Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Their Marriage Worth Fighting For

Next month I have a new release! Their Marriage Worth Fighting For, which is Book 3 in the Night Shift in Barcelona quartet!

Book 1 – The Night They Never Forgot (Scarlet Wilson)

Book 2 – Their Barcelona Baby Bombshell (Traci Douglas)

Book 3 – Their Marriage Worth Fighting For (Louisa Heaton)

Book 4 – From Wedding Guest to Bride (Tina Beckett)

This is the blurb …

A chance to mend their marriage…

…for good?

After experiencing three devastating miscarriages, midwife Grace and neonatal surgeon Diego find their marriage hanging by a thread. But on one summer night at Santa Aelina University Hospital, they are forced to work together on a challenging case. Now, with nowhere to hide, they must finally confront their heartbreak… Can they also rediscover the joy and love that made their marriage so special?


I had great fun writing this one! I’d been involved in writing a duet before, but not a quartet and so this was a new learning experience for me. Normally, as a writer, you write alone, but with a quartet and lots of scenes that intermingled with other author’s books, there had to be a lot of collaboration and communication, to make sure we got aspects of our stories right!

It was a challenge and even a little scary for me, but one I really enjoyed.

My previous book, Their Marriage Meant To Be, was about a couple who had experienced the loss of a child, so to go into this story next, writing about loss again, was difficult, but as the characters and setting was so different, I was still able to bring a freshness to this story – something I’d worried about greatly, in case I’d already said it all in Their Marriage Meant To Be!

Grace and Diego were two lovely characters to write about. Even I was rooting for them to get back together from the beginning, but obviously I needed to torture them a little first! I really hope you’ll enjoy this quartet of stories!


Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Writing the Category Romance!

I am currently writing my 25th book for Mills and Boon Medicals, which is amazing to me, because I never thought I’d be able to come up with idea for more than three of them!

But it’s amazing how the mind works and how the looming contract deadlines make you come up with something!

But, I’ve been working on something else just lately, which I’m quite proud of and that’s a course I developed with RNA Learning, entitled Writing The Category Romance.

I’m running it twice. The first time in June and again in November.

I’ve always wanted to run a course to help aspiring romance writers and I decided to take the leap after remembering how I felt as an aspiring romance writer. I used to feel so lost. The information I wanted, I couldn’t find. The people I wanted to ask (current writers of category romance) I didn’t actually know. Not in real life. There were one or two that I’d begun to follow online, but I felt hesitant about contacting them out of the blue and asking them a heap of questions!

So, I thought I’d give some writers the opportunity to work with an actual writer of category romance and weekly have a Zoom with them all, so that they can take full advantage and ask me anything they want to know. I’ll also set them a weekly assignment, getting them to focus on character, goals, motivations and conflict (and the difference between internal and external conflict), backstory (and how to use it effectively), frontstory, emotions and sex scenes, settings, theme and how to write a synopsis.

I’m really looking forward to it! I used to teach GCSE English to Post 16+ students and have always enjoyed teaching adults, so I think it’s going to be great.

Places are filling fast, so if it’s the kind of thing you’re interested in, then check it out here.

My next book, due out in July is Their Marriage Worth Fighting For, Book 3 of the Night Shift in Barcelona Quartet!

Will an unexpected chance to work side by side save an estranged couple’s marriage? Find out in Louisa Heaton’s emotional reunion romance, the third book in the Night Shift in Barcelona series!

A chance to mend their marriage……for good?

After experiencing three devastating miscarriages, midwife Grace and neonatal surgeon Diego find their marriage hanging by a thread. But on one summer night at Santa Aelina University Hospital, they are forced to work together on a challenging case. Now, with nowhere to hide, they must finally confront their heartbreak… Can they also rediscover the joy and love that made their marriage so special?

From Harlequin Medical: Life and love in the world of modern medicine.

Night Shift in Barcelona

Book 1: The Night They Never Forgot by Scarlet Wilson
Book 2: Their Barcelona Baby Bombshell by Traci Douglass
Book 3: Their Marriage Worth Fighting For by Louisa Heaton
Book 4: From Wedding Guest to Bride? by Tina Beckett

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Their Marriage Meant To Be

PROLOGUE

Five years ago

A wisp of her son’s golden hair fell across his forehead as the fan at the side of his hospital bed blew air around the small room. Bex reached out to smooth it back, her touch light, delicate. Tender.

It was easy to pretend he was just sleeping, after a hard day playing outside in the garden. His little face was so relaxed in repose. The lovely, long eyelashes that he’d inherited from his father rested still and inert upon his soft pink cheeks.

If only he was sleeping.

If only he didn’t have half his face obscured by the tube that was breathing for him.

If only he’d not had a stroke.

The nurses had turned him onto his left side, and he had one hand gently curled into a relaxed fist. He still had dimples where his knuckles should be. How she loved his little hands. They were so expressive. The way he’d clap them when he was happy. The way he’d raise them above his head, begging to be picked up. There was nothing Charlie loved more than to be held by her, so he could play with her hair as he rested his head against her chest.

The doctors said that he wouldn’t be doing that any more.

He wouldn’t be doing anything any more.

Was it her fault? Could she have prevented this? If she’d only got him to hospital sooner…

The burn of tears scorched her eyes, filling them with salty tears that ran freely down her face as she leaned over him, adjusting his blanket and trying to sing him his favourite lullaby.

Although the words got stuck in her throat halfway through, she eventually succeeded in getting to the end.

This wasn’t how the fairy tale was meant to end.

If she ignored the machines in the room she could pretend that he was breathing on his own. She could pretend that she’d just put him to bed for an afternoon nap having read him a story.

At the side of the bed was his favourite book. His favourite grey teddy. She picked up the bear and tucked it in beside her son, stroking his hair once again, unwilling to stop touching him, because it meant that he was here, still vital, still alive.

She was unwilling to acknowledge that in reality Charlie was already gone.

The nurses had told her to take as long as she liked, before they’d slipped quietly from the room.

She had to wait for Ethan. He needed to be here for this. He should be here already. She didn’t know why he wasn’t. She needed his support. Needed to feel his arms around her when they came in and switched off the machines.

She bent low and gently dropped a kiss to her son’s forehead. His skin was warm and soft, as it always was.

‘I love you. I love you so much! You are my everything.’

The lump in her throat almost stopped the words and she had to wipe her eyes, unable to see for tears. Sniffing, she continued to stroke his face, his hair. Trying to imprint upon her memory how he felt. The shape of him. The scent of him. The curves of his face, his soft cheeks, his perfect, perfect sweetheart lips.

Never again would she hear his wonderful laugh.

Never again would she hear Charlie say ‘Mummy!’ and see his beaming smile as he raised his arms, wanting to be picked up.

What she wouldn’t give to feel his little body clamped onto hers, the weight of him on her hip, his little sticky face and hands…

Life was much too cruel. To do something like this to an innocent little boy.

‘Sleep tight, Charlie. Sleep tight. Mummy will love you always.’

And she allowed her grief to consume her as the sound of her desperate cries filled the room.


The only thing that can heal them?

Each other!

The day they lost their son, veterinary nurse Bex and vet Ethan’s world was left shattered. Struggling to cope, their marriage fell apart. Now, five years later, Ethan is back in Bex’s life…to treat a critically ill horse in her care. Being in each other’s company again reminds Bex of every single thing that she loved about Ethan. But will it prove they are meant to be together – forever?

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

A GP Worth Staying For

A Second chance…
…with the new Island doc?

For widowed GP Owen Ledger, the arrival of his replacement, Dr. Lucy Childs is step one on the road to a new life… away from the island where he spent his marriage. Only as Owen hands over the practice to warm-hearted Lucy, he starts to see everything through fresh eyes. Could Lucy be the final step to a second chance – and show Owen that he does belong on the island – with her!

I live on an island of twenty-two thousand people. Which, despite it being a lot of people, you tend to hear the same names cropping up over and over again. Councillors, MPs, teachers, doctors. When people want to complain, you tend to hear about it. If someone does something wrong, it stays in the communities minds for a long time and forgiveness? Is something not often seen. People like to hold a grudge.

It was this aspect of island life that I wanted to explore in a book. How living on an island, where you’re fairly well-known and liked and how people expect a certain level of commitment from you. A certain standard of behaviour and how those people might react if you went against expectations.

So Owen came to life. He’s lived on Morrow Island with his wife for ages. Everyone loves him. Everyone puts his name with his wife’s. Who has died. Owen wants to move on, but the island doesn’t want to let him go.

Which, in turn, created Lucy. A woman stifled by the expectations of her family and their concerns for her, who breaks free of their hold and moves to an island, in the hope of becoming free, not realising that the second she arrives, she becomes one of them and that privacy and secrets are not things that you get to keep in a small community, who want to know everything about you and butt into your life.

Owen and Lucy’s story was such fun to write. I got to create an island, a community, a haunted cove with its own tragic love story. But I also got to create the good side of living in a small community. I got to create some great secondary characters!

I almost didn’t want to leave Morrow myself!

Originally, I named Morrow, because it rhymed with Sorrow. But this island is anything but sorrowful. It’s a happy place and Lucy helps Owen see it. She helps him realise just how much he is loved by everyone else.

And her, too, obviously!

I hope you enjoy Lucy and Owen’s story and maybe, one day, I might return to Morrow Island and explore some of the other characters on the island.

Louisa x

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

If Music Be The Food of Love …

I love music. Of all kinds. I don’t have a great singing voice – except for maybe when I’m in the shower (where everyone sounds great and the acoustics work in our favour) but I love singing to my favourite songs.

I have different playlists for different moods and different occasions.

When I’m writing, I tend to listen to film scores, or orchestral music, as long as there are no lyrics. I very quickly discovered that trying to write, whilst singing along, only resulted in me typing the lyrics, or not typing at all, as I sang along.

This is my favourite playlist for this. Romantic Film Scores. What else!

But if I’m not writing, then I love to listen to Pentatonix, an acapella band. They do an amazing version of Hallelujah.

I also like a little bit of Home Free, who do this amazing version of Ring of Fire, one of my Dad’s favourite songs.

So what sort of music do you like listening to?

Can you belt out a tune?

Tell me your favourites. I’m always on the lookout to add great music to my playlists.

Love,

Louisa xxx

Two tiny heartbeats…

…will change their lives forever!

Top neurosurgeons Samantha Gordon and Yanis Baptiste spend one unforgettable night together in Paris. Their reunion in London proves even more explosive when they discover Sam is pregnant with twins! Neither Sam nor Yanis is prepared for parenthood, but those two tiny heartbeats could help them find the family neither of them believed they would ever have…

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Down time!

There are times when a writer stops writing (gasp!).

Not permanently. Just between books. And I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve been getting up to recently in between mine.

The first thing to do, was to clear my desk.

Just so you understand, I thought my desk was clear. But then I looked at all the little things, the ornamental typewriter, the crocheted octopus I made, the one-armed zombie a friend got me, the candle, the other little things that made me smile and I realised, yes, I like them, but not as much as I like an empty, minimalist look. (Who am I kidding? I just hated having to dust all the little knick-knacks!)

So I cleared it of everything. And yes, my screensaver has a hanging man on it. I’m weird and I’ve been writing a creepy story and it just puts me in the right frame of mind.

You see the little paperweight on Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (that’s propping up the monitor). That went after this picture was taken. So did the tiny skull with a tinier spider on it (not a real spider. I’m terrified, but fake ones are fine). As did the little Lego Alien xenomorph and Predator. And the dragonfly.

You see? Knick-knacks! And still plenty of them there, AFTER I thought I was done.

I’ve also attempted to have a garden this year. We’ve never really bothered with our garden. Neither of us are green fingered and for years its simply been a place for the dogs to run in, the cats to chase butterflies in and for our kids to bounce around on their trampoline. But now I want it to look pretty.

I’ve planted lavender and sunflowers and we’ve got a greenhouse full of vegetables. Oh yes – we got a greenhouse on Freecycle for free! A glass greenhouse, 8 x 6 feet. But the most precious thing I planted, was my Dad’s memorial rose.

I had to ask for advice on how to get rid of the aphids and it turns out water mixed with washing up liquid, works an absolute treat! (and yes, I can see an aphid. Believe you me, it wasn’t there for long.)

My Dad’s rose has a wonderful scent and it bloomed on what would have been my Mum and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary, that made me very happy.

The other thing I’ve been doing is returning to my cross-stitch. I’ve been stitching the Universal Monster SAL from The Witchy Stitcher. This is my progress so far. I’ve just to do the entryway (in the bottom centre square) and Dracula (in the bottom right), stitch the steps and basement and I’m done!

I’m also knitting this jumper by Andrea Mowry.

So, that’s it for me. Stitching, cleaning and gardening. I’m almost a domestic goddess. Who knew?

Or am I just turning into my Mum?

What have you been up to lately?

Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Reading List

I sometimes get asked, “What books do you read, when you have time?” and so I thought I’d make a list of the last few books that I’ve read.

Be aware, I don’t just read romance. I love something scary, too!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (V. E. Schwab)

When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there’s always a price – the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.

Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.

Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever.

The Giver of Stars (Jojo Moyes)

THE GREATEST LOVE STORY IS THE ONE YOU LEAST EXPECT . . .

Alice Wright doesn’t love her new American husband.

Nor her domineering father-in-law or the judgmental townsfolk of Baileyville, Kentucky.

Stifled and misunderstood, she yearns for escape and finds it in defiant Margery O’Hare and the sisterhood bringing books to the isolated and vulnerable.

But when her father-in-law and the town turn against them, Alice fears the freedom, friendship and the new love she’s found will be lost . . .

I Let You Go (Clare Mackintosh)

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

Tome (Ross Jeffery)

Another dark chapter in the history of Juniper unfolds…Juniper Correctional, jokingly abbreviated to JC, a dark jewel in the crown of the godawful American prison system, where the very worst of Juniper rot for life-sentences that seem to stretch forever.

In this hell-on-earth, it’s hard to tell most days who is worse: the inmates or the corrupt guards that enact the will of the monomaniacal Warden Fleming. Fleming is a fallen star, a once bright-minded leader who turned the prison around, now hiding a terrible secret eating him away from the inside, a secret he’ll do anything to cover up.But Fleming has problems, problems that threaten to unveil his secret.

There is killer among those housed at Juniper Correctional. Inmates keep turning up dead, murdered in ungodly ways, but nobody knows how or why. The only thing that connects them is a nameless book from the prison’s library. However, there is one ray of light: Frank.

Frank isn’t like the other guards. Frank still sees the good in people and is trying to make a difference, to save those souls he can from the darkness in their own hearts. What Frank doesn’t realise, however, is that the darkness is real, and he is about to see its true power…

Aliens Phalanx (Scott Sigler)

Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles and rich cultures – vibrant until the demons rose and slaughtered ninety percent of the planet s population. Swarms of lethal creatures with black husks, murderous claws, barbed tails and dreaded “tooth-tongues” rage across the land. Terrified survivors hide in ruined mountain keeps, where they eke out a meager existence. Skilled runners travel the treacherous paths between keeps, maintaining trade and sharing information. If caught, they die screaming.

Ahiliyah of Lemeth Hold is an exceptional runner, constantly risking her life for her people. When she and her closest companions discover a new weapon, it may offer the one last chance to end the demon plague. But to save humanity, the trio must fight their way to the tunnels of Black Smoke Mountain – the lair of the mythical Demon Mother.


So, there you go! A mixed bag. Horror, fantasy, historical, romance. Maybe I’ve intrigued you enough to go look one of these up!

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

Dr. Jess Young plans to use her time on the small Scottish island of Thorney to figure out how she can rebuild her shattered life, after a recent blow that has stolen the future she dreamed of. Only Dr. Adam Campbell is a complication she didn’t expect! Handsome but hurting too, Jess sees a kindred spirit in Adam. Will he heal her already fragile heart…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

How I Got My Idea for ‘Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc’

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

Dr. Jess Young plans to use her time on the small Scottish island of Thorney to figure out how she can rebuild her shattered life, after a recent blow that has stolen the future she dreamed of. Only Dr. Adam Campbell is a complication she didn’t expect! Handsome but hurting too, Jess sees a kindred spirit in Adam. Will he heal her already fragile heart…

I often get asked how I come up with ideas for my stories, so I thought I’d go through the thought processes of how I created my January release, Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc.

I love to write stories that take place on an island (because I live on an island and I like the community feel you get, where everyone knows one another.) Next to Hayling is an island called Thorney, but most of it is taken up by an army base. You’re allowed to walk the coastal walk, but that’s about it. Well, I liked the name, Thorney and decided that Thorney would be the great name for an island up in Scotland where I wanted to have a setting.

So, initially, that was all I had – a place, so then I had to think about what kind of medical establishments would be on this island. Would the island be big enough to sustain an entire hospital and the people to staff it? Or would there only be a GP surgery? With people going to the mainland for surgeries/emergencies, etc?

I preferred the intimacy of a small GP practice, with doctors that took on many different responsibilities and I knew there would have to be a resident doctor to be either my hero or heroine, with a new doctor arriving to play the other part.

Originally, I had my heroine, Dr Jess Young having arrived on the island to take over the hero’s job. She had already established herself there and was great friends with the hero’s family. His parents loved her and she had fallen in love with the stories they constantly told about him, the way he looked in photos and basically had developed a crush on a man she had never actually met (the reason for this crush on a man out of reach will be revealed later) The hero would then return from Afghanistan with PTSD and wouldn’t function well, however, my editor suggested that the hero could still have PTSD, but that he needed to very much be a fully functioning member of the medical team and that my heroine be the one arriving as a newbie and that we be there to watch her fall in love as they worked together.

So I went with that. But then I had to research PTSD and all the ways it could affect someone and how those issues might play into my story. Would there be night terrors, would he be affected by sights, or sounds? I decided that sound and night terrors would play into the story better, as I wanted my hero and heroine to be living in the same block of flats and that proximity would help for more scenes that would establish their burgeoning relationship.

So I knew what problems my hero had, but what about my heroine?

I wanted Jess to be as equally damaged as the hero, but how and why? Where Adam’s problems were mostly mental, I wanted hers to be physical and so I gave her a life-limiting disease. One that had killed her father, leaving her with slight Daddy issues and going after men that were never available to her emotionally.

Well, the Daddy issues were deleted! Mills and Boon like there to be strong heroines and Jess needed to be strong, to cope with her condition and also, to help Adam with his. I knew then, that Jess would be this incredibly caring individual, who put other people first, before herself and that this need to care, to deflect her concern onto other people, rather than herself, would be the key issue towards her and Adam falling in love and being vulnerable with each other.

Once I had all of that information, I began to write. A revised synopsis to send to my editor, and then a detailed chapter plan, exploring what would happen in each scene, before I wrote it. The chapter plan was six pages of single spaced work and as I wrote the book, became six pages of incredibly messy work, as I scribbled all over it and changed things as I went, as new things always occur to me, as I write.

I had this grand idea for a Black Moment at the end of the book, that took place in the pouring rain. You know that screen shot from The Notebook of the hero and heroine kissing in the rain, absolutely drenched? I wanted something like that, my characters arguing with each other, but only because they’re so frustrated and then they end up kissing and realising they can’t bare to be apart, but that idea was nixed by my editor (who suggested a different moment and I sadly placed my rain-drenched characters into a separate folder to be used in another story, at some point.)

So, there you have it. The thought process to starting a book.

It’s not actually as simple as it reads. It comes across that these Aha! moments come to you quickly and easily, but I promise you there were many days of head-scratching, hair pulling and biting of nails as I worked out various bits and pieces. There may even be lots of scrawled up bits of paper lying in rubbish tips with my notes still on them. Or maybe seagulls have used them to help line their nests? Who knows?

If you’ve got any writing questions, then please don’t hesitate to ask them below. I’m always happy to answer them.

Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories

Imagination was free.

When I was little, my parents didn’t have much money. What money there was, went on bills or usually, debts, so there was never anything left over to spend on something as extravagant as a book or magazine. Or toys. Everything I ever owned as  a child was second-hand. Clothes from an older girl from up the street (that never fit properly). Pyjamas from my three older brothers ( I had a great set with green tanks on) and anything else like shoes, were from a charity shop.

                So because of this scarcity in dolls and toys, I lived in my imagination and one day, I decided to go for a walk with my Dad to the local library, as he had some books to take back. I went with him and fell in love! With the smell of the place. The endless shelves, filled with tomes! And the fact that there was a separate room, just for children’s books, filled with beanbags and teddies and a dragon you could sit on.

                I begged for a library card and as it was free, I got one. I was allowed to take out eight books and so I did, marvelling at the card system and the stamper as it checked each book out. I chose Enid Blyton and read every Famous Five, or Secret Seven book I could lay my hand on. I read Black Beauty multiple times (which came in handy for a quiz as a teenager, when I was the only kid who knew the answer to ‘Who wrote Black Beauty?’ and won myself £10.)

                I quickly made my way through that children’s library and when I was eleven, I begged the librarians to let me take books from the adult’s section. They allowed it, as long as they could veto any, they thought were unsuitable for me (though I distinctly remember getting out a racy Sidney Sheldon and many doctor nurse romances by Claire Rayner.)

                I remembered thinking that authors were these strange creatures, who existed only in my imagination, all of them living someplace far away, like America, in houses made of gold and silver. I thought authors were magical creatures. Even though every night I would lay in bed thinking up my own stories and dreamed of being one myself. But I didn’t know any writers. It just seemed like a pipe dream.

                One year, I asked my parents for a typewriter. I’d been writing stories by hand for some time, taking them into school and letting my friends read them. Early reviews told me I was brilliant and could they have more, lol. But I didn’t think I’d get the typewriter. They were expensive and money was tight. But that Christmas, I got one. Second-hand, with a crappy ribbon that barely had any ink left on it, but I had one and by golly, I thought that made me a proper author!

                Tap, tap, tap. I think I drove my parents crazy. I wrote a letter to the local paper and it got published on their letters page. I wrote a short story about a mean woman who dumps a bag of kittens in a river that had nuclear waste in it, not realizing that one surviving kitten would come back and wreak revenge and THAT got published in an anthology. I was on a roll!

                But then, nothing seemed to happen. Nothing else got published. I saw my careers teacher at secondary and told her that I wanted to be a writer (this is 30 odd years ago, ahem!) and she said, “No, think of something proper you could do.” Was her response and she sent me to the knitwear factory where I worked for three years. I worked eight or nine hour shifts every day, head down over a lockstitch machine, thinking up stories.

                At the side of my mother’s bed, was a pile of Mills and Boons and I loved reading the blurbs on the back. A young teenage girl, reading about love and romance, what wasn’t there to love? Plus my older brother kept bringing back these paperbacks from authors such as James Herbert and Stephen King and I loved being frightened, too. That led me to JRR Tolkien, David Eddings and Terry Pratchett.

                Why couldn’t I write these things?

                So I started submitting to real publishers. I got The Writers and Artists Yearbook from my library and took notes of what people wanted, sending manuscripts out through the post (no internet or email back then!)

                It took me fifteen years of sending submissions to Mills and Boon, before I got The Call. Fifteen years of marriage and having four children inbetween making up stories when I could and when babies were asleep.

                And now here I am, 18 books in and with other short stories published in magazines and online.

                Sometimes, it’s really hard. Sometimes, it isn’t.

                You just keep having to chase the dream.

                As Kevin Costner would say, ‘If you build it, they will come.”

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Reading, The Writing Life

Filling The Well

These are difficult times. Stuck in this pandemic, trying to get through this second wave and here in the UK, puzzling over the different rules for different tiers and for me in particular, trying to make my mother adhere to the rules especially as she is in Nottingham (an area of the country with some of the highest Covid infection rates) and who is starting down the terribly rocky road of Dementia.

Put simply, she lives alone, now that Dad has died and she forgets that there is a pandemic. We do what we can from 200 miles away. She has signs on the doors reminding her to put on her mask before she goes out (even though we tell her she shouldn’t be going out) and other reminders throughout her flat to wash her hands and to sanitise and to try not to touch her face.

It’s difficult. Especially when I receive calls from one of my brothers to say that he went to take her some groceries, found her flat empty and tracked her down in someone else’s flat, without a mask, laughing and joking!

Grr!

So, despite all of this, despite the fact that I am still trying to get over the death of my father, I have been trying to find things that make me happy. Trying to find things to occupy my mind, that fill the well, that gives me ideas, that allows me to learn new things, to always try and make my writing as good as it can be. So I thought I’d share a few things I’m doing, a few things I’m reading, to maybe give you all some ideas, or even to just spark a light in these weary times.

Books I’ve Read

What if you had a second chance with the one who got away?

Ben’s always loved December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old flame Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

I adored this book. A cross between One Fine Day and A Christmas Carol. Definitely high on my list of recommended reads and it’s perfect with Christmas coming up!

She must marry the knight .

By order of the king!

Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

This book won the Joan Hessayon Award and rightly so! It’s a wonderful delve into the past with the Lady Eleanor who is passionate about protecting the people of Tallany from the severe taxes placed upon them by King John, being forced to marry Sir Hugh de Villiers who is the king’s man, determined to find the outlaw who is stealing all the taxes back! Very Robin Hood, I must say!

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

This was perfect! Wonderfully eccentric in that British way, with dabs of humour sprinkled throughout as Joyce and her friends try to solve a murder from their retirement home! I zoomed through this one and enjoyed every single page and shall definitely read more from this author.

Classes

Taking Risks As A Writer (with Julie Cohen, Novel nights)

Julie Cohen chats to Novel Nights about taking risks in a writing career, overcoming writer’s block and challenging the status quo. Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide and she’s twice been selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Julie runs an oversubscribed literary consultancy which has helped many writers get published. She is a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter, and a Patron of literacy charity ABC To Read. Her latest novel, Spirited was published in July 2020.  This author talk and Q&A is hosted by David Lloyd.

By the time you read this blog, I will have taken this class. I love listening to other authors and hearing about what they’ve done, how they work and seeing if I can apply anything to my own writing.

I think it’s always worth continuing to learn, always striving to do better.

Building A Successful Partnership With Your Editor (Harlequin)

This will be a chat for Harlequin authors with Stephanie Doig (editor, Carina Press), Flo Nicoll (senior editor Harlequin presents), Johanna Raisanen (editor Harlequin Heartwarming) Ruby Barrett (author), Sasha Summers (author) and Maisey yates (author). The panel will discuss the ins and outs of editorial partnerships and share tips on building a successful author-editor relationship.

Now, I have a lovely relationship with my editor, don’t get me wrong! But, like I said, it’s always worth finding out more.

Sometimes when I take classes, I find that I know a lot of the information that is presented, but there are always one or two nuggets that I can add or incorporate to my own experience. It’s about being willing to be open to new ideas.

Hobbies

I’m currently into blackwork embroidery and I’m LOVING it! There’s something very peaceful and calming to the mind about it and it’s also an opportunity (when the pattern isn’t too complicated) to think about my story and characters and plot out scenes!

I’m currently working on a pattern called – Save The Stitches.

You can find this FREE PATTERN at Blackwork Journey if you want to take a look at it.

But I have plans to do so many more! The problem is seeing all the wonderful patterns I want to get started on, but know that if I do too many at once, some may get neglected, or they all will, if I get too overwhelmed with projects, so I’m trying to stick to this one, right now.

But, oh dearie me, it’s difficult!

So, what about you, dear reader? What have you been up to? What have you been reading? Doing? Learning? Have you taken up a new hobby? Have you tackled all those DIY projects that have been waiting in the wings? I’d love to hear from you!

Louisa xxx

Their passionate fling…
Has given them a gift to last a lifetime!

When pediatrician Merry Bell turns up at his hospital in Iceland, Dr. Kristjan Gunnarrson’s quiet Christmas is shaken up. After a hot fling together in Hawaii, they both agreed to walk away. But now Merry has brought him life-changing news – she’s pregnant! Commitment phobic Kristjan will not waver from his responsibility, but is his bruised heart ready for a family?