So, right now while this post is live I’m at the amazing Romancing the Capital conference in Ottawa, Ontario. This is the third year for this conference that’s organized by Canadian author extraordinaire Eve Langlais. I went it’s first year and second year and now onto my third. I love it and I love that it’s close to home.
Amazing as the conference will be I’m really looking forward to when I come back home. I have a day to recover and pack up my family before we fly to Calgary.
Now, I’ve been to Alberta before, but we drove last time so this is my kids’ first flight. I love the west, but this time after our plane lands we’re driving 17 hrs north to the Northwest Territories! I’m very, very excited. It’s been on my bucket list for years.
I’ve never been north of 60. I’ve always wanted to go and I’m visiting a very special couple, my brother and his fiancee. They recently got engaged and I have to say my brother’s proposal to his intended was like the stuff of a romance novel. I’m super proud of him.
His fiancee took a posting at the local hospital and has been teasing me with amazing pictures of her life in Fort Smith NWT.
Northern lights, buffalo, bears, Great Slave river, Great Slave lake and ice roads (I won’t be seeing ice roads in the summer). However, since she lives just outside of Wood Buffalo National Park and the night sky returns August 10th along with the aurora, I think my kids might finally be able to experience what I’ve only ever been lucky to see once in my life.
And Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest dark night preserve.
After a few days there, we’re headed back down to Edmonton to see my husband’s sister and her hubby. Then I get to roam Jasper National Park, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, High River and High Level! Also, for the first time, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.
I’ll be going from top to bottom in Alberta.
And I’m absolutely excited to soak up more great scenery, get inspired for more books and cross some more things off my bucket list.
I was going to say something witty about the fact April showers bring May flowers, but it’s April 7th and there’s snow on the ground where I live. Boo!
I love April, even though it’s usually a rainy month. April is my birthday month. It means, ice cream cake! WOOT!
Although, since starting Weight Watchers in January I might opt for some frozen yogurt. *little woot*
April is also a very busy month for me. Ever since I sold to Harlequin, I always seem to have a deadline around or right before my birthday. I’m not complaining, because I love the work. And honestly, I never really noticed before until my husband started building my office in the basement.
See, I had this great office in the spare bedroom in the basement, but then my daughter became a teenager and wanted her own space (and bathroom), so I gave up that room so she could get away from her brothers. The boys each had their own room upstairs and I worked in the living room, with stuff scattered in boxes in the unfinished part of the basement.
Then, my boys missed being together. So they took their bunk beds and moved back into a room together. I took the other upstairs room. I loved it. I loved having that office again where I could close a door and work. I wrote One Night in New York and my Sealed with a Valentine’s Kiss duet in that room.
Ahh. It was heaven. That lasted about a year. Then, the fighting and bickering started as they got older.
I went back to my boxes in the basement and have been working in the living room. I escape to hotel rooms near my deadline to work, because it’s hard once the kids come home to write in the living room. Since I dropped Diet Coke for good, I can’t pull all nighters and with working out …I don’t want too. I’m tired.
My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said a small room where I can shut you all out. I love my family, but for my sanity and career, I need a door between us.
So, he went to work. Everything is done (as of writing this blog post) but the door.
The first thing up was my new wardrobe. It’s massive and I was finally able to take all the copious author copies from 14 books (currently out) and store them somewhere safe. This picture isn’t even the foreign translations. I keep one copy of foreign translation books and I’m shipping out a bunch to different libraries.
Then after the walls were up I got bookshelves! They’re pretty bare, but it’s a work in progress. Nice to have all my books together. Something to look at.
The table I work at is one my Mom made when she was moving into her first apartment, or rather she was going to move into her first apartment alone and then met my Dad. LOL
I can’t wait to finish unpacking, but I’m headed to Toronto this weekend for an all day workshop with the Toronto Romance Writers. Since it starts bright and early Saturday, I’m spending the night in my old hometown by myself in a hotel room to write.
And I’m taking the train. I love taking the train, especially business class because I can work on the train. It’s a 3 hr train ride (roughly) to downtown T.O.
It’s only one night away, since I’m catching the late night train back to London, Ontario Saturday night, but I’m planning on enjoying the silence and cranking up the word count.
Maybe, just maybe there will be door to my office on my return.
Oh and in March, I had 2 releases! Check them out.
Nurse Shay Labadie’s one exquisite night of passion with Dr. Dante Affini was meant to be a beautiful memory. But now Shay’s expecting…and Dante is expecting her to take his hand in marriage!
Dante’s proposal is shocking enough, but then he drops an even bigger bombshell—he’s not just a doctor, he’s a prince! Now to win his child and the woman he loves, Dante will have to prove he can master his most important role yet—as the husband Shay deserves…
Former Navy Seal Jack Crane walked away after a chemical attack wiped out his platoon and scarred him, forcing him out of the military–the hardest thing he ever had to do…Until Omega Team contacted him to protect an undercover agent at a secret lab.
Lisa Morgan had nothing to lose when she took on the assignment to uncover Bio-Tek’s dark secrets concerning the deadly chemical agent that killed her brother and cost her the only man she ever loved a decade ago when he walked away.
When the man hired to protect her turns out to be Jack, she’s forced to trust with her life the man she couldn’t trust with her heart, and make sure the antidote for that terrible chemical gets into the right hands before it’s too late.
Alejandro is the youngest of the Valentino brothers and some sites list my book as the first book in the Hot Latin Docs, but I’m actually book two of four. And I have to say this was so much fun to write. I know, I know I keep saying that, but it’s true. I just loved working with Annie, Amalie & Tina.
We created the “ugly” brothers, as they affectionately refer to one another and we’re the “ugly” sisters. And yeah, there’s more stuff from us in the works, we just have to get our crazy squirrels in a row (we don’t have ducks).
Last week Annie had you pull up a chair at Mad Ron’s, but since this is Alejandro, he’d like you to take a seat while he shares his routine with you! 😉
KIRI WAS WALKING the halls of a darkened Buena Vista. She’d been working late again and as she walked she realized that no one else was around.
What was going on?
She turned and the lights dimmed. Alejandro was at the end of the hall dressed in a suit, his head lowered, his hands behind his back. She was completely confused.
Music started and he began to dance. Just like that night in his hotel room in Vegas. Right down to the same suit.
Kiri sat down in a chair that suddenly appeared. She wanted to tell him to stop dancing, that it wasn’t appropriate to do his routine in the hospital, but she lost her voice and suddenly it didn’t matter that he was doing this in the hospital.
She was transfixed as he undid the knot in his tie, slowly pulling it off. Those dark eyes were glittering in the dim light and were focused on her. Holding her captive.
Kiri realized then she was at his mercy. Her body thrummed with need as he pulled off his jacket and shirt. She ran her hands over his body, over his hard, rippling muscles. Then he leaned over her, his lips brushing her ear.
“Mi tesoro,” he whispered. “I want you forever. Always. Only you.”
She closed her eyes and waited for a kiss.
Instead a blaring noise echoed in the hall and he moved away…
Kiri woke with a start. Her alarm clock was going off. It startled her and as she groggily reached for her glasses, she fumbled to find the alarm and shut it off.
With a sigh she sank back into the pillows. Sunshine was peeking in through the venetian blinds that covered the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows in her apartment bedroom.
“Good Lord,” she groaned. Alejandro was invading her dreams again and even though it had just been a dream her body was craving the kiss she’d been waiting for. The kiss that was in her imagination. She hadn’t had an erotic dream about Alejandro in a long time.
Any dreams she’d usually had about him since the miscarriage had brought tears to her eyes and reminded her of what she’d lost. What she’d been denied.
So dreams about him were more like nightmares.
Except for the one she’d just had, which still made her blood burn with need.
I hear a lot of writers say that they need complete silence to write. No distractions. NOTHING but them and the voices in their head. I can write this way too, grudgingly, but I prefer music or at least something I’ve seen a million times playing in the background on the television as I write.
As book 15 was just accepted a week or so ago, I though I would share some of the music which was played repeatedly while I worked on various titles. Due to the beauty of Apple iTunes Music (Hooray because my memory can be sketchy on the best of days) it lets me know which songs on any given playlist that I listened to a lot.
It drives my DH a bit bonkers if I don’t have my headphones on and I’m listening to a song on repeat. 😉
Since book 15 was accepted, I thought I would start with the book that started it all, SAFE IN HIS HANDS. This was before I subscribed to Apple Music, but I do remember the song that inspired the book.
The song that inspired this book was Adele’s Someone Like You. Safe in His Hands was a reunion romance. A second chance at marriage and love.
When I write about my Army Docs or Navy Docs, I always have to have Skillet’s Hero added to my playlist.
And for my latest release Unwrapped by the Duke, even though it’s a Christmas themed book I didn’t listen to many Christmas songs, but instead went for something a bit sexier. Only fitting for that gorgeous hero.
And the song that was on repeat for this book was Salted Wound from Sia.
Writers, do you listen to music while you write?
Readers, do the songs fit the books? Or did you envision something else when reading it?
So coming up next week the DH and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. You can say it was love at first sight, because it really was. We met New Years 1999, when it was turning into 2000. We didn’t start really dating until spring 2001 and we were engaged in August 2001.
October 2002 on Canadian Thanksgiving (because I love turkey) we were married.
My DH proposed to me at one of my most favourite places in the world. North Bay, Ontario. I know that doesn’t seem glamorous, but I spent many happy summers and falls in North Bay, Ontario. My father’s family is from the north and I love the north.
Now, 14 years later we’re going back to the north, not quite North Bay though. We’re going to Algonquin Park.
In all my travels to the north I’ve never actually been to Algonquin Park, which is sort of a travesty. My paternal grandfather (who was quite venerable when my father was born so I never knew him) worked in the park in 1917, building railroads and knew famous Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson and remembers distinctly when the artist was murdered, though this disputed I believe.
My father said his father always stated that Tom was murdered. My grandfather was friends with him.
Algonquin is also famous for the fall colours. I’ve always wanted to see them. So, this year my DH said “Let’s go!” And booked us in at a resort only for couples outside the east gate of the park.
I’m SO excited, but slightly nervous as this is Moose rutting season and they like to hang out on the roads.
I’m also nervous because I’m going to be totally unplugged and I’m right in the throes of a deadline for my fifteenth book. So right now I’m trying to get in as many words as I can so I can enjoy my three days away from everything (which is why I was late posting here today).
To all my Canadian friends HAPPY THANKSGIVING! And to everyone else, what’s your favourite part of Autumn?
This was my second time attending Nationals. As I told Gerri Russell who sat next to me at the massive Readers For Life Literary Signing, the first time I attended was San Francisco in 2008 and about 2 months after that I found out I was pregnant with my youngest child. So my eight year hiatus was filled with having a kid.
The first time I attended I was fairly green. I pitched, which went nowhere in the end but I’m still glad I did it and attending workshops. Attending RWA Nationals as an author with Harlequin was a WHOLE different experience. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I was nervous about flying and then meeting all these fantastic people I’ve only talked to online. My flight to San Diego was pretty much filled with the Toronto HQN team. Thankfully, I had audio books to distract me from the fact I was thousands of feet in the air.
And I knew, waiting for me in San Diego was my two roomies Amalie Berlin and Tina Beckett.
Wednesday is a bit slow, so it was the perfect time to catch up with my editor. I’ve met my amazing editor Laura McCallen before, because she’s Canadian, but in the UK so she comes home to visit. We had an amazing light appetizer/lunch/drink thing (I really don’t know what to call that meal) in the nearby Gas Lamp District where we caught up and talked shop. I love my editor. After our chat she introduced me to Bronwyn Scott who is also a Greyhaus Literary Agency Author.
The kick off for RWA was the Readers for Life Literacy Signing, where the publishers donate the books and the proceeds go to local literacy funds. Books not sold would be donated to local libraries and the Naval base.
At the literacy signing I got to meet a special volunteer! Traci Douglass who is active on the Harlequin writing forums (like me). She’s SUPER sweet. At the end of it, as I was leaving, I got to FINALLY meet the amazing Scarlet Wilson from Medicals who is absolutely delightful.
The next day was jammed pack filled with workshops, open houses and meet and greets. I attended most Open Houses and Meet & Greets that day, but I got to attend some fun workshops like Kindle Worlds. I was asked to be involved in one and I had questions, so this workshop answered all my questions and gave me a lot to think about.
At the Mills & Boon Open House I FINALLY got to meet Robin Gianna, Lynne Marshall and Louisa George. I also got to meet the UK team that was there, Sheila Hodgson, Byrony Green, Kathryn Cheshire & Linda Fildew. And of course, my editor Laura McCallen.
In an elevator I met Sara from Harlequin Junkie (You never know who you’ll me in an elevator!). And I attended the glorious keynote address of Beverly Jenkins who gave an inspiring speech about diversity in romance, which I’m all for given my family’s diverse heritage and the fact that I love writing diverse characters. My editor encouraged me to continue writing my diverse characters.
As Beverly Jenkins said about romance writers (paraphrasing her) “We are the sh#t!”
Friday was the busiest day. I attended my first ever Harlequin Signing. Wow. I had never been to a publisher signing before. It was crazy, but before the crazy all began I got to meet Sarah Morgan, who I gushed over like a crazy person. I also got to meet Pamela Hearon (who is a doll, love her), RITA winner Sarah M. Anderson, RITA winner Maisey Yates and Caitlin Crews. I also FINALLY got to meet Susan Carlisle of Medicals who is just wonderful.
As soon as the Medicals lunch was over we went straight to the Medical Author luncheon. We had a delicious lunch overlooking the Harbour.
I was completely nervous about meeting the UK team, I mean these are the people who say YES or NO to your books. My fears were completely unfounded the whole Harlequin team, every editor from all three offices I met were so nice. It made ever so proud to be part of Harlequin.
After our lunch and a picture Laura wanted of all her Medical authors who were there, I attended a Susan Elizabeth Phillips workshop on characterization. I tried in 2008 to attend an SEP workshop as they’re not recorded ever, but couldn’t get in. It was complete magic to get in this time and it was worth it. She’s an amazing speaker.
Then I napped. Jet lag, time zone change and the fact every function Harlequin held was filled with ice creams, cookies, wine, chocolate. Man. My agent told me to suck it up! Drink coffee. Instead I ended up eating a brownie, falling asleep and drooling chocolate onto my pillow. Just as Tina Beckett who walked in and saw me.
At night it was time to get ready for the thing I was most excited about. THE HARLEQUIN PARTY! It was my first time attending and I was not disappointed. I’m usually quite shy and feel awkward getting up to dance, but once that music is started and you see Nora Roberts out there, I was not so shy any more. I danced like I never danced before. The wine did help. LOL
I also got dragged into a photo booth with the Medical gals and Laura where I ended up looking like the Pringle’s Chips dude’s sister.
Saturday was low-key for me. I did have revisions which were due three days after I returned from Nationals. Cruel, right? KIDDING! The revisions were for a Duet coming out in Spring 2017 with Robin Gianna. Since we share the same editor and we were all there, we had an editorial meeting pool side under the palm trees, the way every editorial/revision meetings should go. So look for His Pregnant Royal Bride in the Royal Spring Babies Duet in the spring!
After the RITAs where I was cheering hard for the amazing Scarlet Wilson in her double RITA nom, I went to bed because that brought Nationals to a close. Sunday I started the long day of traveling back to London, Ontario.
And my flight back home was filled with the Toronto HQN team too.
The traditional gift for a 10th Anniversary is Tin/Aluminum, well the traditional gift. I’ll take the more modern one which is diamonds. Diamonds also happen to be my birthstone as well.
Why am I talking about a 10th Anniversary? Because May 1st saw the release of my 10th book with Harlequin Medicals.
It’s also my favourite book that I’ve written to date. Hands down, I can say that without any reservations. Perfect Rivals… was a book which stuck with me for days after I hit send. It completely gutted me.
In a good way.
I thought perhaps it was because I was overly emotional after a surgery last year, but no, that wasn’t the reason. I fell absolutely in love with Dr. Flo Chiu and Dr. Nate King. Their story, their struggles and their romance.
I also did a lot of research on organ transplant, because I had no clue. None. I even bought a Kindle version of a text book called “Transplantation at a Glance” and my agent set me up to speak with a friend of his who was going through the process of getting a kidney transplant.
There were so many things I loved about this book.
It’s just the icing on the cake that this book is also a part of the amazing Hollywood Hills miniseries. And this book was also my first time participating in a multi author continuity. I was actually terrified about being a part of it because I admire so many of the authors involved and because I didn’t want to screw the continuity up!
So I may not be getting diamonds (And by the time this posts I’ll probably be absolutely wrung out as I’m currently at a conference in Ottawa, Ontario), but I did get to write a diamond of a book!
I’m also extremely fortunate to be sitting here 10 books in. I’m so thankful for everyone who has shared this journey with me. Thank you to those who have helped me, cheered me and been there for me. I wouldn’t be here today without all this loving support.
And a big thanks to the Hollywood Hills gals Carol Marinelli, Emily Forbes, Louisa George, Lynne Marshall, Robin Gianna, Amalie Berlin and Tina Beckett for making my first continuity such a wonderful experience!
A match made in Hollywood!
When a movie star is rushed to the Hollywood Hills Clinic, Dr. Flo Chiu immediately clashes with arrogant New York doctor Nate King. But an unexpected kiss creates a media storm, and the two rivals are forced to pretend they’re the perfect couple!
Only, Flo, with a kidney transplant behind her, is determined to live life to the full, while Nate has learned the hard way never to take risks. Now they face the greatest risk of all—falling in love for real!