Monday, May 30, 2011

The Daisy Killer.

So last year we were away in Europe and Vancouver Island and when we got back to Winnipeg at the end of June my garden looked like this... (actually that's after I'd weeded).
 A daisy disaster zone. Ironically, before last year I couldn't get a daisy to grow in my garden. I bought at least 3 that withered and died. So before I left for Europe I scatter a few old seeds and hoped for the best. ARGH. Note to self, do not scatter seeds. On top of that the year before a good friend had given my 3 Himalayan orchids. 

Whatever you do, do NOT plant Himalayan orchids. They grow to eight feet tall and are an invasive species and will wipe out your garden. I'm still weeding the suckers out two years later.

So this year I've been weeding and planting and trying to get her back under control. SO far, so good. Just call me the Daisy Killer.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I have to tell you a little story about my week. As you might of gathered it was my birthday last Monday. So, we celebrated last Saturday because hubby was out of town from Sunday morning for the whole week at a conference in Ottawa. Monday was pretty quiet: I got 1 card (thank you, Kathy), had to remind the kids *cough* it was my birthday. Made myself a dinner for one (spicy sausage salad) and worked my butt off finishing edits. Presents and cards rolled in throughout the week (thank you, family!!) and on Thursday, after volunteering in the school for the morning, I went to lunch with 2 friends who also have birthdays soon. It was lovely and gorgeous. I figured it was the end of my birthday celebrations.
The week was hectic with soccer, Tue, Wed, Thurs night, and with single parenting I was knackered by Friday. My daughter had decided she HAD to make cupcakes for her class for Friday--I didn't understand why but she wanted to, so, okay. What with soccer and American Idol there was no choice but to get up early Friday to make the cupcakes so I was up at 6.30 a.m. to help her (neither of us are morning people). That evening I had planned a trip to get passport photos and to buy dirt for my pots and maybe treat the kids to dinner out. An exciting time to be sure.
So Friday after school I pick up my son and because it is gorgeous we stay and play for the first time this year. I chat to two of my friends and eventually drag my sweaty son off the structure and start home. He stops me every two minutes in the middle of the street to ask the time and gives me LONG hugs and tell me how much he loves me. Then another friend catches up on her bike to go home with us because she wants to borrow a recipe book. And then another friend passes us on her bike and after a brief hello whisks off to do 'errands'.
My son and his friend take off and when we get to our house all the blinds are drawn. I'm frowning and then I walk in the door and there's silence... and then I notice all these pictures taped to the wall, and homemade paperchains that my daughter had been working on (for school) all week. And then... SURPRISE! Everyone jumps out, the friend I'd just left at the school and her whole family, the friend who'd biked past, and a whole bunch of kids who'd been in on the secret.
It was so lovely. My daughter had made invitations and phoned everyone, then she'd made the decorations in class and I'd made the cupcakes which she'd hidden under her bed for the day. My son and daughter had stashed cans of pop and bags of crisp in all the places I apparently never look, and as I never found anything I suspect they were right :) Then after wine and cupcakes, hubby arrived with more friends. He was back a day early as a special surprise. It was a pretty sophisticated surprise for an eleven year old, and eight year old to pull off. She's the best kid in the world. And so's he :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

These make me happy...

Birthday flowers from my mom and dad :). This time last year I was having a party in their beautiful back garden. Now they might have sold the house we grew up in and I might never set foot in the place again. That makes me sad :(

Monday, May 16, 2011

Author Interview: Maureen Miller

I'm doing a series of author interviews over the summer and I'm starting off with a dear friend of mine who has a release TODAY! Guess what I'm treating myself to for my birthday?

Who are you and what do you write?

I am the one and only, Maureen Ann Miller.  Perhaps there are others, but I am older than dirt so surely I am the first. I was a programmer in the glass and window manufacturing industry, which means that I used to travel the country and install software in manufacturing plants donning a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, kevlar sleeves and pretty much any item that could potentially make me look less attractive. Nothing says ‘bad hair day’ like a hard hat.

Naturally this sounds like the formula to breed a romantic suspense author, right? And yet, my first attempt to write a novel actually produced a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. I thought maybe there was something to this hobby of mine, so I stuck with it. Now I am proud to announce that Carina Press is releasing my romantic thriller, ENDLESS NIGHT this week.

What’s your favourite place in the world to visit?

London. London is like a Mecca for authors. Inspiration surrounds you everywhere−Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Picadilly−all locations that have hosted so many famous novels. But you can’t narrow it down to simply London. Oxford makes you feel more intelligent simply by walking about the campus and the white cliffs of Dover simply humble you. My great uncle was stationed there on D-Day as a medic, waiting for the boats to come back. That image through his eyes will forever be stamped in my head.

Where do you write?

Physically, I write at my desk, yet while I’m writing, I transport into the setting of the book. I am like the director standing there with a cue card in my hand. If you were to pan out on a scene with the hero and heroine engaging in a little tete-a-tete, you could see my desk tucked away in the corner.

How long have you been published or is this your first sale?

This is my first traditionally published novel.

What comes first—characters or the plot?

Ah, the old chicken before the egg debate.  I’m afraid I have to honestly defer with the pathetic answer that it varies per book. Although, that said, I would consider the majority of my stories having been based on the characters initially. ENDLESS NIGHT is about the characters and the plot is woven around them.

Do you write to music? Do you make soundtracks for you stories? If so, what was on the soundtrack for your latest release?

I wish I was talented enough to write music. If my stories were to have soundtracks they would definitely be seascapes. That is what I hear in my head as I am writing them.

If you were a millionaire would you still write?

If I were a millionaire, then life would have come full circle. You begin by writing because it is your hobby and it is your passion. If you are lucky you might even make some money from it. If you are exceptionally lucky you might make enough to actually support yourself. And in one of those rare, miraculous circumstances you may even become a millionaire (or you just married well!). Then you return to what you started with...writing as a hobby and a passion.

Cat or dog person?

Dog person. I always wanted to live on a ranch large enough that I would have to take my horse out to pick up the mail, and when I got back there would be no less than six dogs of various sizes jumping up to greet me until I fall to the ground giggling.

(Me again, Toni :)) Loved the interview! Thanks so much for joining me today. If you want to find out more about Maureen, here are her links...

Friday, May 06, 2011

Early Mother's Day present...

because over here it is on Sunday, not March like in the UK.
I was given this...

And what does it have in common with my book SEA OF SUSPICION?

I used Sean Bean as my inspiration for my hero, Nick Archer. And they were both (composter & Sean) Made In Sheffield. :) Bought in Winnipeg. Made in England. The irony.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Please Vote

Not only in the Canadian election (but YES, vote in the Canadian election) and also the cover for SEA OF SUSPICION is up for best contemporary cover

You can check out the best of and best of covers. Voting is easy. Honest ;)