Cowboys and babies and SO much more

Image.ashxI’m thrilled to be able to say I read a great book today: Three River Ranch by Roxanne Snopek.

I’m thrilled to say this on a couple levels. Reading a great book is always a thrill, but Roxanne is also a friend of mine. We “met” via an online voice  course taught by the amazing Barbara Samuel and then hooked up in person at the Surrey International Writers Conference a couple years running. Roxanne even did some (excellent) work for my copywriting business.

Naturally, I was happy and excited for her when I heard she’d signed a two-book deal with Entangled Publishing. I promised to read and review her book when it released last fall.

Only I didn’t.

Life happened. Work and family obligations. I read a grand total of three book between September and December. Shameful I know. All were choices for my book club. I felt terrible for not supporting my friend. And you know how it goes. The more time goes by, the more sheepish you feel. The harder it is to get in touch.

Come the New Year and I finally got my reading groove back on. A two week holiday in Mexico helped enormously. I didn’t dive into Three River Ranch, first I confess. I was still feeling guilty, and now, after all this time what if I didn’t like it? TRR was getting smashing reviews on Amazon and Roxanne really didn’t really need me. And to be honest, short form contemporary romance isn’t really my thing.

So I read a couple big, meaty historicals– my usual metier, along with thrillers. Poked into a couple of post-apoc novels because I’ve had an idea of my own in that genre nagging at me and wanted to see what’s been done.

But today I was ready for something new, and there was Three River Ranch on my Kindle.

I started this morning and couldn’t stop until I was done. I’m VERY sorry I waited so long to read it.

This is a terrific book. Roxanne took familiar romance tropes–the cowboy romance and the marriage of convenience–and turned them on their ear.The writing was tight with some wonderful turns of phrase and laugh-out-loud moments. The developing relationship between the two, strong main characters is totally believable as are the obstacles between them.

I was so happy to be able to post an honest four star review for it here .

Even more delighted to see a follow-up book is out now, His Reluctant Rancher.

I won’t wait so long this time to read it!


Still Alive

The photo says it all.

If you check out the right-hand sidebar, you’ll see where I’ve been hiding. Check out that word count, baby!

I got off to a rocky start with NaNoWriMo. A serious cold blew through our house and laid me and the kiddos flat just as the month kicked off. I sat in the front of the computer doped up on Advil Cold and Sinus completely unable to write a bloody word.

It was very discouraging given how I’d prepared. I felt like there was a part of me self-sabotaging myself somehow. I damn near threw in the towel. But I’d publicly declared my intention to do nano and joined an accountability group with SiWC cohorts. I’d be a total loser giving up in the first week. So, I continued to sit there staring at the blinking cursor.

That got boring on day 4, and my head cleared enough for me to get some words on the page. Turned out they were entirely unrelated to the story I’d prepared a synopsis for (that’s a blog post for another day) but I’m having a hell of a good time with it. And that’s what nano’s all about. By day 7 I posted to my group that I’d caught up with the 1667 words a day target. I wrote 3000+ words a day to catch up and was feeling pretty smug.

November 7, my fast draft class with author Candace Havens started and she said you have to write 20 pages a day for the two weeks of this class. And I said, Huh, wh–?? No way, Jose. I’m happy with a consistent 2K+, putting me on track to “win” nano with a buffer built in. I don’t have time to do 20 pages. I NEVER write 20 pages in one sitting. I  can’t . . .”

But she said shut up and do it. And so I’m doing it! Okay I’ve done it three of four days. Grand total as of now (and still writing today) is 70+ pages in four days. This is a major breakthrough for me and I’m thrilled. Sure, there’s a lot of crap in there, but even if half has to go, it’s still beats my normal productivity by a country mile.

So far, the only downside I can see is that I’m never going to be content with a few hundred words a day again. I know now that if I just sit my butt down, turn off my internet and slap some duct tape on the inner critic, I can bang out about 1200 words in an hour. So, given my worst day scenario with the day job and kid commitments, I have no excuse for delivering less than 2K words a day of fairly decent stuff.

I’m going to post again in a couple of days about the breakthroughs I’m having in my process and the major benefits to fast drafting that I’m seeing so far. But for now, I need to get my 20 pages down (and catch up to a certain someone who is kicking my ass in NaNoWriMo).

Photo: Amanda Hatfield