Out and About

I hope you don't mind if share my book-signing experience this past weekend. I signed at Zellers, in Whitby on Saturday. Zellers is chain store here in Canada and this one is particularly nice, because it is brand new and because it has lovely friendly staff. I met lots of charming readers, sold lots of books and found a hero.

Joanne, is a manager at the store where I signed and what a welcome she gave me.

Here she is at my table. As you can see they decorated with a poinsettia and a cute little Chrismas ornament. I was set right near the front door, and boy did I have lots of people come by and talk to me.

If any of you have dropped in to the blog today, I just want to say how pleasant it was to meet you. And thank you for buying my book!

I think you can see from this picture just how much fun I had, despite the snow whipping past the glass doors and making wonder just how bad driving might turn out to be. As you can tell I made it home safe and sound.

That's all from me today, I will be back on Thursday with more snippets of information. Until then, Happy Rambles.

Romantic Times Conference 2008

I just returned from the Romantic Times conference last night. I found Pittsburg, what I saw of it, a very beautiful city downtown. The river ran right past the hotel and the opposite bank is so high the locals call it a mountain.

The highlight of this conference for me was of course the booksigning and meeting old and new friends whereever I went. I signed No Regrets, which you all know was my American Title finalling book for the 2006 contest. I sold out!!!! squeeee!!!!

I was especially grateful to the ladies who bought my book including booksellers and those who brought my book from home, what a humbling experience. I am also grateful to Rebecca York, a very gracious lady, who was my only signing companion, since I was the last person on the list, and we chatted throughout the four hours of the signing.

I severely damaged my car while driving around Pittsburg looking for the hotel, losing the bottom door panel of the car when I made a tight turn and hit a very high curb. I heard it go clunk, but there was no stopping in the middle of such a busy city. It wasn't until I got to valet parking that I saw what I had done. A huge strip of skirting gone from my beautiful grand prix.

As you can imagine, I was so mad at me. And kept thinking about that big piece. Maybe I should find it. But I didn't have a clue where it had happened by the time we had driven around the down town twice. But I couldn't let it rest. So I put on my running shoes and walked the nearby streets.

Well I finally found it. Some kind person had picked out of the road and put it against a building on the sidewalk. It was at least six foot long, but made of fibreglass, so I picked it up and marched back through the fancy downtown core of Pittsburg with it under my arm, trying to look as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Lord knows what the valet guys thought when I calmly asked them to put it in my car, which of course had disappeared to who knows where valeted cars go. But he smiled sweetly, and said yes ma'am and leaned it against his booth.

And I marched into the hotel with cheeks blazing. Anyway when I told my husband what I'd done, I was able to announce with some pride that I had the missing piece. No, I'm not going to tell you what he said. lol. Actually he was much calmer about it than me.

After such an inauspicious start, the rest of the conference was great. Busy. But very enjoyable. I met lots of old friends and made some new ones who I hope to meet again, either here or on line.

I had lunch with writers I admire very much, Gaelen Foley and Barbara Pierce. Both historical writers and both of them were getting awards and I met them in the line up for lunch and they asked me to join them.

My critique partner Molly O'Keefe received an award for best superromance of the year, so that was a thrill and thoroughly deserved might I add. Here she is making her acceptance speech.

There was so much packed into four days, I can't really begin to tell it all in such a short space. But I did want to share the flavor of it all with you. I guess I will leave you with one more image, the blue fairies! This is me and Helen Scott Taylor the latest American Title winner at the Fairy Ball. Who said writers are introverts?

I will announce the winners of my draw for a copy of Brides of the West on Thursday. Until then, Happy Rambles.

Dogs as Pets in the Regency

My last doggy post for a while, I promise. By the way, has anyone seen No Regrets in a store yet. B&N said my copy was in the post, so it must be close.

If any of you live in Seattle, I am signing at the Emerald City Conference this weekend. Do drop by and say hello.

OK here we go. Dogs as Pets

It is my sense that despite the last post which indicated some working dogs were not treated well, given the number of times dogs show up in family portrait, the Englishman and woman with leisure, have always loved their dogs.

One of the most famous breeds are King Charles Spaniels, which were favorites of that monarch and pictured here with his children.

By the Regency these dogs had much shorter muzzles and a more domed head than is pictured here, so much more like the King Charles we know today. I did like this Royal picture though.


The truth of how the Pug came into existence is shrouded in mystery, but he has been true to his breed down through the ages since before 400 B.C. Authorities agree that he is of Oriental origin with some basic similarities to the Pekingese. China is the earliest known source for the breed, where he was the pet of the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. The breed next appeared in Japan and then in Europe, where it became the favorite for various royal courts.

The Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange after one of the breed saved the life of William, Prince of Orange, by giving alarm at the approach of the Spaniards at Hermingny in 1572. What a great story!!!

This picture is from 1808: Although today’s Pug is distinguished by an almost flat face, the Pug of 1800 had a distinct muzzle, and in this case cropped ears.

Italian Greyhounds

This smallest member of the Greyhound family is of very ancient lineage, for its history dates back at least two thousand years. Although its name suggests that the breed originated in Italy, cynologists believe this charming little dog originated in Egypt. Eventually, the breed was taken by Roman soldiers from Egypt to Mediterranean areas, where they soon became the favorite companions of Greek and Roman ladies. . . By the Middle Ages, the breed had spread throughout southern Europe when they became known as Italian Greyhounds.

It has never been used for work of any kind, it is a natural sight hound. Throughout the centuries Italian Greyhounds have been favored as pets by royalty: Catherine the Great of Russia, Mary Queen of Scots, James I and Charles I of England, Frederick the Great of Prussia and Queen Victoria were a few royal owners of the breed.

And of course this picture is the one I just had to pick, because in the picture of the greyhound is a Maltese. It is hard to see the little dog he looks more like a pillow, but he is there. And so my little dog's breed was also around in the Regency. One of these days, one of his ancestors is going to star in one of my novels. Until Next time. Happy Rambles.

A Regency Writer's Day Off - Or How to promote your books without really trying

Okay, not really, but I did have fun. As I announced a couple of weeks ago, April 28 I booksigned at the Chapters Indigo in the Town of Vaughn. For those of you not familiar with Ontario, or Canada, Vaughn is the City above Toronto and Chapters/Indigo is our Barnes and Noble.

As you can see from the picture, three of us signed on Saturday. We all write very different kinds of books. Teresa Roblin, my critique partner, writes contemporary, comedic, magic. Great books. And Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, a multi published author with the Toronto Romance Writers Chapter of RWA writes, fantasy and paranormal, some with a romance, but not all, and a bit on the dark side. And a lovely lady. It was a priviledge to sign with her. Well you already know what I do and I brought along Pistols at Dawn and my shop early for Christmas Holiday in the Heart Anthology from Highland press.

Saturday turned out to be a rather wet day for the last days of April in Ontario, but that didn't seem to stop the customers. Boy that store was humming! And the Manager, Vania, gave us pride of place, right by the front door, offered us water and coffee and generally made us feel very at home.

We even had the deputy mayor pop in. How about that. Teresa deserves the credit for organizing such a special day.

And, best of all, Vania invited us to go back again~~ any time.

So what made the event so successful. I thought it might be interesting for me to let you in on what seemed to work for us and what didn't work.

1. Working as a team with the manager really helped. We were accomodating, we provided advertizing, we arrived on time looking smart and professional.
Even though we were nervous, we looked the part.

2. This is only my second booksigning. What I noticed the first time was how people walk through the doors, see you sitting at a table and immediately avoid eye contact. I've done it myself, for heaven's sake. And when you smile and say hi, they almost jump out of their skins, and definately think you are selling raffle tickets and keep on moving.

3. It is even easier for them to pass on by if you sit at the table talking to each other.

4. Having friends and family drop by -- not all at once -- helps, when other people see a crowd, they tend to want to see what is going on. But let's be honest, you need to do lots of booksignings and you can't ask family to turn up for them all. But I did notice that if you can get one or two people to come to the table, others will at least take a peak.

5. We took turns in going around the store and speaking to people. It's great practice for figuring out how a character feels doing something totally outside of their comfort zone, if nothing else. Oh, that's the writer talking, not the promoter, sorry.

6. Something I found very helpful with the meet and greet around the store was my brochure and my bookmarks. I handed a browsing customer a brochure with a smile and told them we were local authors doing a booksigning at the front of the store and that they should feel free to pop by and say hi. Then I offered them a free bookmark to use in whatever book they were going to buy. My brochure has an excerpt of the first scene of my book and I think once they read a little bit of it, they were intrigued.
Several of those people bought books, some of them from all of us, wanting to support their local authors. And that is why Vania was so pleased. She could not believe how many books we sold in such a short time.

7. I used the fact that Mother's Day was coming up as an ice-breaker. You know, mother might like a personalized author signed book... and it is a romance, wink. One gentleman said his mother was fussy. I don't think he meant to be insulting because he looked exceedingly nervous.

8. Depending on what kind of books you are signing, watch your age group. I did tell a couple of mothers with teenagers that the books were at an adult level. I think it is only fair to be honest.

7. Some people dropped by for candies, and stayed to chat or buy ~~ so I do highly recommend bribes.

9. I also signed up a couple of people for my newsletter, so I feel as if I made some friends, perhaps even now you are reading this blog. If so. It was a pleasure to meet you last Saturday, and do feel free to write or leave a comment.

Now, if any of you are browsing your local bookstore and you see a person sitting behind a pile of books with a pen in their hand, go and say hello. Authors don't bite and they don't mind if you don't buy their books. What they hope is that next time you are looking for a book you remember their name.

I do hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the writers life. Until next time~~ as always ~~ Happy rambles.