Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

How I Got My Idea for ‘Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc’

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

Dr. Jess Young plans to use her time on the small Scottish island of Thorney to figure out how she can rebuild her shattered life, after a recent blow that has stolen the future she dreamed of. Only Dr. Adam Campbell is a complication she didn’t expect! Handsome but hurting too, Jess sees a kindred spirit in Adam. Will he heal her already fragile heart…

I often get asked how I come up with ideas for my stories, so I thought I’d go through the thought processes of how I created my January release, Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc.

I love to write stories that take place on an island (because I live on an island and I like the community feel you get, where everyone knows one another.) Next to Hayling is an island called Thorney, but most of it is taken up by an army base. You’re allowed to walk the coastal walk, but that’s about it. Well, I liked the name, Thorney and decided that Thorney would be the great name for an island up in Scotland where I wanted to have a setting.

So, initially, that was all I had – a place, so then I had to think about what kind of medical establishments would be on this island. Would the island be big enough to sustain an entire hospital and the people to staff it? Or would there only be a GP surgery? With people going to the mainland for surgeries/emergencies, etc?

I preferred the intimacy of a small GP practice, with doctors that took on many different responsibilities and I knew there would have to be a resident doctor to be either my hero or heroine, with a new doctor arriving to play the other part.

Originally, I had my heroine, Dr Jess Young having arrived on the island to take over the hero’s job. She had already established herself there and was great friends with the hero’s family. His parents loved her and she had fallen in love with the stories they constantly told about him, the way he looked in photos and basically had developed a crush on a man she had never actually met (the reason for this crush on a man out of reach will be revealed later) The hero would then return from Afghanistan with PTSD and wouldn’t function well, however, my editor suggested that the hero could still have PTSD, but that he needed to very much be a fully functioning member of the medical team and that my heroine be the one arriving as a newbie and that we be there to watch her fall in love as they worked together.

So I went with that. But then I had to research PTSD and all the ways it could affect someone and how those issues might play into my story. Would there be night terrors, would he be affected by sights, or sounds? I decided that sound and night terrors would play into the story better, as I wanted my hero and heroine to be living in the same block of flats and that proximity would help for more scenes that would establish their burgeoning relationship.

So I knew what problems my hero had, but what about my heroine?

I wanted Jess to be as equally damaged as the hero, but how and why? Where Adam’s problems were mostly mental, I wanted hers to be physical and so I gave her a life-limiting disease. One that had killed her father, leaving her with slight Daddy issues and going after men that were never available to her emotionally.

Well, the Daddy issues were deleted! Mills and Boon like there to be strong heroines and Jess needed to be strong, to cope with her condition and also, to help Adam with his. I knew then, that Jess would be this incredibly caring individual, who put other people first, before herself and that this need to care, to deflect her concern onto other people, rather than herself, would be the key issue towards her and Adam falling in love and being vulnerable with each other.

Once I had all of that information, I began to write. A revised synopsis to send to my editor, and then a detailed chapter plan, exploring what would happen in each scene, before I wrote it. The chapter plan was six pages of single spaced work and as I wrote the book, became six pages of incredibly messy work, as I scribbled all over it and changed things as I went, as new things always occur to me, as I write.

I had this grand idea for a Black Moment at the end of the book, that took place in the pouring rain. You know that screen shot from The Notebook of the hero and heroine kissing in the rain, absolutely drenched? I wanted something like that, my characters arguing with each other, but only because they’re so frustrated and then they end up kissing and realising they can’t bare to be apart, but that idea was nixed by my editor (who suggested a different moment and I sadly placed my rain-drenched characters into a separate folder to be used in another story, at some point.)

So, there you have it. The thought process to starting a book.

It’s not actually as simple as it reads. It comes across that these Aha! moments come to you quickly and easily, but I promise you there were many days of head-scratching, hair pulling and biting of nails as I worked out various bits and pieces. There may even be lots of scrawled up bits of paper lying in rubbish tips with my notes still on them. Or maybe seagulls have used them to help line their nests? Who knows?

If you’ve got any writing questions, then please don’t hesitate to ask them below. I’m always happy to answer them.

Louisa xxx

Book Awards, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Carpe Diem and some lovely news by Kate Hardy


At this time of year, certainly in the northern hemisphere, it’s dull and cold and a bit miserable. Add lockdown to that, and family members (and those of people v close to me) not coming out the other side of Covid… and I think we need to seize the bright moments and hold on to them.

For me, apart from my family (and how grateful I am that I can FaceTime my daughter 200 miles away in Manchester and brainstorm essay stuff with her), that’s flowers and dogs. Here are the daffodils on my kitchen windowsill from this morning. And my beloved spaniels Archie and Dexter, whose waggy-tailed welcome in the morning is the perfect start to the day.



And today is particularly bright. Not just because I’m picking up my birthday pressie from DH this afternoon, 10 days early (let’s just say it’s cross-stitch related), but because the shortlist for the RNA Awards 2021 is out – and I’m on it with my 90th book, ‘A Will, A Wish and a Wedding’!

I’m delighted to say that our Scarlet is also there with me, with ‘Cinderella and the Surgeon’ (Yay! – congrats to one of my besties) – and congratulations to everyone on the lists. Romance definitely makes the world go round.



Usually, the ceremony means we meet up for lunch with the editors, and we sit having a catch-up with tea (oh, all right, pink bubbles) before the awards do itself, this year it’s all virtual. We’ll be toasting each other with bubbles on the night. And there are plans for an author meet-up post-lockdown so we can celebrate it properly. Even if it’s next year, we’re doing it because it’s important to celebrate the joy. Life is for living, and – as the title of our blog says – love is the best medicine.

What are the bright moments you like to hold on to?

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

Onward, to a Brighter Future

If last year were a pinecone…

Happy New Year, All!

I’m honored to have this very first blog spot of 2021 to talk about a subject dear to my heart. After the year just gone, (It That Shall Not Be Named, Which Will Live On In Infamy) I’m hoping for a fresh start, and progress toward a better world for us all, including within publishing. I’m hoping readers and writers alike will find this blog interesting, and informative, and something to consider as we move into this bright, (hopefully) shiny New Year.

Over the last decade or so, there’s been a sea-change coming in the publishing sphere, and not everyone has been comfortable with it, or able to understand why it was even necessary. I personally think it started with the advent of small presses and self-publishing. During that time, a number of authors began to get noticed in a way they hadn’t been able to before. Many had abandoned the hope of getting traditionally published because they’d tried, repeatedly, and been rejected, repeatedly.

In some cases, those rebuffs came not because they were poor, sub-standard writers, but because their characters didn’t conform to what was then deemed acceptable, or marketable.

Those authors were writing about characters the gatekeepers in traditional publishing had little to no interest in. Worse, they were putting those characters in situations deemed the milieu of white, Cis-het people, yet often they were neither of these things. Those authors were writing characters who were LGBTQ+, black, Asian, and every other race, creed, color, and nationality. They were writing all types of stories imaginable. Those tales were often raw, and real, and questioning of a society that seemed inclined toward ignoring the realities of lives outside the “norm.”

“Norm,” of course, being relative and subjective; a truth that is oft glossed over, and minimized when it is convenient.

Since then, I’m happy to say, things have improved in the way of diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there’s still a struggle ahead. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t have to be a concerted effort to attract diverse stories and authors, but we would all be judged, equally, on the quality of our work. And all good stories, no matter where they’re set, or who the characters are, would have an equal chance of publication.

We’re not there yet, but it’s heartening to see the initiatives and training being offered in the hopes of getting us, as an industry, to that point. It takes effort, and courage, to affect change. Clarity about, and understanding of situations and people that perhaps are alien to us has to be sought, and taken on board. Recognition of the barriers people have faced, and often still face, is imperative, as is the determination to break them down.

At Harlequin/Mills & Boon’s new Write for Harlequin website, they’ve added an entire section geared toward Diverse Voices, and I’m hoping it attracts the attention of authors from around the world. Category romance may sometimes seem to be the unwanted stepchild of the publishing world, but it’s wildly popular, and always in need of fresh, new voices.

On the website can be found lists of initiatives and outreach programs, including mentorships and scholarships, geared toward diverse writers. By reaching out to underrepresented groups, Harlequin has shown they’ve seen, and understood, the impediments many authors have historically faced, and are making the necessary changes to address the imbalance.

With the success of those initiatives, I hope to have a much widened pool of amazing authors to read. New voices, showing us life as we’ve never seen it before.

I want to be swept away to places I’ve never experienced, see them from an insider’s perspective, and learn more about this wondrous, amazing world we inhabit.

Meet new characters, with a range of issues brought about by family traditions, misunderstandings, driving desires, and many other delicious problems, but with twists only that author, with their particular knowledge and world-view, could write.

I want my mind blown, and expanded, by those new stories.

That’s why I read: to be transported, educated, and entertained by stories outside of my own personal knowledge. To lose myself in new places, and characters, and cultures.

To learn tolerance and understanding through being exposed to life as others live it, not just be mired in my own small world.

To me, that’s the magic of books, and I want to be enchanted by all this world has to offer.

Please visit the Write For Harlequin website, and encourage others who want to be published to do so, no matter where they come from, what they look like, or the personal barriers they face.

After all, while I, and other like-minded readers, still actively long for diversity, ‘inclusion’ means everyone.

There is more than enough success to go around, when we clear the way for all authors.

Christmas Flowers from my Hubby, which lasted all through the season!
Quirky Stories, The Writing Life

Scribbles and Scribes!

How do you do it?

I think most authors get asked this question a LOT! I low-key hate it. Not because I mind answering, but because I don’t really have a good answer – at least not one that will work for everyone. And often I come up blank when it pops out of someone’s lips.

It came up over a zoom call a few weeks ago, and I went blank. Again! I spouted off nonsense about making lists (which I do) and just pushing through (also true). But it was not what anyone was actually looking for.

I recently spent a significant time quarantined due to a covid diagnosis, and it gave me plenty of time to myself – ugg. But I spent some time working through this question (there is only so much television you can watch when confined to one room for ten days.) And one truth kept popping in.

My writing group!

Several years ago, I saw an ad on Facebook stating that someone was starting a writing group at my local library. I decided to check it out. There was the leader, Kit, her husband and one other writer. We did some writing sprints and talked. It was one of the best nights!

Over the years others have joined us. We do not have any genre or age requirements. We have poets, romance writers, a children’s book writer, a fantasy writer and some that are just playing with any genre that fits them this week.

When Kit and her husband got transferred two years into the startup, she asked me to take over the job of leading. This mostly means that the library has me listed on the paperwork in case we tear the place down.

Writing is a solitary activity but when you are with a group of other creatives it really can get the juices flowing. I wrote one novel based on a prompt we had. Celebrating when we finish a story or get a poem or book published is so much fun. But mostly it has made me accountable to a group of people that I respect and love spending time with. Their cheers when things go well and encouragement when they don’t have gotten me over so many hills.

During 2020, we have met over Zoom. It’s not the same, but it has kept the connection going and I always look forward to Thursday nights. Though I cannot wait to be back in person (one day)!

So that will be my answer from now on. If you can find a writers group to join do so. If not, make one. Kit put a note on the library calendar and for several weeks only she and her husband showed up. Then there was three and then four, then more. It has been one of the best experiences of my writing career.

So from our latest zoom meeting here is my lovely group!

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

All in the threads by Kate Hardy

I’ve just rediscovered an old hobby – cross stitch. I used to do tapestry when I was a student (great for train journeys!), and embroidering with my mum. And then career, work, professional exams and children got in the way…

Now, I’ve also found that counting things is a good way to keep worries out of my head and let my thoughts percolate in the background. Sometimes that’s been at the gym, sometimes it’s been ballet class (thankfully on zoom, though it isn’t quite the same), and it occurred to me that a good way to help me think (and stop me spending too much time playing Boggle online) would be to go back to cross stitch.

And the bug’s caught me! These are some of my recent makes.

It was super-helpful during revisions – gave me something to do while I was sulking (!) and also gave me that thinking space I needed. It’s a lot like what I do with a book. Unpick things where it’s gone wrong, add more detail and some highlights. It’s amazing the difference a strand of floss can make! So on the left you have the ‘wee Hieland coos’ before the outline was added, and on the right the finished version with a fringe/shaggy hair, eyes, nose and the thistles. Same with writing: a little tweak here can make all the difference…

I can’t knit or crochet, mind. Just sew 😉 Do you do cross-stitch or embroidery? Are you a knitter or hooked on crochet? What’s your favourite thing you’ve made?

Kate’s latest book – starring a male midwife – is out in October.

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

Filling The Well

These are difficult times. Stuck in this pandemic, trying to get through this second wave and here in the UK, puzzling over the different rules for different tiers and for me in particular, trying to make my mother adhere to the rules especially as she is in Nottingham (an area of the country with some of the highest Covid infection rates) and who is starting down the terribly rocky road of Dementia.

Put simply, she lives alone, now that Dad has died and she forgets that there is a pandemic. We do what we can from 200 miles away. She has signs on the doors reminding her to put on her mask before she goes out (even though we tell her she shouldn’t be going out) and other reminders throughout her flat to wash her hands and to sanitise and to try not to touch her face.

It’s difficult. Especially when I receive calls from one of my brothers to say that he went to take her some groceries, found her flat empty and tracked her down in someone else’s flat, without a mask, laughing and joking!

Grr!

So, despite all of this, despite the fact that I am still trying to get over the death of my father, I have been trying to find things that make me happy. Trying to find things to occupy my mind, that fill the well, that gives me ideas, that allows me to learn new things, to always try and make my writing as good as it can be. So I thought I’d share a few things I’m doing, a few things I’m reading, to maybe give you all some ideas, or even to just spark a light in these weary times.

Books I’ve Read

What if you had a second chance with the one who got away?

Ben’s always loved December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old flame Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

I adored this book. A cross between One Fine Day and A Christmas Carol. Definitely high on my list of recommended reads and it’s perfect with Christmas coming up!

She must marry the knight .

By order of the king!

Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

This book won the Joan Hessayon Award and rightly so! It’s a wonderful delve into the past with the Lady Eleanor who is passionate about protecting the people of Tallany from the severe taxes placed upon them by King John, being forced to marry Sir Hugh de Villiers who is the king’s man, determined to find the outlaw who is stealing all the taxes back! Very Robin Hood, I must say!

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

This was perfect! Wonderfully eccentric in that British way, with dabs of humour sprinkled throughout as Joyce and her friends try to solve a murder from their retirement home! I zoomed through this one and enjoyed every single page and shall definitely read more from this author.

Classes

Taking Risks As A Writer (with Julie Cohen, Novel nights)

Julie Cohen chats to Novel Nights about taking risks in a writing career, overcoming writer’s block and challenging the status quo. Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide and she’s twice been selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Julie runs an oversubscribed literary consultancy which has helped many writers get published. She is a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter, and a Patron of literacy charity ABC To Read. Her latest novel, Spirited was published in July 2020.  This author talk and Q&A is hosted by David Lloyd.

By the time you read this blog, I will have taken this class. I love listening to other authors and hearing about what they’ve done, how they work and seeing if I can apply anything to my own writing.

I think it’s always worth continuing to learn, always striving to do better.

Building A Successful Partnership With Your Editor (Harlequin)

This will be a chat for Harlequin authors with Stephanie Doig (editor, Carina Press), Flo Nicoll (senior editor Harlequin presents), Johanna Raisanen (editor Harlequin Heartwarming) Ruby Barrett (author), Sasha Summers (author) and Maisey yates (author). The panel will discuss the ins and outs of editorial partnerships and share tips on building a successful author-editor relationship.

Now, I have a lovely relationship with my editor, don’t get me wrong! But, like I said, it’s always worth finding out more.

Sometimes when I take classes, I find that I know a lot of the information that is presented, but there are always one or two nuggets that I can add or incorporate to my own experience. It’s about being willing to be open to new ideas.

Hobbies

I’m currently into blackwork embroidery and I’m LOVING it! There’s something very peaceful and calming to the mind about it and it’s also an opportunity (when the pattern isn’t too complicated) to think about my story and characters and plot out scenes!

I’m currently working on a pattern called – Save The Stitches.

You can find this FREE PATTERN at Blackwork Journey if you want to take a look at it.

But I have plans to do so many more! The problem is seeing all the wonderful patterns I want to get started on, but know that if I do too many at once, some may get neglected, or they all will, if I get too overwhelmed with projects, so I’m trying to stick to this one, right now.

But, oh dearie me, it’s difficult!

So, what about you, dear reader? What have you been up to? What have you been reading? Doing? Learning? Have you taken up a new hobby? Have you tackled all those DIY projects that have been waiting in the wings? I’d love to hear from you!

Louisa xxx

Their passionate fling…
Has given them a gift to last a lifetime!

When pediatrician Merry Bell turns up at his hospital in Iceland, Dr. Kristjan Gunnarrson’s quiet Christmas is shaken up. After a hot fling together in Hawaii, they both agreed to walk away. But now Merry has brought him life-changing news – she’s pregnant! Commitment phobic Kristjan will not waver from his responsibility, but is his bruised heart ready for a family?

The Writing Life

Back into the swing…sort of? Burnout

So, September. It’s usually the time to get back on track, back on schedule and kids back to school.

This year…meh.

They’re back at school, but two are on hybrid with cohorts and the youngest goes every day, but wears a mask.

However, they seem to be adjusting well. *fingers crossed*

It’s been quiet since September 14th. It’s been nice. I took a virtual conference this summer called Strengths for Writers Strengths Fest. It was supposed to be in Bozeman, Montana, but because of COVID-19, it moved to virtual. I’ve taken the Write Better Faster classes before and I was totally stoked to attend the inaugural conference.

I’ve been struggling since 2018 with burnout. I’d get my feet back under me and something else would happen. More deaths, more sicknesses, issues.

It was a lot.

And then COVID hit…I hit burnout HARD. During the conference I was on a deadline, I was stressed and at my wits end. I was crying.

The conference was intense. My #1 strength and my #2 strength are in constant opposition, but the main thing is since 2018 I’ve lost my places to think and definitely with COVID and everyone at home…I had no quiet.

Like Winnie the Pooh, I need a thoughtful spot.

After I finished my deadline, revisions came, but in between deadline and revision due date I went to Neys. I went north and I could think again.

This is the stars we saw when we were up there. Ontario Parks has a better camera than me!

Of course, my thoughtful spot can’t be 17 hours from home.

I was feeling stressed, I went through 2 rounds of revisions on Twin Surprise for the Baby Doc (28th Book coming out sometime in 2021) and I was feeling just…done. Again.

Then I pulled open my notes and everything clicked into place. The kids went back to school. My husband went back to job sites, my Dad was settled and it was quiet. It’s been nice and I feel like I’m bouncing back as I head into writing Book #29

I feels good to be back on schedule.

And, as surreal as this whole year was, tomorrow night is the Harlequin Virtual Dance/Milestone Celebration. Today I was surprised that Harlequin sent me an arrangement of flowers. Celebrating my milestone, even though we’re apart. It was lovely.

And it’s a bit crazy to think my 25th released this year and I’m hurtling towards 30.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

The highs and lows of lockdown by Kate Hardy

Lockdown has been a strange, strange thing.

For me, it started when I had a ‘funny feeling’ the day before the UK went into lockdown, and insisted on the 5-hour drive (each way) to grab my daughter from uni and bring all her stuff home on the Monday. We managed to stop at McDonald’s for coffee and something to eat halfway home, literally half an hour before they closed for months – and a few minutes after we got home we had the notification that we were all on lockdown.

A week or so later: daughter and I both had a high temperature and no sense of smell… (No tests available, but we’re pretty sure we had a mild dose of Covid.)

The following six weeks, I struggled to write a single word, because writing a medical romance about a male midwife felt so insignificant and pointless when I looked at what was happening in the world. The only thing that got me through was early morning dog-walks to find the sunrise. (Spectacular, in my part of the world! No filters.)

Our pup Dexter (booked in February when it was confirmed that the pup’s mum was expecting) was born in lockdown, but thankfully restrictions eased so we actually got to meet him the week before he came home with us, and he’s been a total joy (see my personal blog for the Pipsqueak Posts – videos, pictures, and some things that might make you laugh). He’s become best friends with his older half-brother and he’s 18 weeks old now (seen here from his first day here through to last week).

My husband was working throughout (his job can’t be done at home and he’s classed as an essential worker). I managed to finish my medical romance. We also found a bluebell wood just up the road (ha, only took us 26 years of living here) and a field of poppies, and made a container vegetable garden (with varying success – it had to go behind chicken wire as our garden ‘helper’ kept harvesting things well before they were ready!).

I’ve had the joy of doing zoom calls with family and friends, and I’ve been grateful for facebook reading groups and meeting people who love books and dogs as much as I do. My weekly ballet class has moved online (with a ‘zoom coffee’ after) – which is as good as it gets in the ‘new normal’. But I’ve really missed theatre and live music seeing friends for coffee, and having a ‘plotwalk’ in the gorgeous medieval city where I live. So many wonderful things have been cancelled; I just have to believe that we *will* find a way to get it back. (The same as my son *will* get to take his driving test, which has been cancelled twice, and my daughter *will* get back to university. I think lockdown really has been hardest on the 16-24 age group.)

I also managed to write a True Love/HQ Romance, which was accepted last week. And I did my first ever Facebook Live, which was fun – though what I didn’t say was that I was suffering from a weird itchy rash and trying very hard not to scratch my shins throughout. Raised, bumpy, non-blanching and coalescing… Getting an appointment to see someone has been challenging. Phone triage (even with photographs) has been hopeless. The words ‘non blanching rash’ seemed to be met with ‘la la la, I can’t hear you’. Thankfully I got the good practice nurse, last time round, and he listened to what I was saying. It’s not contact dermatitis – I always wear long trousers for dog walks so I haven’t brushed against anything; no changes in toiletries/detergent/food. Not shingles, as it’s one-sided. Antihistamines, corticosteroids, antibiotics and anti fungals hadn’t touched it. It’s nothing to do with my underactive thyroid; and I’m not developing diabetes (recent annual blood tests are all in normal ranges). We’re going for a diagnosis of ‘idiopathic pruritic purpurae’ (cough – and you can bet this is going in my next booK!). Thankfully, now I’m heading towards the end of week 3, strong antihistamines and very strong corticosteroid cream seems to be helping – and cold compresses are my best friend. Could it be a Covid rash? Because I’m using the Zoe app, I was invited to have a test at our local drive-in centre. (Mask + closed window = very tricky for a deaf person… We improvised a lot with sign language!) The test was negative. So who knows?

775240B1-8F84-4F52-AB59-1DB056CA5D3E I’m just about to start my next medical romance, a duo about twin doctors which involves a kidney transplant. But this month my 90th M&B hits the shelves – and I had a lot of fun researching butterflies for it. So if you like the countryside, architecture, butterflies and a bit of a weepie with a happy ending, then hopefully you’ll enjoy this.

How has lockdown been for you?

Stay safe and keep washing your hands!

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Deadlines

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!