Monday, 30 June 2008

BAD ICE Electronic Release Today

Happy Canada Day!

What better occasion (Hey, Jessica, I spelled it right!) to celebrate our country's birthday than to release a romantic suspense about Hockey?

Just for fun, I thought I'd give away pdf copy of my book with a trivia contest. Not just any contest, but a Canadian trivia contest. You don't have to have all the answers right, but please try - I'll either draw the winner from all entries received, or simply pick the person who amuses me and is mostly right.

But first, a word from our sponsor. A brief blurb about Bad Ice:

When hockey fan Christina Mackey prevents a murder attempt aimed at her idol Jason Petersen, the hockey scene she'd always worshiped from the outside suddenly surrounds her.

Jason had entertained a succession of beautiful women since his rookie year, but none were a substitute for his first relationship, which had ended in tragedy. When he meets his saviour, Christina's gentle spirit reawakens him, and her daughter Mishayla reminds him of the child he could have had.

Jason discovers his girlfriend Sheila is behind the attempt on his life. He breaks off their relationship but Sheila won't let go. Her devotion to drugs and alcohol are second only to her obsession with Jason and his lifestyle. She uses lies, threats and manipulation in trying to get him back.

As Jason's feelings grow toward the widow who saved him, his past threatens not only their happiness, but Christina's innocent daughter as well.

Here is an excerpt:

Jason glanced at the nurse and shifted from one foot to the other. He mumbled something Christina couldn’t quite catch.

She raised her eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

He tried again. “Could I take you out for coffee or lunch or something after you get out of here?” His stage whisper was clearly intended to escape Phil's attention, but the nurse only chuckled and hummed louder.

Christina thought about the phone call. She silently argued with herself, but eventually, curiosity overcame caution. She leaned back on her pillow and said, “Hmmm.”
What the hell, I’m all grown up. I can take whatever comes my way. It’s only coffee...or lunch...or something. "Of course, I'd be delighted."

Jason’s blue eyes lit up. “Great! I’ll give you my number. Or you give me yours. No, you won’t be home yet. I’ll give...” He patted his pockets, searching for something to write on.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere for a while.” His flustered behavior amused and surprised her. Not your typical super jock. “Just drop by again in a few days. We’ll probably have something written down by then.”

He sketched a brief salute and pushed at the door. It didn’t move.

“I think you’re supposed to pull it,” she said, hiding her smile behind her hand. He glanced at her with a shy, embarrassed grin and violently yanked the door open to rejoin his friend.

She glanced across the room at Phil. He raised his eyes innocently to the ceiling and sauntered from the room. Off-key strains of “Love is In the Air” drifted from the hallway before the door closed with a soft clunk.

If you don't win, you'll have another chance at the end of the month on Book Roast.

Okay, let's drop the puck:

1. Give me a unique Canadian word. Example: Toboggan.

2. Who wore No. 99 in the National Hockey League?

3. Give me an alternate name for the Canadian Niagara Falls.

4. What Canadian was known as 'America's Sweetheart?"

5. What famous Canadian actor was born in Newmarket and recently became an American citizen?

6. What is the Canadian term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?

7. Name a Canadian invention.

8. Officially, how old is Canada today? (My son will argue this one.)

9. What is the Canadian word for sofa?

10. What is the alcohol content of typical Canadian beer?

I'll take answers until 9 p.m. Eastern tonight. Come on in, have a beer and a laugh. I'll drop in often. Good luck! For those who don't win, please buy an e-copy of my book. It's easy and inexpensive. If you really like it, you can buy a print version when the real hockey season starts, or at least recommend it to a friend.

Tune in Tomorrow...

... for a contest! Drop by Tuesday, July 1 for some Canada Day fun.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

A Different Bob

No, this isn't about Uncle Bob, my next-door neighbour who sold a skunky pinto to a stranger. This is about a long-time colleague at my newspaper who recently retired after forty years in the Production Department. We put together a fake newspaper all about Bob. I wrote a little article about his fictitious life before his newspaper career, and included Photoshopped versions of him in his 'fabulous' roles. I'm sure he won't mind if I repeat my story here:

Whatever Happened to Bob Greenfield?

Long gone are the days when Robert Greenfield's handsome visage graced the front pages of every newspaper and magazine in the country. Many wonder what this Renaissance man had been up to in the last forty years.

This persistent journalist was fortunate to run into Mr. Greenfield at a local g
arden centre. After much persuasion, Bob agreed to a brief interview. By chance, he happened to have in his possession a fine collection of photographs depicting his glorious past.

Today, he sits on the other side of a battered Formica table at the local Tim Horton's, a cup of coffee cradled in his big hands.

He wasn't always the statuesque specimen he is today. He once enjoyed a lucrative apprenticeship in the Sport of Kings. Yes, folks, he was a jockey. At Saratoga Springs, he started out cleanin
g stalls and soon moved up to apprentice rider. As a youth, he was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time when famed horseman Red Pollock failed to show for a race. Ready in a flash, Bob rode the intrepid Seabiscuit to victory in a key race.

After an unfortunate growth spurt, Mr. Greenfield hitchhiked from Saratoga to the City of Angels, hoping to find his fortune in Hollywood.

Always the lucky dude, he was discovered by the famous agent Duke Diggem while shopping for vegetable seeds at one of California's first garden centres. Diggem signed him on the spot.
Greenfield promptly landed a plum role opposite Debbie Reynolds in the Oscar-winning "Please Don't Eat The Tomato Plants." At
the same time, he starred in the tense detective drama "For Madame With Malice."
His blockbuster year earned him two Oscars.

Bob buried himself in his roles, often performing his own stunts. He kept in shape by participating in various sports like boxing and ice hockey.

He even used his residual funds to finance a trip to Nepal, where he successfully scaled Mount Everest.

His fame and fortune quickly preceded him wherever he went. Whether on the red carpet at a
movie premiere or during dinner at The Longhorn Steakhouse, crowds gathered to ask for autographs. Blinded by flashbulbs and numbed by generous offers to father many babies, Bob found public life increasingly difficult.

When he saw the Hel
p Wanted advertisement in the Era, he gleefully took the welcome plunge into anonymity. For forty years, he quietly produced the pages of the local newspaper, relieved that he was no longer in its headlines. And he's been there ever since.

I finally ask him, "So, Mr. Greenfield, what have you
been up to?"

"Well," he replies in his low drawl, "I kept pretty busy clicking buttons, looking at my computer, going home for a lovely lunch prepared by Mother, and collecting coffee money." He grins. "That is, until today."

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Publishers Weekly

One of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, got a mention in this week's Publisher's Weekly. It's an article about Erotica E-Publishing. You can read it here. Problem is they spelled the Publisher's name wrong. Her name is Rhonda Penders (not Peters) and she's a peach.

Right now I'm going over my galley for Bad Ice (my other publisher), checking for spelling errors. I received it yesterday and was supposed to return my errata report this morning, but I'm forgiven because it was so late. Nonetheless, I'm in a freakin' hurry to finish it so it can be released in time.

I'd better get it done quickly, because on the third week of July, Bad Ice will be featured on the Book Roast! The free book will be either a download or a CD of my book. I'm the guinea pig of the bunch. I'll work out the details later. Don't worry, Roastmaster Phoenix, I'll send my excerpt as soon as I can.

Pardon me if I run!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

I Heart Polo

This morning I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and made fried chicken.

After all, my daughter and I needed a kick-ass picnic for the Polo For Heart tournament. Top teams from North and South America compete for a trophy, and all proceeds go to The Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Today, rain threatened and we almost turned back for home. I remember about five years ago, storms flooded the playing field and the event was canceled. That was the year I went to the auction tent afterward and procured a signed Wendel Clark game stick for a hundred bucks. For those who aren't up on their sports trivia, he was a pretty decent 70's hockey player.

We didn't get washed out today. Just a few sprinkles. Usually I get to sit at the Corporate table on the south side of the field, but this time we received regular passes, so my daughter and I went slumming with the regular patrons on the north side. We dragged a couple of folding chairs and a small patio table onto the grass, shielded from any wayward polo balls by a low hedge. We shoved our little cooler under the table and nibbled on fried chicken, veggie sticks and strawberries.

Normally, I put a lot more thought into the picnic fare for these events. For us, the big prize isn't the trophy for the polo players, it's the privilege of being named 'best picnic'. Patrons go all out, giving themed picnics with props and gourmet meals. Last year's winner was an African Safari with stuffed monkeys, fake zebra rugs and all that jazz.

Someday, when I have a few days to prepare, I'll purloin my mom's ornate brass mishwe dish and cook up a fabulous Mediterranean feast. I'll drape brightly coloured striped fabric all over my picnic area. It'll be in all the social pages.

In the meantime, I'm researching an idea for a future novel. Howzabout a little romantic suspense with a charity polo match as the setting? Hmmmm?

BTW, I've been informed that the e-book relase of Bad Ice is on July 1st. Canada Day! Shall we have a little partay?

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Chris Comes Up With Another Gem

Announcing the Grand Opening of Book Roast, a fun blog where books are served up for a bit of fun promotion and critiquing. This is a tempting expansion of Chris Eldin's already successful Author Week stints. I was a 'Roastee' a few weeks ago, and it was great fun. Drop by to comment! Win prizes!

Did I mention prizes?

Monday, 16 June 2008


Normally, I'm not a big fan of popularity or beauty contests, but I have to tell you that Gawker has its annual Hotties in Publishing Poll up, and one of my favourite agents is in the running. He is a kind and helpful agent who offers great advice on his blog and on Absolute Write. He also received brownie points from me for mentioning my humble name on his blog. Yes, he did reject Bad Ice, but he was right -- it needed more work at the time. I certainly plan to submit to him in the future. Go, Nathan Bransford!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I'll Take Door Number...?

I've been doing a bit of thinking about my path to publication, such that it is. When Stephen Parrish posted my latest book cover on his blog (thanks, Steve!) he mentioned a few lines from The Little Mermaid, ending with, "Wish I could be part of that world."

Sometimes I do feel like a little guppy swimming with the big fishies. Will I be one of them someday? I hope so. My chances increase with the support of people like Stephen,
Chris, Pat, Joanie, John and Bernita... well, the list could go on and on.

Did I pick the right door with my first book? With my second? I'm not here to complain. They might do well (eventually) but they could bomb, too. Some people in the industry dismiss e-publishers and the POD business plan as a bad choice -- that the author is only hurting his or her chances at success. Some say an author seeking representation shouldn't mention their published e-books. How can a small publisher with hundreds of authors give one little book the attention it deserves? How do authors get their books into 'brick and mortar' stores? Are they shooting themselves in the foot?

Maybe. But not always. Some authors are content to be part of a large group, happily releasing e-book after e-book and reaping modest financial rewards. Some e-publishers are successful while others are not. I know a few e-published authors who now have representation with their subsequent books.

I'm no expert on the ins and outs of publishing, so I won't stick my neck out and enter a debate about who's right and who's wrong. I can only tell you what works for me. I don't regret my decision to release my first two novels with e-publishers. They are both terrific companies and they are helping me learn the ins and outs of publishing, promotion and marketing on a modest scale. These strangers told me I don't suck at writing. It gives me motivation to keep trying.

I consider this stage in my writing career to be a growth stage. Some of my writer friends hit the ground running, finding success right out of the gate. I'm simply taking baby steps, sniffing the air and making friends along the way. As long as my writing brings a smile or a tear to a single face, I consider myself a success.

Every writer must choose the door that works best for him or her. Hopefully, it won't be a closet!

It won't be long before I find the key to that big publishing door, and the one beyond that, and the one beyond that.

Then watch me.

Monday, 2 June 2008

A Wee Little Birdie

After my daughter and I returned from our shopping trip, I heard a big thump on our front window. It was a little bird. We peeked downward and it was resting in the grass below the window.

Ten minutes later, it hadn't moved, so Beth and I went outside to check. When I approached and rearranged the grass blades around it, the bird was completely still. I thought it was dead, but it blinked.

I gently picked it up and took it to our apple tree so it could recover while off the ground. Beth ran inside and took a picture of it while it was in my hand. I checked whether it was able to grip my fingers and it was okay.

We let it rest in the crotch between the apple tree branches and took another shot because it was so pretty. It's a Cedar Waxwing.

Back inside, we checked online how to care for birds who have smacked into windows. A few sites suggested putting the bird in a shoebox and into a quiet place for an hour until it recovers. So I grabbed the box from Beth's new shoes and we lined it with paper towels.

When we went back outside to get the bird, it took one look at us and flew away.

We applauded.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

For My Birthday, I Want...

... A puppy, a pony and an agent.

I got this:

Margaritas all around!