Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

When the Shock of Reality Intrudes

When I start the writing process for each book, I know I’ll have to complete what’s called an Art Fact Sheet, where I fill out information on my book and include links for what my characters might look like.

What my characters might look like. For me, this is so important when writing the book. So much so that every time I open the file to start writing, my main characters’ images greet me to inspire and remind me who I’m writing about. I need to be able to picture them as real people. How do I find these images? I normally do a Google search for actors or real-life people who might resemble what’s in my head, and then I save the image to my computer. I love this process. It makes my characters come alive in my mind. It’s no different with my current book. I have these people populating my head, and I’m on a journey with them, hoping to find their Happy Ever After.

But what if it’s not so happy?

This past Wednesday, I started my writing process the way I always do. I opened the file to the story and scrolled past the two images at the top of the screen and went about writing. I didn’t think anything about it as I wrote of conflict and laughter and sexy banter between my characters. About an hour later, I exited to check my email and the browser opened to a news story. And there I see a picture of the man I’d chosen as the inspiration for my hero. The hero I’d just scrolled past an hour earlier. The actor had just died in a skiing accident. I sat there in shock. Then I went back to the file with my story and stared at his image for a long time, an incredible sense of grief and loss going through me. I don’t know this actor in real life. But he lived through the character in my book. And I was so sad for a life cut tragically short.

Now if you’re not a writer, it may be hard to understand why this would have any bearing on writing the story, but it does. At least for me. I closed the file, not sure if I could even continue writing this particular hero. But I have to. The manuscript is due at the end of this month, and I’ve written over half the book.

I wrote my husband a text and his response was: “That must be hard.” Nope, he didn’t understand. I then wrote a close friend who told me to go take a walk and grieve and give it a day. So I did. And here I sit on Friday, getting ready to go look for a new image and to keep writing. Write a hero who is the same, but not quite the same as the person I’d written on Wednesday before seeing the news.

For those of you who are writers (and for those of you who aren’t), what is it that stops your process right in its tracks? And how do you get past it in order to complete what you started?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy Places

Sorry, I’m a little late getting this blog post up today. I was in my happy place and lost track of time. Where is this place? It’s my bed. No, not that bed. It’s one of my flower beds!

Those flowery spaces just call to me and tempt me with beautiful colors and greenery and…weeds. Ugh. Well that’s a subject for another post. But I was outside weeding after a rain (when the soil is soft and gives up those pesky roots a little easier).

The garden is my happy place. And once I’m done with the watering and the weeding and the chores, I like to take a few minutes to lie in one of my hammocks and admire the beauty outside. A drink and a cool breeze and it becomes paradise.

My happy place. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.

What about you? Where’s your happy place? Do you like traveling? Hiking? Cooking? What makes you lose track of time?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Red Door of Wonders

So some of you are going to laugh. Because my idea of wonders may not be what you’re thinking. So there is a red door. And there are wonders. At least they’re wonders to me. So let’s go back to the red door. Here’s a picture of it. And the wonders behind that door? Chickens.

That’s right. Chickens. From the time I was a little girl, I’ve wanted chickens. So when we finally bought our little farm in the country, it was one of the first things we added. This last fall, my husband built a coop for them. We call it The Poultry Palace, because to me, it is. When he asked me what I wanted in this coop, I said I wanted him to use some of the old wavy glass windows that we salvaged from our old house. To me, that glass is beautiful and represents the love and hard work that went into remodeling it. And I wanted curtains and an old door. And I wanted the door painted red. Well he did a beautiful job building that coop. But the door (which I was supposed to paint) was white. For months. But yesterday, that changed. I bought a quart of red paint and took up my brush. This coop is a childhood dream come true for me. And The Poultry Palace’s residents? Well they seem fairly happy with their palace and the old dresser-turned-laying-area inside.

So that’s the story of my red door of wonders. What about you? Any childhood dreams that came true? I’d love to hear about them!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Snow: Love it or Hate it?

Here in the northern hemisphere, winter has arrived! And as a girl who now lives in the northern part of the United States, the chillier temperatures mean the possibility of snow.

I didn’t always live up north, however. I used to live in sunny Florida. Snow was just a thing of beautiful postcards and wishful thinking. And then I met the man who would become my husband. And although I met him in Florida, he wasn’t from there. He was from the aforementioned Postcard Land. Where it snows.

When we moved up north, I eagerly awaited that white fluff and marveled at it when it arrived. One year turned into two, which turned into many more. And although the arrival of snow is still magical, I’m a little less enthralled with it nowadays. Because it means I have to drive in it. And take care of my barn animals in it. In the cold. With fingers and toes that wished they were back inside my nice heated home.

So although those pretty flakes may have lost a little of their luster, the first real snow of the season is still a beautiful sight. It means hot spiced cider. And sleds. And snowmen. So if I had to vote one way or the other, I’d have to confess that I still love the snow. In spite of the inconveniences that come along with it.

Do you live where it snows (or wish that you did)? If so, what’s your verdict? Do you love it? Or do you pine for the arrival of spring?

The Writing Life

Finding Happiness in New (or Revisited) Projects

This year has been hard in so many ways. But several months ago I decided I needed to draw my happiness from what I have rather than dwell on things I’m missing out on. So, I took on more writing projects than I normally would have (I’m actually working on revisions that are due on Monday morning). I’m also adding a twist to hobbies I already have.

  1. I’m still gardening, but I tried growing something different this year. Brussels Sprouts. Yes…really. Because, well, I love them. And they’re super cool to watch grow. I wasn’t sure how well they would do, but they’ve actually surprised me. I grew six plants and despite the recent freezes, they haven’t died off, and there are more sprouts still to harvest. Yum!
  2. I’m also a quilter and have always done my quilting by hand. But several months ago, I blogged about my foray into the world of machine quilting (free motion quilting). I’ve loved it. So much so that I bought a new sewing machine to use just for this purpose. I also bought a quilting frame to put it on. So now, rather than pushing my fabric around under my machine, I pull my machine over my fabric. It is a wonderful improvement, and I’m having fun just playing.
  3. I’m also trying to be a better chicken mom. Well, my chickens already have a pretty nice life, but I felt like they needed a new coop in which to shelter over the winter. It’s not quite done, but it’s shaping up, and I think my little egg-layers are going to love it!

What about you? Any new or revisited hobbies or projects you’ve been working on this year? I would love to hear about them!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life


We all have them, right…these things called deadlines? Whether it’s for work, or school, or even turning in an application for a conference, there’s a date by which something has to be completed.

Well I have a deadline right now. My newest manuscript is due in my editor’s inbox first thing Monday morning, and I’ve got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach (that I always get) that I’m never going to finish it on time. Most of the time I somehow manage to. A few times, I’ve had to ask for an extension–like the time I fractured a vertebra in my back. Well, there are no broken bones this time, so I’m doing my best to write my way to completion. As I type this blog post, I am sitting on my sofa, with the very tempting view of a sunny day just beyond my windows. deadlinesBut I’m resisting the urge to give in and go dig in my garden, even though there are so many things out there that need weeded or watered or enjoyed.

But once I send my characters out into the world, I’m going to rejoin it myself! At least until my next deadline starts creeping up on me.

What about you? Any interesting deadlines headed your way? I’m hoping I’m not the only one in panic mode!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

To Bloom or Not to Bloom, part 2

Back in January, we had some unseasonably warm weather in my part of the world. We had a lengthy thaw, and my tulip tree decided to put out some buds. Bad choice. The poor thing was set straight a few weeks later when things turned icy.

Fast forward to May. So the rule here is to wait to plant until after Mother’s Day. But the weather turned warm again two weeks before then, so I decided to chance it. Well, just like my tulip tree, that was a bad choice. I planted some veggies in a raised bed and then heard we were going to get a deep freeze. Not just a light frost, but a frigid blast. So I scrambled and put together a row cover with PVC pipes and greenhouse plastic. The freeze came and those plants… well the tomatoes and peppers didn’t fare well at all. They were done. So were some of the flowers I’d planted in my front bed. My husband, who’s from this part of the world, didn’t say “I told you so,” to his credit. Maybe he feared for his life.

But I’ve regrouped and replanted (after Mother’s Day, this time), and Spring has finally decided that it’s okay to appear, for which I’m thankful. After thirteen years of living here, I’m still not quite used to long winters, but I have come to appreciate Spring. Especially the tulips, in several colors, which come back year after year.

How about you? Any hard and fast rules about planting in your part of the world? Have you ever blown it, like I did?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

To Bloom or Not to Bloom…

January is normally the heart of winter where I live. A time when the snow falls and when temperatures dip well below freezing. When I’m have to break the ice on my horses’ water buckets. And when, despite my heavy coat and gloves, I shiver…and shiver some more. But this year is different. Sure we’ve had a few cold days, but the temperatures are much warmer than usual.

Tulip tree with its buds

So much warmer that my crocuses are peeking some greenery above the soil, and my tulip tree has buds. Not just small buds, but big ones. Buds that are normally the precursors of flowers.

I’m kind of wondering what the rest of January and February are going to bring. Will we have the normal deep freeze of winter? Or is this a sign of things to come? I’m really hoping my tulip tree decides to hold on a little longer and keeps those blooms hidden!

What about you? If you’re in the northern hemisphere, are your temperatures warmer or cooler than normal? Anyone else out there with some confused plants? And/or confused  people?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life


I am curious about what you all do for fun. You know…the times when you do something just for you. Writing used to be that for me, until my first book was published, then it became a job. Don’t get me wrong, I still love writing, but I don’t see it as a hobby anymore–as that thing I do just for the fun of it.

Most of you know that I have horses, so they are definitely one of my hobbies and those guys are members of my family. Well, I’ve also hand-quilted for many years. It’s something I don’t do as often as I used to, but I love it. It’s relaxing and something I can do while sitting in front of the television. But about six months ago, someone made me this beautiful horse-and-boots-themed quilt because…well horses! And that quilt, made by a very accomplished seamstress, was (gasp) machine quilted.quilt gift

I remember studying quilts to see how tiny and even the maker’s stitches were. I’d always been kind of a quilt snob. And yet, this machine-quilted beauty had all kinds of fun and intricate stitching. All somehow accomplished on my friend’s sewing machine. That’s when I decided I had to try my hand at that. And there were actually classes on that very thing: machine quilting. I felt like I’d been living under a rock. So I took a class and visited my friend to watch her work and to pick her brain. Then I stitched up my first machine-quilted project–on my fifteen-year-old sewing machine. A very simple table runner that I gave as a gift to someone. quilt front

Well, I’m hooked. I love the speed, and I love trying to coax my machine to give me what I want. It’s kind of like my horses–it’s a partnership that brings immense satisfaction. And now I’m envisioning a new sewing machine in my future. One that is made with quilting in mind. It’s new and exciting…and it’s just plain fun. quilt back

How about you? What do you do for fun? It can be a hobby or something else. I really do want to know!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Mysteries of Book Covers

Shuffling through my books the other day, I marveled at the way some of the covers are so different from each other, while others carry some of the same elements. I will admit that I know next to nothing about what goes into the making of a book cover, but I definitely have my favorites.

So it made me curious. What is it about a book cover that grabs your attention? Is it a hunky hero? A hero and heroine gazing into each other’s eyes? A fun and flirty image? Or do you  prefer teacups and doilies with nary a person in sight?

Anyway, I’m going to share a couple of my favorite book covers: one of my Harlequins and one of my indie published books (with special thanks to Fiona Lowe’s uber-talented son for his help with that one).  And then I’d like your input on what draws you to a cover!

First up is a book cover from all the way back in 2013. It’s one of the older style covers, but I truly love the image on it. The hero is just how I envisioned him and the cover reflects the title, to me. book cover 1

Next is one of my indie books. On this cover, I love the way the hero appears to be whispering something in the heroine’s ear. Maybe something naughty? Maybe something nice? book cover 2
So now it’s your turn. What do you like to see on a cover? What don’t you like to see? Or do you never judge a book by its cover? 🙂