month!). I had no idea about this at the time. Several more times over the next few days, I heard, 'So are you going?' (nudge, nudge) from Jeannie. I finally got curious and asked her what it was all about. She said we'd just be popping in to say hi to Victoria and congratulate her and Marsha Zinberg on the upcoming new author launch of the line...and then we'd leave. In and out. I believe I may have even asked her, just to be sure, that I wouldn't have to pitch or anything...and that anyone could go. Party crasher I am not :)...way to shy for that. LOL. Guess it's called an 'open' house for a reason ;).

We went...and right after Victoria and Marsha introduced the line, Victoria pointed out stacks of large 'idea' (aka pitch) cards and invited everyone to write a story idea down, pop it in the bag and they'd pick 5 ideas to ask for subs on. Panic set in. I can't wing stuff like that. I have to plan and prepare. Jeannie started walking out and I followed.

She stopped me and told me not to leave until I pitched at least one idea. In fact, she told me she thought I should pitch the one I'd told her about over dinner. I freaked. I told her I couldn't phrase a coherent pitch on the spot. She said of course you can. I said the room is too noisy...I can't concentrate. She said to sit in the hall then, but to do it. Mind you, Jeannie teaches that pre-teen/teen age group. She knows all the 'homework' excuses, I'm sure. And I didn't dare say no to her. LOL. Jeannie is awesome and sooo nice, but she's also intuitive and knew I needed that final nudge. Thanks, Jeannie!!!!

I did end up in the hall. I eventually migrated back into the room when the crowd had thinned to a few people. There I sat at a corner table, feeling like the last kid in a classroom during a school exam LOL (everyone was great and nice and the atmosphere was wonderful...these were my own insecure thoughts). I think I tore up at least 20 of those idea cards just to get three down. And the one that I ended up getting a full request on a month later? The idea I'd told Jeannie about.

So I wrote the story and sent it in. A few days later, Victoria called me with a revision request that pretty much entailed rewriting the entire ending and any related threads. I did the revisions and sent them in May 13th, and on May 31st (notice the number flip?...and it's 2013...heh, 13 is a lucky number;) I got the call.

Book 1 is due to be released January 2014, with books 2 and 3 (it's a series) in 2015.

I'm beside myself and so incredibly humbled to be working with yet another group of incredible authors and with Victoria. Victoria, thank you so much for this opportunity. I apologize profusely for any headaches, head-banging or hair-pulling that reading any of my earlier submissions might have caused :).

Thanks to everyone who has propelled my journey, knowingly or not. Thanks to everyone who has ever judged or critiqued my work and given me advice, support and friendship, or shared their experiences, whether through their blogs or on forums or through letting me pick their brains during interviews. Thanks to my family for believing I could do it and for understanding. Thank you all.

And sorry for such a loooong post!

Blame it on the rush!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Movie: Star Trek Into Darkness

Happy Memorial Day!

Huge apologies to all for being gone longer than expected. Apart from revisions, the month started out with two weeks straight of having a kid home sick (you know how bugs do their rounds). Resistance is futile when you're stressed out. Tragedies in the news really get me down. From the Boston Marathon to more recent tornado devastation...it's too much. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.

Also, we got two female guinea pigs in April and I'm now positive they came to us pregnant (totally unexpected and due any day). I've been off the net due to daily overload, but I'm all caught up now and to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, last night I took my kids to see Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Tremendous movie. Extremely well done in so many ways. I think it's perfect for Memorial Day and if you sit through the credits, you'll read an appropriate dedication.

Confession #1: I'm a Trekkie.

You'll love the movie whether you're a Trek fan or Trek virgin, but if you've seen the original movies, especially The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek 2009, you'll have a deeper appreciation for the significance of certain lines and scenes. I have two boys who are Trek addicts. After seeing this movie, my oldest son is now a Trek convert...and he's a super tough critic.

And to all you lovers of romance, it may not be the focus, but all the Trek series explore relationships of all kinds, including romantic ones. After all, Star Trek the original series is famous for television's first interracial kiss. It was the romance between Riker and Troi in Star Trek The Next Generation that initially drew me in, but after an all night original Trek movie marathon (rented them all and watched them back-to-back), I was hooked for life. An official Trekkie.

I'm sentimental about all the romances in Star Trek, but what really makes the series so incredible is its depth of characters and stories that boldly explore moral, ethical, relationships and political issues. For the writer, there's an incredible amount to be learned from Star Trek (as a whole) about story telling. I think that could be analyzed to no end.

 Confession #2: How Trekkie am I?


1. Okay, so I haven't actually dressed in costume for a convention (though I was a Deanna Troi wannabe), BUT I did make a Halloween Trek costume for my middle kid when he was in fourth grade.

2. I've been to two conventions, which by some fan standards is pathetic, but hey. I did get a  comic drawing of me as captain done at one of the conventions (see photo above). I had very short hair back then (college days). You can also see the wrinkled water damage since this, and some other collectibles, were in our basement when it flooded a few months ago.

3. I have posters, t-shirts, original fan photos, Federation drinking glasses, Christmas tree ornaments of Captains Kirk and Picard (he made bald sexy), an antique original series lunch box, gold plated communicator pin, books on the metaphysics of Star Trek, a three-dimensional chess set and so much more...

PLUS, since all self-respecting writers need their reference books, I have....(drum roll)...

4. a Klingon dictionary

I kid you not. They actually 'made' an entire language, grammar, vocab and all. No. I'm not fluent in Klingon, but it's cool to have ;). Sigh. Worf and Dax...another awesome romance.

I love all the movies, but I have to say that Star Trek: Into Darkness is epic.

So...are you a Trekkie? To what degree? Which Star Trek romantic couple is your favorite?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy Ever After Interviews

Hello everyone!

I have two interviews up this week at USAToday's Happy Ever After blog.

The first is with 2013 RITA finalist/ Harlequin Superromance author Pamela Hearon. It went up today. Check it out HERE.

The second is with Harlequin Superromance author Kris Fletcher and it is scheduled for this Friday. I'll add the link HERE when it goes live.

As for me...it's back to the revision cave. That's always a good thing, but it's tough to hunker down when you have spring fever! :) Sunshine and my laptop screen don't mix. I'll be visiting you this week, but then I'll have to disappear until May 6th. Hope you enjoy the interviews!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

And the winner is...

Jesse Hayworth!

Congrats, Jesse! You've won a copy of Cathryn Parry's The Long Way Home. You can contact Cathryn with your info HERE on her website contact page. Enjoy the book!

Also, congratulations to all of this year's RITA and Golden Heart finalists!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interview with Harlequin Superromance author Cathryn Parry


I'm thrilled to have Harlequin Superromance author Cathryn Parry visiting the blog today! I met Cathryn during RWA Nationals last summer and we ended up chatting over breakfast each morning. She's incredibly sweet and has a down-to-earth warmth that makes you feel like you've known her forever. And she was definitely destined to write romance. After all, she wrote a love letter to a boy in 1st grade, asked for a typewriter for Christmas in 2nd grade and was inspired by Nancy Drew (we all know it was the Nancy-Ned chemistry that had you hooked ;). Read one of her Superromances and you'll see for yourself...

1. Cathryn, let me start off by saying that I love how your characters allow readers to 'experience' issues that are often glossed over our daily lives, whether through news or through the grapevine. Your handling of a common, yet frequently unrecognized, 'quiet' disability in The Long way Home (Dec 2012) was beautiful. Your heroine Natalie Kimball has a hearing impairment brought on by childhood infections. As a mom with a child who suffered chronic ear infections (and tubes), I really connected with her. Have you ever had an experience or relationship where hearing impairment impacted you emotionally or otherwise?

 Thank you for the kind words! One of my intents with this story was to feature a hearing-impaired character.  I have experience with childhood ear infections and surgeries, too—though the damage was not quite to Natalie’s extent. After one of my surgeries as a young adult, I spent a period where I was temporarily unable to hear at all, and I well remember the challenges it caused. You and your son have my sympathies! It’s not easy. 

2. Speaking of your heroine in The Long Way Home, the two of you have something in common! A love of genealogy. That hobby fit in so perfectly with her personality and law career. Of course, the last thing your hero, Bruce Cole, wants to do is dig into his past. How long has genealogy been a hobby of yours? Any tips or favorite resources for readers interested in digging into their past?

Including this hobby was not one of my intents, and Natalie surprised me when she showed up on the page one day, giving a genealogy class to local seniors at her town library. But you’re right--the hobby does make sense in terms of her career.

I “fell” into learning about genealogy by accident. When I was a teen, we had an interesting family mystery to solve—what was the story behind a U.S. Civil War medal that we found in my grandmother’s attic, along with an old newspaper printed on the back of wallpaper from the siege at Vicksburg?  My grandmother gave us the name of her grandfather, and we wrote to the U.S. National Archives requesting information about him.  They sent us his pension and war records (this was in the days before the internet). It turns out he was an interesting and colorful person, emigrating from the north of England as a young man to work in the Rhode Island cotton mills. I pieced together his life history by working backward from his death certificate, newspaper obituary, and locations on the U.S. census. Today, most of this information can be found using the internet, but years ago, it involved research trips to archives, libraries, courthouses, etc. 

One of my most interesting research trips was visiting the U.S. National Parks sites for the Civil War battlefields where my g-g-grandfather and his brother fought, particularly Fredericksburg, Virginia. By giving the park ranger the regiment name, he was able to bring me onto the hill they charged, pointing out that it was their first experience in combat, that they were ordered to charge uphill facing a row of cannons firing down on them, and that several other charges before theirs had been unsuccessful.  As we trudged up that long hill, we looked down at the gravestones scattered there—and saw several with the names of men from his regiment. The emotion of that day has always stayed with me. 

Anyway, I’m drawn to genealogy because of the human stories, the history, the insights it gives me about my family—about the psychology and the backstories. Anyone who wants to dig into their own ancestry should start with the older members of their family whenever possible—interview them and ask questions about their childhood and the relatives they remember. From there, start with one family group that interests you. My favorite internet research site is www.Familysearch.org (it’s free).  The 1940 U.S. Census is a current new tool I’ve been using. I also love internet sites with old newspapers.



3. Interesting stuff! Your first book, Something to Prove (Jan 2012), took us behind the scenes into competitive sports and substance abuse. Its release date and snowy setting coincided perfectly with the winter Olympics! It's an excellent read any time of year, especially with constant scandals in the news. This story took conflict to an Olympic level and your hero, Brody Jones, proved to be an extraordinary example of how pressure and scandal affects individual athletes. Now, substance abuse aside, as a competitive figure skater in the U.S. Adult Nationals, what would you say brings on more pressure/stress...being on the ice in a competition, or writing a book on deadline?

Thank you, Rula! I wrote this story because the Olympics were coming, and I was fascinated by pro skiing. 

Writing a book on a tight deadline is definitely more stressful.  The stakes for me are higher!  I compete in adult figure skating for the joy and the challenge, though, yes—in the moments before the music starts, it can sometimes be pure terror.  But with both writing and skating, the more experience I get, the more confidence I gain, and the less stressful it becomes.

4. I've heard that when an author gets their first book published, the feel like they have 'something to prove' with their second ;). Well, you hit a home run with your second book and I can't wait to read your third, Out of His League, when it releases this summer (July 2013). Needless to say, it's a baseball story and I'm having fun with puns today :). Can you give us a teaser on Out of His League?

Yes, you are very punny! :)  Out of His League is about Dr. Elizabeth LaValley, a “Bones-type” character who does not like people—she would much rather be alone and focus very narrowly on her own interests.  When she is forced to care for her sister’s young son for a month when her sister goes to alcohol rehab, Elizabeth is completely out of her element. It gets worse for her when she is assigned as anesthesiologist on the surgery of pro baseball pitcher (and local celebrity) Jon Farell. 

Jon is intrigued by the only woman in Boston who seems not to know or care who he is, and since he is a born nurturer, great with kids, he inserts himself into Elizabeth’s life while he recuperates. She is not easy on him—she hates that she is attracted to him--she is convinced it can only be explained scientifically—it’s those pheromones, it is not him personally.  He, however, is determined to show her otherwise. 

Here is the back-cover blurb:

Catch her if he can...

Dr. Elizabeth LaValley's life works just fine, thank you very much. She's a successful anesthesiologist, and she's put the chaos of her youth and family behind her. When hottie pitcher Jon Farell shows up in her hospital, she's the only one who doesn't fawn over him. Sure she feels the heat between them, but being alone is safe and predictable. She didn't get where she is by taking risks.

Jon can't get the beautiful doctor out of his head. His talents on the field have always been enough for any woman. But if he's going to win Elizabeth's heart, he'll have to offer her much more than a wicked curveball....

It’s available for pre-release now at Amazon.  
(Sorry, that is much longer than a teaser, but I suppose there is a reason I write 85,000 word stories—I can’t “do” short!)

5. Well, it sounds great! We'd also love to hear about The Call that scored your first book contract with Harlequin!

I persevered many years; wrote and revised many completed stories before the The Call finally came. For that particular book, I had already gone through two revision letters in the months prior. I was just back from a writer’s conference where a Harlequin editor had told me to prepare myself that this particular book might not sell. So I was at home, resigning myself to that again, and plugging away with a different manuscript. When the phone rang and “Harlequin” popped up in the Caller ID, I was genuinely shocked.

Two things that I did right that day, that I believe helped in the following months were this:

1)  I had typed Harlequin’s contact information into my cell phone, so that when The Call did come I was forewarned and had a few moments to prepare and collect myself. 

2)  I had prepared a long list of questions to ask, in the event that The Call did come. That list helped keep me focused, which was important, because I needed to complete the Art Fact Sheet the next day. The editor and I were on the phone a long time, and by the time we hung up, I felt prepared for the process, and for what I needed to do next.

6. In regard to writing, going through the publishing process and marketing, what's the one thing you wish you'd known before The Call?

That taking a long time to sell can be a blessing. At the time, it felt hard to watch my friends break into publication before me, especially if they started writing after I did. In reality, I learned a lot by watching them experience the ups and the downs of being a published author. It also gave me more time to learn about story structure, character development, plotting, pacing, etc. Then, when I did sell, my friends were there for me when I had questions.

7. Those are really good points. And now for a bit of fun...do you have any quirky writing habits or a favorite deadline crunch time snack?

Well, I like to write at night when everybody is sleeping. Sometimes all night. Maybe this goes back to my summer-after-high-school days, when I had a job working the third shift as a Howard Johnson’s waitress.  (Remember Howard Johnson’s?)

8. I do remember HJ :). If you had to pick a spot to brainstorm book 4, would it be a) while taking a turn around the ice skating rink, b) taking a stroll along a beach, c) climbing to the top of a lighthouse and gazing over the ocean, or d) at your desk with plenty of paper, colored pens, laptop and any other office supplies you need handy?

That is a fun question!  A) would be impossible for me, because when I’m skating, if I’m not focusing 100%, then I’m falling down. :)   B) would be ideal—the most fun, though  C) would be great, too.  Unfortunately, D) is also necessary.  Everything has to go on paper eventually.

So true :) It has been wonderful having you here today, Cathryn! Best wishes with your future releases.

GIVEAWAY: Cathryn is giving away one copy of The Long Way Home to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment below and you'll be entered in the drawing. The winner will be announced here this Thursday, March 28th.

BLURB: The Long Way Home 

Life on the road suits Bruce Cole just fine. And after what he went through back in the day, he's in no hurry to face his hometown again. Until his little sister asks him to return for her wedding. One brief visit can't hurt, right? Especially when he meets a beautiful stranger at the reception.

Except Natalie Kimball isn't a stranger. In fact, she knows more about Bruce than anyone else in Wallis Point—including the secret he's been running from all these years. The woman Natalie has become is fascinating…and so different from the girl he remembers. If anyone can change his mind about what home really means, it could be her.

BUY IT HERE:

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FIND CATHRYN HERE:

www.cathrynparry.com 
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