Writing Awards and Accolades for Published Novels: WHERE SHE BELONGS, Kindle Contemporary Romance Bestseller, February 2013. BORROWING ALEX, Winner, Contemporary Romance, The Lories, 2008; 2nd Place, Romantic Comedy, More Than Magic, 2008; Chick Lit Pick Beach Read, South Jersey MOM magazine, 2008. HEAD OVER HEELS, Audible ChickLit Bestseller, Summer 2011; iTunes Top Ten Romance Audiobooks, 2011-2012; Finalist, Best First Book, The Lories, 2002.
Contest Wins & Finals for Unpublished Manuscripts: While unpublished, HEAD OVER HEELS was a SARA Merritt finalist. BORROWING ALEX finaled in the Maggie Award of Excellence under another title, as well as The Molly, the Orange Rose, the SARA Merritt, and the TARA First Impressions. WHERE SHE BELONGS was an RWA Golden Heart® finalist for 2007 under another title and finaled twice in the Maggies, as well as winning the Jasmine and finaling in MARA's Fiction from the Heartland contest. Other unpublished manuscripts have won the The Lories Best Proposal Contest for Published Writers and North Texas RWA's Great Expectations contest. Finalist slots include The Maggies, TARA First Impressions, the Dixie First Chapter contest, WisRWA's Fab Five, RWA Peninsula's Off and Running, the Jasmine, and The Lories Best Proposal by Published Author. So far my luckiest contest is The Maggies. My unpublished manuscripts finaled there four times.
Extent of Obsession with Spelling of Procter: That's way too extensive an answer to go into here. I'll refer you to Gimme an E! on my Q&A page.
Favorite Writing Advice to Dispense: I firmly believe that both unpublished and published writers require three magical elements to either make it in this business or to continue to sell. I call these elements TPT - Talent, Persistence and Timing. Please visit my Dear Cindy... archives for a more extensive answer. For the purposes of my bio page, I'll simply say that there are millions of talented unpublished writers in the world. The ones who eventually make it aren't afraid to learn from their mistakes and continually endeavor to improve their craft. The first few rejections are the most difficult to take. As you learn and grow more confident in your skills and, most importantly, your voice, you develop a thicker skin and a single-minded vision. Go for it!
Favorite Authors and Books: Margaret Atwood (check out CAT'S EYE, ALIAS GRACE, and OYRX AND CRAKE), John Irving (THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, A WIDOW FOR ONE YEAR), Anne Marie MacDonald's THE WAY THE CROW FLIES, and Timothy Findley's THE PIANO MAN'S DAUGHTER. My favorite romance authors include Jennifer Crusie, Stephanie Bond, Deborah Smith, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. However, my favorite book of all time is GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell. I've read it four or five times.
Favorite Foods: MacDonald's French fries drowned in white vinegar (it's a Canadian thing), Cosco cinnamon buns slathered in cream cheese, and chocolate!
Hobbies: Um, what are those? I spend as much time as I can writing. Or dabbling in web design. Or helping my husband with the two small businesses he runs outside of his 9-5 job. I used to sew, but whenever I finished a blouse, one sleeve would invariably wind up inside out, so I gave it up. Lately my most time-consuming "hobbies" include ironing golf shirts, accidentally burning supper, walking my dog at least once a day, reading, watching TV (dramedies and reality TV are two guilty pleasures), and seeing movies.
Writing Journey: I began writing romance novels at my husband's suggestion, when I was growing frustrated with my massive pile of poetry rejections. I didn't read romance before attempting to write it, so I had an extremely steep learning curve, which no doubt contributed to yet another massive pile of rejections. For a more extensive answer, including my journey through electronic publishing, please visit my Dear Cindy... archives.
The Hardest Thing About Being a Writer: For me the hardest part of writing a book is whatever part I happen to be writing when I'm asked. The hardest thing about being a writer in general is that a lot of people (who aren't writers) think I'm strange, or weird, or "different." I'm none of those things; I'm just a writer!
The Easiest Part of Writing? Revising and polishing a finished manuscript. (Okay, so maybe I am weird).
Most Romantic Story: Several years ago, my husband and I were renovating our master bedroom into what is now my office. One of my jobs in preparation for drywalling was to tear down the pine paneling that had faded beneath the many family pictures we'd hung on the walls. When I removed the paneling, I discovered another layer of wallboard beneath. That in itself didn't surprise me, as our house was built in 1960 and this old wallboard was buried beneath the walls of every room on the main floor. However, was I ever touched to discover hundreds of hearts drawn upon the walls, featuring the initials of the old couple from whom we'd bought the house some twelve years earlier. In effort to spruce up the place before selling, the husband had placed the pine paneling on the bedroom walls...but not before scribbling his love for his wife on practically every square inch of the old wallboard beneath. What a perfect office in which to write romance novels!
Hero: My deceased grandfather, William "Duke" Procter (scroll down to second question). Duke passed away in 2005 at the grand old age of 106 as the last surviving World War I veteran in British Columbia and one of only three then remaining in all of Canada. Duke volunteered for the Great War at 16. After rigorous training in Canada, he shipped off to England. Due to being under-age, he was plucked from the line-up for the train taking the boys to France and instead was sent to Scotland to log wood for the trenches. Duke wasn't impressed. After spending his youth farming and logging in the Mable Lake Valley of B.C., the last thing he wanted was to spend three years doing yet more logging. Good thing he was sent to Scotland, however, because most of his regiment died in France or later suffered ailments from being gassed.
Duke lived on his own until 105, enjoying five-pin bowling twice a week (an activity he took up at 92) and holding a long reign as the oldest competing horseshoe player in Canada. He square- danced until 103 and celebrated his 100th birthday by going tandem skydiving (where he did not break his leg, despite what some news reports say). Duke's biggest regret and the cause of much guilt after he turned 100 was that so many of his friends died in the Great War while he went on to live a long and very active life where such events as getting his skull cracked by a tree in his sixties (necessitating brain surgery) and falling off a roof while cleaning gutters in his eighties or nineties (that's when he broke his darn leg!) would temporarily harm him, but never do him in. I like to think that Duke's long life was a tribute to those young men who died in France and never got a chance to live out their dreams. Duke lived for every single one of them. If that's not a hero, who is?