Monday, 1 August 2016

Ten Random Facts about Family Pictures

Family Pictures, my latest contemporary romance, is now officially published. I thought I would share with you ten facts:

  1. Family Pictures is the result of my daughter, Tiegan, messaging me on Facebook in 2011 and asking me to write her a story. I sent her five chapters that day. 
  2. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 is my inspiration for Jack. 
  3.  I have a thing for tattoos although I don't have a tattoo. I have been known to talk to strangers about their tattoos and the origins of them. Not all tattoos are beautiful, although beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I try to remember that when I ask myself, "What were they thinking?" 
  4. I worked with a henna artist to figure out Jack's tattoos
  5. I usually write to a playlist, one that I associate with my characters. This time around, I wrote in silence. I suffered from constant migraines for a year and certain sounds, not necessarily volume, would aggravate them. It's only now (August 2016) that I can enjoy listening to my iTunes. If you have a chance to listen to 2Cellos, give them a try and imagine Stevie playing in Budapest. 
  6. I have started collecting dragons. 
  7. I changed the cover of Family Pictures to reflect Jack's tattoos. 
  8. When I was a child my favourite bedtime story was Sleepy Puppy. The puppy is a basset hound. I have a basset hound in Family Pictures. 
  9. I name my characters after friends and family members. I also let my friends name characters. I hope you like them.
  10. My favourite movie snacks are buttered popcorn and root beer.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Starting My Day off Right

Every morning, before I sit at my desk and plan the day’s work, I make myself a pot of coffee, eat breakfast and sit outside and take in the sounds of the farm. I hear the birds chirping. We have barn swallows, robins, crows and starlings. I miss the coo of the mourning dove; it hasn’t made an appearance in awhile. Our neighbour has a rooster that sings his cock-a-doodle-doos all through the day. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to his cries.
I hear the tractors on the farm as they begin their day’s work; delivering feed to the cows is the top priority. I hear the moos of the cows in the maternity barn. This barn is a stone’s throw from my patio. I can tell when a cow is in labour; her moo is distinctive in its tone. I smile at the familiar sound of the milk truck as it makes its way to the dairy barn for its daily pick up.
Competing with these farm sounds is the traffic passing by our farm. Our once quiet road has become the main route for transport trucks heading to the highway. Cars and motorcycles add to the constant din that permeates the country air. It’s a noise that I try to ignore, yet cannot. Even from within the confines of my home, I cannot escape the constant sound of the tires against the pavement.
And yet, despite the noise and the encroachment of urban development, I would not trade my place with anyone. This is my home, my place of solitude, no matter what happens around me. I take comfort in knowing that the start to every day is unchanged. As long as the birds still chirp, the cows moo, and my cup of coffee is hot, all is right with my world.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Do You Judge a Book by its Cover?

My book of story lines.

When you choose a book for reading, how much does the book's cover influence your decision? If you read romance novels, do you prefer to see a half-naked couple locked in a lovers' embrace? Do you want to see them kissing or do you prefer to see them gazing into each other's eyes, that tentative moment before they kiss? Do you want the lovers to be real people or an artist's drawing? Do you want to see a woman only? A man? Or no one at all because you want to imagine the characters and setting by what you read and not what you see.

I ask these questions because I am currently deciding on the new cover for Family Pictures. When I first had the cover designed for Family Pictures, I hadn't completed the story. I had an idea of what Jack looked like, and it wasn't until he told me his story that I realized that Jack needed a makeover. He's not the man I first envisioned. It's a difficult decision because I have one chance to get it right with the prospective reader. I want the cover to be an exact representation of my book, or as close to it as I can get. It has to be a realistic image of my characters and hint at the story line. 

I want this because I know that I judge a book by its cover. When I read a book, I sometimes take a time out and look at its cover. Is the cover reflective of the characters in the book? Is the setting in the book a match to what the cover shows? 

For those of you following me on social media, I've been using the original cover of Family Pictures. I hope you like the change when you see it later this summer. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

I Should Be Writing

I should be writing. I should be thinking of a story line, characters, conflict, and the happily ever after ending. I should be sipping my lukewarm coffee, staring at my computer screens ( I have two) while pinning ideas to my Pinterest storyboard. I should be doing a lot of things related to my next project, and yet I'm not.

I'm working on Family Pictures, a contemporary romance novel, trying to publish on my own without the use of a costly publisher. While my manuscript is with the copy editor, I've been working on revising my book cover, researching the best platform for converting my manuscript into ebook format, writing blurbs and dedications. And during this time, I'm constantly wondering what the heck I'm doing, hoping that I'm doing this right.

I am eager to share Jack's story with you. You'll get the chance to visit with Davi and Quinn, Stevie, too, although not for too long; this is Jack's story, remember. You'll meet his friends, Axl and Bobby, and you'll see a friendship based on more than a shared love of music; one of trust and complete acceptance of each other. You'll meet Jess, a smart-mouthed best friend who shoots straight from the hip. You'll meet Harley. I'm sure she'll have a story to tell some day.

Be sure to check out my social media sites. I'm posting one sentence from each chapter. Hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

I Have The Best Coffee Breaks

When I need to take a break from my work, I head out to the maternity barn and check on the Ladies. (I have learned not to go anywhere on the farm without my cell phone.) I love the Ladies so much that I wrote about them in Forever Love, Love's Promises and Love's Games, my hot and spicy contemporary romance novels.

There is always something going on in the barn, whether it's a new litter of kittens, cats waiting to have their heads scratched, a cow in labour, or a newborn calf. The cows look at me with mild curiosity. The cats, being cats, don't move unless they want something from me, like a head rub, food or fresh milk. 

 I've seen cows give birth before; I've even assisted in a cesarean section. Every birth is beautiful, wondrous and awe-inspiring. The cow that gave birth today was quiet and calm while she allowed my husband and son to help her deliver a calf that was presenting backwards and on its side. As soon as the calf breathed its first breath, the cow got to her feet and began to lick it dry. She mooed in the soft and low tone cows have for their young.  

I watched for a few minutes, happy that I was able to witness the miracle of birth. I returned to my office excited to post the photos of the birth.

I think it's time for another coffee to celebrate.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Padding with my Hubby

Hubby and I went on a holiday in March of this year. We have the same priorities when we travel south: sunscreen, plenty of books, and reconnecting. After breakfast, we would find a shady place by the pool or on the beach. Hubby prefers the beach. I prefer the pool for a convenient cooling dip. Most days were spent on the beach because most if not all of the lounge chairs by the pool were "taken" by nine a.m. despite the no reserving chairs signs.

Hubby and I would make ourselves comfy on the lounge chairs, already covered in sunscreen. He would pull out his fantasy novel, and I would pull out a Harlequin romance. This is an example of when size matters. I would polish off a novel in one sitting while he would still be plugging away with his book. I'm a faster reader. Hubby is a more committed reader. He makes sure he reads every day. I struggle to find the time, although when I read, I read the book in one day.

When we took a break for lunch, hubby and I would discuss our books and give reviews. I remember one conversation in particular when he asked me about the word "padded."  It's used when people walk, especially in a bedroom or on carpet usually barefoot. I thought it was used more in romance novels and was surprised that he found the word used in his books. Then we both added alternative words for moving in a bedroom such as hopping, jumping, crawling, and leap-frogging.

Later that evening, after a delicious meal and a few glasses of wine, we returned to our room. Standing in the doorway, we could see that our bed had been turned down for the night, a box of dark chocolates waited on my pillow, and the lights were dimmed to a soft glow. We smiled at each other, saying, “Let’s pad.”

Monday, 21 March 2016

There's a Dragon in my Family Pictures

©Deborah Armstrong 2016
     While researching dragons, I came across various pictures, tattoos, and toys of the fearsome beasts. If you follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook, you will find the occasional picture or reference to the fantastic creature.
   One Saturday afternoon, after running a few errands, I returned home with four cuties in my shopping bag. My original plan was to give them away when I started to promote Family Pictures' release. However, I have become quite accustomed to the little fellows keeping watch in my office.
      Family Pictures is a contemporary romance. It's Jack's story twenty-five years after he made his debut in Forever Love (2012). Jack grew up in a world full of fantasy and romance. Who could blame him for being a hopeless romantic with a father who is a Hollywood heart throb and a mother who writes best-selling romance novels? Jack's the lead singer of the band Dragon Slayers. He's a romantic who believes in love at first sight, dragons, knights and rescuing damsels in distress.
     Family Pictures will be available summer 2016.