Dec 24 2011

Donna Alward

Meet Donna Alward!

Donna Alward has the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mother and romance novelist. In 2001 she penned her first novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript, and now writes heartwarming Romances from her home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Donna loves to hear from readers; you can contact her through her website at www.donnaalward.com or through her publisher.

First question:

Eggnog or Mimosas? Are you old enough to drink? Mimosas! And sadly, yes. I am old enough.

We’re also taking pictures with Santa, did you bring a gift for him? (Maybe a new release or a pretty book cover…) I’m a last minute shopper…I’m still waiting on some lovely new artwork!

Blurb:

The last thing she needs is a hero…

First Responders, Book 1

Paramedic Gabe Brennan’s job is saving lives. When he witnesses an accident and rushes in to help, the victim brings back memories of the night that marked him forever. The night he almost couldn’t save his best friend, Brandon. Brandon’s sister is in the car. She’s pregnant. And his longing for her is just as sharp as ever.

Carly’s never been so glad to see a friendly face. Gabe’s gallant rescue—and the gentle kiss he bestows upon her at the hospital—resurrect feelings she buried long ago. Having just closed the book on a crumbling marriage, she’s not too keen on opening herself up to hurt again. Not even for the one man who’s always seemed to be there when she needed him most.

Gabe knows he shouldn’t be falling for Carly, especially since she insists she’s off the market. But the chemistry still simmering between them after all these years is no accident. Now all he has to do is convince her she belongs in the empty space he’s always held open for her. The one next to his heart…

Please enter. Drinks are served by the elves in the corner.

What’s your favorite holiday and why? Christmas. It’s happy, it’s colourful. I get downtime with my family that is longer than a long weekend. Plus there’s all the food and good music. What’s not to love?

Did you ask Santa for anything good?  I’m not very adventurous – I asked for a new can opener. An electric one. J

What’s your favorite place to spend the holidays? HOME! No question. We’re spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s hanging with a few friends, but mostly laying around in our sleep pants playing rock band and eating turkey leftovers. It’s perfect.

What is your favorite Christmas memory? There are lots so I probably don’t come up with the same one twice, but right now I’m remembering the first Christmas I spent with my husband (who was then my boyfriend). He gave me a little ring and a tin of pecan caramel clusters. The tin had tigers on it. It was an important time, that first Christmas! This year is our 21st!

Do you have personal resolutions for the New Years? Anything interesting?  I do, actually. I’ve spent the last several years with a huge TBR and a sense of dissatisfaction because I don’t often get to read the books I REALLY want to read. So in 2011 I’m being utterly selfish in my reading and catching up on series I’ve been dying to get into. I’ve got The Hunger Games trilogy ready to go as well as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series AND the Game of Thrones series. I have a bunch of Sherryl Woods books too…I am dying to finish her Chesapeake Shores series.

Why do you write romance? For the happy endings. Because in a world where I’m in control (the book) people may suffer but they triumph in the end. They WIN. They lay their inner demons to rest and find happiness and I think that’s awesome.

How long have you been writing for? And how would you describe your publication journey? I’ve been writing just over 10 years. Five of that was unpublished, but I loved it so I kept writing and submitting. Since 2006 I’ve sold 21 books and I’m working on my 22nd.

Are you a plotter or pantser? What is your routine? Pantser. I discover things as I go along, and I often know my characters but other than a few key scenes I don’t know how the story is going to unfold. Sometimes what I think about characters sounds good in the beginning but doesn’t hold up in the writing and I have to explore a different angle. It can be a bit of trial and error, and I know people will say that pre-planning takes that trial and error step out, but for me it doesn’t work. I’ve learned to trust my process because it works for me, and that’s all that really matters.

What characteristics do all your heroes/heroines have in all your stories? My heroes tend to be a bit brooding, and might be a bit damaged too – either physically or emotionally. And they’re pretty much all tall, virile men. I like tall men.  I’m 5’8” so a good pair of heels puts me close to six feet. I like that my husband is 6’1” and I’m never taller than he is. LOL! My heroines are generally nurturers and looking for a place where they belong.

What writing resources do you abide by as a writer? I’m horribly bad at this. I read a book on craft, and then absorb the inspiration and put it back on the shelf. I think it’s the pantser part of me. I don’t use One Note or Scrivener or any of those tools. I sit down, open a document, type Chapter One and go from there.

What advice would you give aspiring authors? Keep writing, full stop. You can take all the workshops in the world but unless you’re applying them to manuscripts (yes, plural!), it won’t matter a damn. Write, submit, write another, submit…It’s the only way to really develop your voice and skills.

What are you working on right now? I’m winding up a holiday story that will be coming from Harlequin Romance next November. It’s the middle book in a trilogy by Fiona Harper, me, and Shirley Jump.

What news would you like to share with your readers? My next release is a reprint – Marriage at Circle M is out in March in THEN AND NOW which is a reprint of Linda Lael Miller’s. They’ve paired me up with her as part of the HQ Bestselling Author Collection. Naturally once I stopped hyperventilating about that, I was (and am) thrilled! It’s a bit of a wait for new books, but that’s because I have 2 coming out back to back in May and June of 2012 that I think readers are going to love. The duet is called Cadence Creek Cowboys and they were 2 of my favourite books to write!

Where can readers find you?

    1. Twitter: www.twitter.com/DonnaAlward
    2. Facebook: Donna Alward, Romance Author
    3. Website: www.donnaalward.com
    4. Others:  blog: www.donnaalward.blogspot.com

List other books you have out:

Breathe – just released in print on Dec 6/11

Off the Clock – e-book novella out now

How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart – October 2011

For a full listing of titles you can check out my website.

Thank you so much for joining us at Romance Author Hotspot!

Prize: Choice of backlist book


Jul 24 2011

Donna Alward – Emotional, Feel-Good Romance

Meet Donna Alward!

Donna Alward has the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mother and romance novelist. In 2001 she penned her first novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript, and now writes heartwarming Romances from her home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Donna loves to hear from readers; you can contact her through her website at www.donnaalward.com or through her publisher.

First questions:

Beach or camping?

Camping! But preferably with a beach…swim all day, campfire at night is the best of both worlds.

Bathing suit or mountain gear? Why?

Mountain gear is more comfy, but it’s hard to swim in. LOL.

Margaritas or Spritzers? (If you answer club soda, we’re gonna have to talk.)

Spritzers. Or pina coladas. Or red wine. I’m just not a margarita girl. J

Please enter. Cabana boys are under that umbrella. We’ll even let you pick one to hold your shade…and your pen. 

Where is one place you would love to spend the Summer? Why?

 

The Shuswap area of British Columbia. We used to camp there in the summers and we love it there. I do love where we live now – and we have a pool – but we’ve talked about going back to BC and renting a holiday house for part of the summer. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it ended up being the setting for BREATHE.

What is your ideal writing haven? Are there men or beach bunnies involved?

LOL! I’m a solitary writer. Men are just distracting! Though sometimes a very INSPIRING distraction!

What season do you write best? And why?

Fall and winter. Any time but summer. In the summer the pool beckons, the yard takes more care and everyone is home. Mucho hard on the work hours. I only have so much willpower.  The margarita maker (that makes pina coladas!) elicits a Pavlovian  response in me, I think!

Have you ever been on a writer’s retreat? What’s one embarrassing moment you’ve had?

Actually – no! Conference is the closest I’ve come. The most embarrassing moment I had was giving a wolf whistle once and it came out louder than I expected. I wanted to DIE.

What inspires you to write during the summer?

Deadlines. LOL.

When plotting a book, what determines your setting and characters?

I’m not a plotter, so the characters and setting come first, and the plot evolves from that. I generally know I’m going to be somewhere in Canada, and probably a western setting. Although I do have a series on the go with Samhain that I’m setting in another one of my favourite places – the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, about an hour from where I live.  The first novella is coming out in October.

If you’re going on vacation, what items would I find in your bag? And why?

Comfy shoes, comfy clothes, books, and a camera. And a GPS.

What is one thing you cannot live without during Summer? Okay, you can list two things…

Nature. I need to be somewhere that I can breathe in the fresh air and see green grass and leafy trees and flowers.  THAT recharges me.  The second thing is family. I take some time off in summer so we can all hang together. The school year is so busy. It’s nice to just hang out.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a duet for Harlequin Romance that will be out in 2012.

What news would you like to share with your readers?

It’s the Month of the Cowboy at Harlequin! My current release is part of their “Cowboy for Every Mood” series. Also – I have a great summer contest on my website. You can get the deets on my home page at www.donnaalward.com

Where can readers find you?

    1. Twitter: @DonnaAlward
    2. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Donna-Alward-Romance-Author/114558931895535
    3. Website: www.donnaalward.com
    1. Others: Blog at www.donnaalward.blogspot.com

List other books you have out: All my books are available in digital (and recent releases in print) – you can see my whole “library” at my amazon store: http://astore.amazon.com/donnaalwarcom-20

Will you be willing to answer questions in regards to writing and publication today? YES.

Thank you so much for joining us at Romance Author Hotspot!

Giveaway: Copy of BREATHE arc, copy of A FAMILY FOR THE RUGGED RANCHER.  Check out Donna’s homepage for her Summer Contest!

 

Blurb: Gruff rancher Luke Evans’s new live-in housekeeper comes with an unexpected addition…a small son! Emily may be pretty—and even Luke has to grudgingly admit little Sam’s quite cute—but a family is not on this die-hard bachelor’s wish list!

 

Luke’s plan? To spend as much time away from the house as possible. But, slowly charmed by Emily’s sunny smile and Sam’s infectious giggle, Luke begins to wonder if there might be room on his ranch—and in his heart—for a family after all…

 


Jan 1 2011

Holiday Bash 2010 Winners!


Winners!

List will be updated as winners are drawn.

Thank you all for a great party!

Please wait to be contacted!


Amy S. Wins a Kindle!

Eileen Andrews and Virgina C. 2 Barnes And Nobles card valued at $20 each.

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Donated From Silhouette Desire Author, Catherine Mann:

Sonya Hucks A signed copy of SIlhouette Desire The Maverick Prince by Catherine Mann.

Kim S. A signed copy of Silhouette Desire The Tycoon Takes a Wife By Catherine Mann

Mara A signed copy of Silhouette Desire His Thirty Day Fiancee by Catherine Mann

Jessica B. A signed copy of Silhouette Desire Winning It All by Catherine Mann and Emily McKay

Jean and Drea Becraft 2 signed copies of Silhouette Romantic Suspense Holiday Heroes by Catherine Mann and Rachel Lee

Brenda/Moonsanity and Jolene Allcock 2 signed copies of Harlequin Blaze Under Wraps by Joanne Rock

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Donated from From Marilyn’s Romance Review:

Audra Holtwick A Signed copy of Debbie Macomber’s Christmas in Cedar Cove.

Karin T. A Print copy of Linda Lael Millaer’s The Christmas Brides

Desere A Print copy of Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise

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From our special Romance Author Hotspot Guests:

(Click on the name to enter their rooms for the individual contests.)

Ann Mayburn and Anna Shah Hogue won Decadent Publishing‘s contest - A Copy of A Christmas Promise by Amanda McIntyre and one book of the winner’s choice from the A Passionate Christmas anthology.

Brenda, Sonya, Dianne, Jolene, and Kienna won Olivia Gates‘s contest - 3 signed books and handmade and embroidered (by Olivia) make-up bags.

Mara and Karin T. won Jill Marie Landis‘s contest -2 autographed copies of HEART OF STONE Book 1 of the Irish Angels series.

Mara and Estella won Lynn Raye Harris‘s contest - 1 signed copy of Chosen by the Sheikh and 1 signed copy of The Prince’s Royal Concubine

Tessa Radley - The Twelve Nights Of Christmas by Sarah Morgan, His Christmas Virgin by Carole Mortimer, For the Sake of the Secret Child by Yvonne Lindsay, Saved By The Sheikh by ME, AND a BONUS book The Ocean Between Us by Susan Wiggs

Dianne B. won Cindy Spencer Pape‘s contest - A signed print copy of The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride

Angie won Jennifer Shirk‘s contest -Ebook download of The Role of a Lifetime

Joanna B. won Katherine Brandon‘s contest - Free copy of “Kismet’s Angel” Book I of the Kismet Series (e-book or paperback in US or Canada–winner’s choice; e-book only, all other areas)

Debora Dennis-Christmas themed sheet of scrapbook stickers

Desere won Donna Alward‘s contest -Signed advance copy of Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle

Joanna B. and Cindy L. won R.M. Gilbert’s contest - 2 e-copies of Holiday Headlines.

Dianne B. won Nina Croft‘s contest-copy of my first published Novella, Tiger of Talmare, and my latest, Mid-Winter Magic

Robin and Tabitha won Silke Juppenlatz‘s contest -2 e-copies of Smitten.

Colette, Estella, and Brenda Rupp won Clarissa Yip‘s contest -3 e-copies of Snowy Encounters


Dec 24 2010

6. Donna Alward : Emotional Feel-Good Romance!

Welcome to Holiday Bash 2010! Contestant #6:

Harlequin Romance Author

Donna Alward

BIO:

A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist.

An avid reader since childhood, Donna always made up her own stories. She completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn’t until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript.

From her new home office in Nova Scotia, Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her Harlequin career began, writing about cowboys and the west. Donna’s debut Harlequin Romance, Hired by the Cowboy, was awarded the Booksellers Best Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Romance.

With the Atlantic Ocean only minutes from her doorstep, Donna has found a fresh take on life and promises even more great romances in the near future!

Eggnog or Mimosas? Are you old enough to drink?

Mimosas! I can only handle one cup of egg nog, it’s too rich. But I can sip away on Mimosas….

We’re also taking pictures with Santa, did you bring a gift for him? (Maybe a new release or a pretty book cover…)

Blurb:

The cowboy…

After a hard day’s ranching, Wyatt Black wants to kick back with a cold beer.  But when he steps onto his porch he has unexpected company – his tiny abandoned baby niece!

His doorstep baby…

Against her better judgment, his neighbour Elli Marchuk agrees to help Wyatt for a few days.

And the girl next door!

Elli soon falls in love with baby Darcy, but it’s her grouchy, gorgeous protector who’s got her head over heels….

Excerpt: Click here

We want more! If you answer these questions first, maybe we’ll let you in…

You’re stuck at a ski lodge. There’s a blizzard outdoors and all your fans are hanging out in front of the fireplace. You’ve been asked to read out loud one of your books. Which one do you pick and why?

Reading out loud from my own work is really, really daunting. But I’d have to pick something that is a little lighter because I’m an easy crier and mixing that with nerves means there’s a good chance I’ll lose it while reading, lol. I remember reading a scene from The Soldier’s Homecoming to a room of people once and I got choked up.

I like banter, and I might actually read from my current work in progress as the heroine has a bit of a smart mouth where the hero is concerned.

You’re in a Holiday writing contest. You have to plot a book in 30 minutes. You’re given a sleigh, a reindeer and a Santa hat. What do you come up with? How do you go about this?

First I picture who is wearing the Santa hat and figure out who he is. Then I imagine why he’s got a sleigh (I write Westerns, maybe he’s a reindeer rancher? LOL). After that I envision the entire scene – who is the heroine, why is she there, why should she love the hero (or not, gotta have some conflict you know) and let the scene inspire the story. I’m a pantser, so pre-plotting is so not my strong suit!

Reindeer rancher! That’s awesome! Please enter. Drinks are served by the elves in the corner.

Why do you write romance?

Aw, this one’s easy. Romance is filled with hope. Hope for love and a better future than where you are RIGHT NOW. It’s an optimistic genre and you leave a story (hopefully) feeling better about life.

How long have you been writing for? And how would you describe your publication journey?

I’ve been writing since 2001, and I sold my first book in March of 2006. I wrote a lot and learned a lot in the 4 ½ years it took me to get published. There were times I got discouraged, but I knew it was what I wanted and I kept on. I had (and still have) a great critique partner who keeps me on the straight and narrow.  In addition to great writing advice, she keeps me sane.

Not to say that I didn’t wish each ms was The One, because I did, but I think the 10 books I wrote before selling taught me a lot and served to prepare me for what was coming. There is a lot more to this business than I ever imagined, and I’m not sure I would have been ready if I’d sold sooner. It all worked out exactly as it was supposed to.

Are you a plotter or pantser? What is your routine? Pantser. I start with character and a scenario, but then I just start and get going. I am finally comfortable with my process, and allow myself to write a “discovery draft” where I learn as I go. The surprises that pop up are usually things that make the story better and deeper and then during revisions I can go back and bring it all into a cohesive story.

What are you working on right now? A new Harlequin Romance with the working title of The Cowgirl’s Convenient Husband. It’s a friends-to-lovers, marriage of convenience story that I’m having a lot of fun with.

What news would you like to share with your readers?

To coincide with the release of Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle, I have an online read coming up at www.eharlequin.comRemember Me, Cowboy starts on February 14 and there will be a new chapter 3x a week for 3 weeks. J  There’ll be an excerpt from Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle in the back of all Harlequin series books in January, too.

Where can readers find you?

Twitter: @DonnaAlward

Facebook: Donna Alward, Romance Author

Website: www.donnaalward.com

Others: Blog at www.donnaalward.blogspot.com

List other books you have out:

BREATHE released from Samhain Publishing in November, and SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER hit e-shelves (also Samhain) in April. SOLD will be out in print starting February 1.

A BRIDE FOR ROCKING H RANCH was reprinted in a UK anthology, Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses in December. You can check out upcoming releases on my website.

Will you be willing to answer questions in regards to writing and publication today? YES

Yay! Thank you so much for joining us at Romance Author Hotspot!

Author’s Holiday Gift:

Signed advance copy of Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle

Remember to enter to win! Check out the other party rooms! See Holiday Bash Prize list! Click here.