Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Spring Cleaning: Five Easy Tips

Does anyone do "spring cleaning" anymore, or has it become optional, like ironing your t-shirts or folding hospital corners when you make the bed? When I was a kid, every April my mother would wash all the windows and walls, air the quilts and pillows, scrub everything that could be scrubbed and polish everything that could be polished. This work would be accomplished in about five twelve-hour days. Do any of us spend twelve hours doing continuous housework anymore? Confession: I sure don't. Still, having a clean house is nice, I must agree. I just think we need a new approach. A somewhat more relaxed approach. After all, there is more to life than a clean house. (We're supposed to stop and smell the flowers, remember?)

 Here are my top five Spring Cleaning tips:

 1. Don't spring clean in the spring Never tackle a big housecleaning project when the sun is shining and the world is calling you to come out and play. Pick a cold, rainy day or a nasty snowy day. November and January are my personal, favorite months for "spring cleaning."

Perfect day for "Spring Cleaning"

2. Break the job into small bits: Don't attempt to clean the entire house in one weekend. Pick a room, or if that's too much commitment for you, single out a closet, or if even that seems overwhelming, a shelf in the closet. If you even clean one drawer in your bathroom, you'll be amazed at how satisfying it feels.

 3. Donate to Goodwill I am constantly dropping off things at Goodwill, because I'm not a fan of clutter. Clutter makes it difficult to find things. Clutter collects dust and trips you in the dark when you're trying to find that book you were reading and can't stop thinking about.

Like this book, for instance

 4. Listen to Good Music and Drink Wine Hey, why not?

 5. Share your Accomplishment With Others You've worked hard--it's time to get some accolades. At a recent dinner party I invited everyone to inspect my Tupperware drawer. So tidy and clean! Everyone was suitably impressed. And by impressed, I mean they'd had plenty of wine.

 I'd love to hear your favorite spring cleaning tip. Share one below and I'll enter your name in a draw for your choice of two of my books on Kindle (you get to pick the titles) or 1 of my back-list autographed books (I'll surprise you with a title).

Monday, April 01, 2013

Researching medical matters--and more

Since I write the Safe Harbor Medical miniseries for Harlequin American, I make a point of keeping up with research and other developments affecting fertility, babies, births and other medical issues.

In looking over the research files I kept for my March release, The Baby Jackpot, I found that I’d also searched the Internet about the city of Minneapolis (my hero’s hometown) and how to treat a knee injury as well as egg donations, male fertility and nurses in the operating room.

Although some of the research is simple, some of my files get rather long. The male fertility file (my hero specializes in the field) contains sixteen sections. The one on causes and risk factors for infertility has six subsections.

You might assume that I love doing research. Well, not always. I am very interested in medical subjects, however, and I’m incredibly grateful for the Internet. When I began selling novels thirty years ago, I had to call up professionals in various fields and presume upon their kindness to answer my questions.

I once called the local coroner’s office to find out how you could poison someone and make it look like an accident. Might have gotten myself arrested, but fortunately, I found someone willing to accept my explanation that I’m an author—and to provide an answer. The information was for my supernatural murder mystery Echoes, now available as an ebook.

Speaking of ebooks, I’ve recently redesigned a couple of covers for my revised and re-released books. This is a learning process, and reader reactions and sales teach me a lot. You might call it a different kind of research.

Every month, I offer a special ebook deal. In April, complete with a new cover, the Kindle and Nook editions of Unlikely Partners are only 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for reading! 
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