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.


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



Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Playlists & Such

I hear a lot of writers say that they need complete silence to write. No distractions. NOTHING but them and the voices in their head. I can write this way too, grudgingly, but I prefer music or at least something I’ve seen a million times playing in the background on the television as I write.

As book 15 was just accepted a week or so ago, I though I would share some of the music which was played repeatedly while I worked on various titles. Due to the beauty of Apple iTunes Music (Hooray because my memory can be sketchy on the best of days) it lets me know which songs on any given playlist that I listened to a lot.

It drives my DH a bit bonkers if I don’t have my headphones on and I’m listening to a song on repeat. 😉

Since book 15 was accepted, I thought I would start with the book that started it all, SAFE IN HIS HANDS. This was before I subscribed to Apple Music, but I do remember the song that inspired the book.

safeinhishands   The song that inspired this book was Adele’s Someone Like You. Safe in His Hands was a reunion romance. A second chance at marriage and love.

When I write about my Army Docs or Navy Docs, I always have to have Skillet’s Hero added to my playlist.














And for my latest release Unwrapped by the Duke, even though it’s a Christmas themed book I didn’t listen to many Christmas songs, but instead went for something a bit sexier. Only fitting for that gorgeous hero.


And the song that was on repeat for this book was Salted Wound from Sia.

Writers, do you listen to music while you write?

Readers, do the songs fit the books? Or did you envision something else when reading it?








Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Finishing A Book by Dianne Drake


It’s always nice to finish writing a book, put that last period on the paper, go back in for edits and finally send it in to your editor.  I did that this week – ended that particular chapter of my life, at least until my revision sheet comes back.  My usual routine is to give myself a couple of days off before I start the next book.  But I must say, that next plot is already percolating in my brain almost from the time I hit send on the previous book.  It’s anxious to get out, to get it’s first chapter down on paper lest I forget it.  So by the end of my second day off, I’m ready to write, and I kow where I’m going thanks to a persistent idea that wont let go of me.

But how do I write?  For sure, it’s not from an outline.  I tried that years ago and got stuck between what my outline wanted there and what I wanted there.  That’s when I threw in the towel and got rid of the outline.  But I’m not one of those by-the-seat-of-the-pants writers either.  I edit too many contest manuscripts where I see that trait come out badly.  That’s not to say that a lot of good writers can’t pull it off, because they can.  But not me, and not scores of others who don’t put in the work of knowing where they’re going.  Trust me, if it’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to an editor.

So how do I do it?  The truth is, the writing comes to me.  I pre-think where I’m going, how I want to get there, and what I want to happen along the way.  By the time I sit down every day to write, all but the actual placing of words on the paper has been done.  In other words, I guide my book, I don’t let me book guide me, although there is always room for flexibility on the journey.  When I pull up my document, I have no doubts about what’s going to come next because I’ve played the scenario through several times already.

My biggest fear?  Having no ideas in my head to translate onto paper.  It hasn’t happened yet, maybe because I’m always writing “in my head” no matter what else I’m doing.  I must have a certain expression when I do this, too, because I’ve heard the people around me say, “Shhh, she’s in her head.”  Whatever works, I suppose.

So, as a writer, how do you write?  What little routines do you go through once you’ve finished one book before you start another?  Do you ever have days the words just don’t come?

By the way, I’ll be signing books at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, as well as teaching a class there on 50 ways to build an author’s platform.  Drop by either, or both.  I’d love to see you.

Until next time, wishing you health & happiness!