Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Writing is Like Remodeling

So we remodeled our bathroom before selling our old house a while back. I know, you’re thinking we repainted and freshened things up a little bit. No. We RE-modeled. We took a minuscule bathroom that used to house a toilet and a freestanding plastic box shower (there was no sink) and completely tore it apart to make what became a walk in shower, housed our washer and dryer and was something that I loved to visit (for more than just the obvious reasons). It was a great selling feature when we sold it. What does this have to do with writing? Well, as we were going through the labor pains of this project, it made me think about how similar it is to my writing process. Especially in these ways:

bathroom-remodel-5
Our bathroom stripped down to the floor joists!
  1. I start with the kernel of an idea. It is like that original bathroom—rudimentary at best, with just the bare necessities.
  2. The idea has to be gutted…pared down to the foundations in order to build what will eventually house a finished story.
  3. Then comes the rebuilding—one step at a time, with each plot element in its place, until you’ve completed the first draft.
  4. Finally you arrive at a fleshed-out story—something you’re proud of. A story you’re happy to visit…and revisit!

    bathroom-remodel
    Finished at last!

So what do you think? There are all kinds of analogies for writing. I think decorating a Christmas tree could also be used: bare tree plus lights plus decorations, etc. Do you have any do it yourself stories (successful or not) you’d like to share? Or, if you’re a writer, are there any comparisons that fit your process? And here’s the latest finished project…er, I mean book.

9781335663344

Losing a baby tore them apart…

Can having another reunite them?

Losing their daughter left doctors Tucker and Kady heartbroken and when he couldn’t face trying for another child, it left their marriage in pieces. When they meet again at a medical event, their memories are reawakened—along with their scorching chemistry! But Kady still longs for a baby, and Tucker must finally face his fears if he’s to find happiness with her again…

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, New Releases, The Writing Life

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well, today isn’t Monday, but as I was writing this blog post, it was. And it was definitely raining. Most of the day, in fact. But, unlike the song, those kinds of days don’t “get me down.” I tend to like the rain. And sleeping to the sound of thunder is just bliss.

What wasn’t so blissful was the cold that went along with the rain, since we’re headed into winter, and the days are getting shorter. But what does make me happy is that I just got my story bible for the continuity I’ll be writing. And it’s a Christmas story. One of my favorite kinds of books to write! Did the editors plan it that way, hoping the festive lights and tinsel would light my muse’s fire? I don’t know, but I think it’s going to work. I’m very excited about the plot I’ve been given, and on Monday, I was busy setting up my chapters in Scrivener (the writing program I use). So, right now, it’s literally a series of twelve chapter headings and an expanse of empty pages. My imagination is running wild with how I can make this story my own.

Monday’s rain just added to my momentum, since I couldn’t get out and do anything. In fact, I drove to a nearby supermarket parking lot to get some peace and quiet, pushed back the seat as far as it would go and listened to the rain while I got my program set up. It was wonderful. Just me, the warmth of the car heater, and my still-to-be-written book.

rainy days and Mondays
The view from my car on a rainy Monday

And I can’t wait to start! I just came off a frenetic writing schedule and finally had time to stop and recharge my batteries. So just like the rain that was washing the thin layer of dust from my car, it cleared the cobwebs from my mind too. I’m ready to write.

I’m in love. With my characters. My story. My life. Even on a rainy, Monday morning!

To add to my joy, I just received the cover for my latest book. I love that too!

How about you? Do you like rainy days?

9781335663344

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Conferences!

I am getting ready to go to the Romance Writers of America National Conference. As I type this, I’m remembering my very first conference in 2009 as an unpublished writer. I had just finaled in the Golden Heart contest and had to fly from Brazil–where we were living at the time–to  San Francisco. I didn’t know anyone, other than my critique partners (and my online RWA chapter), with whom I had interacted online, but had never met in person.

San Francisco RWA 2009
Tina and the online critique group in 2009

It was a great experience, and several members of that critique group are still active and have become good friends. I have met so many wonderful people through the conference and it’s always a thrill to see fellow Medical Romance authors and attend all of the luncheons, workshops, and then cut loose at the fabulous Harlequin party.

It’s still a bit scary and overwhelming all these years later, but at least now I know a few more people and have made some wonderful lifelong friends!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and make some great memories!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Quirky Stories, The Writing Life

Moving and Cornfields and…Snakes? Oh My!

We are in the process of moving into a new house in the country. On five glorious acres. Okay, so it’s not a vast estate by most standards, but when your old house has a garden the size of a postage stamp, it seems huge. And exciting. And like a scene out of The Sound of Music.

So a funny thing happened on my way to the country. This girl didn’t think things through completely. I mean, I am so thrilled to be able to have real egg-laying chickens. But then a friend cautioned me to make sure the chicken coop was secure against predators.

Okay sure. Predators. Like foxes and raccoons and other poultry-loving critters, right? No big deal.

But there are a few other creatures that evidently like to munch on eggs. I mean, they really like eggs. So if you know me, you know that I am not afraid of most animals and insects. I mean a grizzly bear might stop me in my tracks, but spiders? Or bees? Nope. Not afraid.

Until someone said the word sssssssssssnnnnnaaaa… <clears throat> Okay, let’s try that again. Until someone said the word sn…sn…sna… Snake! There, I said it.

I am terrified of things that squirm around on their bellies and lie in wait behind logs. Our new house has a huge barn (for the horses, right?). And it’s surrounded by acres and acres of the most beautiful cornfields imaginable. When this friend first used the dreaded “s” word (which I won’t attempt to say again), it was in reference to those cornfields. Because my husband mentioned wanting a pool. And this dear friend warned him that we might find things floating in the pool. Because of the cornfields, which you can see in the picture below.

back of house
The back of the house with its adjacent cornfield

Snakes. Why didn’t I think of this possibility before we signed on the dotted line? Because the place is beautiful and private, with a long gravel lane leading to the house. And green pastures on either side of it. So I will do my best to remember that those belly surfers are more afraid of me than I am of them. Oh wait. That’s not true. Because the very thought of them paralyzes me.

So that’s my sad tale. Don’t get me wrong, this house is a dream come true. Really, I can’t wait to move in and make it home. Every dream has its hiccup, right? So that’s my hiccup. Is there something that scares the bejeebers out of you? Sharks? Slugs? Things that go bump in the night? I’d love to hear what makes you squirm and shudder. Just so I know I’m not alone!

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

Hero, hero, who loves a hero?

I am getting ready to write a new book, which is always an exciting prospect! One of a quad. And I am stoked. Because I’d already written a quad with the same fabulously talented authors, under the Hot Latin Docs! umbrella. We had a blast planning those books. And we’re already having fun figuring out how we’re going to link these new books, and most importantly…our heroes–hunky firefighters and paramedics who work out of the same station house. They also shared the same foster home growing up.

Did I mention how excited I am?

So, in planning my particular hero, Deakin Patera, I am having to figure out what makes this guy tick. Who is Deakin Patera? I’m discovering him little by little. And that makes me curious about what kind of heroes readers connect with.

I write a lot of playboys, but one of my favorite types of heroes is the angsty, broody, wounded, damaged, scarred–you get the picture–hero. Sometimes I dive so deep into the angst, though, that my hero has a hard time holding his breath long enough to reach the surface and retrieve his happily-ever-after. So this time, I will plan carefully (famous last words!).

Do you like angsty heroes? Or are you more of a fan of a hero with witty comebacks? Swashbucklers? Playboys? Bad boys? What kind of hero makes you go weak in the knees? I really want to know!

In the meantime, here are the covers from our Hot Latin Docs! quad, written by Annie O’Neill, Amy Ruttan, me, and Amalie Berlin. It was hard to leave those heroes behind, but I know I’m going to love this new cast of characters just as much!

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

Puppies, Puddles and Pant legs

I’m away at a horse show today, but while I’m gone, I’ll share some pictures of our newest addition to the family. A puppy! A cute, uncomplicated, well-mannered little doll. Okay, so none of that is true except for the cute part. You can guess from the title of this blog post that a) we have a puppy, b) she makes puddles in unfortunate places, and c) she has a penchant for grabbing the hem of our jeans and letting herself be dragged along (no matter how many times we tell her that it’s simply unacceptable).

Yesterday I was texting my husband about the puppy’s latest escapades, and he finally texted back: I thought empty nests were supposed to be quiet (we just sent our youngest off to college last year). Hmmm…he had me there. I finally responded: Well that would be true, if we actually left it empty. Score one for me. Or maybe that point goes to the puppy.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite puppy moments:

  1. The day we brought her home from our friends’ house, where she was born. One would never suspect the changes that would soon befall our little household, where only a cat, a chinchilla, and an elderly pug reside.img_0195
  2. . This is our pup’s normal routine: Find stuff. Chew stuff. Make puddles and piles. img_0220
  3. Redecorating the house. Every home needs a dead tree in it, according to Miss Puppy. And yes she can fit through the cat door. For now. She’s only nine weeks old and growing fast!oreos-tree
  4. Getting ready for bed. My favorite time of day. She loves her pillow. And we love that she loves her pillow.oreos-bed

What about you? Any funny pet stories you would like to share? Or training tips that have gotten you through the worst of the worst?

And because I also have a book being released this month, I’ll share my cover. I can’t help but wonder what this sweet scene might look like if our puppy had her way! a-daddy-for-her-daughter

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Things I Love

My blog post is going to be simple this month, because as I was going through some pictures, I found myself reminiscing about how much I love certain events and times in my life. So here are some things I love.

  1. Christmas: I love it when family comes together and decorates the tree.I love the mess of tinsel and tangled strings of light and how the chaos turns into something beautiful.Chriistmas
  2. Horses: I’m sure this is a shock to anyone who knows me. Those big creatures just make me happy in a way that defies explanation.Hustler and Tina
  3. Old photos: Looking through pictures of times past and remembering the love and happiness that went into many of them is enough to make me misty-eyed.tina and Katie
  4. Food: Yes, I said it. I love food. All kinds of food. Brazilian food. American food. Food that is good for me, and food that is not so good for me. Although these days, I’m trying to make better choices. What’s that behind my back, you say? Oh…erm…it’s just a pint of salted caramel ice cream.Brazilian food
  5. Writing: I love the process of coming up with an idea and seeing it through to the end. I get a kick out of finding out what the title will be and seeing that cover for the first time. I still treasure my very first published book!

Doctor's Guide to dating in the jungle

What about you? Care to share a few of the things that you love?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Projects in the midst of The Project

So I am scrambling to get some major writing time in, since I have a book due in just a few short days and still have a LOT of words to get on the page. So I was thinking about how my life is constantly swirling around whichever book I’m in the middle of writing. But while my mind feels consumed with The Project, there are other (lower case) projects going on around me, so I thought I would simply share some pictures with you in the interest of saving my words for my book. 😉

First we have my husband, who is an absolute champ. He’s not the project I’m talking about, however. But while I was working at the equine therapy barn one night, I came home to find him making a barn door.

My husband building a barn door from scratch
My husband building a barn door from scratch

Not for a barn, but for our bathroom (which we are remodeling from the ground up…pictures on that later, when it’s all done). I’ve always wanted a barn door, and the old door to that particular bathroom didn’t work. We tried having it swing out into the kitchen (we have a 1900’s era house so the bathrooms are in odd places) and then we switched the hinges around so that it swung into the bathroom. Neither option seemed to work well. So a sliding door was the answer.

Barn door installed
Barn door installed

Here is the “after” shot of the new door with a coat of stain and installed on its runners. I love it. It was the perfect solution for that space. Oh, and see the pots hanging from the ceiling? Hubby made the pot rack out of a scrolled metal porch support that he bought at the hardware store for $20.00. He’s a keeper, that’s for sure.

So what about you? Any projects you’re currently embroiled in? I’d love to hear about them!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Just Another Manic Thursday

So blog day has arrived, and I am skidding in at the last second. Then again, that seems to be the way I’m running nowadays. I just turned in a book last week (yay!) and have been catching my breath ever since. In fact, I was in the car with my husband and son, and I sighed and said, “It’s just another manic Monday.” Of course then I had the song running through my head and started singing. My son gave me the strangest look. It seems he’s never heard that  song. Like ever! Could it be true? Are there actually people who’ve never heard Manic Monday?  If you’re one of those souls, get thee to the nearest You Tube and look it up. Seriously. Go and listen to the actual song by The Bangles. It’s awesome. I even pasted a link here for your convenience.

And in the spirit of running far behind this year (and while looking at my own very, bare Christmas tree), I made up my own little ditty to the tune of Manic Monday. Only it’s Manic Thursday. Because that’s the kind of day it is.

The tree’s not done,

It’s just sitting there all unadorned.

The baubles and lights

are in boxes looking so forlorn.

I haven’t shopped

Cause I just haven’t had the time

But the days are getting shorter,

So I guess I’d better stand in line.

It’s just another Manic Thursday…

Tina's bare Christmas tree
Tina’s bare Christmas tree

 

I know it’s corny, but the original song has been stuck in my head for days. Anyway, I hope your Mondays are not manic and that your shopping is done and your cookies are all baked. If so, share how you stay ahead of the game, so I won’t find myself so far behind next year. If you’re like me and running as fast as you can to catch up, come and commiserate with me!

I do have a brand new book out. Things like that help make all of the manic days worthwhile! (And having my kids home from school for the holidays…definitely that!) 9780373010745

Pets, Quirky Stories, The Writing Life

Collections

I think I have my husband worried. That’s not completely unusual, but this time it’s a little different. Why? Because I’ve found the perfect horse, and he came home with me. Only I already have a horse.

Hustler, trail horse extraordinaire and all-around great guy.
Hustler, trail horse extraordinaire and all-around great guy.

But this big goofy guy kind of fell into my lap through a variety of circumstances, and I’m already in love with him. My first husban…err horse…is a former show horse who is as talented as she is sweet. She’s amazing to ride. But this new fellow is a trail horse through and through with more “whoa than go.” I claim him as my “hubby horse,” a gentle soul that I hoped would tempt said hubby to ride. Except, I’m the only one riding him at the moment.

Dolly, my horse with the fancy schmancy pedigree
Dolly, my horse with the fancy schmancy pedigree

So why is my nearest and dearest worried? It’s not that he’s afraid of being replaced—although maybe he should be just a little concerned. 😉 No, he’s worried because I already have a couple of collections that have gotten out of hand. I have a collection of bells that numbers in the dozens, although in my defense, most of those were gifts. And then there’s that collection of quilts. But I only have about ten of those. And I have quite a few pieces of hammered aluminum that I love.

I realized the extent of his worry, when he sent me the video I posted below. Because I also love chickens. And alpacas. And goats. And…. Well, you get the picture. I promised him I could stop any time I wanted to. I’m standing by that statement. For now.

So, do you have any collections? If so, can you control the urge to add to it, or does your hammered aluminum cup runneth over?

Oh, and one more thing I collect are the cover images of my books. This is the latest one, which comes out in December!

Playboy Doc's Mistletoe Kiss
Playboy Doc’s Mistletoe Kiss