Introvert, Extrovert or a little bit of both?

A couple of years ago, I left the Middle East, where I’d been working for three years, armed with a new motto: answer any opportunity that comes along with a ‘yes’ and move back from that position only if you have to. Which meant that when it came time to think about finding a new job, I was open to any and all suggestions.

There was only one thing that daunted me as I re-entered the job market: the personality test. The personality test, in a variety of permutations, had become so ubiquitous that every single opportunity that came my way required one, sometimes two, and sometimes even three tests. Now, I’m going on the record here to say that I detest personality tests, but in keeping with my new motto, I smiled and said yes, and yes, and yes, and yes.

P1000954

A little snippet from one of the many personality tests I’ve taken

Why do I hate them so passionately?

Not because I fear I’ll be revealed as a psychopath. Not because I’ve found them to be highly ignorable when I’ve hired people (and I’ve hired plenty) over the years. Not even because of the enormous time suck they are.

Nope – it’s because I already know myself very, very well, and no personality test has ever uncovered any stunning insight into my psyche. I know all my flaws, foibles, strengths and oddities. Even the one great paradox that every test I’ve ever taken has confirmed: that I believe I’m an introvert, but nevertheless always exhibit as an extrovert.

P1000950

I see this view of this particular sculpture when I’m in my writing nook, and it suits my introverted side.

Here’s the introvert bit: I shun most social situations if I have a choice; I need a lot of silence; I live mostly inside my own head; and I can be reserved to the point of others’ discomfort.

And the extrovert: I’m supremely comfortable in my own skin; I’m not intimidated when I find myself in large groups; I’m impulsive; I have a wide circle of friends; I’m opinionated; and I’ll take just about any bull by the horns and wrestle it into submission!

I’m not in the  job market any more, so I don’t think too much about this stuff – except when I find myself straying so far into introvert territory, I become a virtual recluse. This happens most often when I enter what I call Phase 3 of writing a book, which is when the characters consume me to the point where I can’t think of anything else, and actually don’t want to.

P1000948

But when I go over to her, I see she’s looking out over a whole world and that suits my extroverted side

As a writer, it’s all too easy to nurture that side – working from home, keeping abreast of news and current affairs via the television and internet, and connecting with so many colleagues and friends on social media.

But I know I have to let the extrovert out for a run every now and then, because it’s when that happens, and I’m out amongst it all as either a participant or a voyeur, listening to the tenor and timbre and cadence of people from all walks of life and all ages as they communicate in real time…? Well, that’s when I get my freshest ideas.

I’m currently in a ‘Phase 3′ funk, almost a full-on recluse – but am already plotting and planning a few rip roaring days and nights out in the world the moment my latest book is put to bed.

Meanwhile, I have made a vow to myself: I will never again undertake any kind of personality test! Time for a new motto, methinks…

I’d love to hear which way you skew on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. No idea? Check yourself out by clicking here!

My latest book, Escaping Mr Right, which is jam packed with extroverted characters, is available for pre-order, but not out until September 30, and if you feel like taking a peek, here’s the blurb.

Sometimes Mr Right is Mr Wrong, and Mr Wrong is definitely Mr Right . . .

Television reporter Chloe Masters is a woman of cool control . . . except when Casanova rugby league player Nick Savage is around. Then cool control goes out the window. Her boyfriend, Marcus, is everything she ever wanted – but it’s getting harder to deny her body’s reaction to Nick . . .

Escaping Mr Right hi res coverNick Savage has been head-over-heels since he first laid eyes on Chloe – just a moment too late to stop her connecting with his team mate, Marcus. But when the goalposts shift and he and Chloe are thrown together on a week away, Nick dares her to get physical in whatever way she wants – with a kiss, a punch or anything in between. And if Chloe claims to feel nothing, he’ll leave her alone for good.

How can Chloe say no to a week of mindless passion with the man she hasn’t been able to get out of her head?

Trouble is, a lot can go wrong (or right) in a week . . .

I hope you’ll check out my website, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!

 

 

 

Supervisors

A while back on Twitter, there was the hashtag #officedogs for writers to post pictures of their dogs that helped ‘supervise’ them whilst they were writing.

It was a fun tag, but I suddenly wanted to start one called #officecats because thats usually the kind get! This is Badger and he’s a year old and he’s huge weighing just over 8 pounds.

IMG_0015

And he’s the biggest softie there is. There’s nothing he likes better than sitting next to me whilst I work, watching my fingers race across the keyboard and if I happen to slow down, or pause to think for a moment, he will ‘helpfully’ reach out and paw me into adding more.

Then there’s Cookie, his brother, who is smaller, a mere six pounds, who ‘supervises’ from a distance on the bed.

IMG_0047

He chirrups and purrs and miaows when he feels I’ve been working long enough and really ought to take a break to come over to the bed and rub his belly.

Occasionally, the cat supervisors take a break from all this hard work and send in Daisy, the golden retriever.

IMG_0098

She will sit and stare at me for a while and if I don’t notice her, she’ll start whining until I give her a look and say, ‘Hi”. Then her ears will drop, her tail will wag and she will walk to the door and look back, her signal for ‘take me for a walk now, human!’.

It usually works. All my animals can guilt me into taking a break, but that’s the joy of having furry family. Then there’s Misty (Badger and Cookie’s mum) a tortoiseshell cat, Magic, a black moggy or Joey, a brown tabby who’s the patriarch of the whole lot. Oh, and Mango, my daughter’s Yorkshire terrier (yes, we have a zoo, i won’t even mention the rabbits and pet rats)

So who are your #officedogs or #officecats? Or do you have an #officebird or #officereptile? I’d love to hear about them!

Louisa Heaton’s next release is due November 6th, A Father This Christmas? and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. You can also find out more at Louisa’s website and blog  or you can follow me on  Facebook or on Twitter @louisaheaton

That time of year….

At the end of this week school finishes and it’s the summer holidays.

IMG_1198

I have to be honest and say my kids are a tiny bit older than this now.  But the thought that they will have finished another year of school is a tiny bit scary.  My eldest is now bringing home maths homework that I have to google when I ‘check’ the answers.  Next year will be exam time for him and my youngest will be entering his last year of primary school.

Now, it’s time to pack the cases.  Summer will be busy.  We’re going to Florida for two weeks and I’m terrified about the fact I will be driving. My kids have never been to Florida and I think they will absolutely love it.

When we get back, I’m only home eight days before I head to New York for the Romance Writers Conference.  It’s my first time ever and I’m so looking forward to it. There’s so much to cram into five days that I think sleep will be an optional extra!  I will also get to cheer on a fellow medical author Louisa George who is up for one of the Rita awards – go Louisa!

Do you have any plans for summer or are you planning to kick back and relax??

The Doctor

After five years with Doctors Without Borders Nathan Banks is close to burnout – and a job in the stunning Whitsundays is the perfect fresh start! Until Nathan discovers his new colleague is his ex – Rachel Johnson! But could this twist of fate finally make these docs confront their past and face their future… together?

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

People always ask where I get my story ideas. It’s a complicated question…and yet it isn’t. Because they never come from any one place. Sometimes an article I read on the internet will get the wheels turning. Sometimes an overheard conversation sparks something. And sometimes it’s a picture.

A picture like this one.Lane 10

My son went snow tubing with friends a few months ago. When he came back, he had several pictures. This was one of them. I chuckled and told him his facial expression was a little creepy. But as I looked closer, I caught a little flash of red just behind him. A small marker that said Lane 10. That was it. The idea and title for a new book. A thriller. One where something terrible happens on Lane 10.

Right now that’s all it is. The smallest kernel of an idea. But once I get a chance, I plan to explore it just a little more. And hopefully, one day, that photo will give birth to a brand new book–painting not just a thousand words, but tens of thousands of words.

And there you have it. Short and sweet. I would love to hear your thoughts! If you’re an author, do you have an interesting story about where you got one of your ideas? If you’re a reader, have you ever read a book and wondered how on earth the writer came up with the plot?

Speaking of stories, I have a new medical coming out in July. Midwives on call UKPart of the fabulous Midwives on Call continuity. Since I love all things Australia, I was thrilled to be included in the series!

Awards Season by Amy Andrews

Yes, its that time of the year again with RWAmerica and RWAustralia announcing their nominees for their most prestigious awards and, as usual, your medical romance authors have had a good showing. Some haven’t been for medical romances but we like to claim them all here because clealry medical romance writers are adept at writing well iPrintn whatever sub-genre they pursue :-)

Firstly we have 3 medical romance authors who are up for four Ruby awards. The Romantic Book of the Year award is from Romance Writer’s of Australia.

Lucy Clark has been nominated in the “sweet” category with her medical romance Dr Perfect on her Doorstep!

lucyMarion Lennox has been nominated for her 100th!!! book, a medicmarional called Waves of Temptation.

Alison Roberts gets 2 nominations! One for her medical A Little Christmas Magic. And the other one for her Sweet romance The Maverick Millionaire.

allisonalison2

I’m nominated in the “long” romance category with my urban-family, romcom Risky Business.

NewRiskyBizCover

Last but not least is louisathe fabulous Louisa George who is up for the biggie! A RITA from Romance Writer’s of America for her KISS book, Enemies with Benefits.

So, that’s what we’ve been up to book wise in the last month or so.  What about you? Have you read a good book lately that you think deserves an award gong? Please share because we’re all about the books here!

PS – All the covers have links to Amazon if you’d like to check these books out further.

Why I’m Reading A Bad Book

I’m reading a really bad book right now. Probably the worst book I’ve laid eyes on in the past couple of years. The writing is bad, grammar is wrong in too many places, spelling is off, thE5207XDWthe historical facts are way off, the historical liberties taken reach way too far for comfort, and we’re not talking by just a little bit. The writer obviously didn’t do his homework. Either that, or he totally underestimated his reader. Doesn’t really matter which one, because his history is so wrong it’s actually made me laugh out loud.

Yet, every time I come across one of the glaring errors, which seems to be about every other page, I vow I won’t read the next page. Although I do anyway.

Why haven’t I just put it down and moved on to something else? I honestly don’t know. The farther I get into the story the more this book promises to frustrated me. I truly don’t believe the author is skilled enough to carry out a decent ending and I can pretty much predict the corner he’s going to write himself into. But I’m a third of the way through, and still threatening to quit.
So, why don’t I?

The first answer is simple. I paid good money for this book. It wasn’t one of the freebie e-books that are so abundantly offered these days, wasn’t even a cheap e-book. It was a top-cost e-book for which I paid enough that I want my money’s worth, even if that means more frustration all the way through to the bitter end. Does that make me cheap? Yes and no. Yes, because I resent having paid for this drivel (which somehow sucked in a fairly good Amazon rating). No, because I’m a little bit habitual, having been raised by the daughter of a depression-era mother, who never threw anything away if it had a purpose, and who certainly never invested in a book without reading it through cover to cover.

My mother learned from her mother, and I learned from my mother. We didn’t waste food, we didn’t waste resources, we didn’t waste money. I still don’t. I was married probably twenty years before I could actually leave food on my plate without feeling guilty. My house is always dark, no extra lights on if they’re not needed. And I can’t tell you how many “bad” books I’ve read only because I bought them. Sad thing about that is, life’s short, and there are so many good books to read. But old habits die hard, don’t they?

So, that’s my first answer. The one that doesn’t come from a writer. The second answer comes from the writer in me. My husband accused me of wanting to hang in just to see an epic fail. I think it’s the other way around. I want to see this book turn into an epic success. I’ve written myself into the same corner I’m predicting for this author. I’m sure that I’ve produced my own share of work that some reader has called it drivel. As writers, we all have. For me, though, I just want this book to succeed in the worst way. I don’t want to give up on it because I can imagine how long it took the author to write it, and I know how he must have slaved over the edits even though, in my opinion, someone didn’t get them right.

I never want to see a book fall flat because I’ve literally been there, done that with my own books and I know the process intimately. So even in a book where I see so many wrongs, I really do want it to right itself by the end. And that optimism is also something I learned from the best example – someone who always looked at things on the bright side. Having food on the plate was a blessing. Having a light to turn off and on was a miracle. And having the money to buy a book was good fortune many do not have.

So for now, I’m reading a bad book and keeping my fingers crossed, because the author deserves that much from me. But I’ve also invested in the James Patterson Master Class just to get his impression of what a good book is and so far, he’s right on every count. Of course, it’s James Patterson, what do you expect? But he says a good book holds its reader’s interest from start to finish, that it doesn’t let its reader down somewhere along the way. Most of all a good book is one you enjoy reading. So I suppose I’m lucky that in my lifetime I’ve read more good books than bad ones. Either way, I enjoy reading books both good and bad. Good books because they hold my attention and give me something to look forward to. Bad books because they teach me what I need to know to improve my own writing. Nobody sets out to write a bad book, so here’s to all the authors who end up writing them. I hope they read some good books along the way so they can see the difference.

Until next time, here’s wishing you health and happiness…

DD

PS: Feel free to visit my website at http://www.Dianne-Drake.com and find me at Twitter there.

Why I love winter …

There are many reasons why I love winter … the first is my wardrobe.  My biggest clothing investments are for the colder weather (yes clothes are an investment… in happiness for a shopaholic).  I can buy new winter boots, jackets and tops and then layer to my heart’s content.

Unknown-2

Hearty soups and lamb roasts are also another reason to love winter.  Pea and ham or roasted pumpkin soup have little or no appeal on a hot summer night. images

Would Naomi Watts have turned down a date with Tom Cruise for a tuna salad in summer? No it had to be Mum’s lamb roast on a winter night that tipped the scales.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt1YV9Bj72c)

images-1

And few could resist staying inside on a cold winter day all snuggly on the sofa with a blanket, a dog… and a hot chocolate (or a block of chocolate).

images-3

Not to mention that layered winter clothing helps to mask the results from staying on the sofa with said block of chocolate!   So for these reasons winter comes up trumps for me. In my December 2015 Medical Romance, A Mummy to Make Christmas, my heroine Phoebe leaves behind winter (and a cheating fiancé) to work in Australia and she is more than happy to leave the snow (and the cad) behind and bask under the hot summer sun. What is your favorite season?