Meanwhile, I am surrounded by boxes! This past week my husband and I moved out of the home we've lived in for fifteen years and are now the proud owners of a brand new and very lovely townhouse/condo. Here's something - on the day of the move I put some "Very Important Papers" - my checkbook and a few other 'important' things in a 'special' place so I wouldn't lose them in the move. You guessed it! I have no idea where that special place is!
Well, I'm back but it won't be for long. I am one busy writer. And the more I take on, the more I'm asked to do so it doesn't look as if it will get any better in the near future. I have one book coming out in August, another in October, another in December, then so far, 2 in 2009 and four more to finish. Two of those are due in September of this year so we aren't taking much of a vacation until I get those done.
It's been hot here in the Ozarks but I'm pretty comfy in front of my computer. All I have to do is stay away from the cookies and find a way to exercise while I work. The veggies are ripening and that's always a summer bonus I enjoy, too. And my flowers are beautiful. If I can manage it, I'll post a picture or two. If not, you'll have to use your imaginations!
Sorry to have been incommunicado for so long but I'm just plum tuckered out.
Well, I see the pictures ended up first but considering the trouble I usually have with computers, I figure I'd better leave them right where they landed!
Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at http://www.gailmartin.com/. (Don't forget to double click the photos for a larger view, then use your back button to return to the blog.)
If you've ever longed for a romantic getaway, I've found the place. During our trip from Florida back home to Michigan, we decided to spend the night at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. This was the original Chattanooga Depot and is now a wonderful spot to enjoy many hours.
Although they have three hotels connected with this location, we opted to stay in an old train car which has been made into an amazing Victorian bedroom with all the modern conveniences. Notice the lovely decor but also the authentic luggage racks near the ceiling with the individual lights.
In this view, you can see the hallway that leads to the entrance and the bathroom. Can't you just image being swept away on an amazing journey in a place like this.
Besides the interesting bedroom cars, they have a restaurant called Dinner in the Diner. It's set around white gazebo and small tables like a garden party. It's a dining car with 50s decor and another lovely place called The Garden where we had breakfast. You can also enjoy a real garden which feature elegant flower beds and flowering trees, fountains and gazebos. We wandered around before dinner and after our meal we sat in the garden and had an ice cream cone.
We opted for dinner at the Station House which was once the baggage storage area. Besides a great meal, they have continual entertainment from the wait-staff who sing all kinds of music in duets, solos, and small groups, music most would love from romantic love songs to folk music to Christian gospel. You can't go wrong.
The next morning it was time to say goodbye. Don't miss this romantic trip if you ever get to Chattanooga. Lovely surroundings, history, music, good food, and the chance to sleep in an old train car decorated like a Victorian bedroom. Nothing wrong with that. Isn't life all about romance?
I just love it when I hear from readers. Truly. Every time I get an email I'm all giddy that someone has read one of my books.
Since my next release is Her Only Protector, I've been thrilled to hear from the bookclub readers who've already read the book and couldn't wait to email me to tell me how they liked it. I'm also surprised at how many people are still picking up a copy of Cradle of Secrets and writing me to tell me they enjoyed the book. They're always thrilled to know they won't have to wait long for the sequel. Just a few weeks and Her Only Protector will be hitting the bookstore shelves.
Which brings me to the backlists and ebooks subject line of my post. As many readers know, Steeple Hill books are available in paperback for just one month on the bookstore shelves. If you happen to find a great author or a series you love mid-way through the series, it's hard to go back and find those first books unless you can get them at a used bookstore. But not anymore.
All Steeple Hill books are available on EBOOK! So it doesn't matter if you miss a couple of books from a great author. You can always go back and purchase an ebook to download to either the Kindle or some other software platform. These ebooks can be read on your computer, a PDA or ebook reader.
I have to be honest with you. I love the feel of a paperback book in my hands, love to turn the pages and look at the cover. But I also love the idea of being able to load a ton of books on one device and store it there. I have a friend who just emailed me to tell me she won a Kindle in a contest. I must admit that I'm green with envy. But alas I can't justify purchasing another device to read ebooks since I already have one. I still have my old Rocket Ebook Reader that I purchased 10 years ago! While not as light and easy to use as the Kindle and certain not able to hold as many books, the Rocket is a great little device to load 8-10 books on as well as my own manuscripts for editing and final read throughs.
My point (and yes, I do have one) is that I love that technology has given us choices. I no longer have to hunt down a book I missed when it was on the shelf. I can buy an ebook from a new favorite author. And I no longer have to choose which books to bring with me on a trip because I can't fit them all in my suitcase on one device. I can bring enough books to last me an entire vacation! (I love reading while I'm camping. And the Rocket is great for night reading since I don't have to hold a flashlight and a book at the same time!)
I'd love to know your thoughts on ebooks and ebook devices. And if you're one of the lucky readers who has a Kindle, let me know what you think. I have a feeling, despite the fact that I still love my Rocket, that the Kindle may go on my Christmas List.
This is a slideshow of my vacation to Curacao this past week. I had a great time. The people were friendly and welcoming. I mostly sat on the beach or at the pool. I lived in my bathing suit most days except when we took a tour of the island. In the pictures of the capital Williamstad you can see the Dutch influence. This island is only 35 miles from Venezuela. It is arid and cacti are everywhere. I thought I was in Arizona there for a while. So it wasn't any surprise that it didn't rain on us while we were there.
The local language is Papiamentu (a mixture of many language from Dutch to Spanish to African to English), but a lot of the people speak Dutch, English and Spanish. I never had trouble communicating while I was there.
The trade winds blow almost all the time--our tour guide said 360 days out of the year. When the wind dies down, everything shuts down. School is called off. Businesses are closed. I was glad the wind was blowing or it would have been VERY hot.
The water is beautiful (I have several pictures of it) and the diving is great in this area--although all I did was snorkel.
The older man is my husband, Mike. The younger one was our tour guide (I have a picture of him at the blow hole on the north side of the island). He was so interesting with lots of information about Curacao. And he wasn't that bad to look at either.
The best thing I saw was the salt flats where flamingoes could be seen. They come to have their babies before going back to South America. I would have had a picture of some except they were too far away to really tell what they were with my camera. The one chance I had for a close up I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to take the picture. The flamingo flew away and it was beautiful to watch him fly (first time for me to see in real life).
I am very curious to see what reader response I get to my latest, A Dry Creek Courtship, because the heroine and hero are in their mid-seventies.
I know sometimes a romance novel will venture into the fifties with their characters, but I think it's rare to go older than that. I hesitated when the Steeple Hill editors suggested (strongly) that I do the story of these two long-term secondary characters (Mrs. Hargrove and Charlie). Do any of you know of other romances that have characters in their seventies (or eighties)? Do you think readers will welcome that age group? Do you as a reader want to read romances about people who are older than you?
There’s a new technology out and it’s not the Iphone. It’s a refrigerator that will order your groceries for you. Okay, I’m not afraid to tell you that I’m a bit skeptical here. How does it know what you’re using up? I’m betting you have to tell it. That’s all well and good, if you like the extra work it’ll no doubt bring, but what it should be doing is scanning you to see what exactly you’re eating. I mean, I have a teenaged boy. And he has friends. I rarely have enough milk in the house and sugary cereals are an endangered species here. And I know my son. He’ll be opening this new fridge door and saying to it, "I’m taking a carrot now. We have only three left." Meanwhile, he’s helping himself to the last half of pie. I’d be inundated with carrots before the week’s out, if this fridge believes my son and calls in an order of carrots to the local Co-op. Now, what the refrigerator should do is scan the kid. It should use one of those beams we see on Star Trek and yell out in a loud voice, or better still, announce it on an in-house PA, "You are not taking a carrot. You are eating all the pie. Back away from the refrigerator. I say again, back away from the refrigerator." Or wave its arms around yelling, "Danger, Will Robinson, danger! All the pie is being eaten! Danger! Danger!" Then grab the offending teenaged boy (because it’s not necessarily going to be my own,) and hold on until an adult can come to pry the pie out of his hands. You know, this could work for dieters, too. You simply program into the fridge what you should eat and it simply won’t let you reach for pie, but rather grab you with those flex hose pipe arms and not let go. Why, you could work up a nice cardio routine fighting it off, and speed and agility too, trying to get the pie out of the fridge before it grabbed you. Of course, your teenaged boy and his friends would consider the whole food grab a challenge. They do, after all, have a computer game experience. Or they could just reprogram the fridge. You’d catch on pretty quickly though, when you opened the fridge for supper’s nutritious salad and it said something cheeky to you like, "Enter password within five seconds or this refrigerator will self-destruct." Oh, yes, self-replenishing refrigerators are fine, but those scientists should be working on getting teenagers to eat three meals a day, all nutritious, with no snacking. Now, that’s technology worth buying. Have a nutritious day!
I am so jazzed. I don't know if everyone saw this notice on eHarlequin so I am re-posting it. What does everyone think? Imagine having interactive Steeple Hill titles! I am hoping that the sentence at the end about these books being available in many of the Harlequin series includes us!
TORONTO, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Harlequin Enterprises Limited (http://www.eharlequin.com/), the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, announced today the launch of their Enriched Edition eBooks. With this launch, Harlequin becomes the first publisher to offer entire eBooks that are enriched with interactive buttons that hyperlink to Web sites with more information about the content. The launch title, UNMASKED, a Regency-set historical available from www.eBooks.eHarlequin.com, has been enriched with interactive buttons that hyperlink to Web sites containing photos, historical commentaries, illustrations, sound effects, maps, articles and more, bringing the world of the novel to life without the reader having to leave the computer or the current screen page. The interactive buttons have been designed to be unobtrusive, so if one prefers not to access the bonus material, the reading experience remains uninterrupted. By exploiting the interactive possibilities inherent with eBooks, Harlequin is recognizing the opportunity for online reading to enhance the reading experience, evolving it above and beyond the replication of print books. Harlequin will release select Enriched Edition titles from its many series and imprints, but chose to launch with a historical release since the period setting particularly lends itself to the enriched experience. Obscure period details, customs, terms and references become instantly accessible should the reader wish to learn more about the story's context. Enriched Edition eBooks are available at www.eBooks.eHarlequin.com and are being sold at the same price as regular eBooks.
Every year the Romance Writer's of America have a conference and this year it's in San Francisco at the end of July. Thousands of writers, editors and agents come together for these few days. In addition to taking part in the Steeple Hill meetings, one of my most fun goals in attending is to get to know other authors better. If you're going to the conference, what do you hope to do?
This time yesterday, I was deep in my writing. I had to get some synopses done for my editor and was determined to do just that. But we’d planned some fun activities for later. Being Canada Day, we were going to take in the fireworks in the nearest town, but at supper, I finally had some down time and watched the news. A whale had died and been washed in with the tide, down in Slacks Cove, near Rockport, New Brunswick. Since this wasn’t far from us, we decided to check it out. So did half the town, too. It was big, but by far, the smell was more intimidating. I touched it, and found it smooth, rubbery, and very cold. It had been a bit battered after it had died, and I tried to identify it. A small fin whale or a sei whale, maybe. I’m not up on my whales, I’m afraid. But there didn’t appear to be anything I could see that may have killed it. Perhaps, we can hope, it was just old age. It’s amazing to see how the tide had washed it in. At 12 metres long, it would take some doing, a testament to the power of the sea. Which was now returning. Time to leave. Then of course, came the fireworks we’d looked forward to seeing all day. My hubby had packed some snacks for us, and when we got there, we stayed in our car until dark. And until we discovered my son, being the one in the far back seat and closest to the cooler, had eaten the huge chocolate bar his dad had slipped into the cooler for later. So all we had was water and popcorn. Good for the diet I had put us both on, I suppose. The fireworks were wonderful and we even got out of the parking lot without delay. Then we came home to find we’d left the garage door open, and four stray kittens had decided to make it home for the night. I didn’t want them in there, so my daughter and I had to chase them out. Not an easy task. Corralling kittens in a messy garage is much like trying to hold a child who wants to be put down. Simply impossible and not unlike the fireworks we’d just seen. We did our best and thinking the kittens were gone, closed it up and went inside. I did, however, peek out to see the kittens chasing one of those huge lunar moths. Unfortunately for the moth, the mum caught it and dashed off. She returned a few minutes later licking her lips. I'd seen enough, so I went to bed. This morning, after my husband and my daughter had left for work, I saw two of the kittens curled up in the middle of the driveway. Feeling compassion, I mixed up a slurry of warm cat food, kibble, and homemade unsalted chicken broth, and took it out to them. And the regular gang of adult cats came running to help these little darlings eat the food. Feeling a bit piqued, I glanced around. And saw a gopher. Not a big one, but one curious enough to waddle out from under the trailer. It wasn’t until I heard the neighbor start up his lawn tractor that I realized that it was the one from under his shed, and he’d been temporarily evicted. I guess it wasn’t my delicious concoction of mixed cat foods that lured him out. My morning of housework wasn’t happening, and wasn’t soon to happen, as I walked past the garage, and heard a faint meowing. I opened the door and discovered yet another kitten inside. One I was sure I’d chased out last night. And as one would expect, he wasn’t ready to escape out the door yet. Under the pile of junk in the corner was much safer. I refuse to feed it. I don’t want it to become comfortable in my garage. I put garbage out there, and don’t want to clean that up every morning. I’d have to wait for my son to rise in order to get even attempt to get this one out. But look what had happened to us in the last day. A trip to see, and smell, a whale up close, fireworks, in town and in our garage, and one curious, not to mention miffed gopher. We’d seen it all. What on earth could today bring?