RWA 2015 in NYC - Giveaway Winners!

Sincere thanks to everyone who stopped by at the Harlequin book signing at the RWA conference in NYC last Friday. It was wonderful to meet so many people.

I am pleased to announce the winners of my giveaway. The following five people will each receive a copy of my October release, When the Right One Comes Along, the first book in my K-9 Trilogy, as well as a $20 Amazon gift card:

  • Janet Rodman,
  • Elizabeth Leary,
  • Priscilla Kissinger,
  • Toni Zander, and
  • Jennifer Butler.

Congratulations, ladies!

              

A Spring Fling Giveaway

Join Me and Other Harlequin Authors in Celebrating Our New Releases . . . and the End of Winter!

With spring and our April and May releases to celebrate, what better way to do it than with our readers? In this spirit, we’ve come up with a fun idea.

First, here are the beautiful covers of our April and May books, including my May 1st release, The Truth About Hope . . .

Here’s what we are doing to warm your heart and chase away any lingering winter blahs. All eight Heartwarming authors with April and May releases have teamed up to offer two prize packs of four books each. We will also give away one grand prize consisting of all eight books and a stunning mix of “ever-blooming” spring garden flowers, for use indoors or out. These are gifts you can enjoy time and again, as you can read our books over and over, and the flowers won’t fade when winter threatens, since they’re steel, painted in bright colors.

Flower photos and “ever-blooming” flowers from Gardener’s Supply Company (http://www.gardeners.com/

Now if that isn’t enough, we have a bonus book for each prize pack. Harlequin MIRA and Harlequin Intrigue author Elizabeth Heiter will include one of her recent releases—winner’s choice—in each of the prize packs.

There are three exciting prize packs waiting to be won. The contest runs from April 12th to April 25th. Visit the Harlequin Heartwarming blog before April 25th to learn about the ways you can enter. The more often you enter, the better your chances of winning!

Happy spring . . . and happy reading!

 

(Please note, prize packs can only be shipped to a continental US or Canadian address. International winners will receive the books only, in e-book format.)

Would you like to participate in a Heartwarming Spring Fling?

Most places in North America experienced a longer and harsher winter than usual. Ontario was no exception.

This year, we had snow on the ground in October (!), and it persisted all winter.

Personally, I missed the sunshine. Many days were dreary, gray and with temperatures as low as –40°C with the wind chill, darn cold! (Coincidentally, –40°C is also –40°F.)

Although I’m not a fan of slushy, dirty snow in the city, at our cottage the pristine, glistening blanket of white can be very appealing.

But this year, even there we seemed to get less sunshine than normal.

On the plus side, except for a few of the coldest days, our dogs weren't deterred from playing Frisbee.

Still, I’m happy that spring is only days away. I think fondly of the perennial gardens at our cottage.

With spring and my May 1st Harlequin Heartwarming release, THE TRUTH ABOUT HOPE, in mind, I’ve been thinking about how best to celebrate both these events. I consulted with a few of my fellow Heartwarming authors with upcoming releases, and we came up with a fun idea. What better way to celebrate spring and our spring releases than with our readers!

First, let me profile some of the beautiful covers of the April and May books from some of the participating authors . . .

And here’s what we have planned: We will give away a grand prize of seven books and . . . wait for it . . . the makings for a spring perennial garden! We might even add some additional prizes of single books.


Watch for our Sunday, April 12th post on the Heartwarming blog announcing the contest and how you can enter to win.

Happy (almost) spring . . . and happy reading!

Kate

 

In Remembrance . . .

As we approach Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the United States, I write this post with immense gratitude to all those who serve and have served our countries. Who will you remember on November 11th?

In Memory of Master Corporal Mark Robert Isfeld 
Born on August 14, 1962 
Killed removing landmines on June 21, 1994 
Peacekeeping in Croatia with 1 COMBAT ENGINEER REGIMENT Canadian Military Engineers 

During peacekeeping tours in Kuwait and Croatia, Master Corporal Mark "Izzy" Isfeld, from British Columbia, worked clearing land mines in war-torn countries. While there, he also gave out little handmade dolls crocheted by his mother, Carol, to help calm frightened local children. Tragically, Mark lost his life in a land-mine explosion in Croatia in 1994. Since his death, people across Canada have continued to make and donate "Izzy" dolls for Canadian soldiers to give to children. There is a sculpture in his memory.[1]

I was fortunate to be able to be a small part of making the sculpture a reality and to be present for the dedication ceremony. The statue is of a peacekeeper presenting an Izzy doll to a child.

When Master Corporal Isfeld’s mother took the podium at the ceremony and read the poem she had written in memory of her son, there wasn’t a dry eye among those of us present. I would like to share Mrs. Isfeld’s poem with you here.

                         "Izzy Doll"

poem.jpg

I had the privilege of speaking with Mrs. Isfeld after the ceremony. She honored me by presenting me with an Izzy doll. The photograph below is of my Izzy doll sitting in front of a framed copy of Mrs. Isfeld’s poem. Although it’s hard to make out, the picture in the top right hand corner is of the doll lying in the rubble. This would not have been one doll of many that our children may be accustomed to, but likely the only toy this little girl may have had. It clearly resonated with Master Corporal Isfeld, and through his actions, his mother’s  and those of countless others, small children in war-torn countries are given a reason to smile.

izzy doll poem.jpg

I have been blessed to personally meet many members of our military, veterans and peacekeepers. I can hardly begin to express my gratitude to them. I wish I could share with you the many more stories that have been told to me. Even more, I wish we could live in a world where peace could prevail and the stories could be ancient history.

         My husband, Ken, and I honoring veterans at a Remembrance Day dinner.

        My husband, Ken, and I honoring veterans at a Remembrance Day dinner.

They are our grandfathers, fathers, brothers, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, neighbours . . . and heroes, and we can never thank them enough. Their courage, service and sacrifices keep us strong, proud and free.[2]

 

 

[1] From the Veterans Affairs Canada Website

[2] From the Veterans Affairs Canada Website (modified)

A Dog's Life

My husband and I met because of our love of dogs and . . . well . . . because of the dogs we loved. Our blended family consisted of our Alaskan Malamute, Casper, German Shepherd, Kylie, and yellow Labrador Retriever, Buster.

 Buster, Casper and Kylie

Buster, Casper and Kylie

It was heart wrenching when we had to say goodbye to them one by one over the past few years. We didn't think we were ready to add to our family again, but two young black Labs proved us wrong.

 Logan and Harley

Logan and Harley

They came into our lives unplanned. They were fourteen and sixteen months respectively when we first met them, intelligent and with great temperaments. They'd been held back by the breeder for show and breeding, but she'd decided to sell them. Looking into their adoring chocolate-brown eyes, we knew instantly that their forever home would be with us.

It was my editor, Paula Eykelhof, who first commented on how wonderful it was that we had brought these rescue dogs into our lives. I protested that they weren't rescue dogs. After all, they had been cared for and never abused. But, as with most things, Paula was right. Having lived their entire lives in kennels, their behaviors told their own story as we gradually introduced them to the big wide world.

I have never crated a dog before, but Harley and Logan needed the comfort and security. Over a year later, they still love to spend time in their kennels, but they prefer to curl up, or stretch out, together in one kennel.

They have their own cushy beds in our bedroom, but still tend to share one. And, yes, they like to sleep on their backs . . . or on top of each other.

And during the day, they seek out the warmth of the sunshine and snuggle.

Logan can't bear to be without us and would love to be able to curl up in our laps.

Harley sees a butterfly (or anything resembling one) and a little switch trips in his head and all else ceases to exist in his world.

Logan's need to be close has results in a damaged laptop screen. (I'll spare you the details!)

Yes, that's a tooth mark on the left middle.

Harley's predilection for chasing butterflies has caused more than a few trampled perennials.

 Before

Before

 After

After

Here is a video clip of Harley at our cottage. You'll hear my husband's voice after Harley catches a Frisbee but abandons the game to pursue a butterfly: http://youtu.be/MwRVhfIdMSQ. Clearly, Harley does not yet consistently heed his master's voice . . . it's that little switch thing! ;-)

Harley and Logan have come so far in the year they have been with us, and continue to delight us each and every day. A computer screen is easily replaced and perennials grow back, but the unconditional love and affection they bring into our lives is limitless and unparalleled.

Do you have an animal story you would like to share? Please leave a comment here or tweet me a picture @KateJamesBooks

Happy reading!

Kate

Are You an Aspiring Author in Need of Encouragement?

I read a statistic some time ago that over eighty percent of North Americans "have a book in them". More recently, I remember hearing a report on the radio that when asked what their dream profession was, the number one response from Canadian women surveyed was "author". Based on the statistics, I expect at least a portion of our readers of this blog may be aspiring authors.

And why not? How many of us can spend most of our working hours living in a dream world of our own making!

The simple laws of supply and demand—a huge number of people wishing to be published versus a much more selective process for publishers to acquire debut authors—means the odds of getting published are ever more daunting. It's easy to see why so many aspiring, talented authors may get discouraged. The fact is, if you have a passion for writing and don't keep trying, you will never know if you could have succeeded.

I have been conducting author interviews, and one of the questions I have asked is what advice these successful authors have for aspiring authors. I believe the responses can be words of inspiration for any of us—published or not. I would like to share some of the responses with you.

 Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak

From Brenda Novak [New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne and the Holt Medallion. Brenda is also RITA finalist and  Booksellers’ Best finalist for Home to Whiskey Creek.]:

"Believe! If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, you will do everything necessary to succeed. It’s also important to realize that every path is different. I know so many authors who were frustrated a few years ago. They just couldn’t get ahead in publishing. Then the digital revolution came along, they self-published the books they hadn’t been able to sell to New York and have made millions. You just never know what is right around the next corner—it might be your lucky break."

You can read Brenda's full interview at: Brenda's Interview

 Tara Taylor Quinn

Tara Taylor Quinn

From Tara Taylor Quinn [An author of more than 65 novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with more than seven million copies sold. Tara won the Reader’s Choice Award, is a four time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, a multiple finalist for the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award, and has appeared often on local and national TV including CBS Sunday Morning.]:

"My advice is the same now as it has always been. If you need to write, do it for yourself.  Write the book. Make yourself sit in the chair and type. Do not let your internal editor speak a word until the book is done. Same goes for the inner critic. Just sit and write. When you have a product, then look at content, at the necessity for edits.

Then figure out what to do with it. If you want to sell it, get your work out there. And if it comes back, learn, make it what it needs to be or start on another project, and get it out there again. And again. As many times as it takes.

 Bottom line, if you want to be a writer, write. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever let someone else tell you you can’t. Just write."

 You can read Tara's full interview at: Tara's Interview

 Elizabeth Heiter

Elizabeth Heiter

 From Elizabeth Heiter [Elizabeth's debut novel, Hunted, has been getting very positive response and is already translated in a number of languages. She had originally contracted for five books with Harlequin and has just got another contract for another two. We happen to share the same editor, the amazing Paula Eykelhof!]:

"My best advice for aspiring authors is the advice I received myself before I published. I attended a book signing many years ago of Suzanne Brockmann’s. To paraphrase, she told me, “the difference between an unpublished writer and a published author is perseverance.”  For years, I had that quote pinned up on my inspiration board. Beyond that, I think the best advice is to join a writer’s organization, find a critique partner you can trust, and never stop trying to improve your craft."

 You can read Elizabeth's full interview at: Elizabeth's Interview

 Rula Sinara

Rula Sinara

And last but by no means least, I also had the opportunity to interview Heartwarming author, Rula Sinara. Although I did not ask her this same question, The Promise of Rain is her debut novel and you will likely find her journey to getting published inspirational.

You can read Rula's full interview at: Rula's Interview

If you are an aspiring author in need of encouragement, I hope you found some in one of the above excerpts. In summary, believe, focus and persevere!

Now, I have a questions for you:

Published or not, what inspires you to keep writing?

Please leave your answer in the comment section below.

Happy reading or writing!

Kate

My Next Release and More

For those of us who struggled through a long, hard winter, isn't it wonderful to finally be able to appreciate the sunshine and warm weather?

On the writing front, I have lots of news to share. As I noted previously, I am extremely fortunate to be writing for Harlequin and be able to work with two extraordinary ladies: Paula Eykelhof and Victoria Curran. My first book for Harlequin Heartwarming, A Child's Christmas, is in the final stages of preparation for a November 2014 release. I haven't seen the cover yet, but if you have seen some of the truly beautiful Heartwarming covers, you can imagine how excited I am to see it. I finished the first draft of my manuscript for my second Heartwarming book, and I am working on the first edit. 

I love being associated with Harlequin.  They have an exceptional team and provide tremendous support to their authors. I am also grateful for the warm reception and generous support I have received from other Harlequin authors. None of this would be possible without your support . . . thank you very much!

If you haven't already done so, you might enjoy visiting the Harlequin Heartwarming authors' blog. There's a new post every day. It's a great way to get to know some of your favorite authors. My next post will appear on June 18th. If you get a chance to visit, please do leave a comment for me or any of the other authors. We love hearing from you!

As I write this update, I am sitting on our patio enjoying the spectacular view we are blessed with.

writing view.jpg

I noted at the beginning of this post how beautiful the weather has been. That means I have been able to spend lots of time working in our gardens. Since I have worked hard and I am pleased with the results, I thought I would share a few pictures with you.

I hope you are enjoying spring as much as I am. I wish you much love and happiness!

Kate