Eurovision, A New Brenda Novak!, Insecure Writer's Support Group Day, and ROW80


The annual song contest is now accepting entries in one of the very preliminary rounds: selection of the national song that will go on to the official contest.

Switzerland has a brilliant option this year: Meant to Be by Swiss Army. Click on the link to have a listen, add it to your favourites (no need to log in! Clicking on "favourite" simply helps keep it at the top of the list on the songs page) and stay tuned for updates regarding voting!

When are we not insecure? I was drawing up a weekly schedule for myself as part of the latest round of ROW80, and after work and family time, it looks like I have one hour each night (between 9 and 10, if I go to sleep at 10, and I should, to keep up my energy and get a proper rest!) to Do Things. Things = writing, editing, reading, blogging, knitting, the Compuserve Forum, Twitter, etc. The same hour on weekends, plus anywhere from 1 to 4 hours during the day while baby naps. This is Not Enough Time. If I edit during my commute, that means I lose reading time, unless I read between 9 and 10, in which case I lose Twitter and personal email time (hello, overseas family and friends!).

For instance, this weekend I gave up reading and writing to knit!

 Winter tuque for baby

All of which leads me to say that IWSG Day is a good day to remember to stop feeling guilty! We can't add hours to the day or survive on no sleep. Best to appreciate each project as it comes!

Speaking of projects, our IWSG hosts are holding a contest:

"The IWSG Short Story Contest 2015
After the success of last year's IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, we decided to create another book. This time it's a short story competition with the top ten stories getting published in an anthology. (Authors will also receive royalties on sales.)
Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.
Word count: 5000-6000
Theme: Alternate History/Parallel Universe. That's right, we've decided to go the speculative route. This theme has plenty of scope and we're open to pretty much anything along these lines, except erotica or graphic violence.
Story deadline: November 1st 2015
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to TheIWSG at gmail dot com before the deadline passes. Make sure to include your contact details.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges."

And speaking of reading during my commute, this week I read Brenda Novak's A Winter Wedding!

A Winter Wedding (Book 9: Whiskey Creek Series)

One Christmas can change your life...
Kyle Houseman believes he'll never find anyone he could love as much as Olivia Arnold, who's now married to his stepbrother. Not only did he lose her, he's been through one divorce and has no desire to go through another. He's determined to be extra careful about the next woman he gets involved with -- which is why he fights his attraction to the beautiful stranger who rents his extra house for the Christmas holiday.
Lourdes Bennett is a country music artist. She's only planning to stay in Whiskey Creek long enough to write the songs for her next album -- the album that's going to put her back on top. Her dreams don't include settling in a town even smaller than the one she escaped. But as she comes to know Kyle, she begins to wonder if she'd be making a terrible mistake to leave him behind...

I think this is the most...gradual...romance I've ever read. I mean that as a compliment! The story moves very smoothly, and the build up is both believable and realistic. Really, though, my word choices are doing nothing to help me praise the flow of A Winter Wedding. In a way, I think it's because commenting on Kyle and Lourdes' thoughts and emotions would be like commenting on those of friends; not just because I've read all the Whiskey Creek books and know the main residents of the town quite well, but because Kyle and Lourdes are both well-drawn. Their backgrounds, their motivations, their reactions to each other, all make their love-at-first-sight not just possible but inevitable.

Of course, there's the unavoidable tension and obstacles. The inner tensions are described really well, with a great balance of show and tell. As for the obstacles, in the form of a vengeful ex on one side and a conniving ex on the other...I don't want to reveal too much. But the resolution is very satisfying.

Oddly enough, if I had to recommend a Whiskey Creek book for those who don't want to read them in order, I think I'd recommend this one. Though Ted and Sophia's story and Phoenix and Riley's... Who am I kidding, the latest one is always the one that gets recommended. Start in order and read them all! Or read the holiday ones over the winter, maybe...

And, finally, speaking of the holidays, look what's coming!

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

What are you reading at the moment?
Would you rather read winter holiday or summer holiday stories?
What're you dressing up as for Hallowe'en?

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