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A Wedding and a White Christmas

A Wedding and a White Christmas

Getting from “I do” to “I don’t” before anyone finds out!

On a whirlwind Christmas visit to Las Vegas, and after a long night of merrymaking, Emily and her best friend, Mark, stumble into an Elvis Chapel and get married.

The next morning she realizes her mistake. Although she loves Mark, and has since childhood, he’s not marriage material.

For Mark, it’s not that he has commitment issues—or any issues, for that matter—but marriage would complicate things. He and Emily are friends and he doesn’t want to mess with that. Besides, he knows Emily is on the rebound. She’s not over her failed engagement to Dan the idiot.

On top of that, there’s Emily’s aunt. Myra doesn’t like Mark and if she learns about this elopement . . . well, let’s just say, there will be no Peace on Earth this Christmas!

 

Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New

When I first published ON THE WAY TO A WEDDING, I had no idea that someday it would become part of a series. I’m calling this series SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW.

Some of the books have weddings in them, some only have the promise of a wedding in the future.

Although I wrote it first, ON THE WAY TO A WEDDING is Book 2 in the series. This story takes place in early June, before the summer solstice, so the season is not officially summer, but it’s close enough. At any rate, this is the “summer” book in the series.

The “winter” story happens first. Ryder has just got engaged and Pro is telling him to get a prenup. Ryder is only a minor character in this story that takes place from the first week of December to Christmas Eve.

If you’ve read ON THE WAY TO A WEDDING, you will meet some of those characters again in Book 1.

All of the books are standalone but if you read them in order you’ll see some of the characters grow and change.

The series is about four friends who met in high school. Pro, Ryder, Logan and Mark. They graduated the same year at Aberton, and then they all went on to the University of Calgary. Logan and Ryder in engineering, Pro in law, and Mark in medicine.

Now Ryder owns a construction company. Pro has his law firm in the Sun Valley Tower. One floor down, Logan has a petroleum exploration company. And Mark is in his final year of residency in orthopedics at the Nose Hill Hospital.

The four friends still meet to ski in the winter or hike in the summer. Sometimes they play squash at the university courts. Sometimes they meet to toss a football in the park.

Covers

Part of doing a series involves creating a set of covers to tie the books together. 

I love my original cover for ON THE WAY TO A WEDDING with that purple lettering. And I like the way the letters slant. I think it suggests a runaway bride.

But the cover needed to change to suit the other titles. Now this cover has green lettering and I love this new font.So this is the new cover for Book 2. 
Book 1 releases this Wednesday, November 1st.

I hope you’ll come and have a look!

August update and some painting

Summer in Calgary is almost over. The indigenous poplars are starting to turn yellow and drop their leaves but the warm weather continues. It’s hot during the day with the temperatures ranging from 27 to 30 Celsius (81 to 86 Fahrenheit). Too hot to walk, at least for me, so I walk at 6 a.m. before the sun is up when the temperature is closer to 10 degrees (50 Fahrenheit). I’m trying to hit my 10,000 steps per day. This is important for a person who spends a lot of her time sitting at a computer.

August has been a busy month. For the first time I attended a local conference for Readers and Writers, called When Words Collide. I liked it so much I am already signed up for next year.

When Words Collide

I also attended the Annual Sylvan Lake Retreat with thirteen other writers from Calgary and Edmonton and surrounding areas. We even had a writer there who came all the way from Keewatin Ontario.

Sylvan Lake Library

Sylvan Lake Library

And, yay me, I finished my latest manuscript. My editor has it now. In the meantime, I am working with my cover artist and finalizing a design. I hope to have the book ready for October. This is the prequel to ON THE WAY TO A WEDDING that I’ve told you about.

Also this month, Rolf and I got to doggie sit Makita for two weeks, while her humans were on vacation.

Makita saying hello to Rolf

Here she is greeting Rolf at McKinnon Flats as he finishes a canoe trip on the Bow River. She is such a happy dog, but I know she missed her humans and she was happy to be reunited with them.

Makita missing her humans

We don’t have a cat because Rolf is allergic to them, but apparently cats have the same attachment needs as dogs.

Bourbon the cat

A friend of mine wrote a beautiful (and funny) article about her experiences with fostering cats. I think you’d enjoy reading it. You can find it here.

On August 21st, I watched the partial eclipse of the sun with my son Kyle. Here we are using his welding helmets.

Suzanne and Kyle, eclipse watching

Kyle somehow managed to get this shot of me – watching the eclipse, with a jet stream in the sky, while he was holding the “pin hole” and reflecting the stage of the eclipse off my shirt. Pretty cool, eh?

See the “pin hole” image of the eclipse on my shirt?

As this month ends, I am edging into a new story. It will be book three of my Wedding series. While part of my mind works on that in the background, I am taking a watercolour course. At this point, I am mostly learning about paints and brushes and papers. And I still enjoy playing with acrylics.

For no other reason than it seemed like fun, I decided to paint this Sun and Moon. Someone threw it out and I figured it could use some brightening. And of course one person’s trash is another person’s treasure . . .

start with this

paint the sun yellow and decide I don’t like it . . .

so paint the whole thing white . . .

then another coat of yellow for Mr. Sun and a first coat for the stars . . .

some blue for the moon . . .

a darker blue for the moon, a bit of detailing . . .

a couple coats of varnish and put it in the garden!

And that’s it for August. How has your summer been?

CARWA Workshop with Megan Long and Adam Dreece

On Saturday, October 15th, I attended a workshop put on by my local RWA chapter. We had two presenters: Megan Long, an associate editor at Harlequin, and Adam Dreece, a local author and public speaker.

Shaa Dickson, Suzanne Stengl, Win Day, Janice HarvieHere I am with some of my writer friends, Shaa Dickson, Win Day and Janice Harvie.

For more pictures of the workshop, go here.

In the morning, Megan gave her talk on “How to be a Hybrid Super Author”. Hybrid means you publish both independently and with a traditional publisher. She followed that presentation with “Love in the Mix: Genre Blending in Romance”. Megan took pitches in the afternoon.

For once, I did not pitch. I’m too busy with my indie publishing right now, but I’m thinking, maybe down the road, I’ll send something to Megan. I would love to publish with Harlequin for two reasons: I know they have fantastic editors, and I would love to attend the Harlequin Party at Nationals!

For now, I’m taking care of the final details for my next book—The Thurston Heirloom—which will be released on Thursday, November 24th.

For the afternoon session, Adam Dreece presented his popular workshop, “The Author’s Final Frontier” and he talked to us about brand, social media and everything you need to know about having a successful book signing.

I haven’t had a book signing. Not yet, anyway. Maybe I will host one, once I get my first six books published.

The workshop was held at CARWA’s usual meeting spot, the Highland Park Community Centre. It’s a large, bright room. There’s a  kitchen and the parking is free. It’s also easy to find and easily accessed off the main roads. The event was catered by An Affair to Remember with a selection of sandwiches, and we also had fruit and veggies.   

In an effort to reduce, reuse, recycle, we asked everyone to LUG A MUG.

And they did. Here are some of the mugs that showed up at the event.

mugs

mugs

mugs

mugs

mugs

mugs

Thank you to all the mugs that attended!

On a particularly trying day . . .

On a particularly trying day . . .

It is a particularly trying day when—

—The string on my pretty new blue bead necklace breaks.
—My computer will not update.
—I didn’t sleep all night because I’m worried about a writing project.
—I’m out of milk for my tea. (Never mind milk, the fridge is empty.)
—And nobody cares what I think of semicolons except maybe Kurt Vonnegut.

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
—Kurt Vonnegut

Besides the semicolons, there are the redundant adjectives, the poorly used past progressive and the misplaced modifiers. On this kind of day, I am reminded of the Principal’s Song and I can go to the garden to eat worms.

The Principal’s Song (aka Nobody Likes Me)

Nobody likes me,
everybody hates me,
I’m going to the garden to eat worms.

Long thin slimy ones,
short fat fuzzy ones,
ooey gooey gooey gooey worms.

The long thin slimy ones
slip down easily.
The short fat fuzzy ones
Stick!

When the short fat fuzzy ones
Stick to your teeth,
Your blood goes
Yuck!

So you bite off their heads
and spit out their tails
and throw the skins away.

And nobody knows
how I can survive
on a hundred worms a day!

Besides eating worms, I can toss my tangled mess of a fairy garden and start over.

This involves going to the Sunnyside Greenhouse. Here, I can walk around, calmly watch the Koi in the pond, talk to the parrot, take in the greenery and the ideas. After that I can bring home some new fairy garden plants.

Variegated Basket Grass, Polka Dot Plant, Creeping Thyme, Blue Star Creeper, Blue Moneywort, Pink Cranesbill

Variegated Basket Grass, Polka Dot Plant, Creeping Thyme, Blue Star Creeper, Blue Moneywort, Pink Cranesbill

A quick stop at Starbucks on the way home for an iced coffee and my mood is already lifting.

for a particularly trying day

What works for you on a particularly trying day? Have you planted a fairy garden recently? Do you think iced coffees help put the world in perspective? Are you annoyed by semicolons?