Monday, December 31, 2012

A Review of 2012

This year has been full of learning and stepping outside my comfort zone. 

Reading
I read a bit of everything - indie, traditional and epublished.  And, I read a lot - exceeding my 2012 Goodreads 80 book goal by 14 books.  (I love my Kobo!)

Blogging
Time is running down on 2012.
In March, I plunged into Six Sentence Sunday.  It was nerve-wracking!  What do I post?  What would people say about my six?  My worries were unnecessary, though, since everyone was so positive and enthusiastic.  I've met a lot of wonderful writers through that blog hop and have connected with many of them through memes (Kreative Blogger, The Next Big Thing and Lucky 7), Twitter and Facebook too.  I'm sad SSS will be ending in January. 

Oh - and I did my first interview on my blog with Sarah Kades!  It was fun, so I plan to do a lot more of those in 2013!

Critique Group
I finished going through my first full novel, Secrets and Second Chances, with my critique group (Thank you, Sarah, Deb and June!).  This year, I think, we have grown as a group, learning how to give and accept critiques in an efficient and easier way, and I've grown as a writer through this process.

Submitting
In September, I spontaneously submitted Secrets and Second Chances to the So You Think You Can Write contest.  This was the first time I'd ever done something like this - I'm surprised I had fingernails left at the end of it!  I didn't final, but I still consider the experience a success because of the wonderful support and comments I received during the voting stage - from family, friends and complete strangers.
 
Writing
I also enrolled in online writing and marketing classes, wrote articles for my writing group's newsletter, started editing three stories, and have another three outlined. 

I can't wait to see what 2013 brings! 

How was your 2012? 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

All That Glitters #10: Six Sentence Sunday

Six Sentence Sunday: Okay, I'm doing another "seasonal" post. I'll go back to Mattie and Alex soon... after all, we haven't found out what she does about that pesky wet dress of hers. ;)

Like last week, this excerpt is from my work in progress All That Glitters.


*****

Set Up: Last week, Annie was preparing for Christmas (with a house full of Christmas trees.)  This week, Annie is at a New Year's Eve party.  It is almost midnight.

My Six:
        “We need to get the champagne!” Cathy gulped her cocktail and dashed toward the kitchen. “Crap, where’s my lipstick?”
            Lipstick? Annie’s chest tightened. How could she have forgotten about that tradition? 

And now Annie is wondering where she can hide... I'm like Annie - not overly excited about kissing strangers at midnight... but maybe there is another story in there, somewhere. ;)

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

I am delighted to read your comments every week and promise to visit back.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

All That Glitters #9 - Six Sentence Sunday

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.  BUT, this week, I thought I'd share something a little more seasonal.  I'll go back to Mattie and Alex soon... after all, we haven't found out what she does about that pesky wet dress of hers. ;)

I took this picture when I was in
Edinburgh at Christmas a few years
ago.  I think my current neighbors are
attempting to emulate this grandeur
with their holiday decorations.  ;)
So, I'm going back to a story I shared on SSS earlier in 2012, All That Glitters


*****

Set Up:  Annie has unexpected guests just before Christmas, and upon seeing Annie's house brimming with decorations, one of the ladies says...

My Six:
          “Tomorrow is the annual Christmas charity auction in Rosemount, so it is a bit short notice for this year, but maybe next -”
          “I could enter a tree," Annie said quickly.  "I don’t need this many for myself.”
          “This many? How many do you have?”
          Annie grinned.
 
Annie has a decorated tree in every room.  I do not - I have one.  My sister has two.  It exhausts me to think about decorating more than one. ;)  Do you decorate for the holiday season?  Do decorations fill every room? 
*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.  I may not get to visit other SSS posts until later in the week.  (My entertaining marathon begins tomorrow.)

I am delighted to read your comments every week and promise to visit back.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
When I was little, my Gramma Paton made these delicious cookies at Christmas and it became a bit of a tradition to make them every December. A few years ago, my nephew discovered he had Celiac Disease, so for family functions we have modified some of our traditional recipes to be more celiac-friendly.  I was pleased to find, then, that this recipe needed no modifications and was ready to go "as is."  The recipe is simple, "no bake", and tasty! The only challenging bits are how to get the peanut butter off your fingers and how to keep from eating more than one at a time. 

*****

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Cookie Dough
Mix:
  • 1 cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup of Icing Sugar
  • 1 cup of Chopped Dates
  • 1 cup of Chopped Walnuts (I use Pecans because my sister can't eat walnuts.)
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter, melted

Blend ingredients together.  It is best (though messy) to use your hands.  Roll dough into small balls.

Chocolate  Coating
Melt together:

  • 4 ounces of Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 inch square of Paraffin Wax
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 5 drops of Vanilla
Place chocolate coating ingredients in a sauce pan (you can use a double boiler) and put on low heat.  Stir until everything melts together, then remove from heat.  Dip cookie balls into melted chocolate mixture.

Place on wax paper or rack to cool. 

Makes: This recipes says it makes 36 cookies.  I find these to be quite rich, so I usually roll the cookies into smaller balls, making 48 (which requires additional chocolate coating mixture), but Gramma made the individual cookies bigger, making about 24.  So - it is your call! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Awakening a Witch #10 - Six Sentence Sunday

*****

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: This excerpt follows soon after last week's. Alex rescued her from the storm, and now Alex and Mattie are alone in a little cottage. Mattie is incredibly cold, and her gown is soaked.  Last week he suggested she remove her gown.

My Six (This is in Mattie's POV):
          Alex scanned the simple one room cottage, and she could almost see what he was thinking - there was no wardrobe to raid, the small bed had been stripped of linens, the windows were covered with wooden shutters, and the small scarred table was bare.  In short, there was nothing to wrap around her and no privacy to be had.
          "Give me your cloak," she said. 
          "Fine, but you are smart enough to know that alone will not help," Alex said as he shed his garment and passed it to her. Her fingers sank into the luxurious softness of the deep fur lining, still warm from his body heat, as she pulled it around her shoulders. 
          He was right, of course, his cloak would not be enough - but it didn't matter how much her teeth chattered, she was not going to strip.

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

I am delighted to read your comments every week. 

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

All That Glitters: The Next Big Thing

I'm so excited today because I've been tagged to participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop!  I was tagged by Mae Clair, a great author I met through Six Sentence Sunday.  Mae's paranormal time travel romance WEATHERING ROCK is available now (you should go check it out), and her upcoming book, TWELFTH SUN, releases in August 2013. 

For the blog hop, writers answer a series of questions related to their current WIP, then tag several other authors to join the hop.  Sounds like fun, right? 

Thanks, Mae! 

What is the working title of your book? 
ALL THAT GLITTERS

Where did the idea of the book come from?
ALL THAT GLITTERS
Annie's wish comes true,
but it might not be what she wants.
Image: © Natalia Lisovskaya | Dreamstime.com
Annie Bingley, the main character, came to me first, and rest of the story developed around her. 

What genre does your book fall under?
I originally thought ALL THAT GLITTERS was a women's fiction with romantic elements (since the family dynamics shape so much of the story), but as I finish up the editing process I'm coming to realize the romance storyline feeds the pivotal moments.  This discovery doesn't surprise me - I love romance, so it makes sense I've integrated into my story without even realizing it.  Now, I've re-defined my genre to contemporary romance. 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie renditions?
This is a hard question to answer.  I don't use pictures of actors or models when I develop a story, I've tried, but I find it distracting and limiting.  
I guess for Annie, who is a craft-obsessed divorcee, I would choose: Sandra Bullock
For Quinn, her love interest, I would choose: Jason Lewis

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A craft-obsessed divorcee moves to a small town in search of a perfect life that will entice her family back to her, but instead her sexy neighbor shows her that sometimes being imperfect is better.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I've been debating this a lot.  I've almost decided to go indie, but... (we'll see).

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your project?
I started the first draft when I had a weeklong holiday one year.  I wanted to write for the sake of writing and not worry about marketability or anything else.  I was tired of trying to write to fit "the rules," whatever those are.  So, this was a spontaneous "just for me" story, which, once finished, I loved and have decided to try to publish.  I had the first draft in place after that one week.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I don't know if this is a reasonable comparison, but, in my mind, it is similar to EAT CAKE by Jeanne Ray.

Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I have a LOT of Christmas magazines and it's always fascinated me how "perfect" everythings seems in the photos and articles... and, interestingly enough, Annie developed a love of those same magazines.  As I wrote the story, I found this was a great way to explore Annie's feelings of inadequacy, and her self-imposed pressure to create a strong family unit.  I was also intrigued by the idea of getting everything thing you want, and it not quite being what you'd anticipated.  

What else about your book may pique readers' interest?
ALL THAT GLITTERS takes place over the course of a year, going from holiday to holiday as Annie works at creating an ideal home and picture-perfect memories to entice her family back to her - and it works.  Before the year is out, Annie's house is filled with her knocked up sister, her demanding teenage daughter, a jilted uncle, an incontinent dog, and an irritable cat - but it is nothing like what she'd planned.  Soon Annie realizes perfection is hard to maintain... particularly when her sexy neighbor helps her discover perfection may not be what she wants after all.

Thank you for taking the time to read all about ALL THAT GLITTERS!  And, thank you again to Mae for tagging me! 

Now it is time to nominate some great authors / bloggers to continue the Next Big Thing Hop!
Tag!  It's your turn! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Awakening a Witch #9 - Six Sentence Sunday

I'm happy to report that I survived a trip to the shopping mall on Saturday.  It was touch and go for a bit, but, in the end, I managed to buy stamps for my Christmas cards.  That's it.  That's all I managed to get.  Sigh.  I'll have to face the shops again.  I really should have planned better and bought everything online.  (If you've already finished your shopping, I'm in awe!)

*****

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: This excerpt follows soon after last week's. Alex rescued her from the storm, and now Alex and Mattie are alone in a little cottage.  Mattie is incredibly cold, and her gown is soaked. (FYI: Effy is a mother figure to Alex.)

My Six:
          "What did you say?"  Her disbelief reverberated through the tiny room.
          "Your dress is wet, so you need to take it off."
          "Absolutely not." Mattie crossed her arms. 
          "Effy will hold me responsible if you become ill."

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Awakening a Witch #8 - Six Sentence Sunday

Happy December, everyone!  I've started putting out our decorations, we've just had our first Christmas party of the year, and I have eggnog in the fridge.  All is happy in my little world.  :) I hope you are all having a wonderful December so far too! 
 
*****

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: This excerpt follows soon after last week's.  Alex has found her in a storm shortly after she'd decided to give up her attempt to escape and return to his home.

My Six (these are in Mattie's POV):
          Alex didn't speak when he seized the reins from her stiff, icy fingers and took control of her horse.  His eyes glinted in the nearly black night. 
          What would his scar look like under a flash of lightning?
          Was she delirious?
          He was taking her away from the inn, away from her family.  A tingling at the back of her neck warned she should try to resist, but instead she simply clung to the mare and closed her eyes.

*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments! I love hearing everyone's thoughts.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Awakening a Witch #7 - Six Sentence Sunday

Happy November 25th!  Not only is it my birthday - I'm putting in a request for a cupcake that is more icing than cake - but it is also the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup. (Go, Stamps, Go!) 
*****

Six Sentence Sunday: Over the last few weeks, I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work-in-progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: I'm skipping ahead from the last excerpt.  Alex decided to keep Mattie prisoner, but in the night she managed to escape - Alex's guards were too scared to try to stop a strange witch.  She tried to return to her family, but she kept getting turned around in the woods and a fierce storm.  Mattie had just accepted that her best option was to return to Alex - if she only could find her way back to him - when...

My Six (these are in Mattie's POV):
          Illuminated by another strike of lightning, the approaching figure was immediately recognizable.  He was cloaked in black, his face hidden under a hood, but Mattie knew it was Alex.  
          He'd chased her, and she'd been caught.
          The tension and fear she'd been fighting for the past two hours broke, sending tremors through her body.  She would be saved from the storm.
          But who would rescue her from her rescuer? 
                
*****

Thank you for stopping by on your busy Sunday to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them. And, a special thanks to everyone who comments!  I love hearing everyone's thoughts. 

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Awakening A Witch #6 - Six Sentence Sunday

The last few weeks I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work in progress, Awakening A Witch. Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: I'm skipping ahead a bit from the last excerpt.  Alex has taken her to his home, and is trying to decide what to do with her: should he keep her prisoner or let her go?  (He really doesn't trust witches.)  Mattie doesn't know she is a witch yet.

My Six (these are in Alex's POV):
          She went to the window and leaned out, as if gauging the distance to the earth below.  Could she fly? He couldn't let her escape his questions so easily, so Alex rose and followed her. 
          The sun was setting, and the moon's silvery silhouette shone just over the horizon. 
          He leaned over her until his lips nearly touched her ear. "Are you drawing strength from the moon?"
                  
*****

Thank you for stopping by to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Awakening a Witch #5 - Six Sentence Sunday

My Poppy
Today is Remembrance Day, and we always observe the day by attending a ceremony in our community. I'm proud of my honey, who is a veteran, and I'm thankful to everyone who has served. 

Therefore, I will not making Six Sentence Sunday rounds on Sunday - we'll be spending the day with family, friends and other veterans instead - but I promise to visit after that!  :)

*****

The last few weeks I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work in progress, Awakening A Witch.  Click here to read earlier posts.


*****

Set Up: When Mattie's necklace comes loose and falls to the earth, a strange fatigue falls over her.  As her legs collapse beneath her, Alex (our hero) catches her.  Tom is Alex's younger brother.

My Six:
          "Look at this," Tom said, awe coating his words as he dangled a necklace with a horrendously familiar shape and construction.  "It's hers."
          Although his heart thudded like a war drum in his chest, Alex tempered his reaction. "Are you sure?"
          "Aye, it fell off her just before she fainted."
          Alex glanced at the unconscious woman in his arms - was he holding a witch?

*****   

Thank you for stopping by to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Awakening a Witch #4: Six Sentence Sunday

The last few weeks I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work in progress, Awakening A Witch.

Two weeks ago, I shared the opening six sentences, where you got to meet Mattie (our heroine) and learn about her pendant.

Last week, I shared six sentences that introduced you to Mattie's creepy brother-in-law and his search for gold. 

Last week, we met Mattie's hero, Alex.  


*****

Set Up: Our hero's younger brother has now joined them in the meadow, just inside the magical barrier.

My Six:

The younger man’s eyes grew even wider as he stared at Mattie’s necklace.  She reached for it again, for the peace it usually gave her, but when Mattie touched it, the pendant slipped free and through her fingers.  As soon as the jewelry slid from her skin, a rush of air swept over her leaving her feeling oddly exposed. Her wet skirts pressed against her - suddenly tighter, heavier and colder.  Mattie glanced in the direction of the lake, in the direction of help, but all she saw was fog.  Then the pendant hit the earth with a soft thud.      

Thank you for stopping by to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Awakening A Witch #3: Six Sentence Sunday

The last few weeks I've been highlighting some excerpts from my historical paranormal romance work in progress, Awakening A Witch.

Two weeks ago, I shared the opening six sentences, where you got to meet Mattie (our heroine) and learn about her pendant.

Last week, I shared six sentences that introduced you to Mattie's creepy brother-in-law and his search for gold. 

This week, I think it is time to meet Mattie's hero, Alex.   Ahhh... Alex...


*****

Set Up: Much has happened since last week's excerpt.  At this point, Mattie has unwittingly stumbled through a magical barrier... and it is here Mattie meets her hero. 

My Six:

Everything about the man was black: his clothing, his hair, but especially his eyes, which were as dark and hard as polished onyx.  A jagged, white scar zigzagged down the side of his face, streaking vividly through the dark shadow of new beard growth along his cheek.
Mattie pulled her gaze away and glanced at the boys to find Nevin gaping.  The sound choking out of his throat was more akin to a strangled scream than a gasp.  Mattie knew they had never seen a man like this before.  Neither had she.    

Thank you for stopping by to check out my six! I hope you enjoyed them.

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I hope you'll visit their blogs too.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Awakening A Witch #2: Six Sentence Sunday

Last week, I shared the opening six sentences from my work-in-progress Awakening A Witch (historical paranormal romance).

(Image: © Guy Shapira | Dreamstime.com)
*****

Set Up:  This excerpt is from the same scene as last week's, but a few pages later. Mattie is speaking with Clarence Higgs, her sister's husband. 

My Six: (Clarence speaks first)

          "See, Miss Townsend?"  Clarence leaned closer, so his shoulder was against hers again.  She inched away.  He pointed at an obscure line on the creased map he'd been studying.  "There should be a ruin here, and that -" he punctuated his words with a flick of his finger against the paper "- is the last place the gold was seen."
          "You showed me your map this morning, sir, and I still do not see the great mystery."    

Thank you for stopping by to check out my six!  I hope you enjoyed them. 

*****

If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories.

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I do hope you'll try to visit their blogs.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sarah Kades Interview: Giveaway Results

On Wednesday, I interviewed author Sarah Kades, and now I'm excited to announce the winner of the giveaway I held for that interview! (History is made: this is my first ever giveaway.)  :)

The winner is: Suzanne Stengl. Congratulations, you've won a copy of Sarah's novella, Claiming Love!

Yay, Suzanne! 

Suzanne, please contact me at write_as_raine(AT)yahoo(DOT)com and we can arrange how to gift the ebook to you! 

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to check out the interview and learn more about Sarah Kades and her book, Claiming Love!  If you didn't win, you can still read Sarah's book!  It can be found on Amazon: here!!

Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interview with Author Sarah Kades

Great cover, Sarah!
Sarah, thank you for joining me today to talk about your writing and your newly re-released novella, Claiming Love.  (Now available at Amazon)

*****

GIVEAWAY!
To celebrate Sarah's release, we'll be giving away a copy of Claiming Love to a randomly selected commenter.  Leave a comment on Wednesday or Thursday to be eligible.  The draw will be held on October 12, 2012!  Check back Friday to see who won! The winner's name will be posted on this blog.

*****

First, Sarah, tell me a bit about yourself.

Hi Lorraine, thanks for having me! A bit about myself; I was born and raised in the U.S. When in university I fell core-rocking, no-holds-bar in love with a Canadian. We’ve lived all over central and western Canada for both school and archaeology. Had a blast, and have now settled in Calgary.

Sounds like a whirlwind!  Welcome to Calgary!  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and used to create stories in my head when I was a kid, but didn’t really think anything of it. Four years ago I was talking on the phone with an author friend who was telling me about a series idea she had. For the next two months a story started kicking around in my head. She told me to go for it, to try writing it. She’s so awesome. So I did and the story was accepted. I realized I loved writing. . . and that I had a lot more to learn! But that experience started my love affair and active participation in storytelling.

What an exciting experience!  Congratulations on your quick success. So, tell me about your process - is there a particular food or drink you keep handy when writing or editing?

Water. Always water. Sometimes I’ll have a coffee, too. Once in awhile a beer, but water is the staple. I never eat when I write. I’ve tried, but I realized I had just consumed whatever it was and had no conscious recollection of it.

LOL - so that's what happens when I find crumbs on my desk.  

Since you are a writer, I'm guessing you are also an avid reader.  What is your favorite book?  What do you love about it?

I have so many books and authors I adore! I enjoy several sub-genres; contemporary, paranormal, historical, western. The ones I tend to consistently re-read the most, though, are my favorite historical and western ones. “Ransom” and “Honor’s Splendour” by Julie Garwood, and “Savage Thunder” by Johanna Lindsay are quite dog-eared.

Anything by Elizabeth Lowell, historical or contemporary, are good for a re-read. In the last couple years I found Christie Craig, Lori Foster and Sabrina Jeffries. Three completely different styles, but I dig them. I need characters I would want to hang out with; witty dialogue, smart women, and alpha males. And of course the story has to move me.

Hmmm... I haven't read some of those.  I'll have to track them down.  Now, let’s talk about your novella, Claiming Love.  Tell me about it.

The story is set in the present day and is about a 1000 year old ex warrior, current angel-in-training who doesn’t believe in love and thinks people are largely assholes, himself included. Gaia and ArchAngel Michael are his handlers and assign him to an archaeologist who asked for divine help to release her fear of flying. As an afterthought she also requested to meet the perfect man for her. The two find love a powerful healer, but did it come too late?

It was a blast to write. I realized just how characters take on their own life and let the author know what they are going to do next, how the story is going to go. That was an interesting learning experience. I had heard other authors say similar things, but it is pretty cool to experience it.

That's happening to me right now - *sigh* - obstinate characters

So, what inspired you to write this story? 

The author friend I mentioned above had the idea for several authors to look at the same picture and write a story about it. She described the photo over the phone to me and the story that started kicking around in my head was from her description. After all four novellas were released, I actually saw the photo. I would have written a completely different story had I seen the photo first hand.

I choose angels because the theme was a winged dude and I have always been fascinated with those helpful, loving, divine beings that pre-date religion. I wanted to write a love story and it seemed including a winged dude would naturally be an angel-ish being. The rest of the story just flowed out, it was pretty cool.

Sounds like a fun writing exercise.  I haven't read too many books with angels - and I have to say he's a very sexy angel! 

I've never read another romance set in the Alberta oil sands either.  I find your setting very intriguing.  Why did you choose that location?

I’ve done a lot of archaeology field work in the Oil Sands and it is a remarkable landscape. The Oil Sands, or Tar Sands, are an incredibly contentious place, but when you focus on the land itself, besides being gorgeous boreal forest and muskeg, there is an energy about it that defies normal comprehension. It is straight-up magical there. A perfect setting for the magic of two people falling in love.

Archaeology field work must be fascinating. What is the most exciting thing you’ve discovered in the field? 

These were in Manitoba, but a projectile point (arrowhead) embedded in a bison rib kicked up the heart rate; the “smoking gun” so to speak. An arguably 6000-8000 year old knife made me cry in a good way. And anytime I found pottery that had the fingerprints or fingernail impression of the person who made it felt like a collective hug from the universe. Archaeology taught me we are all connected.

That is awesome.  I was on a dig (only once, mind you), and found pottery.  It was humbling and exciting.  

Coming back to your novella, what is your favorite line in (or excerpt from) Claiming Love? 

This line was a favorite of a reader:
“Passengers were not supposed to go licking their pilots midair, and she was going to have one hell of a time keeping her tongue and hands to herself.”

There is another one I want to share. You know when it feels more like you are channeling lines than writing them? That was this one. It quite clearly came straight from Bodin, in reference to Elle:
“Bodin felt like a moon or more appropriately a hapless piece of space debris pulled into the orbit of a bright star, much bigger, stronger, and way more exciting than he was.”

I love that one of your readers contacted you to let you know which line they enjoyed. 

Okay, on a completely different note, what is your favorite wild animal?  (This question was inspired by the wilderness locations in your story.)

Like books, there are a lot of animals I resonate with, but I’ll share a particularly special  animal sighting story. I had a very brief archaeology survey in Nunavut (northern territory in Canada). It was the first time I had the opportunity to work on the tundra and it was incredible. The vegetation and landscape were absolutely stunning; I had no idea fall on the tundra was so vibrant!

But I really wanted to see caribou. I’ve always thought they were pretty cool animals. We completed the survey and although we saw caribou sheds (antlers on the ground), tracks and scat, no caribou. I will admit I was disappointed as I was sitting in the wee 6-seater plane on the “runway” to take us back to Yellowknife, the engine loud, the small plane vibrating. But I looked out my window and thanked the landscape for the opportunity and that even though I didn’t see caribou, the place, and my experience, was perfect. At that second, I saw a small herd of caribou run along a ridge adjacent to the “runway”. I remember thinking they looked like a ribbon dancing, their movements were so fluid, so graceful and co-ordinated. We took off within seconds and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. I will always remember the experience.

I've always wanted to go to the territories.  I envy you!  :) 

Since you are one of my lovely critique partners, I have inside news: I know you are working on another book.  Is there anything you’d like to share with your readers about your latest project?

This one is a novel, also set in the Oil Sands, but it is a contemporary, not a paranormal. It does focus on how together, people can heal and learn to love and trust. I love those themes. Often we have a lot of baggage we choose to keep hanging on to, I like to write stories that inspire us to set it down and let it go. And if the stories have incredibly gorgeous men in them, all the better!

Incredibly gorgeous men - Yes!  More! 

You’ve published with a publisher and now you’ve just self-published, do you have any tips for other writers about both processes?

Of course, regardless of how you publish, the number one tip; write a great story well.

My first publisher gave me the boost that someone else valued my work. I had never tried writing and did not know if I had a clue or not. So that part at my start helped me a great deal. A tip I was told before I submitted was to have a promo plan to include in the submission. That felt weird, creating an online author presence before I had anything out. Get past those nerves and jump in. And of course, follow submission guidelines.

Now with indie publishing, there is an incredibly freedom to it, and a huge frontier  of possibility to explore. Some indie writers, just like some indie musicians, are creating some seriously awesome works and they are doing it on their own terms. It is exciting and inspiring. After you’ve written a great story well, with indie publishing, just like with a publisher, you need a great editor, a rocking cover, formatting for the various distributors, and a solid promo plan. Only it is all up to you to bring it all together, and tweak as you see fit.

Through it all, there is also that staight-forward direction; Read. Keep reading. Then read some more. This was one bit of wisdom I heard again and again at conferences, festivals and workshops. It is true; reading helps your writing. I also joined two local writing groups, as well as a critique group, and my writing has grown exponentially. Let yourself grow as a writer. Let every story you put out be your new favorite.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know?

Sarah Kades, Author
I love writing, playing outside, and hanging out with great friends. Horseback riding and helicopters make me smile. Oceans and mountains move me. And if I could tell the world something it would be; be gentle with yourself and others, feel love, share it, repeat.



***You can buy Claiming Love here.***

If you want to drop Sarah a line, you can find her at:



Twitter: @SarahKades


Goodreads: Goodreads Author Page

***** 

EXCERPT

Prologue

Michael quickly rapped his knuckles on the oak door and entered the lush suite. Gaia was seated crossed legged on the plush green couch hunched over an ethereal laptop, frowning. She glanced up when he entered and shot him a quick smile, casting the already bright room into a radiating glow.

“Tell me good news,” she said in greeting.

“The sun came up this morning.”

“I know that.” Gaia rolled her eyes good-natured.

Michael shrugged. “Not a lot of good news out there.”

“I know that too,” the Goddess answered glumly.

He tried again. “Bodin’s finally coming along, that’s something.”

Gaia perked up at the archangel’s words. She moved the laptop aside and directed her full attention to the Archangel.

“He didn’t scare anyone, try to maim anyone or resort to any physical destruction on his last assignment.” Michael continued, “He did swear, threaten, and was his usual pain-in-the-ass self, though.”

She frowned again. “For the most part, the Changeling Program has been a success. Bodin’s an outlier, that’s for sure. I doubt he’ll ever claim his wings.”

“Outlier, that’s a nice way to put it. Yeah, angels don’t tend to try and browbeat people, bad for the whole free will thing.” Michael saw Gaia smile at his uncharacteristic description. He was rarely sarcastic, but Bodin had a way of bringing it out.

“I’m glad he’s starting to come around though, well, if you can call it coming around. Something special is about to come up,” Gaia said, her voice ringing with anticipation and delight.

Michael raised his eyebrow in question. Gaia just smiled, while she started putting possibilities and doorways in place, her divine face intent and concentrating. He recognized the look but asked anyway. “A hint?”

She shook her head and gave a small smile, but said nothing as she maintained her concentration and continued her divine aligning. Michael shrugged, unsurprised. Gaia was not in the habit of talking about that aspect of her work. Still, he wondered. As head of the Angel Realm, he was responsible for, and cared about, all the categories of angels. That included the gruff, reluctant Changeling. Although a pain in the butt, Bodin had really grown on him. He was curious what Gaia had in mind and wondered if Bodin would take the latest opportunity that was presented.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

AWAKENING A WITCH #1 - Six Sentence Sunday

It's been an eon (give or take an era or two) since I've posted an excerpt, so I'm happy to be participating in Six Sentence Sunday again. 

I was tempted to post something from SECRETS AND SECOND CHANCES, which I've entered into the So You Think You Can Write contest, but instead I unearthed a different work-in-progress: AWAKENING A WITCH.  Can you guess from the working title that it is a paranormal?  Yes, I thought probably.  It is also historical. 

So - a bit of a departure from what I've posted on SSS in the past. 

*****

Set Up: Once upon a time - May 1891 to be exact - there was a odd, but pretty, spinster making a wish while standing on the shore of a small loch in the Scottish borders.  These are the opening sentences...

My six:

          When Mattie’s grandmother had presented her with the large pendant she now wore at her neck, the old woman had claimed it was magical.  A large bulky topaz sat proud at the heart of the ornament, with smaller stones and fine gold ribbons clustered around it.  Her sisters had proclaimed the piece ugly, but Mattie hadn’t minded its gaudy, old-fashioned appearance.  And, while she understood enchantments were something from fairy tales, sometimes – like now – Mattie wished it could be different.  Yes, this would be an excellent time for her golden jewelry to prove itself. 
          If only it were true. 

Thank you for stopping by my Six Sentence Sunday post!  I hope you enjoyed it. 

*****



If you want to check out more Six Sentence Sunday excerpts, go to the official website: www.sixsunday.com

There, you'll find links to hundreds of wonderful writers and their stories. 

These are some of the most supportive and beautiful people you could ever meet, so I do hope you'll try to visit their blogs. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Writing Life: Too Many Books?

After a hectic summer of selling our condo, moving, painting nearly every wall in our new house, getting new flooring, and all kinds of other things that go with moving and living, I'm finally climbing my way back to a normal life.

Gotta love IKEA.  :)
It's all been worth it though - I love my new home.  And, I finally have a wall of bookshelves in my office, which has been a dream of mine for years. 

What I hadn't expected, though, was that I'd have too many books to fit on that wall of shelving.  Yes, indeed.  Too many books. 

Is that possible? 

Apparently, for some even having one book in the house is too many.  I recently met a woman for the first time at my day job.  Upon finding out I'd moved partly to gain a bit more space, she asked if I was a hoarder.  She grabbed onto her assessment with a strange enthusiasm when she found out I enjoyed and owned books.  I'd never met this woman before in my life and she was calling me a hoarder because I didn't get rid of all my books after I'd read them once. 

Okay - am I odd in this?  Does everyone else in the world get rid of their books?  Does no one keep them to read again? 

My thoughts: I can't count how many books I've read more than once... and will probably read again.  I read them because I enjoy them, but I also use these books for inspiration when I'm struggling with an opening sentence, a bit of dialogue, how to introduce a character, or any other of a dozen different things.  I figure these are my textbooks, and so what if there are a lot of them? I've had a lot to learn over the years.  ;) 

What do you think?