The Writing Life

And so it begins…

I made a big move this summer, out into the country about two hours north of where I used to live. I grew up on the shores of the southern great lakes. Mainly Lake Ontario and spent many years near Lake Erie.

I experienced lake effect snow, but nothing like the lake effect I’ve been experiencing since making the move north.

Warning signs that I would regularly see way, way up in northern Ontario where my Dad was from, were gracing the roads here and I knew, from visiting my late inlaws, that the highway along Lake Huron would randomly be closed.

I get it now.

It started snowing early, like November 2nd. And just twenty minutes south, there would be nothing. All those summer storms and tornados, were suddenly turning into SQUALLS.

The sunrises have been nice.

And not just the white fluffy stuff I was used to, but full on heavy, wet snow. When I complain to my Dad, he just laughs, but not too much as my brother and him are in the same weather system as me!

So winter has begun here, even though it’s still technically fall. I’ve had to light the big wood furnace, which scared me. I’m so used to just adjusting a set point and the furnace coming on.

Now, I have to stoke a fire, build campfires (thanks Girl Guides of Canada for that training it’s coming in handy).

One thing I do like about this snow and the country, it’s so quiet. So peaceful. My boys love the snow and the freedom of the big property to do whatever and now that we’ve upgraded our minivan to a Jeep SUV with 4 wheel drive, I’m a lot more confident in my winter driving.

I also live in hope (because the snow has come and melted three times in November) that I will get an actual white Christmas this year! Something positive, trying to remain positive as I hate winter.

I’m counting down to spring and summer and fall.

I’m also not the only one that hates the bite of winter, my hero Dr. Henry Blake from Falling for Her Billionaire Doc feels exactly the same way:

FREAKING COLD.
Dr. Henry Blake scowled up at the first few flakes of snow swirling around in the air. He hated the cold. He hated the fresh air, the woods and the windchill, and he scowled up at the cloud-covered sky, hoping he could melt every single last stupid snowflake that was falling down.
Why am I here again?

So, how do you feel about winter or the change of seasons?

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

Treasure Hunt!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but my father is downsizing. He’s moving into a smaller place near my brother, about 3 hours from me. And I’ve been in charge of cleaning and going through what remains of his 74 years. Things he has to part with and things I’ve been sorting through for him and storing.

It’s been a whole process let me tell. It also meant going through and dealing with the remains of my mother’s items that were decorative.

But I found some unique stuff I’m thrilled to own now and will keep safe and a couple of photographs that amused me. The north is my jam, I love everything about the north, so a lot of these things are from there.

First up, my grandfather’s typewriter. It’s made of iron and heavy as I’ll get out.  My grandfather bought this new when he was 18. Now, the thing about my paternal grandfather is, he was born in 1885 and was 61 when my father was born. I never met him. By the time I reached the age of 7 in 1985 he would’ve been 100.

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I now have his typewriter. One he bought and lugged all over the north while working on the railroad. This thing was bought before WWI , which my grandfather tried to serve in but he was too ill and they wouldn’t take him. He tried to get in on WWII, but he was too old then and they wouldn’t take him. Drat, but instead he worked to keep infrastructure in the north going by working the railroad. And, German POW’s were often taken north on the rails once they were sent to Canada.

Yeah, so this Underwood is, about 117 years old. Heavy and I can get it to work again and restore it. I’m Super excited about it. I’ve always been fascinated by this.

Another piece I found was this plate. My Dad’s brother worked in what is now known as Nunavut, but then it was still part of the Northwest Territories and this plate depicts St. Jude’s Church in Frobisher Bay. On April 1, 1999 Nunavut was created, thus severing the vast NWT in two, making 3 territories in the north.

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Frobisher Bay became Iqaluit and this church St. Jude’s Anglican has the largest area of any Anglican diocese in the world as it covers the NWT, Nunavut, Nunavik and northern Quebec. Actually, the church depicted in this plate was lost to a fire in 2005 and a new igloo church stands in its place. Still, it’s pretty cool!

Which leads to this fella. Something else my uncle gifted to my parents when they were married in 1976. A seal carved by a Inuit artist, I think from Chesterfield Inlet. I would love to learn more about it.

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I found a series of photographs my father took while the CN Tower in Toronto was being built. I can tell you, that the waterfront is much more filled and cluttered today.

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And then this gem. Sigh. Me. I was about 2 months old, yes, I had teeth at month. My original derp face. LOL

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So that’s just some of the stuff I’ve been finding. They really have no monetary value, but they’ve been part of my life and my parent’s life for years and bits and pieces of the history of Canada.

And we’ll slowly get all the work done as we get Dad settled in with my brother. I’m going to miss having him close by, but this is for the best with the chemo he’s on.

It gives him his best shot and I want Dad to stick around for a while longer.

I do write about the north when I get a chance and you can read my latest and my 25th book which was set in Yellowknife NWT right now!

 

Medical2  His secret: he’s a prince!

Her secret: she’s carrying his baby!

After ER doc Lev Vanin shared one unforgettable night with gorgeous Dr. Imogen Hayes, he never expected to see her again. He couldn’t tell Imogen he’s actually a prince! But when a revolution at home forces Lev into hiding, he ends up working in Imogen’s hospital and his secret is out! Plus, Lev’s life is about to be turned upside down once again…because Imogen’s pregnant with his heir!