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

My No Blog Blog

This is my “No Blog Because I Forgot to Blog” blog. It was on my calendar, I got the reminders, knew it was coming up. Yet, every time I saw one of those pop-up 49674273reminders, I thought to myself, I’ll do it tomorrow.” Well, here it is, half-way through my blog day, and I still haven’t done it.

 

Why? Because I get distracted. Or, too busy. Because I have other things to do. Maybe I just want to take a nap, instead. Whatever the reason, here I am at the last minute, unprepared. But life is like that in a lot of ways, isn’t it? Insurance payment coming up and you know you need to pay it, but you’re not in the mood right now, so tomorrow… Oops, it’s five days later and you’re writing your “I Forgot to Pay” blog. Your father-in-law’s birthday is coming up and you keep putting off buying that card, then suddenly you’re writing that “Why my 01d6bb7057b53f54559383a6203e330fFather-In-Law Hates me” blog.

Life is full of distractions. Some we create for ourselves. Some are created for us. Of course, in my case, some are created by my cat at the exact moment I want to write. She knows. She always knows. But, I allow it, because I want to be distracted. I want that few minutes of purring in my ear, that few minutes of putting off what I know I need to do. I need that distraction. I really do, because life closes in. It surrounds us. We multi-task nowadays (even though some experts say there’s no such thing.) We let ourselves get caught up in things that waste our time. For me, Facebook. Sometimes up to an hour a day, complaining about it every second it holds me hostage. There used to be a time, in that spare hour, when I’d read, or play the piano, or even write (before I was a writer.) All pleasant things. Distractions, perhaps,  but ways to enrich me as I was being distracted.

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Now though, people accept their distractions for what most of them are – a time suck, a waste of true enjoyment or productivity. They count on their distractions to move them from place to place. In some cases, even motivate them. I’m bored—play a game. I’m sick of doing what I’m doing—go to social media of your choice. I need to call my mother—go eat a taco. In a way, we plan these distractions, and while there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, we let them consume us. And, not in a good way, especially when they start to take over.

For a writer, a distraction can be fatal for a deadline. For a doctor, it can be fatal for a patient. So, it makes me wonder, where has our attention span gone? I know where mine goes. Cats, research, chatting with friends. But, only in moderation (except for, apparently, when it comes to writing my blog). I plan distractions in my daily routine because the body, as well as the mind needs them. The truth is, you can’t stay focused all the time. Sometimes you have to let down. I get that. But what I don’t get is how our distractions have become almost as important as the task-at-hand. I shouldn’t let my cat anywhere near me when I’m writing. I know that, but I still do it. Then ask myself, why?

Personally, I think it’s because we’re losing the concept of self-discipline. The grandmother who raised me was all about that. In her iron-fisted, little German body, she had more self-discipline than any ten people (put together) I know today. But, she came from a different era, where a distraction for her meant a meal might not get served (and there was no calling out for pizza), or a bath might not get taken (because there was no hot tap water and a warm bath came from water heated on a wood stove.) For me, the worst that can happen if I get distracted is that I do call out for that pizza, or I just hop in the shower later on.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Maybe the distractions we face are a generational thing. Perhaps earlier generation distractions had bigger consequences? I don’t know, but it makes sense. Especially on those nights when I invite all my grown kids to dinner and see them distracted from eating because they’re tied up with their phones. The consequences of that – cold food which can be reheated in the microwave.20170224_192732_resized

Maybe it’s time to measure our distractions. Get off the phone, read a book. Get off the social media, go outside and take a walk. Get off the game, call your mother. Distractions are allowed, but they need to be re-defined into something that benefits us. Talking on the phone throughout an entire family meal never has, and never will. It’s simple, really. Choose our distractions wisely. Choose them so they’re beneficial, not detrimental. That’s all I’m saying.

Except, cats. Cats can always be a distraction. Just ask my three. They’re the distraction experts.

My book, Saved by Doctor Dreamy, came out the first of June. It’s available in all the usual places. It’s all about the wild jungles in Costa Rica where the wrong distraction can cost you your life. Or, your true love.

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As always, wishing you health and happiness.

DD

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

Love is the answer

kate hardy sept 2015 400pxI’m writing this with a really heavy heart, given the events of Saturday night in London. But I’m also writing with a sense of defiance, because the extremists who seem to hate just about everything do NOT have the right to tell me what to think, do, wear or anything else for that matter. And I’m not letting them win by letting them suck the joy and the love out of my life. (Or the bigots who are using this as an excuse for spewing vileness and hatred against anyone who doesn’t look or sound like them.)

So if this seems light and frothy and inappropriate, I apologise, because recent events have hit me very deeply (my teenage daughter and I go to concerts together all the time, and we’re due in Manchester next month to see Radiohead at the Arena – something we’ve wanted for years and looked forward to since the second I got tickets; and the M&B offices are at London Bridge Street so that’s very close to home).

I believe that sharing love and joy is the best thing we can do right now. Find our common ground instead of using our differences to divide us even further.

So in that spirit – along with my family, here are three things that I love.

The seaside. This is Wells-next-the-Sea, where my husband took me on our first date outside the little market town where we both lived at the time. It holds a special place in my heart – it’s also the first place where our eldest went to the seaside and tried ice cream (while still in his baby sling), where I go when I’m sad and need something to bolster me, and where we go when we’re happy (DH’s birthday two days ago, and we took the puppy with us – he loved having a run along the sand and meeting lots of new dogs).

Archie. He’s nearly 9 months old now and has brought us so much joy. I didn’t cope at all well when we had to say goodbye to Byron, and the only thing that got me through was knowing that we’d have four paws and a waggy tail in the house again. Archie’s great-x5 grtandparents were Byron’s grandparents, and it’s really nice to have that continuity. Archie’s exuberant, terribly inquisitive, and believes that everyone he meets is going to be his new best friend. And he’s really cuddly. (I posted a pic of him a while back showing this dinky little pup on my lap – now, he’s INCREDIBLY tall as you can see by him giving me a cuddle, here.)

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Bluebells. I’m fortunate enough to live near a bluebell wood, and May is an utter joy. This year, they seemed to stretch on for ever and ever and ever. It was glorious. (This was taken without a filter, btw. It really was that magical.)

imageTell me what you love, and share a picture – I’d be thrilled to see it.

 

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

What a difference two months make…

kate hardy sept 2015 400pxTwo months ago, I talked about losing my lovely old boy – and about our new little bundle of joy who’d joined our family.

What a difference two months make. When Archie first came home, he was tiny and could fit on my lap.

 

 

 

 

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Now, he’s a whopping 15.9kg (about 5-9kg less than his full adult weight), though he still is a lapdog and he’ll hop onto my lap to have a snooze if I sit down in the evenings. (Otherwise he’s doing what a Proper Author’s Dog does and sits by my feet.)

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He’s still at the toddler stage of being into everything and can reach almost to the back of the kitchen worktops (you would not believe how tidy my house is right now). You cannot leave newspapers or shoes about, or they *will* be trashed. He is completely banned from my office!

I have a string of very clashing deadlines at the moment, so I’m desperate for him to sleep in the day so I can work. The way to achieve this is to take him for a very long walk (he’s getting so much better at walking on a loose lead, thanks to puppy classes), and then he naps for an hour and a half and I can focus.

Obviously, being on deadline means that I’m a tiny bit stressed (!) and I’m eating way too many biscuits (shortbread being my favourite – but gingerbread men will do very nicely, thank you). But, because I’m going on all these long walks, my weight is staying the same. (Result!! Thank you, Archie.)

He’s quite a character – one of my friends captioned this pic “Cool Paw Archie” (aka Cool Hand Luke).

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In fact, he’s been a total joy, and I think the thing that put the biggest lump into my throat when taking my son back to uni for the second term was when he sat on the kitchen floor hugging the puppy and they both looked so sad. (They’ll be reunited in the Easter holidays.) My Facebook feed is full of pictures and videos of him – and he’s got a starring role in both my current book and the book after next. Whether I manage to get a spaniel on the cover is another matter entirely… But I’m trying 😉

So my question for you today is: what’s your biscuit of choice?

 

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

Saying goodbye… And hello!

kate hardy sept 2015 400pxThis year has been a bit of a rollercoaster year. We knew we were on borrowed time with Byron, our beloved Springer Spaniel – he was 14 1/2 and, considering that he’d had a heart murmur as a puppy, he’d done incredibly well.

But we had noticed him slowing down a lot over the summer and he tended to sleep all day. To be honest, I feel as if he was waiting for our eldest to be settled at university and then for our youngest to  come back from a school trip to Berlin before he’d admit that he’d had enough. We’d always said that we would do the right thing by him when the time came, and we did.

imageBut it totally broke my heart, and I discovered that I just couldn’t function when the house felt so wrong. There was a massive dog-shaped hole in the house. I couldn’t get used to not hearing the thump of a tail as I walked downstairs, or the patter of paws across the floor, or just gentle doggy snoring at my feet while I was working. I spent most of the day sobbing my eyes out.

When we lost our previous spaniel in 2006, we had planned to get another pup (we were using to having two dogs), but we were remodelling the house at the time and it wouldn’t have been fair to bring a pup into the chaos. Byron got used to being an only dog, so we decided to leave it. The breeder we’d planned to go to had a very long waiting list – so quite what possessed me to look up their website when Byron died… (I think my parents and my old spaniels had a hand in it, but that’s another story.)

But there were pups for sale. Three boys. I got in touch, we went to meet them and played with them, and one of them climbed onto my lap and fell asleep. We’d clearly been chosen. It was too soon for our youngest and she felt we were being disrespectful, but Gerry and I felt it was fate – especially when I recognised names on the paperwork and we realised that the new pup was actually related to our Byron.

imageSo Archie came to join our home nearly 3 weeks ago. He’s a very bright, funny, affectionate little chap. He hasn’t replaced Byon, but is a gorgeous addition to our family. He is a bit of a shock to the system after an elderly dog – he’s absolutely full of beans and it’s like having a toddler in the house again (even down to putting him in time out when he’s overexcited and nippy – puppy teeth are like razors and the ‘ow’ thing doesn’t work because he thinks we’re playing). I can only really work either when he’s asleep or when someone else is home to puppy-sit, but it has focused me. And, most importantly, the house feels right again with four paws and a waggy tail.

Even if he does rearrange my kitchen cupboards for me and find odd places to nap…image  image

Do you have pets? I’d love to hear all about them!

 

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, Pets

In My ‘Spare’ Time

IMG_0547I’m about to embark on writing my seventh title for Harlequin Medical and in and around writing, I have to lead this whole other life. Apart from being a wife and a mother to four (16yrs, twins of 15yrs and a 12yr old) I also run a dog walking business and find time to do some hobbies.

I love dogs. Plain and simple. From mongrels to pedigrees, Great Danes to Teacup Yorkies, I love our four-legged friends. I have two of my own, Daisy (a 9 yr old Golden Retriever) and Mango (a 4 yr old Yorkie Terrier). And as I live on an island, I get to walk on the beach every day, come rain (which we get more than our fair share of) or shine (which we don’t get nearly enough of!)

I love walking every day. It blows away the cobwebs and of course, its perfect thinking time for when I’m stuck on a plot point, or can’t quite work out what to do next. I can talk out loud, asking myself ‘what if?’ questions and no-one bats an eyelid! Mainly because I just pretend I’m talking to the dogs, and, to be fair, I think I get away with it! We all talk to our animals, don’t we? Ask them questions? In that little sing-song voice?

And when I’m not writing, or dog-walking, or being a mum, or running the house, then I like to quilt. I currently have a few projects on the go at the moment – a quilt for my daughter (in progress below) and a hand-sewing project, which I can sit and do in the evenings, usually listening to an audiobook, or a podcast.

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And when I’m not doing ANY of that? I’m Konmari-ing my house! Has anyone heard of Marie Kondo? The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Tidying Up? Finding objects that Spark Joy?

So….not much to be getting on with!

How about you? When you’re not writing, or reading books, what’s going on in your life? What do you like to do in your ‘spare’ time? I’d love to know!

Louisa Heaton’s last release was One Life-Changing Night, a story of second chances, set in a busy London A&E.

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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