Keeping up with the….Fitbit

The Fitbit Overlord

The Fitbit Overlord

Last Christmas, I decided to get myself a Fitbit. Just a basic model that tracked steps and monitored your sleep quality. I knew I wasn’t moving the recommended 10k steps a day, but I wanted to know how much I was falling short and basically how much of a lazybones I really was.

The first day, I logged just over 4k and I was flabbergasted. I didn’t think I was that bad! But, being pretty much confined to the house due to my MAV (Migraine associated vertigo) I suffer terribly from ‘Visual Vertigo’ in that if there’s too much movement, colour, pattern, light, in my visual field, it makes me feel really dizzy and like I’m walking on a boat deck that’s being filmed for one of those ‘Deadly Catch’ programmes and the boat is being tossed around like a plaything.

So, anyway, I figured, I needed to do more steps and by January 1st, 2015, I was a slave to the Fitbit bracelet. I started forcing myself to do more walking. Take the dogs on longer walks. Constantly pop down to the local shops on the pretence of needing more milk. Just popping out for a quick stroll.

If I’m honest? I rarely make 10k steps a day. I’m now usually at about 8-9k, which is double what I started at and I now have a bunch of ‘Fitbit Friends’ who challenge me to ‘Workweek Hustles’ or ‘Weekend Warrior’ challenges, where we can all keep an eye on each other’s steps. I never win, but it doesn’t matter. I’m motivated to move more.

But the thing is, I really like watching those numbers clock up. It’s addictive. And I do LOVE walking. One of my big dreams is to complete the LEJOG/JOGLE (Land’s End to John O Groats) or the Coast to Coast, or even to walk the entire UK coastline, though where I’m going to find a spare eight months to do it beats me. But I like the idea of walking the paths and bridleways of Britain (not the roads – all that traffic whooshing by would set my vertigo off)

So, anyway, that’s my current dream. I’m hoping by the end of this year, I will be managing the 10k steps every day. It doesn’t sound much to some, but for me with my £@&*?!! condition, its a huge step forward, if you’ll pardon the pun. Especially considering how much I was doing at the start of 2015.

So what about you? Are you a Fitbit slave? Do you have a daily challenge? Or do you dream big and wish to climb Everest or Macchu Picchu or something like that? Do share, I’d love to hear about it.

And, of course, all that walking allows you thinking time for story plotting! My third M&B Medical is due out November, A Father This Christmas? and here’s the cute North American cover!

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I’ve had the time of my life….

You might have already seen a few photos but this year I attended my first RWA in New York.  What an experience!

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I’ve visited New York three times before with my beloved and our kids.  This time I was on my own.  I have to confess to being a little nervous.  But there really was no need.

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A conference with around 2500 people is pretty overwhelming.  But people are friendly and everyone chats.  I had the pleasure of having lunch with the medical authors, cocktails with the romance authors, dinner with my editor, dinner with my London friends, dinner with new friends, and attending the Harlequin Author Ball at the Waldorf Astoria which was every bit as fabulous as it sounds.  My regret for the evening is that I never found the dessert table that everyone else seemed to find.

Highlights included cheering on friends at the Rita Awards, doing two book signings, finally getting to meet my Australian critique partner Rachael Johns and new author Emily Madden, and getting a frantic call at night that led to a meeting with a producer the following day who is interested in turning one of my books into a film!!

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New York will be hard to beat!

Welcome New Medical Author Karin Baine

Karin BainIt is my pleasure to introduce you to Karin Baine. I’ve asked her to share a few tidbits about herself. We are glad to have you join us.  

I discovered Medical Romance when:  

I first discovered Medical Romance during a pitch contest in 2011 on the eHarlequin forums and went on to read across the line from there.

I wrote my first story when:

I was winning prizes for creative writing from the age of nine. It was always my dream to be an author but I only started writing seriously about five years ago.

Where do you live?

I live in Northern Ireland with my husband and two teenage sons. We have some beautiful countryside here but unfortunately that’s because it rarely stops raining!

My best trait is:

I enjoy making people happy – whether it’s doing someone a favour or buying little gifts, I like to brighten their day.

My worst trait is: Karin Bain1

Worrying. I obsess over every little thing and drive everyone around me up the wall.

Five things on your bucket list:

They mostly involve travel –

Seeing the pyramids in Egypt.

Renewing my wedding vows in Las Vegas (I’m trying to talk my husband into this for our twentieth anniversary in 2016)

Retiring somewhere hot where I can write by my private pool.

Do a lockdown with the Ghost Adventures crew in a haunted house.

Joe Manganiello. (Need I say more?)

 

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French Fling to Forever

A very French temptation… 

Junior doctor Lola Roberts finally has her life back on track—and she’s determined not to mess up on her first day at a Belfast hospital. Although she certainly didn’t expect her sexy French boss Dr. Henri Benoit to prove her greatest distraction…

Henri ruled out forever a long time ago, but surely a six-week fling with pretty, pink-stethoscope-wielding Lola can’t hurt? Yet as Lola begins to melt the barriers around his locked-away heart, Henri realizes he never wants to let her go!

Medical Authors in the Wild by Amy Andrews

Recently some of the medical authors kicked up their heels in New York City for the annual Romance Writers of America conference. I thought you might like to see some pics!

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Scarlet Wilson, Amy Andrews, Louisa George, Susan Carlisle, Robin Gianna.

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Scarlet Wilson at the big literacy book signing.

Louisa George at the book signing with her faaabulous RITA flag!

Louisa George at the book signing with her faaabulous RITA flag!

Tina and moi at the book signing!

Tina and moi at the book signing!

A few of us glammed up at the Waldorf Astoria

A few of us glammed up at the Waldorf Astoria

Me, Robin and Tina.

Me, Robin and Tina.

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As you can see, a good time was had by all :-) and it was great to catch up with people face-to-face that I only ever hang out with on line. I’m leaving you with the last mystery pic. These amazing shoes were worn by one of our number to the Harlequin party. Can you guess who???

Fresh, Flirty and Famous

The Romance Writers of Australia conference is fast approaching… and so was the need to decide on my costume for the themed cocktail party.  A themed party can be a blessing for some and a nightmare for others. I had such a fun time hosting my first ever Halloween Party last year, throwing on a long red wig and dressing as the Queen of Darkness but I noticed the men were less enthusiastic about donning a cape and channeling their inner vampire. Women seem to be quite happy to become someone else for a night as we can blame our party antics on our alter-ego. ‘It was Catwoman who drained the spiked punch bowl not me!’

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But this week I had to decide how to meet the brief for the cocktail party in Melbourne –  Fresh, Flirty and Famous!  I couldn’t think of anything.  I enlisted the help of my husband who suggested Florence Nightingale since I write Medical Romance. I thought he was very clever since there was a clear link to my writing but then I started to question said suggestion. While Ms Nightingale was without doubt famous, I never heard of her being portrayed as flirty and I doubt after nursing injured soldiers all night, that the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ would have been anywhere close to fresh. Back to the drawing board.

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I think Marilyn Monroe and Jessica Rabbit would definitely fit the bill but I would not fill the outfit… I lack what is required to carry off that level of fresh, flirty and famous. So I headed to the costume shop to find some inspiration that was more befitting my less than Playboy Bunny curves.  And it was going to be harder than I thought.  There were so many racks of costumes and time was not on my side so I gave the brief to the wonderfully helpful sales assistant and we began our hunt.

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After a frustrating half an hour, I considered B1 or B2 in Pyjamas since they were fresh and famous.  The dancing duo of fruit definitely met two of the criteria but like my famous Crimean War nurse, they too missed the mark of flirty.  Suddenly I had my ah ha moment as I spied my costume across the sea of plastic, fur and sequins. It was perfect!

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My choice was famous (she’s long passed from this world but she made her mark in the history books), she was flirty (she gained power through a very famous affair) and she enjoyed long baths of milk and honey so she would have been one of the freshest of her ancient time.

Bet you’ve already guessed but I thought I would let you know anyway since I ‘m hopeless at keeping secrets…

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What costume you would choose for a theme of Fresh, Flirty and Famous?

All the Nom Noms & Deadlines

I haven’t posted here in a while because I’ve been trapped in a crazy deadline. I’ve never done three books so close together before. It was a challenge. Also, add-on the fact I’ve been really ill since February, it was like I climbed a mountain in the last few months.

April & June I wrote two connected books which will be releasing in February 2016 as a Valentine’s Duet. His Shock Valentine’s Proposal and Craving Her Ex-Army Doc are my two brothers set in one of my favourite places Montana, in a fictional town of Crater Lake (which resembles Whitefish, Montana quite a bit). Whitefish, Montana is a gorgeous and changes from badlands to plains to forest and mountains. Beautiful.

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This is a picture I took driving through Big Horn Country, where Custer met his Last Stand. It’s between Broadus and Billings, before we made our northern jog up to Great Falls, Montana and the Alberta border.

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This is when we were reading west towards mountains. This is where I saw a “real” mountain for the first time. I live in Ontario. We have Blue Mountain, but it’s not the same as seeing a majestic snow cap like the Rockies.

Once my Montana books were done, it was time to write the Continuity story. It’s my first time writing a continuity ever. Thankfully, there were so many helpful and veterans to continuity to writing to help me. My continuity story was due August 1st. So I had from July to August to write a book, BUT in the middle of that month I had surgery.

A surgery I was waiting since February to have and it was a LONG process to get there. I had a gallbladder attack two days in a row in February, during this time my daughter was also admitted to the hospital with a bowel obstruction. I was in full-blown take care of my kid’s health instead of my own. Then more attacks came once she was out. It was time to see my doctor where they found my pancreas was starting to take over and I was walking a dangerous path to cholangitis or pancreatitis, both which can be fatal. He told me to stop eating basically every thing I liked and we waited for an appointment with the surgeon.

So that was brutal. I was already doing Weight Watchers, but now I couldn’t eat meat, dairy or any good fats. I was eating vegetables and carbs, just so I could fill up. Even then not a lot because I would get sick. EVERYTHING I ate made me sick. When I saw my surgeon my liver and spleen were so swollen they thought a stone was stuck in my bile duct and I have some testing done to determine if there was. Not fun.

Thankfully there was no stone. Whew. Well, no stone stuck in my ducts. I did have a golf ball sized stone in my non functioning gall bladder. So, the surgeon scheduled me for surgery ASAP. The problem was, it was RIGHT in the middle of deadline. July 17th.

Thankfully my editor and the medical team understood and gave me a lovely extension, because for a week I was pretty out of it. Painkillers, general anesthesia and then starting to eat normally again was trying. Now though I can have all the nom noms being just over 2 weeks post op.

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So that’s why I’ve been a bit M.I.A. When you can’t get proper nutrition, it really takes a toll on you. I still have ways to go, but for the first time in a long time my poor, worried hubby said I was looking like my old self again. Bless his heart he never did say I wasn’t beautiful or looking sickly during that time. He told me just recently that he was terrified how sick I was getting.

I’m hoping we can all relax soon when we head to Disney this September. I hope you all are having a great summer (or winter depending where you are). xoxo

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The one woman to tame him… 

Finally the injured navy SEAL who had once been brought to surgeon Erica Griffin in the dead of night has a name: Captain Thorne Wilder—her new commanding officer! Five years later he’s just as gorgeous as Erica remembers…but now he’s totally off-limits!

Thorne has been left damaged, brooding and untamable after the loss of his dreams—and beautiful Erica is an unwanted complication! She might be as wary of relationships as he is, but fighting temptation will be the biggest battle of all…

Things I love about an English summer by Kate Hardy

Right now in England it’s the long summer holidays. And although I find sticky humidity and heat a bit much to deal with, I love the summer. And here’s why.

1. The seaside.

OK, so I love the beach in the winter, but in the summer the North Sea is warm enough to paddle in. (Still cold, but lovely!) And this was Cromer yesterday afternoon.

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2. Barbecues

Eating al fresco is one of the best things about summer over here. Our garden faces north-west, so we get to see some gorgeous sunsets as well.

3. Strawberries

English strawberries, freshly picked and still slightly warm from the sun. There really is nothing like it. And we don’t need cream or sugar – just pure, luscious strawberriness :)

4. Summer flowers

Particularly cornflowers, delphiniums, antirrhinums and stocks. The scent, the colours – just perfect.

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5. Ice cream

Again, something that I’m happy with all year round – but I appreciate it even more on a hot day. (This is my cheat recipe – 400g strawberries whizzed in a blender with 500g fat-free Greek yoghurt, then put in the ice cream maker for 30 minutes. Perfect.)

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6. Late evenings sitting outside watching the stars.

Preferably with a glass of prosecco, post-barbecue, but a cup of tea will do. And sometimes you get to see lovely things such as the Perseid meteor shower; or (as we did last week) a blue moon.

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What are your favourite things about the summer? (Or the winter, if you’re in Australia/NZ right now?)

51F+pSNIMGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Kate’s latest release is A Promise… to a Proposal? You can find out more about the book, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/) – or find her on Facebook