Origin Stories

Origin Story–AKA Amy in a nutshell

When I was asked to write an origin story, I was sure how to tackle it. I don’t feel like my life is exciting. I hear other stories about how authors were inspired to write that sound so much more exciting than my…I just always knew.

I can say that story telling did run in my family, though I never got to hear my paternal grandfather’s stories, but he was a frontier man. Born in 1885 (yes, 1885 for context he was 61 when my father was born), he left home at the age of twelve to work on building the rail roads across Canada and most importantly, to the north.

He was there when the famous Group of Seven artist Tom Thompson was murdered. Tom was a friend of his, they both had trap lines through Algonquin.

And he helped lay the foundation of the Polar Bear Express railroad that runs from Cochrane Ontario to Moosenee, Ontario. My father said his father was a story teller.

So this is my grandpa. The only picture I’ve ever seen of him.

My Dad said that one of his biggest regrets was not having a tape recorder to record his father’s stories. And he said that for as long as I could remember and from that moment I could remember, I always had stories in my head.

My grandfather died 11 years before I was born, yet I feel this sense of kinship with that story teller and when my father had to downsize to move in with my brother he bequeathed me the most precious gift of all…his father’s Underwood that travelled the north with him.

The thing is made of iron, so I don’t know how he carried this on his back all through the woods of northern Ontario.

I grew up not knowing much about my paternal family and I think that sparked some interest in story telling. I wanted to know more. My Input and Learner are in my top 10 Clifton Strengths for those who follow Strengths of Writers.

There was a missing piece.

And that piece was an identity that had to be hidden. My Metis heritage and as I grew more into my story telling and writing, I wanted to write more about families like my father. About characters who looked like my Dad. My Dad who had to hide who he was, who didn’t get to learn much about his heritage out loud or learn his language. My Dad played an important part in my desire to write. Although he doesn’t think so.

My Dad always jokes that it would take him months to write a page, so even though he wasn’t a natural story teller like his father, he gave me something else. He gave me the love of reading.

My Dad, my Mom and I was in the pram under the netting. Summer ’78.

Every night he read to me and I grew up surrounded by books. Mostly books written by Robert A. Heinlein and Asimov, or nonfiction books about Midway and Harley Davidsons, but my Dad gave me this great gift in loving stories.

And when I was eight, I read Anne of Green Gables and had a realization that L.M Montgomery was a real person and that you could have a job as a writer. He told me that. He told me all those authors I loved, the authors he loved were real people.

It was from that moment on I knew what I wanted to do.

I was going to be a writer.

It was the dream. Always.

I spent a few years getting sidetracked by guidance counsellors or teachers who thought it was a silly career aspiration to have, yet the stories kept coming out of me. I made up ridiculous stories about my friend groups in high schools that were passed between my besties.

The stories never stopped.

I got married, had my daughter. Stories were always there and I would jot down stuff when she napped, but I was afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. What if I didn’t have what it took?

And then came my second kid.

Who almost died.

And as I sat by his bedside, hoping for a miracle…I wrote. Only this time, I was going to take a chance. I would face rejection, because staring at my baby and realizing he may not live, like was too short to not LIVE. To not take chances.

A year later, when he was one, I sold to Ellora’s Cave.

I had done it. I was a story teller.

In 2013 I sold my first book to Harlequin, also a dream as it was my Mom and Nanny’s favourite things to read. I’m thankful my Mom got to read my first books, but my Nanny never did. Cancer took them both too soon.

And my Dad reads them. He’s so proud. And now my books are displayed on the shelve next to Heinlein. Although, we both write COMPLETELY different stuff.

It’s been a rough few years for me, so much loss, my diagnosis of autism and coming to learn how to navigate the world, but the stories don’t stop. They sometimes pause, but they keep coming, because I was always meant to do this.

So that’s me. Grand daughter of a frontier’s man, who is still learning her Metis heritage and still learning how to navigate my autism diagnosis, while mothering a son on the spectrum. We’re both very similar, so honestly when my diagnosis came down it wasn’t a shock.

I don’t think I could ever stop writing.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way. xo

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Life is not boring!

You get a post from me twice this week! 😉 Although, it’s my pleasure and so easy to share the new Medical Romance releases.  I love doing that, my wallet does not…

So a lot of stuff has been happening to me since I last blogged and it’s been a bit of a struggle. I will admit, I’ve been struggling the last little while. It’s been a rough couple of years, but I’m still here and life certainly isn’t boring. It’s been rough, but I’m hanging in there.

I went to back to back conferences end of July and early August. RWA Nationals in NYC where I got to hang out with fellow medical authors Louisa George, Robin Gianna, Amy Andrews, Susan Carlisle, Scarlet Wilson, Janice Lynn and Denise Chavers!IMG_4812

It was my first time meeting Amy Andrews. We’ve talked online for years and I got to hang out with her, which is amazing. I also got to meet some of my favourite Harlequin authors including Reese Ryan who said “Damn, girl you ARE tall!” and Joss Wood who is an absolute hoot!

I also got to meet Becca Syme, who is an amazing speaker and knows me so well. I took her Write Better Faster Course on advice from a friend just after Mom passed. It was mind blowing and then I took her Strengths for Writers, again AH-MAZING. So when I went to her RWA session, I thought yeah she won’t know me. She did. She knew who I was and I got a hug, which made me cry…she’s been there through my whole journey of realigning myself.IMG_4757

I know I’m forgetting people, but all in all Nationals was amazing!

Two days after Nationals it was on to Ottawa for Romancing the Capital, which I’ve gone to for the last five years.

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Some of my favourite RTC authors! Eve Vaughn, Desiree Holt, Susan Hayes, Becca Jameson.

It’s on hiatus next year, as am I, because one thing I’ve learned in the last year since my mother passed is to take a break and I was facing burn out, big time!

The problem was, I got a call the morning I was leaving Ottawa that my father in law passed away unexpectedly. Ottawa is 6 hours from where I live and then where my father in law was, was another 2 hrs.

Since 2018, it’s been a steady stream of losses for my family. It’s been constant and on top of that I got a new editor, then that editor left and I got ANOTHER new editor.

I was staring down book #25 and thinking I can’t write this. This is a milestone book and how can I write this??

I worked for ever word and turned in a draft 10,000 words short. It was also the first book I was working on with my new editor. The first round of revisions were tough, but she knew what I was going through and she gave me such support about being able to write at all! I did the revisions and then within a day (man she’s a speedy reader!), second set with two deadlines. I opted for the earlier one, though I told her I was worried I wouldn’t make it because of my daughter’s 16th birthday and Ontario University Fair in Toronto (yes, my daughter has started looking at universities eek!).

But I got the revisions in and I’m happy to say that Book #25 Baby Bombshell for the Doctor Prince was accepted today.

AND I’m sharing my cover for my January 2020 release. that’s part of a duet with Susan Carlisle. Pregnant with the Paramedic’s Baby will be out in the new year (It’s book #24).

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So, I guess the point of this rambling post is to not give up. Life doesn’t make it easy sometimes, but even if you feel like you’re struggling, that you’re failing, keep going! And know that I’m rooting for you! ❤

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy April!

I was going to say something witty about the fact April showers bring May flowers, but it’s April 7th and there’s snow on the ground where I live. Boo!

I love April, even though it’s usually a rainy month. April is my birthday month. It means, ice cream cake! WOOT!

Although, since starting Weight Watchers in January I might opt for some frozen yogurt. *little woot*

April is also a very busy month for me. Ever since I sold to Harlequin, I always seem to have a deadline around or right before my birthday. I’m not complaining, because I love the work. And honestly, I never really noticed before until my husband started building my office in the basement.

See, I had this great office in the spare bedroom in the basement, but then my daughter became a teenager and wanted her own space (and bathroom), so I gave up that room so she could get away from her brothers. The boys each had their own room upstairs and I worked in the living room, with stuff scattered in boxes in the unfinished part of the basement.

Then, my boys missed being together. So they took their bunk beds and moved back into a room together. I took the other upstairs room. I loved it. I loved having that office again where I could close a door and work. I wrote One Night in New York and my Sealed with a Valentine’s Kiss duet in that room.

Ahh. It was heaven. That lasted about a year. Then, the fighting and bickering started as they got older.

I went back to my boxes in the basement and have been working in the living room. I escape to hotel rooms near my deadline to work, because it’s hard once the kids come home to write in the living room. Since I dropped Diet Coke for good, I can’t pull all nighters and with working out …I don’t want too. I’m tired.

My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said a small room where I can shut you all out. I love my family, but for my sanity and career, I need a door between us.

So, he went to work. Everything is done (as of writing this blog post) but the door.

The first thing up was my new wardrobe. It’s massive and I was finally able to take all the copious author copies from 14 books (currently out) and store them somewhere safe. This picture isn’t even the foreign translations. I keep one copy of foreign translation books and I’m shipping out a bunch to different libraries.

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14 books released so far, 3 books per shelves. All the hard covers are on the bottom. It’s a lot of books!

Then after the walls were up I got bookshelves! They’re pretty bare, but it’s a work in progress. Nice to have all my books together. Something to look at.

The table I work at is one my Mom made when she was moving into her first apartment, or rather she was going to move into her first apartment alone and then met my Dad. LOL

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Yep, that’s a Mountie Bear and the painting is one I did.

I can’t wait to finish unpacking, but I’m headed to Toronto this weekend for an all day workshop with the Toronto Romance Writers. Since it starts bright and early Saturday, I’m spending the night in my old hometown by myself in a hotel room to write.

And I’m taking the train. I love taking the train, especially business class because I can work on the train. It’s a 3 hr train ride (roughly) to downtown T.O.

It’s only one night away, since I’m catching the late night train back to London, Ontario Saturday night, but I’m planning on enjoying the silence and cranking up the word count.

Maybe, just maybe there will be door to my office on my return.

Oh and in March, I had 2 releases! Check them out.

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His Pregnant Royal Bride (Royal Spring Babies Book 1)

Pregnant with the prince’s baby

Nurse Shay Labadie’s one exquisite night of passion with Dr. Dante Affini was meant to be a beautiful memory. But now Shay’s expecting…and Dante is expecting her to take his hand in marriage!

Dante’s proposal is shocking enough, but then he drops an even bigger bombshell—he’s not just a doctor, he’s a prince! Now to win his child and the woman he loves, Dante will have to prove he can master his most important role yet—as the husband Shay deserves…

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The Omega Team: Biochemical Reaction

An attraction like no other…

Former Navy Seal Jack Crane walked away after a chemical attack wiped out his platoon and scarred him, forcing him out of the military–the hardest thing he ever had to do…Until Omega Team contacted him to protect an undercover agent at a secret lab.

Lisa Morgan had nothing to lose when she took on the assignment to uncover Bio-Tek’s dark secrets concerning the deadly chemical agent that killed her brother and cost her the only man she ever loved a decade ago when he walked away.

When the man hired to protect her turns out to be Jack, she’s forced to trust with her life the man she couldn’t trust with her heart, and make sure the antidote for that terrible chemical gets into the right hands before it’s too late.

 

You can find out more about Amy here:

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