Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Women's Business

CONTINUING EDUCATION for Romance Authors by Lynne Marshall

One of the really fun things authors get to do when not writing is go to writer’s conferences.  I like to think of it as a combination of work and pleasure.  Back in the days when I was an RN, I was expected to take 30 CEUs (continuing education units) every two years in order to renew my license.  Writing workshops are like CEUs in my opinion—a certain number of hours each year should be required of the aspiring and working author. There is so much to learn, so much to remember, so much to finally grasp, and other authors are happy to share their knowledge.  That’s the beauty of this profession.

Since I’m always working to further my Medical Romance writing knowledge, I recently attended a Trauma and Medicine for Writers workshop at the Emerald City Writer’s Conference in Bellevue, Washington.  It was given by Crista McHugh, M.D. a doctor by day and a fantasy and paranormal author by night.

Here’s a tidbit of what I learned:

Medical professionals all know that ABC is basic when assessing a patient. ABC (airway, breathing and circulation) expands to ABCDE in trauma departments.  D stands for disability and E for exposure.  So after a quick evaluation of the ABCs, the medical professional must note the disability – what’s involved – limbs, head, etc. (the Glasgow coma scale might be utilized here) – and they also need to know about exposure as in, where did the patient come from?  Car accident? A body of water?  Top of a building? You catch my drift.

This fast-talking Dr. McHugh gave a thumbnail rundown (including real pictures!) on penetrating injuries, gun shots, knife wounds, blunt force trauma, pedestrian versus car, Cardiac tamponade, concussion syndrome and even discussed autopsies!  She was a wealth of knowledge, though I wish we’d had two hours instead of one.

Concussion syndrome is something that drives me nuts in books.  The hero gets knocked in the head, passes out and comes to alert and ready for more action.  In reality they could very well have nausea, dizziness, and headaches, suffer memory loss, have problems concentrating, light and sound sensitivity, they might be irritable, anxious and have insomnia. Instead, authors often have them making love with the heroine!

One thing I found of particular interest for us Medical Romance authors, since so many of us write pregnant characters is, elbow dislocation is common in pregnant women.  Since their balance may be off due to advance pregnancy, and pregnancy naturally loosens up joints in preparation for the hips and pelvis expanding to deliver that baby, as they fall and try to stop themselves with their hands, their elbow may slip out of the joint and become dislocated.  I may use this tidbit in a future story.

Now that you know how I spent my last weekend, why not share something about your job with us.

Do you have to do continuing education or have work updates in your job?  Tell us about it.

Lynne Marshall’s latest book isn’t a Medical Romance, but watch for Making the Surgeon Smile next June 2013 in the Medical Romance line at Harlequin, Mills & Boon.


10 thoughts on “CONTINUING EDUCATION for Romance Authors by Lynne Marshall”

  1. Lynne, we have a similar CE program here for nurses. I love writing conferences for all the same reasons you outlined. I love the cover of TCFC and have just bought it. I plan to read it this summer (January) in a similar chair at the beach 😉

    1. Hi Fiona – I’m so glad you like my book cover. I was very happy when i first saw it. It’s hard to think of summer in January on this side of the hemisphere. I hope you enjoy it! thanks for commenting.

  2. As an educator I spent quite a few hours in continuing education. Some of the time it was general knowledge education required by the state and some of the time it was specific education dealing with the subject/subjects I was actually teaching.

    1. Ellen, I can only imagine how much continuing ed time would be required of teachers, and rightfully so. Thanks for tackling one of the hardest jobs on the planet. 🙂
      And thanks for stopping by and reading our blog.

  3. Hi Lynne

    Firstly I also love that cover and am so looking forward to reading it.
    The idea of continuing medical education happens here as well but I’m loving the idea of continuing medical education for authors. If we had conferences like you have in the US I’d be signing up in a flash. Not so much for the medical content (luckily I have a husband and daughter who keep me up to date) but to get together with my fellow med authors who are the best!
    Maybe we should arrange our own convention- then we can invite everyone who loves medicals? Wouldn’t that be great?

    Anne x

    1. Hi Anne! I’m so glad you like that book cover, too.
      Hey – wouldn’t it be cool to host an International readers luncheon for Medical Romance fans? That’s a great idea.
      You are very lucky to have professional medical help at your fingertips. My son-in-law is an intern now and my daughter a nurse practitioner, so I do have my resources, but I love the added aspect of having a fellow author talk about using Medicine in our writing.
      Conferences are really great, and there is supposed to be a really good one in Italy – maybe that’s the one we could all try to meet at? 🙂

  4. Hi Lynne!
    I never thought of writers conferences as continuing education for authors, but it makes sense. Each time I go to one I pick up something new and feel re-energized about my craft. Great post!

    1. Hi Wendy – when I think back over all the wonderful information I’ve learned about writing from conferences, I know that I would never have sold a book without going to them. It does make sense, doesn’t it?
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Lynne, I would LOVE to have been there for that Trauma and Medicine for Writers lecture! It sounds fascinating!

    I smiled when I read the ABCDE… I did a home veterinary nursing course many years ago. I’m pretty sure the ABC is the same (trusting my rusty memory here – always a worry! LOL) but the D stood for Drinking and the E for Eating.

    1. Too funny Sharon! thank you for reading the blog. I’d love to share one of these classes with you at a conference.

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