Dexter: Hey, Arch – I heard this song, the other day. ‘Underneath the Archie’, I think it was. And it’s given me a great idea for a game. You stand there and pretend to be a bridge. I’ll walk underneath you, carrying a tennis ball. And then I’m going Underneath the Archie… Hahaha! Geddit?
Thrilled to say that my latest M&B Medical Romance (my 91st book for them) has just been accepted. It was VERY tough to write during lockdown – given the events in the world, it felt as if my work was completely irrelevant and frivolous, and writing the book was like wading through treacle. I had no connection with my hero or heroine, but I talked to my editors and they reminded me that it’s better to edit a bad page than a blank page, so I sent in a book I was really not happy with. My editors said I wasn’t alone in feeling this way and that not only were other writers finding it hard, the editors were also struggling to read. Even though I work from home in normal s circumstances, it isn’t the same at all during lockdown.
While my editors were ploughing through it, I had a shift in mindset. Short romance novels like mine serve a very specific purpose: they entertain people, they have a definite happy ending so they help to lift moods, and maybe this is what the world needs right now. Love and happiness. And I needed to stop feeling miserable and bring the joy back. (I’d been doing that with Facebook posts including birdsong and my daily walk with the beastie and catching the sunrise – oh, wait, pictures!! Look at this!! More on my Instagram account.)
So my editors came back to me with comments, and I scribbled all over my manuscript (actually – maybe it’d be nice for you to see my writing in progress. One set of revisions, scribbled all over (it’s in track changes so I can see my editors’ comments, and I use a pink Pilot v-ball pen for my changes as it has a very fine nib and suits my tiny, scruffy handwriting). I usually have an Edit-paw-ial assistant sitting at my feet, but occasionally Senior EPA decides to sit on the dining room chair next to me. Pipsqueak obviously won’t be big enough to do that, yet, and I think he’d climb on the table and chew my pens at the moment!
Anyway, I’m delighted to say that Forever Family for the Midwife (the midwife, by the way, is a male midwife…) will be published in November 2020. You can find it on Amazon UK here (for transparency’s sake, that’s an affiliate link) and Amazon US here (not affiliate link). And I will do the proper page for it on my website soon 🙂
Today is the official publication day of my 84th book for Mills & Boon, Finding Mr Right in Florence.
It all started because I love the TV series ‘Fake or Fortune’ – actually, I’ve wanted to do an art mystery book for years (that probably owes a bit to an episode of the TV drama ‘New Tricks’).
And if it’s art, it has to be Florence, right? So we ended up in Florence, researching the location. I rather fell in love with the Duomo (the best bits for me were climbing inside the Duomo, and seeing the amazing Roman mosaic peacock in the crypt – not to mention 13th-century tombs that still had their colour – have I mentioned before that I adore church architecture?). We also visited a lot of art galleries – the Uffizi made me cry (Botticelli), but I really loved the ‘modern’ art gallery. Now, my taste in art is very much 19th century (Burne-Jones in particular) or medieval (so Florence was right up my street), but ‘modern’ in Florence is 19th century. I loved the Macchiaioli paintings, so I borrowed some of them for my book – but my Florence painter is completely from my imagination.
I wanted this to be called ‘The Girl in the Window’ (after the painting in the book), but I never get to keep my titles. But I did get to enjoy Florence. And the poppy fields – this one wasn’t far from me.
If you’re wondering what happened to publication day for book 83 – I forgot to sort it out. Bad Author. Rubbish at pubicity! So I’ll leave you with a card from my publisher for book 84: Happy Book Birthday to me 🙂
Thrilled to say that my 85th M&B, aka the PAT dog Medical, has been accepted. ‘A Nurse and a Pup to Heal Him’ will be out next summer. It’s dedicated to the inspiration and namesake of said PAT dog, who seems rather blasé about his fame…
Absolutely thrilled to say that my editor liked my revisions – so my 82nd Mills & Boon, A Diamond in the Snow, will be out later this year. It’s for the True Love line (aka Cherish until the rebrand earlier this year) and is all about a heroine who runs her family’s stately home and plans a weekend including a Regency ball to help raise funds to restore the house, and a hero who’s undergoing a massive lifestyle change and discovers love where he wasn’t expecting it. Add a fake fiance plot (I love these), some seriously nerdy foodie stuff (as in historically accurate foodie stuff – one of my pet subjects), Regency dancing (yes, I miss my ballroom lessons) and a slightly naughty dog (Archie, disguised as a Labrador) – oh yes, and Christmas! So if you like any of these, I hope you’ll enjoy the book.