Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Four

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Part Four

 

It’s still Friday 21st July at 8.35am. I just spoke with Mum and Lesley to tell them what the doctor said. I was attended by three of them. They were followed by Dr Bohic who told me the procedure went very well. I guess I will definitely have to do the right hip so it can keep up with the left. Just as long as it’s Dr Bohic that performs the second operation.

Half an hour before their arrival the tea lady turned up with breakfast. I kept it simple: a bread roll with butter and jam, and a BOWL of tea. The French have no concept of a ‘cup of tea’; it’s a bowl or a glass. I settled for a bowl of milky water with a teabag floating in the middle. At least it was hot. One has to be grateful for small mercies. I enjoyed it regardless and took my daily meds that I had brought from home. At least that was one saving to the hospital’s massive expenses.

One of the doctor’s spoke good English, better than my French, so I asked him if I could get up to go to the loo, shave, and wash. He told me I would have to wait until late morning… I expect that means after lunch.

No doubt I’ll have the same nurse as yesterday afternoon. I dubbed her with the title of Ms Sourpuss as her attitude towards me was, in my opinion, quite rude and heartless. She might have been busy, but isn’t it the reason she’s a nurse: to look after her patients? Just as long as she helps me into the bathroom I’ll be content with that.

It’s hot in here this morning. The ward is on the top floor so no doubt the sun is beating down on the roof [I have the same problem in my flat]. Hopefully the air-conditioning hasn’t broken down and it’s just the meds playing havoc with my metabolism.

Mum told me that several of her and Lesley’s friends phoned to check up on how the operation went. They are nice people is all I can say.

When I had been given the admission date last month I posted it on my Facebook page. Updating it with all the tests I had to do prior to surgery. Most of my ‘Facebook friends’ have been supportive offering their good wishes, with encouraging words of their own similar experience, or of someone close to them. Obviously family members have been the most supportive of all – I would have been lost without Mum and Lesley being here for me. Even so, I am also grateful to my cousins for their good wishes, and of course the encouraging words of my wife, Sandra who despite our separation and living on the other side of the world still cares enough to phone my mum and Lesley to get the latest news on my recovery progress.

It’s 9am and I’m going to stop writing for a while – I need to pee. The last time I had such an experience was when I was about 8 years old – there’s something really degrading about having to pee into a bottle while in bed.

I’ve just checked the time. It is 10.15am. The English-speaking doctor arrived with a walking frame and a booklet [in French – thank God I can read the language] about after-op management of hip/leg. He left me to it promising to return. During his absence a nice man came and pushed my bed with me in it to go and get a couple of x-rays. No doubt to check the procedure was indeed a success! At least I didn’t have to get out of bed for them. The technicians slid the two plates under my bum. The first one was okay as I was on my back. The second however was not so pleasant. I had to roll sideways – quite a painful exercise. On my return the orderly stationed my bed closer to the window, but unfortunately not facing the sea.

*

I’VE HAD A WASH!! Yippee!! Another orderly brought me some cleaning things, a bowl of water [they like bowls, the French] and a clean gown. I asked him to rescue my toiletries from the ensuite so I was able to shave – I feel human again… Happy Days!!!

The orderly then changed the bed sheets while I was still in the bed. Not an easy task to perform, but he carried out professionally making sure I wasn’t harmed in any way. Some people have to be admired, and he was on that list.

My ‘favourite’ nurse came in to remove the cannula and drips. I asked her name: Chloe and she told me that after her shift she was off on holiday for two weeks; sad for me, but happy for her.

At least she gave me the good news that the physiotherapist was coming shortly so that I could get out of bed. Although now daunting at what to expect, it was also exciting.

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Three

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Part Three

 

It’s Friday 21st July – 6.20am. I had a fitful night; in and out of sleep, relieving myself into that horrid bottle at least five times. At one point I had to buzz the nurse to empty it just so I could fill it again.

It was a long night.

The ice bag lost its effect somewhere around 2am. I found that I was willing myself to exercise my leg for fear of developing any DVTs [Deep Vein Thrombosis – a blood clot]. For some reason only known to French medical professionals they don’t like using compression stockings [TEDs] after surgery. When I was in recovery yesterday I asked for one to be fitted and was told they don’t use them until I got up and walked – D’oh!!

A few years ago I was diagnosed with a medical condition known as Factor V Leiden by Dr Christopher Ward who is a haematology specialist at the Royal North Shore Hospital at St Leonards, Sydney. I had first experienced a blood clot in my left leg which was approximately 12cm in July 2007. In May that year my wife, Sandra and me had traveled to Alice Springs to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. We then traveled by coach to Uluru a journey of six hours. It was a lovely holiday – but it came at a price: the blood clot was a result of my leg being immobilized for all that time, even though there were some short breaks to ‘stretch’ our legs. Anyway the ‘cure’ was to take a course of Warfarin – not a nice medication, and one which forces you to continually have regular blood tests to make sure all is okay. Five years later, I experienced another blood clot this time in my right leg, one that was 15cm long!

Nowadays, whenever I travel any distance greater than 3 hours I always put on some TEDs, and especially when I fly regardless of how long the flight is. Australian hospitals always put them on patients when they are admitted.

So coming back to the present, as obviously the French don’t follow such procedure I found myself massaging my calves below the knee as far down as I could reach, and flexing and rotating my feet just to get the circulation going.

This is certainly an experience I don’t want to repeat so I may have to put up with the pain in my right hip for a few more years.

The night nurse knocked on the door at 5.30am and emptied my bottle so I could fill it again and then played around with the drips. I asked her if I could get up this morning as I desperately needed a shower and go to the loo – not necessarily in that order. The last time I shifted my bowels was Wednesday morning, the day before surgery. Again I was surprised that not one nurse had asked me the question since surgery of this bodily function. I’m also keen to have a decent shave – I hate looking scruffy.

I’m amazed at the number of patients all recovering from orthopaedic surgery of one sort or another. Despite living in such a beautiful part of the world, there are still a lot of sick people around.

Going back to my request to get up today so that they can also change the sheets as they will no doubt be diving into the laundry basket by themselves the moment I vacate the bed. I was told I would have to wait the surgeon’s visit at around 8am. At this point in time I only have an hour and fifteen minutes to go.

Daylight has revealed itself and it looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day. I doubt I’ll be allowed to venture outside yet, this being day one after surgery – but one lives in hope.

I shall resume quill to paper after the doctor’s visit.

*

It’s 7.55am and the morning nurses have shown their lovely faces just now; and I seriously do mean lovely. Had one of them shaved me yesterday I don’t think I would have been able to control Mister Doodle!! One of them took a sample of my blood. She said if the platelets were okay I might be able to get up. I thought to myself “if you’d put TEDS on my legs that would ensure the platelets would be okay reducing the risk of developing DVTs” Instead I smiled and for once kept my mouth shut – especially as she was the one holding the needle.

Her colleague had entered the room behind her and was patiently waiting to attack my body – wishful thinking on my part; but attack it she did with a syringe full of the drug Lovenox straight into my stomach. She then changed the spent fluid drips with new ones, and left me an anti-inflammatory pill. I questioned her about the Lovenox wondering when I could revert back on to the Pradaxa – at least it is a pill, so much easier to administer and no regular blood tests necessary. She told me it was still too dangerous a drug to switch back to.

Medical practitioners – you love them but you can also hate them.

When the threat of DVTs had been finally controlled in Australia and I was taken off the Warfarin by Dr Christopher Ward. He told me it would now be safe just to take an aspirin a day to ensure the blood would remain thin. The nice thing about aspirin it is a safe drug and if you have to come off it to allow for surgery or a tooth extraction then you can do so without the need of any substitute.

Since leaving Australia early last year I have noticed how the pain in my legs had increased to a point where my walking was being impaired. I was beginning to shuffle rather than walk and it was making me extremely tired. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my new geographical location but everything to do with the reduced amount of walking I was doing. In Oz I was still working, and hence commuting. When you live out in the suburbs and work in the city there’s a fair bit of walking involved as I’m sure a lot of people would agree. In other words I was more active than now, where being retired to a small village-type town where everything is so close, the need for walking great distances has been drastically reduced.

So, as I said earlier in this saga, I got to the point of wanting to do something about the hips once and for all. So what better way to start the New Year than to deal with the offending problem? I was told by a friend, who runs a small hotel in Golfe Juan – http://www.hotel-leprovence.fr/ that she was to have one of her hips done by Dr Bohic later this year and that he had in fact successfully replaced her partner’s knee. Therefore armed with her recommendation I made an appointment to see my General Practitioner.

As usual, before I had a chance to make my request for a referral letter, he examined me. Took my weight: too heavy at 90kg, blood pressure: a bit low, heart beat: too fast at 130 beats/minute and I was at rest at the time [at rest the pulse rate should only be around 60-70 beats per minute].

He picked up the phone and called to make an urgent appointment for me with a Cardiologist.

Hang on!! I only came in here for a referral letter, said I. The hips can wait, the heart can’t, said he. That will be €25 thank you. Sod it!! Oh yes, a note to my fellow Australians do you remember when we all whined about having to pay $5 to visit our GP?

So before I knew it I was stripped to my underpants lying on the cardiologist’s examination table with electrodes all over me while he performed an ECG test. Yup! Definitely too fast AND it skips, said he. Yours would too if all you wanted was to have your hips fixed and now someone is saying you are at risk of having a major cardiac event, thought I. I had told him of my past cardiac events, of the angiogram that went horribly wrong in 1999 – but that’s another story. If you’re interested you can find it on this blog at https://tomewriter.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pinpoints-of-light/

In this instance however this guy, Dr Houssem MASMOUDI told me something too technical for me to comprehend and then proceeded to conduct a full ultrasound at which he confirmed that my valves weren’t coordinating properly. In other words they weren’t closing when they should because instead of having two electrodes in my heart to coordinate the valves I apparently have a few extra ones sending out confusing signals. Nothing is ever straight forward with me is it? I can’t wait for the future when we all evolve into bodiless beings. He said the best solution was for a surgeon to stick a laser through a catheter in my groin and cauterize the offending electrodes. Sounds too much like an angiogram to me – “No thanks” said I, the last one almost killed me. I’ll wait and let nature take its course.

Having re-dressed I sat in the chair opposite him in his office while he wrote out a couple of prescriptions for medication I would need to buy and start using without delay. They certainly like to put the fear of God into you these people!! That will be €160.42 thank you. WTF!!!

I left his office stunned in more ways than one and went across the road to the pharmacy to purchase the necessary drugs. €130 Thank you… no wonder people are having heart attacks at these prices – I really must sort out my medical insurance a.s.a.p.

And so began treatment for my heart. Aspirin was immediately stopped and the Pradaxa and Amiodarone started; the former twice a day and the latter once a day. I then went around the corner to my insurance broker and took out a policy for health cover with AXA. The premium was/is €59,57 per month, and worth every cent of it [no I haven’t got it wrong, unlike any other normal country that puts a dot after the dollars or pounds followed by the cents, in France they use a comma after the Euro followed by the cents – don’t ask me why, it’s just the way they do things here – they also use it in percentages].

The only snag with Pradaxa however is [once I began to read about it] that once you’re on it you can NEVER come off it completely as there is no antidote for it. What you have to do is apply a similar drug which has an antidote capability such as Lovenox. I used to have to self-administer them in Australia after surgery, but I can’t remember the name of the drug. All I do remember is that it leaves some nasty bruising, and it was the same this time around.

My GP was still refusing to give me the referral letter unless I got approval from the cardiologist. This done I got the letter and here we are…

Okay, coming back to the present – I hope I’m not confusing you too much with my time-hopping, but it’s the only way I can explain to you why some things are happening to me right now.

So, no Pradaxa then… I didn’t get any of my other daily meds either. I expect they’ll bring them later with breakfast [if it appears] – I could murder a cup of tea, but I’d be pushing my luck if I asked.

The Lovenox went in without a pinch – it’s good when you know what you are doing. Unlike my own attempts on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning; the injection has to be administered twice a day, but on Wednesday I thought bugger it; if they want it administered in the evening they can do it. They did.

Hello! As I’m writing this I’m suddenly becoming light-headed. Perhaps it’s the stuff in the drip she’s just administered. I’m going to stop writing for a while.

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Two

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

 

Part Two

 

The morning of Thursday 20th July began at 5am when a nurse brought in an armchair on wheels. She was closely followed by a colleague who wanted to shave my lower left side below the waist and above the knee. I was asked to remove my pyjama bottoms and I hoped Mister Doodle would behave himself. I needn’t have worried as the nurse kept the entire time sniffing back her own snot – it was most off-putting, perhaps it was a special strategy she adopted over time with male patients. When my skin was left as smooth as a baby’s backside I was rushed off to have the prescribed shower.

I don’t know your morning routine, but for me I always want to go to the loo, shave and then shower. With the first two denied to me I was a very unhappy bunny.

I returned to the room to find it had been cleaned and tidied making me reluctant to hop back into bed. Instead I chose to sit into the comfy wheelchair that had been brought in earlier and began to do some crosswords. I had hardly settled down when the room was suddenly filled with staff shooing me back into bed. I was given my normal daily medications and three sedatives to ‘calm me down’. Surprisingly I was calm, but just to make the nurse happy I agreed to take one [with insight I should have taken all three… I’ll know for next time].

It couldn’t have been more than five minutes when an orderly came in and wheeled the bed with me in it to the surgical ‘recovery’ area.

The day had started really efficiently and I was impressed at how smoothly things were being carried out in pre-op. My details checked off, cannula inserted, electrodes applied to my chest, and oxygen stuck up my nose. When all done I was whisked off again this time to theatre, where a couple of assistants chatted to me with benign topics while they very subtly administered the anaesthetic. Out of nowhere came a fierce burning sensation in my left shoulder and the last thing I remember of that experience was that it was quickly followed by someone trying to strangle me [this is why I should have taken the three sedatives – the nurse knew better than me what was about to happen].

When I opened my eyes again I was back in recovery. A glance at the wall clock revealed it was 11.30am. So all was over and done within four hours – very impressive.

As I begin to write this summary of the day’s events it is now 8.45pm. Since returning to my room at around midday I have hardly seen any staff. An orderly brought me a delightful plastic bottle in the event of dire need and a bag of ice placed against my very sore hip. He has replaced the ice bag twice, the last time at around 7pm. No doubt as the night staff come on around that time it is possibly the reason I haven’t seen him since then. Despite it being two hours later no one has checked in on me, and I’m wondering if everyone has left and forgotten I’m in this room with the door closed?

Earlier at around 2pm, Mum and Lesley visited and then they phoned at 6pm to check on me. The phone that had been given to me was the ward’s own phone so I buzzed the nurse. They certainly would need it more than me. The buzzer was switched off from the nursing station but no one showed up. After the immense show of efficiency this morning, the evening proved somewhat lacking!!

I started to get concerned when I noticed my blood was rapidly creeping up the cannula tube – I don’t think it’s supposed to do that. Also at the same time dinner had been brought in but I wanted to clean my hands before I touched it. I asked the orderly for some of the antiseptic liquid from the container on the wall, but she was either far too busy dishing out meals to hear my request or just ignored it. No other option I buzzed for the nurse who promptly stepped into the room, switched the buzzer off, and before I could say anything she disappeared promising to return soon.

Of course she never did, so I buzzed again as dinner was getting cold and the blood had almost reached the control tap half way up my arm. Hallelujah!! She showed up with the remark “I’m busy!!” She injected something into the cannula which forced the blood back to where it should be – inside my body and gave me a squirt of hand cleaner. I caught her long enough to pull the bedside table forward so I could access my tissues and watch – reflex action: I’ve just glanced at it. It’s 9.20pm and it’s beginning to get dark outside.

The staff is beginning to resemble the crew of long distance airline flights when they hurry you along with a meal, switch off the lights, and then disappear to the galley hoping not to be disturbed by annoying passengers [who have paid a bloody fortune for the trip and to give them a job/career] for the remaining 13 hours or so until touch down.

I’ve just noticed that the window blind is all the way up, where yesterday it was half way down. Fortunately there are hardly any street lights to disturb me too much; besides I like a bit of light at night.

Still no sign of any nurse to make sure I’m alright and tuck me in – you’d get more attention at a funeral home!

Sure I’ve got the buzzer, but what’s the point if they ignore it? Fortunately I don’t need anyone at the moment. My biggest concern is how I’m going to sleep. I usually rest on my sides. Tonight however I have no choice but to lie on my back because of all the tubes sticking into me. Also, and more importantly, I haven’t brushed my teeth since this morning, and as I have been told NOT to get out of bed, I’ll just have to put up with a furry mouth – Yuk!

As I have been in and out of sleep all day, probably due to the medication being administered, I don’t feel very sleepy now which is why I’m writing this diary of events so far now. I’ll carry on with some crosswords for a while and hope sleep takes me.

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part One

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Author, Robert L J Borg’s 4 week experience with the French Medical System including his personal thoughts and ramblings during that time

[May offend some people; not for the faint-hearted or weak stomached – if this is you please don’t read]

Part One

 

A friend asked why I chose such a title as not many people would understand the term used in North American game of baseball. Quite frankly as both he and I knew the meaning despite not being fans of the sport, it is quite likely that others will know that it means something that comes at you unexpectedly. For some unknown reason the reference to it made sense for the four-week experience I encountered between 19th July and 18th August 2017 with the French medical system.

To some background for you first; I was diagnosed with osteoporosis many years ago. As a result my hip joints have been eaten away slowly to the point where after putting up with the pain for almost 17 years I said enough was enough.

Secondly, and probably more important so you don’t get confused, I am actually typing this 5-6 weeks after the op and one week after I got back home. The original was hand written and the notes were being put to paper after the event, in some cases, because I kept on dropping off to sleep, the writing is erratic.

The journey for the hip replacement began on 2nd June with my visit to the Hospital de la Fontone in Antibes located on the Cote d’Azur in southern France to see the Doctor Jean-Yves BOHIC who is the head of Orthopaedic Surgery. I had taken some x-rays dating the previous month for him to look at. As soon as he glimpsed them he turned to me and said “when do you want to come in?” I expected to go onto a list like one does in the UK or Australia and wait, but this is France and surgery is when there is a slot available in the surgeon’s busy schedule.

I asked him which hip should be done first. His answer stunned me. He said: “You choose, they’re both as bad as each other.”

Blimey!! Well since it was the left hip that had begun the pains sometime in 1999 I chose that one. I had hoped they could have done both at once, but for reasons of safety during my recovery process they only do one at a time. It makes sense, but no sooner that I had committed myself in having the left hip done, the right one was screaming at me.

Dr Bohic led me back out to his secretary, Michelle who checked his diary and booked me in for surgery on 20th July at 8.30am. And just like that I was off on a journey of uncertainty.

I was told I would need to come in the day before surgery, but several tests would need to be carried out first at my expense. Thanks to the French equivalent to Medicare, the l’Assurance Maladie which has a reciprocal agreement with the National Health Service in Britain, I was covered. Although becoming an Australian citizen in July 1991, I have always, since birth, been a British subject and hold dual nationality.  Having completed my first 17 years of my working life in the UK it meant that when I attained retirement age I qualified for l’Assurance Maladie. To pick up any gaps I have also taken out a health insurance policy [known as l’Assurance Mutuelle] with the French insurer AXA. Unlike Australia where you will always be out-of-pocket for something, in France you never will be unless it is so small it hardly matters.

There were four things I had to do:

  • Get a detailed scan of my left hip.
  • Obtain clearance certificates from a cardiologist and a dentist.
  • Answer a heap of questions regarding my medical history, before visiting the anaesthetist who would knock me out.

Having gone through all the motions required I fronted up at the hospital with my mum and sister, Lesley for moral support, as instructed at 4pm on Wednesday 19th July and were ushered into a single room, number 2312 which was to be my home for the next five days. The view is pleasant and reminds me of the junction of Lane Cove Road and Lady Game Drive in West Lindfield, Sydney be it on a much smaller scale. Unlike the Australian location when I look to my left there’s no Bush, however the skyline is dominated by the Fort Carré d’Antibes, which is a 16th-century star-shaped fort of four arrow-head shaped bastions, that stands on the outskirts of Antibes, and beyond which is the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea.

I was checked in by two delightful nurses who took my blood pressure, blood sample, checked off my list of the numerous medications I have to take daily, and then left me a small container to fill a.s.a.p. No need to ask with what!!

When Mum and Lesley left one of the nurses told me that before going to bed I would need to shower with a special antiseptic liquid from head to toe. The process to be repeated after being shaved [not my face] the following morning.

I was given a light meal of something fishy, broccoli, a small bread roll with cheese and an apple. That would be it until lunchtime the following day.

By 10pm the pain in both my hips was so bad I requested pain killers.

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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Louise Roberts is not a happy bunny

I started this blog with WordPress back in 2012 to show case my writings and those of my mum’s, Viviane Elisabeth Borg who is also a published author. I was so impressed with the ease I could negotiate through it that I set up another blog for my pen name: Louise Roberts.

Up until now there has never been any problems logging in. WordPress gives you a choice to login either using your username or email address. In fact even now when you go into log in it still shows you that option.

I had no problems with this at the beginning of last month when I uploaded the cover of Louise’s new e-book “Dragoon Serenade” which is scheduled for release on October, 26 2017.

Yesterday I needed to make an amendment to one of her blogs and I found myself Locked Out. Despite always using the email address to log in, suddenly WordPress has decided to remove this option without any warning it was going to happen.

Frankly I find this sort of behavior totally unprofessional, and I am holding my breath should all of a sudden I’ll be locked out of this blog site also.

Perhaps it is a sign for Louise Roberts to cease to exist – which is shame really because we had at least 4 more books planned for her Romance in War Series. Book 3 – “Balor’s Landing” is her current Work-In-Progress, currently on hold while we do the 1st round of edits for “Dragoon Serenade”.

The sad thing is that Louise Roberts has in access of 100 followers [more than me] who are going to wonder where she’s gone.

I have tried to contact WordPress without success – there is nowhere on their site for help except for those stupid Q & A’s that are never relevant. You can reset a password without difficulty, but to locate or change your user name is impossible unless you are in your site – but how can you do that when you can’t get into the blasted thing!!

Not a Happy Bunny either :o(

RLB – Tomewriter

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“Dragoon Serenade” to be published

I am absolutely thrilled that Luminosity Publishing has accepted my novella written under my pen name, Louise Roberts, and have offered me a 3 year publishing contract which, of course, I have accepted.

Originally the “Romance in War” series was intended to be written as ‘sweet’ romances, where sex scenes happen behind closed doors and everything is left to the readers’ imagination. However, time has shown that readers’ appetites to sex have changed and ‘sweet’ is no longer a viable option. In a way it is a shame to be obliged to write romances that include graphic sex scenes just to be able to sell the book. It makes me wonder where our society is heading…

I hadn’t approached Luminosity Publishing when I had first set out to ‘sell’ the book as it was in the ‘sweet’ category, and Luminosity has, since publishing book 1 – “Letter from a Stranger” in this series in June 2015, withdrawn ‘sweet’ romances from its portfolio.

“Dragoon Serenade” was completed in 2016 and I was obliged to seek other publishers who still claimed to publish such a genre. Unfortunately however for one reason or another I was constantly receiving rejections for this book.

The most recent rejection gave the following reason:

While we found the history of your story fascinating, and your characterization strongly drawn, unfortunately we didn’t feel that Dragoon Serenade would work for us at this time. The story is very interesting, but is a historical story with a romantic subplot, and we are, first and foremost, a romance publisher.

We are actively looking for historical stories, but they need to be primarily romances, and Dragoon Serenade, unfortunately, doesn’t fit that bill.

Frankly I was left dumbfounded as in my opinion the story clearly showed the romantic elements between heroine and hero working side by side with the historical content of the story. My worry was that if I changed the story too much to satisfy the publisher’s issues I would dilute the entire plot.

I was also told by another editor that the Prologue was confusing and the story might work better if I took it out.

With such negative reviews I was determined to make the necessary changes for the betterment of the story. So on reviewing the Prologue I tended to agree with the editor’s concerns, but rather than remove it I replaced it with an entirely different start. The changes were such that I subsequently was obliged to go through the entire manuscript to ensure the continuity of the story reflected the revised beginning.

With regard to SEX, I have since increased the heat level and added a few extra graphic sex scenes just to whet the readers’ appetites. Although in my defense, I would say that I have kept the scenes tasteful as anything else would be out of character of my heroine and hero.

“Dragoon Serenade” is set during World War Two and is centered around the towns Cannes, Golfe Juan [where I currently reside today], Biot, Vallauris, and Agay which are located in the department of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in southern France.

My heroine, code name ‘Simone’, is an agent of the British Special Operations Executive [SOE]. The SOE were highly trained and were specifically used for espionage, sabotage, assassinations, and reconnaissance. Although Resistance fighters had been formed when these people’s countries capitulated to the German forces, it was the SOE who coordinated them into organized fighter networks, ensuring they were supplied with military stores. This was particularly the case in France during the lead up to the invasions of Normandy and the Cote d’Azur.  The latter was code-named “Operation Dragoon”.

The hero in the story is code-named ‘Hibou’ the French word for ‘owl’.  Simone had previously known him from the time she had spent in northern France several months before the D-Day landings. At the time the two had been romantically involved. Now as Simone is being transported by submarine to Golfe Juan she hopes to be able to reignite their love.

I have done what I can to show the strong bond between Simone and Hibou but not at the expense of the action which occurs throughout the story. And I have tried to emphasize their romantic relationship in all its aspects. From tenderness to strong sexual prowess; desire, kindness and love, but inevitably where romance is concerned there is always a hint of jealousy. Just as in real life where there’s romance there will also be tears. However as with all good romances there is ALWAYS a Happy Ever After Ending.

“Dragoon Serenade” may be a romance, but it is one set in the most difficult of circumstances. War is not pretty at the best of times, and when your main characters are operating in the shadows with the Gestapo close on their heels, the tensions run high.

Of all the stories I have written so far “Dragoon Serenade” gave me the most enjoyment, and at times even made me cry – but as a romance writer I can get quite emotional.

I prayed that I had done enough with the revisions to satisfy those who would publish my story, and I could only hope that they would appreciate the efforts made that aim to keep the romance and action elements working alongside each other and not at the expense of losing the story’s personality.

It was therefore a shot in the arm when Luminosity Publishing offered me a contract to publish the story.

The comments I received along with their offer has shown me that the revisions I had made were obviously the best thing I had done:

I loved the plot in this story.

It held my interest, and I read the whole book in one session.

The writing is very good.

I am sure readers will love it as much as me.

Luminosity Publishing have set a projected a release date of October 2017 for the e-book.

They will combine Books 1 and 2 into a paperback version to be released hopefully by November 2017.

Also, as Dawné Dominique has created such fantastic covers for “The Sword and the Rose” series and also the cover for my crime novel “Out of the Darkness”, Luminosity has agreed for me to approach Dusktildawn Designs to create a cover for “Dragoon Serenade”.

RLB – Tomewriter

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When Persistence Pays Off

Despite previous set backs I have just signed a 3 year publishing contract with Foundation Books, https://www.foundationsbooks.net/ for my crime novel “Out of the Darkness”.

Needlesstosay I am over the moon that someone liked my story without asking me to change its entire content. Certainly I expect some changes to occur as part of the editing process; that goes without saying. It’s all part of getting the story polished to a standard where the finished article is at its best.

It is envisioned that the release date will be towards the end of 2017, somewhere between autumn and winter. To add to the good news I have learned that Dusktildawn Designs is one of the cover designers that this publisher uses. Considering the brilliant creations that were done for me for “The Sword and the Rose” series I am of course delighted for the opportunity to work with them again. I have asked the publisher to grant this wish if possible.

I shall of course update my blog as developments take place.

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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A Sad Day Indeed

A sad day… the first real publication offer received for “Out of the Darkness” and I refused it. Although the publisher said: the manuscript is a wonderful tale, well written, with a great plot and subplots‘, they wanted me to change the time frame. As this would mean losing the story’s originality, and affecting the two subsequent stories I have planned for this series, I decided to reject their offer.

It’s bad enough that we Australian writers always have to ‘bend’ to the demands of the American market, by writing our stories in American English, using Americanized expressions such as ‘parking lot’ instead of ‘car park’, ‘sheriff’s office’ instead of ‘police station’, etc… etc… but for the sake of a 23 year time frame when mobile phones were just starting to make an appearance and not everyone owned one, the publisher insists to bring the time line forward so that my characters have mobiles in their possession so as not to have to use a pay phone then it is time to hold one’s ground, and say ‘NO’.

Which is precisely what I have done. I told the publisher ‘Thank You’, but ‘No Thank You’.

Out of the Darkness” is my very first piece of serious writing which began its life in 1994 [the time frame of my story], but which I never considered it good enough at the time to submit it for publication. Instead I worked on it trying to improve its quality over several years and in the meanwhile wrote and self-published my non-fiction history book “Smithy’s War [that took 10 years to research and write], and my first historical romance novel “Beneath Southern Stars” using a pen name ‘Louise Roberts’.

Since then Louise has had published five historical romances by Luminosity Publishing UK. With their successes, I thought it was time for “Out of the Darkness” to have the same opportunity.

Despite submitting it unsuccessfully to several publishers over the last few years, this latest publisher’s initial email was the only one which expressed any encouragement, as did their email accepting my rejection, which stated:

‘Our readers did enjoy the story and had good things to say about it, including that they would love to see it contracted and revised so it could find an audience because they like your voice and your ability to keep the suspense going. So I hope you consider our point of view and perhaps update it over time – as I mentioned, that late 1900s time frame is a hard sell to readers, which could be why other publishers were hesitant to contract it. No matter how much we like a story, we still have to make a living’.

Personally as much as I appreciate their candor, I don’t see why a certain time frame should annoy readers. If the story has the right ingredients and is a good suspense thriller then why would the date in history be a disadvantage?

In the early 1990’s Australia saw at least 326 violent crimes including the murder of politician John Newman assassinated outside his home in 1994, and the back packer murders 1988-1992.

Despite this being a shameful statistic it is a speck in the ocean compared to the same period in America, where it is reported that in 1992 alone in excess of 2,000,000 murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies took place.

As for “Out of the Darkness” which is set in Australia and Malta in January 1994, I strongly believe this story deserves the best, and I had hoped that a third-party publisher could do it justice. However it now seems that the only way that I am going to get this story published without compromising the plot and time frame is to self-publish.

 

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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“To Claim a Mate” by Jennifer Denys

A new book by Jennifer Denys being released by Luminosity Publishing on Friday 12th May, 2017

Title of book: To Claim a Mate

Author: Jennifer Denys

Publisher: Luminosity Publishing

Genre: Contemporary, Wolf shifter, gay, BDSM

Type: Novella (21,600 words)

Sexual orientation: MM

Blurb:

Cole Linley is a gay wolf-shifter. In order to appease the Alpha within, he has taken up the BDSM lifestyle and become very experienced. This placates his wolf to a certain extent, but his dearest wish is to find a mate—male, of course. Except, the question is, how to find one in a city surrounded by humans where other wolf-shifters are rare.

Then, one night, he enters Balls & Chains, a BDSM club he frequents, and immediately senses another of his kind. And not only that, it is the scent of a potential mate, Jared Gray. There is only one problem—Jared is collared by another Master.

Jared’s relationship shows all the signs of an abusive relationship. Can Cole get him away from the other Dom and show Jared the delights of BDSM when done properly and what it means to be a beta wolf to Cole’s Alpha?

 

Reader Advisory: The submissive in this Gay Paranormal Romance doesn’t realize he is in an abusive relationship until he meets his true Master.

What’s hot?: Making love in the forest as wolves, then in the bed as humans.

Buy links:

Luminosity – http://luminositypublishing.com/product/to-claim-a-mate/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claim-Mate-Balls-Chains-Book-ebook/dp/B0713ZLXWD/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1494072501&sr=8-2&keywords=Jennifer+Denys

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Claim-Mate-Balls-Chains-Book-ebook/dp/B0713ZLXWD/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494072800&sr=8-1&keywords=Jennifer+Denys

Excerpt:

Moving on, Cole was drawn into a room which had a cross in each corner of the room with plenty of space to wield the equipment. The walls were covered with floggers of varying types, although nothing stopped a Dominant using an implement from another section.

Cole halted. He’s here.

The scent was at its strongest, practically dragging him toward a slender man in his late twenties, with brown hair the color of hazelnuts. The sub was in the process of being tied face up against a cross on the far side. His chest was bare and sleek, and he wore skin-tight jeans.

The Dom wanted to rip the man’s clothes off and devour him on the spot. So intent was he on reaching his prey, he nearly missed the Master who had finished tying the submissive and came around to inspect the restraints, standing directly between Cole and the object of his hunt.

Stopping in his tracks, Cole’s hackles began to rise. A possessive instinct rose in him to fight off his rival. Except there were rules in BDSM and it didn’t include tearing out the throat of another Master.

Andy caught up with him and saw him staring. “Who have you found? Oh, this is Master Dirk. Jared is the sub he is playing with.”

Cole took a moment to calm his inner wolf, unclenching his fists before he triggered his claws. His voice was raspy as he asked, “Are they new? I don’t recall seeing either of them here before.” Actually, he couldn’t care less about this new Master. He only had eyes for Jared.

He didn’t hear Andy’s answer, because, at that moment, he caught the gaze of the bound man. Tangible electricity crossed the room and hit Cole like a silver bullet, slamming into his heart, nearly causing him to change into his wolf in front of everyone. It took everything he knew about Dominance to keep hold of his human side and push down his animal half.

Meanwhile, the submissive’s eyes opened wide in shock, and he bit his lip. Cole’s keen wolf eyesight could detect Jared’s fierce trembling, as he tightly gripped the ropes that held him. Cole willed him to hold on and not transform in front of everyone as the two shared a look of instant attraction, desperate need, and the desire to have sex.

And yet it was more than that. So much more—an inner knowledge, assurance one has finally found one’s other half, and didn’t even know one was looking.

Taking a deep breath, Cole narrowed his eyes as he gazed on Jared, drinking in the beautiful sight before him.

He gave a slight smile of acknowledgment.

Oh yes, this is my mate. And woe betide anyone who comes between us.

* 

 

Author bio:

Jennifer is a bestselling author in various genre (BDSM, contemporary, sci-fi, paranormal, with historical and fantasy in her works in progress) with several different publishers.

An Englishwoman through and through, she lives in a beautiful historical city and is game to try most things once. She’s had a tattoo done on her calf, flew down zip wires 100 feet up in the trees, and was photographed nude by a professional photographer. All of which have taken place since she turned 50!

Many of her experiences end up in her books… but you will have to read them to find out what!

Do contact Jennifer – she loves to hear from her fans. She posts to her blog three times a week and is on Facebook daily.

Author links:

Blog/website – http://jennifer-denys.blogspot.com/

Email – Jennifer.denys@yahoo.com

Facebook – http://facebook.com/JenniferDenys

Twitter – http://twitter.com/JenniferDenys

 

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Sensual Liaisons: The Sword and the Rose Collection

sensual-liaisons

Cover Design by Dusktildawn Designs and Luminosity Publishing

All original artwork by Dawné Dominique and copyright remains with her.

 

Sensual Liaisons: The Sword and the Rose Collection by Louise Roberts is a paperback that is to comprise of books 2, 3, and 4 of The Sword and the Rose Series.

So that these three great e-books can be available in print, Luminosity Publishing has incorporated them into a paperback.

The book is due for release on 15th April 2017 and can be purchased through the usual distributor channels such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Luminosity Publishing’s own website.

Although there had been plans for three more books in the series it was decided that it was time to end the Spanish 17th century saga after book 4.

 

Louise Roberts will now concentrate on her “Romance in War” series comprising of different stories set during World War II.

Book 1 – Letter from a Stranger is set in London during the Blitz was published by Luminosity Publishing in June 2015 and is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble.

Book 2 – Dragoon Serenade is set in the south of France during the three weeks leading up to the Allied invasion of Operation Dragoon on 15th August 1944. Although this book is completed it is currently awaiting publication.

Book 3 – Balor’s Landing is set on the tiny island of Toraigh [Tory] off the Irish coast of county Donegal starting in September 1944. This book is Louise’s current work in progress, with four more books planned after this one.

In addition Louise is considering starting other adventures with new characters set during the 18th century but at this stage she won’t give anything away as to where and when those characters will emerge.

 

RLB – Tomewriter

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