Thursday, December 20, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
As I have only fifteen or so minutes before our contractor arrives and I'm forced to run and hide from drywall dust and/or the tooth-rattling growl of the Sawzall, I'll keep this short by sharing only the freakiest, truly most unbelievable moment of the week.
We're undergoing MAJOR renovations on our decrepit old house and one change is replacing the deck off of our dining room. This second story deck is a doggy favorite. High in the trees, squirrels frolic there and anytime the magic door's opened, our three dogs charge past me, hot in pursuit.
I was under the impression that only part of the deck would be replaced, but by Tuesday afternoon, the whole thing was GONE. After the contractor left, Hubby, son and I stood at the door, gawking at the mess. Son was horsing around and decided to open the door to do a mock walk-out and fall.
|That lone support beam is all that's left of our old, second-story deck!|
I screamed and cried, Son tore down the stairs to reach her, with me running after him. I was crying too hard, certain poor Cocoa had died from the fall, to even know what Hubby was doing.
Here's the odd part--we all get downstairs to Cocoa and she's fine!!! Like not a scratch, not spooked, no broken back or legs, but 100% awesome, smelly wiener dog!!! I hugged her for a good hour, then kept a close eye on her all night, afraid she might have internal ouchies. Two days later, she's doing great!! Still chasing evil squirrels and growling when anyone gets too close to her Dingo bone!!!
|Cocoa in her usual lounging position!!|
I consider this a full-on miracle. Our pets are part of our family and with everything else going on right now, the thought of losing Cocoa is unthinkable.
How about you? Have any great pet miracles to share?
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I enlarged this puppy to a 16x20, framed it and hung it in my foyer. People can’t help but notice my cover when they walk through the door. Obnoxious? Nah – just proud J
Betting on Texas (March 2013)
Legacy of a Lone Star (Early 2014)
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Saturday, December 08, 2012
The series has come to an end, but the stories will live on. So take a cowboy home this Christmas. There are six hunky ones in the series: Aidan, Colt, Duke, Austin, Beau and Tomas. Books make great Christmas gifts. Please check out the contest on my Web site. I’m giving away all six books for Christmas. A great gift.
Every year I say I’m cutting back and not doing so much at Christmas. I say it, but I never accomplish it. Once Thanksgiving is over it’s rush, rush, rush to get everything done. I’m not decorating as much this year though. We won’t be here Christmas Eve or Christmas Day so my thought is why bother. It takes too much time to put it up and then take everything down and store it back in the closet. And I have a book to finish. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’ve put a wreath on the door, a small-small Christmas tree is up and so is our nativity scene. That’s it. We’re ready for Christmas at our house, except for the baking.
Do you decorate a lot for the holidays?
Dec ’12 – Tomas: Cowboy Homecoming
Thursday, December 06, 2012
The difference came about when an author posted on a loop that she'd been sued for using pictures that weren't hers. It struck me hard. Authors hate piracy (people posting our books for free or profit to themselves without our permission). That's called stealing. I would never knowingly use a work not in the public domain, but had I ever copied a pic here without checking? I could think of one instance, so perhaps I'd done it more often than that.
About this time, I began to think of pictures I would need for the cover of my self-published book, Holly & Ivey. I needed Christmas trees. I considered snow, a steaming mug of chocolate, and of course people. Maybe a winter wedding or church dressed for the holidays. Where would I find these things?
The answer: my new project. I opened a Pinterest account (pinterest.com/megankellybooks) and posted pictures there for authors to use. Free. No royalties, licensing or attribution needed. Anyone can download a picture and put it on their blog or website. Use it to make a cover. I just ask that people let me know if they used a photo. If no one utilizes this project, I'll stop working at it. If a photo struck a cord and was used a lot, I'd post more like it (and take down that one for a while so it wouldn't be overused).
Now everywhere I go, I look for opportunities. Which means when I look at something, I try to imagine using it in a book and therefore on a cover. Train tracks = the one that lived on the other side. That got away. That ran away. That escaped. Or lost chances. Or new beginnings. So I snap a photo or three.
Need a picture of a rose or a mountain or a park bench? I have those. How about a sparkling lake? A dumpster could be used by a mystery author for that D.B. or a clue gone astray, but it also put me in mind of Julie Garwood's Roses series.
It's exciting, and I carry my camera everywhere. I'll stop to take a picture of clouds or a fence line, which may turn up in the background of someone's cover someday--and my family rolls their eyes.
I feel as though I see book ideas everywhere. A church. An airport. A snowman. I can imagine books for each of these. Next Spring when someone needs a bunch of colorful Autumn trees, I hope they check out my Pinterest page.
Do you post pictures on Pinterest? Is there something you need me to find a picture of for you?
I wish you all a Happy Holiday.
Holly & Ivey, available now
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
‘Tis the season for holiday movies. I love those oldies as well as the new ones. Why, you may ask? (As if you needed to. :-) ) Well, sentimentality. Watching people who suffer through the hard knocks of life to emerge triumphant and maybe even happy–what’s not to like? You can’t beat a happy ending with a warm holiday theme, especially when you are vested in the characters and see them go through such travails.
Hey, isn’t that exactly what happens in a romance novel? You bet! Call me weird, but I love putting characters through all sorts of trouble and making them work hard for that happy ending. Back to holiday movies.
Here are some of my faves: It’s a Wonderful Life. Miracle on 34th Street (the original). The Holiday. Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle, parts one and two. Sheila Roberts’ On Strike for Christmas. And just about any Christmas movie on Lifetime.
Until next month, and wishing you the happiest of season’s greetings,
visit me on Facebook at Ann Roth Author
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Sunday, December 02, 2012
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
The dressing table itself is in excellent condition, hardly a scratch, but the bench needed some work. It had been painted brown so it no longer matched and I knew that if I stripped it, I would never get new stain to match the table.
The upholstery was worn and stained so I removed that and discovered two more equally grim seat covers underneath.
When I look at how dirty that top layer was, about the only thing that comes to mind is "ick"!
For paint, I decided white was the safest bet, and I went with chalk paint. If you've never used it, I encourage you to give it a try. Annie Sloan is a good brand. The surface being painted needs to be clean but otherwise very little prep is needed. It has no fumes, dries quickly, and a couple of coats will cover anything! After the final coat is dry, the painted surface needs a light coating with wax, Annie Sloan makes that, too, and you're done. Oh, and this paint is completely water soluble, so clean up is a breeze!
For upholstery I used a remnant that coordinates with the bedroom drapes and bedspread, and I added extra layers of padding so the seat is nice and cushy.
An easy project completed in an afternoon! It still doesn't match the dressing table, but now they go together better.
If you enjoy DIY and other decorating projects as much as I do, then I hope you'll enjoy my next book, The Daddy Project, which will be out on Tuesday. RT Book Reviews describes it as well as I can:
THE DADDY PROJECT (4) by Lee McKenzie: Single mom Kristi Callahan has been hired to redecorate single dad Nate McTavish's house - not to fall in love with him. But Kristi and Nate have more in common than just being single parents; they are both feeling family pressure to start dating again. Pretending to be with each other seems the simplest way to quell the complaints, but they do not anticipate the very real feelings that spark between them. When Nate's house is complete, they wonder if the relationship is over as well - and hope it isn't. McKenzie's characters are clever, with a captivating warmth that readers will love.
To celebrate the release, I'll be doing a series of guest blogs and giveaways, and will be posting details of those on my website. The next issue of my newsletter goes out next week and there'll be even more giveaways for subscribers. If you'd like to be added to my mailing list, there's a sign-up form on my website.
Until next time,
The Daddy Project (Dec 2012)
Daddy, Unexpectedly (May 2012)
Maggie's Way (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2012)
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
who recommends the following...
If you are the host, don't exhaust yourself before Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving is the slowest afternoon of the year, says Dr. William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. The parade, the turkey, the football games and lethargy caused by overeating make it a long boring time, especially for children. Families get "cabin fever" and tensions arise. Let the dinner end by early afternoon so that people can go to a movie or take a walk, if they desire. Give children the freedom to play outside; allow teenagers to go out by themselves. Bundle up and go look at store windows together. Have board games and other entertainment available.
Have a clever seating arrangement.
Try using place cards to assign seats so that you can separate people who do not get along. Although you may be tempted to, don't seat family members who have been feuding for years next to each other.
Depending on the "Host Home" our family can have a very eclectic group gathering each Thanksgiving--family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and possibly even a divorced spouse or two. A few Taboo Topics at our family gathering:
Climate Change, Politics, Body Piercings, Body Weight, Hair Styles & Religion.
Now for the fun part...what topics are taboo at your Thanksgiving Table?
Now for the fun part...what topics are taboo at your Thanksgiving Table?
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I'm a doer. I don't know how to stop when I have a goal. My first task was to clean house. I don't mean dust and mop. That stuff got done before. We're talking about cleaning closets, spider webs, baseboards. Toss out all that stuff that collects over time that seem to fill every available shelf or cabinet. Every time I leave the house, my car is full of old books to sell. Or clothes to donate. Or DVDs to take to the movie exchange. The trash truck guys probably cuss me. Goal: To get back to being a minimalist if it kills me.
Now lets talk about Yahoo Loops. All the folks who accepted the early retirement offer started a loop. I'm on other loops, but this one keeps my email box full of all the things that MUST be done. Financial decisions. Medical decisions. Update or write a Will or Trust. A career placement service. Resumes, classes, and trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up. Did I mention that I'm really not old enough to fully retire?
Okay, now that I've made your eyes glaze over, the one thing all this has done is to make me thankfull. I'm thankfull that I have these options. Some people don't. I now have time to slow down enough to smell fall. Like fireplaces and bonfires. Time to consider all the wonderful things in my life. Like that I now have time to spend with my aging mom. Time to play with the grandkids before they get big and don't want to hang out with Grammy. Time to take a short getaway with a friend. Time to help out family members who still have jobs. I can pick up kids at school or run errands. The calendar is full.
The first cold front blew through this week and added to the Thanksgiving mode. The leaves are changing and we have a fire in the fireplace this morning. Time to slow down and enjoy the holidays. Lots of family headed this way next week for Thanksgiving, including my mother-in-law this year. So exciting. The grocery store yesterday was already in chaos and I was able to actually enjoy it.
So what are you thankfull for this year?
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tuesday 11/6--Election day!! Hubby and I decide to vote first thing in the morning to avoid long lines. Wait 30 minutes at our usual polling place, whip out IDs, told our polling place is now no longer located at the nice, peaceful church it has been for 10 years, but Food Pyramid. We head that way only to discover a 40 minute line snaking through the freezer section!! Prime early morning writing time shot--albeit for a good cause.
|Hubby in voting line!! Yes--that IS a grocery freezer section behind him!!|
Day's Page Count--4 out of my goal of 10
Wednesday 11/7--Fairly productive day save for Lowe's and the plumber and the counter guy calling at least three times each. Get mail. Daisy, our demon Yorkie, decides to run away. I'm forced to walk the street barefoot, wagging a tempting slice of "cheezy cheese" to lure her home. She warily takes cheese, but before I can grab her, bolts. Can you say bad dog?!?!
Day's Page Count--7 out of my goal of 10
Thursday 11/8--Plumber here forever. They leave, I nuke soup. UPS man arrives. Dog eats soup. Attempt to start writing, but counter guys show up. I bought the wrong faucet for new sink. Emergency run to Lowe's. Back at home, lungs BURNING from counter glue fumes. Added bonus? Son and super-sweet girlfriend I REALLY like are breaking up--AT OUR HOUSE!!! By the time Hubby gets home, we escape for dinner. Fumes no better when we're done.
Day's Page Count--0 out of my goal of 10
Friday 11/9--Get comfy on the couch to begin what will surely be a great writing day, stretch backwards and knock my freshly opened Sprite over my head. My hair, face, and sofa are now dripping with sticky Sprite. By the time me and the sofa are clean, plumbers arrive to connect new sink. They notice book covers on the wall and request signed copies. By the time I'm writing anything other than my name and a check for extra parts, a huge chunk of my writing day is gone.
Day's Page Count--11 out of my goal of 20
Saturday 11/10--I don't work weekends. Hubby's off at his day job during the week, so I look forward to spending Saturday and Sunday with him and/or our kids. That said, with my deadline perilously close, I HAVE to work this weekend. Too bad the "simple" errands we need to run last a huge chunk of the day.
Day's Page Count--14 out of my goal of 20
Sunday 11/11--Surprisingly calm day, but we have an Oilers game at 4:00. We like to get to games an hour early to eat Billy's onion rings and watch the players warm-up. That means getting to the BOK Center by 3:05. That means my in-desperate-need-of-cutting hair needs to be tamed starting by 1:30. Lots of writing time shot like a puck!!
Day's Page Count--16 out of my goal of 20
Monday 11/12--If you've been keeping track, you'll notice I just now made up my page count for the whole day I missed last Thursday. Had those been the only days I missed, I wouldn't now be feverishly making up for those other bizarre days my page count was 0.
With my deadline being Thursday, I'm now in fevered-writing mode. Got six great pages done when daughter calls. After the free skate at Sunday's game, boyfriend accidentally elbowed her right eye. She reports it's swollen, hurting and her vision's blurry. Whaaaaat?!?! All writing stopped to run her to the eye doctor.
Day's Page Count--19 out of my goal of 20
Tuesday 11/13--Sit down to write and Hubby's lost his shoes and belt. Since I'm in deadline mode, house is a MESS. I help look. Hubby leaves, I'm back to writing. Thirty minutes in, Hubby calls. Have I seen his work phone? Stop writing to look. Text Hubby--Found it! Start writing, Hubby texts if he missed calls? I don't know!! And I'm not getting up to look!! Day progresses in much the same fashion from here. Lowe's lady calls. Am I happy with our counters? Slimy telemarketer tries selling me vitamins. Daughter calls--her poor eyeball still hurts. Her boyfriend's elbow owes me a $40 specialist copay and lost writing time!!! LOL!!!
|Daughter and super cute Boyfriend's elbow before elbowing incident!!|
Day's Page Count--23 out of my goal of 20
Wednesday 11/14--Overall, despite a gazillion interruptions, I've managed to get work done, but not nearly enough. Today, I'm still writing feverishly, trying to make up for all the other little things that somehow crop up when a book's due.
Cross your fingers!! This one's going to be a squeaker!!
How about you? Do you find that the more you have to do, the more gremlins appear to divert your attention?
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
So, I waited for that next contract to come along.
Alright, who are we kidding? I don’t know the meaning of the word patience. I’m a take no prisoners, ass kickin’, top of the world, there’s work to be done so let’s make up the rules as we go along type of person.
But, still I waited, my toes tapping while I checked emails repeatedly over the course of the day and even gave my editor a special ring tone (When You Wish Upon a Star) that I swear I heard on numerous occasions, only to find a blank caller id instead – listen, there is no cure for me so don’t even try.
I played by all the rules of publishing.
And you know something? It paid off. I received the email and the phone call I was hoping for and I signed a new two-book contract. Yippee! The Bridle Dance Ranch saga continues with HOME SWEET COWBOY and LEGACY OF A LONE STAR. Those Langtry men just can’t keep themselves out of trouble!
I think one of the biggest fears for a new writer is the thought of being a one trick pony. For me especially, considering I was discovered through Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write competition. I’d never been through the normal submission process before all of this.
I made my share of mistakes – trust me on this one. Let’s just say, I’ve learned how NOT to write and submit a proposal. I’m getting the hang of it, but learning everything was the equivalent of heading down a bumpy trail while facing the wrong way in the saddle. Nerve wracking was an understatement.
Now I have deadlines…many of them. Books, blogs, interviews, online chats, promos, and I’m sure there are few I don’t even know about yet. The truth of the matter is, I thrive on every morsel of it. Deadlines drive me to push myself even harder than I did before.
Was it worth the wait?
To learn more about my first year with Harlequin and how I'm Moving the Story Forward, hop on over to Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Blog on November 19th and be sure to join my editor, Kathleen Scheibling and myself for a global Twitter chat at 10AM, EST.
Looking forward to seeing you there! And remember, sometimes patience really does pay off :)
Betting on Texas (March 2013)
Home Sweet Cowboy (August 2013)
Legacy of a Lone Star (Early 2014)