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

WINTER & RUTS & CHANGES (or not)

I admit thi2-9-18 blog 1s freely—I HATE winter. Hate snow. Hate cold weather. Hate gray skies and Indiana is practically always gray during the winter. I stay here because my family is here, my husband owns a business here and we have a good life here. Except for when it gets cold. And, to me, cold is anything under 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Well, maybe I’m not quite that bad, but my family does know me to be a little eccentric on the numbers of layers I wear, and the lengths to which I’ll go to stay warm.

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As winters go, this one hasn’t been amongst the worst. Still, I don’t go out much. But I do have a very nice window in my office that gives me my winter view of the world. Sure, I go a little crazy staying inside as much as I do, but not because of the cold so much as that when I coop myself up, I start noticing things in my house I don’t normally notice.

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Now, here’s another true confession. I’m a creature of habit. I don’t move furniture around in my house, don’t even re-arrange the books on my shelves. Had you walked into my house 14 years ago, when we bought it, you’d have seen the same things in the places they are now. When I bought a new sofa a couple years ago, it went in the exact same place the old one did. And the books on my shelves—don’t even go there, because if I look up from my office chair and see one that’s not where it’s supposed to be, I move it back. Immediately. Let me tell you, my kids had fun with this idiosyncrasy of mine when they were young. Even today, grown and married, they can’t resist switching a couple books around, or moving the rocking chair in the living room a foot in one direction or the other.2-9-18 blog 4

So, anyway, I’ve spent a lot of time staring out my window this winter, as well as staring at the surroundings in my house. But, inspiration hit. I decided it was time to make some changes. Out of the blue, I was prompted to move my 100+ dictionaries from the bookcase on the left to the one on the right. (My office has 12 bookcases.) More than that, I decided to take my paperbacks and move them to the bottom shelf and put my trade paperbacks on the top. Then—rearrange the objects on my desk.

Two days of intermittent work, and my office was finally different. Now, the average eye might not discern the differences. But to me, it’s like I’m in a whole new setting and honestly, I’m not fond of it yet. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving things back, given some thought to moving only half of everything back to see if that doesn’t bother me so much. Looked at this situation every way I can, and I came to a disturbing conclusion…I like being in my rut. It’s my comfort zone. It’s where I live and where I function best.

I remembering watching one of the singing contest shows, feeling sorry for the poor contestants who just didn’t quite get it—according to the judges. There was always constant criticism from them telling the singers to change the song, shake it up, make it their own. That was their advice, over and over. And it got me thinking about my office, my rut, and if I really need to shake it up. Then, I asked myself: if I’m comfortable in my rut, what’s wrong with that? If the competing singer liked singing the song without changing it, what’s wrong with that?

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Sometimes, I think we tend to change things simply for the sake of changing them. My office, for example. I’m happy there. Happy with my 100+ dictionaries on the left bookshelf. But I shook it up, and there was no reason to do that. It’s like that in my writing, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me if I get tired writing what I write, and should I try something else? The answer is…no. I’m where I want to be on so many different levels, and that includes my writing. It includes my dictionaries, too. Which is why, after I post this blog, I’m going to shake it up, make it my own, and change things by moving them back the way they were. Why? Because that’s where they belong. That’s where I belong.

In a world that’s going crazy around us right now, where we feel like we’re losing more and more control, I find my ruts a very nice place in which to dwell, especially on a cold, winter’s day. So, tell me. Do you have ruts in which you’re happy to exist?

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I had two books come out in January. They’re available to purchase in all the usual places. And, especially good to read if you’re caught up in a cold winter like I am and prefer to stay cozy inside.

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 VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY! 
Don’t miss our VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY which is running until the 13th February 2018. More details at:

https://loveisthebestmedicine.wordpress.com/valentines-day-giveaway-2018

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As always, wishing you health & happiness & comfortable ruts…

Dianne

http://www.Dianne-Drake.comDianneDrake@earthlink.net * @DianneDrake http://www.facebook.com/DianneDrakeAuthor

 

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

A year of culture…

kate hardy sept 2015 400pxTwo years ago, I turned 50 and designated it a Year of Having Fun. I had lots of little birthday celebrations with people, I ate way too much cake, and I burned the candle at both ends.

Last year, I thought that it should be the Year of Carpe Diem – so between those two years I managed to see all three of my favourite musicians (Robert Plant, Radiohead and David Gilmour), and it was our 25th wedding anniversary so we ended up in Verona, which was lovely.

This year is going to be the Year of Culture.

Let’s start with the medical authors’ special giveaway, because you’re reading this blog because you love medical romance 🙂  You can find the entry form here!

So, my Year of Culture. I’m overdoing things just a tad for my birthday fortnight. So I have Twelfth Night at Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend (and a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace), Hamilton in London next week, and Jeremy Irons in ‘A Long Day’s Journey into Night’ the weekend after. Add in a visit to a stately home (that’s research), afternoon tea in Norwich’s Assembly House (aka super-historic) twice, and an evening at Phill Jupitus’ show (where he does his own support act and reads poetry) – yep, it’s going to be good.

Did I mention tickets for three different Shakespeare productions at the Globe? (Othello, Shrew (that’s my daughter’s A level text, which is why I’m squeezing it in the day before we go to Florence and I’ll have to drive both ways), and the Two Noble Kinsmen). Oh, and another Stratford trip to see Macbeth. And a lot more stand-up – Jon Richardson (twice, because he’s my daughter’s favourite comedian), Tim Vine, Bill Bailey and Danny Baker. Musically, I have tickets booked for Scott Matthew, Sheridan Smith, Joe Bonamassa and Def Leppard. And I’m waiting for the Tate Gallery to announce booking details for their Burne-Jones exhibition (my favourite artist – I’ve been waiting rather impatiently since last October, but it opens this October so surely they can’t keep us waiting much longer?). Plus of course Florence, where I finally get to see the Uffizi, the Duomo and the Accademia 🙂

It’s going to be a good year. Do you enjoy theatre and art exhibitions? What have you seen recently, or can’t wait to see?

 

The Writing Life

How do you do it?

So, when I first started writing and then was published and even now after turning in book #20 to my editor I get asked: “How do you do it?”

Or: “I could never do it?”

Or: “How can one place inspire a whole book?”

The last question was my brother’s after he found out that I decided to write a series of books for a Kindle World set in and around Yellowknife, after I visited him this summer.

My question back to that is “How do you not?”

I guess I just don’t get not having an imagination, of having voices constantly in your head nattering at you to WRITE. My daughter who is very logical and very math/science oriented doesn’t get how I can sit down some days and write 8,000 words.

She finds writing painful. I find Math painful.creative-writing-final-meme

Ssshhh, she also gets annoyed because I’m fairly good at predicting movies. I was completely right about The Last Jedi. Not that it ruined it for me (Hello Reylo shipper here), I just did a fist pump and my daughter glared at me in the theatre. When a movie surprises me I love it all the more. Rogue One was the last movie that surprised me and I adore it.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I was asked by my daughter’s school to attend a career night and talk about the whys and hows of becoming a writer. And it got me thinking way back to when I was a teenager, sitting in a guidance counsellor’s office and getting asked what I wanted to do with my life.

“I want to be a writer.”

And my guidance counsellor told me that was not a logical choice. I would never make anything of it and I should probably think about becoming a legal secretary or something. No hate for legal secretaries, I was one for many years, but still all those stories played in my head. I was a day dreamer and I didn’t to do that.

I wrote and drew every day. And when I wasn’t doing that, my head was buried in a book.

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I applied for Art College, because I did do drawing and painting all through high school and the Art College interviewer looking at my portfolio smiled and said “Do you write?”

I blushed and said, “Yes.”

“I would love to see it. Don’t give up.”

I ended up not going to that school because of financial reasons. My parents did try and I ended up going to a college to learn legal secretary work, but that interviewer was the first person beyond my father, who thought I could do it.

I guess the purpose of this rambling post on a snowy groundhog day it to tell all of those who are thinking of writing DON’T GIVE UP! Even if you get rejections, we all get those!

Don’t give up.

If you love it, keep trying. Everyone’s path on this publication journey is so different and that’s okay …what’s not okay is not trying.

And believe me, sometimes writing a book is like pulling teeth. My 20th was hard to write, but revising is going well. LOL So, you just keep going.

Now, for some fun stuff. We’re having a Valentine’s giveaway. You can enter here and the winner will be announced on February 14, 2018.

Also, if you’re in the Sarnia, Ontario/Port Huron, MI area I will be running a Harlequin Romance Trivia at the Coles in the Lambton Mall in Sarnia on February 10 from 6-8 p.m. Copies of Navy Doc on her Christmas List and the Surgeon King’s Secret Baby will be with me, plus Harlequin is providing a BUNCH of prizes and really fun game. I’d love to see you there.

You can find more about Amy here

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

And We’re Back! by Fiona Lowe

Happy New Year! Going by the world’s weather reports, you are either sweltering in a heat wave of epic proportions or freezing with an artic blast that is dumping you in  metres of snow and withering conditions. Welcome to 2018!

IMG_0316In Australia, it’s summer and after all the Christmas food frenzy, I am back exercising and alternating between swimming and running. I’m working summer hours, 9-3pm while the rest of the household is on holidays. Put it this way, I will shoot anyone who tries to take my noise cancelling headphones off me. After work, I’m catching up on movies, reading, entertaining and playing board games. The two new games are Settlers of Catan and Sequence. Next week, we’re off on our annual camping beach holiday where I plan to eat, sleep, walk, swim, sail, surf and cycle. Oh, and read. Lots and LOTS of reading.

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BOOKS!   My next medical romance isn’t out until May but never fear, I have other books available. I’m very excited to say that Daughter of Mine, my Australian-set family saga is now out in a second printing and this time in mass market paperback.  The Book Depository, with it’s free postage is stocking it. Squee!  So no matter where you live in the world, you can buy it and it will be shipped to you 🙂

Daughter of Mine is a novel about family, secrets and lies and how you can live in a family and never really know your relatives. It’s about mother-daughter relationships and sisters. Australian Country Magazine says, ‘A sweeping Australian novel of lost love and tangled family secrets…’ and the Weekly Times says,This is a readable and thoughtful book. It has winner written all over it.’ Read the first three chapters here.

KGEF0782Birthright, my next big novel is about family and this time it’s also about money. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a relative’, is a popular saying and scratch the Jamieson family just a little and you’ll uncover secrets,  betrayal and revenge. It’s out on Feb 19th but it’s up for pre-order. 🙂

If you live outside of Australia or New Zealand, then The Book Depository is your only option. For the ANZACS, preorder it from your fave book store, either physical or online. You can read the first two chapters here.

So my January is some work and some relaxation. What do you have planned?

Fiona xxx

Follow me on Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest.

 

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.

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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?

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

A Family’s Legacy

Mt NeboI’ve had a hard time this month deciding the topic of my blog. First, because it’s autumn where I live, I thought something about the season might be in order. You know, insert a pumpkin recipe or how to make cinnamon applesauce. Maybe something about a trip to the apple orchard. This is my favorite time of the year and blogging about it would be a natural for me. But, I’ve blogged IMAG0410autumn in the past, so I bypassed that topic. Then, I thought about word choices…why we use the often-odd configuration of words we do. For example, I saw a sign offering horseback riding lessons. At first, it seemed innocent enough. But then my mind started whirling with things like why call it horseback riding? Seriously, does anybody 20170812_151024_resizedever ride the chest of a horse? Next thing I knew, I was in the mental middle of a Michael McIntyre-ish comedy routine. Could almost picture myself pacing back and forth across the stage with him.

Sadly, the real topic came to me at a family funeral. My father-in-law was buried just over a week ago, and the Despain family gathered from places near and far to pay tribute.  It was a nice service done with full military accolades, and I’ll admit I korean-war-memorial-1809436__340[1]got a little choked up at the rifle salute and the playing of Taps. The weather was perfect, the people in attendance all respectful. As funeral services go, this was a very nice one. But, it wasn’t the funeral that caught my interest. It was the family stories that came afterwards, in the wee hours, sitting at the kitchen table, and at breakfast, and other odd times when the family was gathered. The stories were funny and sad, and they captured the essence of a man no one there knew in his entirety. What struck me was that the stories were only circulated among the older members of the family. The younger ones didn’t care.  They weren’t there. They didn’t listen.  And, I think that’s typical. As generations pass, so do the things that maybe only a generation ago were important.

I think about my grandmothers. One was a suffragette. I’m proud of that fact. In a lot of ways, knowing what my grandmother did has defined me. But, I don’t know the stories of her marches. Don’t know what made her want to get involved, or why my grandfather would have allowed it. I don’t even know where she marched. And, that’s my loss. My other grandmother told me of the times she and her family would covered-wagon-1675111__340[1]go on vacation in a covered wagon. They would be flanked by Native Americans as they were wandering outside the established United States in the early part of the 20th century, into one of the territories. And, my grandmother would sneak off and play with the Native American children who would come along to, what was essentially, escort, my grandmother’s family to a place where most people of the time didn’t dare go. I certainly know that story, but I don’t know why my grandmother’s family vacationed where they did, I have no idea what their covered wagon looked like, or why she knew and played with the children of the Natives sent out to flank them. Again, my loss.

Certainly, the old always gives way to the new. I understand that. But when I look at the photograph of my suffragette grandmother and see how much MacKenzie (who would be her great-great granddaughter) resembles her, I realize that my loss goes far beyond me. I can’t tell MacKenzie the stories of who her great-great grandmother was because, in a large sense I don’t know. I never took the time to ask.

And when I listened to the stories of my father-in-law, many of which were new to the majority of his six children, I wondered if anything of his life other than a few photos would be passed down, or whether those odd moments, when only the oldest of the family gathered around, would be the end of a legacy.

As a writer, I’m all for capturing those moments, writing them down – or, at least, the highlight of them. But I haven’t done that. Why? Because I never asked, and now the people I would have asked are gone, as is most of their legacy. Is a family legacy important? To the outside world—no. To the family—in some instances, yes. Overall, I don’t really know, but I hope it is. Because, for me, in another generation or two, I’d like to think that my family might sit around the still-life-379858__340[1]kitchen table where someone would say, “Dianne…yes, I remember hearing about her. Wasn’t she the one who wrote some books?”

R.I.P. Richard Steele Despain. You are missed.

No books coming out this month, but look for me in January, when both REUNITED WITH HER ARMY DOC and HEALING HER BOSS’S HEART will be out!

As always, wishing you health & happiness. And maybe a little bit of family history. 

Dianne

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

A heartfelt thanks by Kate Hardy

The highlight of my calendar is the annual M&B authors’ lunch and party. It means I get to see my author friends in person – including, if I’m lucky, some of those visiting from other countries – and the editorial team. And at the party the editors present milestone awards to the authors – this year it was to Michelle Styles (Historical) for her 25th, me for my 75th, and Carol Marinelli for her amazing 100th!

I think the easiest way to show what it’s like is by photographs. So here I am with Sheila Hodgson, senior Medicals ed (she edits my Medicals)

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And in the M&B offices where Sheila said some very nice things indeed about my books and almost made me cry.

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Carol Marinelli making her speech

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Oh, and did I mention the amazing view from the top floor of the News International building?

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The party in full swing:

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Me with Carol (and it’s not going to be another 10 years before we meet up again!)

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With my other editor, Megan Haslam (who edits my Cherish/Romance books)

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And my milestone award for my 75th book – this gorgeous Tiffany keyring 🙂

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But one thing I said in my speech I’d like to share here: authors don’t write their books in a vacuum. I’m incredibly blessed to have the most wonderful friends (officially colleagues and editors, but definitely friends) – people you can talk to when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and they’ll brainstorm ideas of how to get you out again; people who understand what it’s like when you get ‘tiny tweaks’ revisions (which are nothing of the kind!!); people who celebrate the good times with you and are there for you in the tough times (and it definitely goes both ways). And I’m also privileged to have wonderful readers – without you, I wouldn’t be able to do the job I love. So I want to say a very big thank you to you all, from the bottom of my heart xxx