posted on October 19, 2015 by Joanne Rock

It Must Have Been Moon Glow

by Joanne Rock

Dances Under the Harvest MoonIt’s funny that the cover of my new book, Dances Under the Harvest Moon, shows a happy couple twirling in the moonlight. It’s an image I like, of a scene that takes place in the book, but it’s one of those fleeting moments surrounded by lots of angst because that’s the way of romance. Plenty of obstacles to get to our Happily Ever Afters, just like in real life.

But in the case of this story, the dance is all the more of a surprise moment in the story because of the heroine’s battle with a chronic condition she discovers in the course of the story. Heather Finley has a sudden and severe onset of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune illness that differs from the more common osteoarthritis because it’s rooted in the immune system. The arthritis is a symptom of the immune system that attacks joints and, eventually, the body’s organs.

It’s a major setback for my guitar playing heroine with dreams of a music career because her fingers are very much at risk. I know her pain well as I share the disease. And some days, when my fingers are incapacitated, making writing a painful endeavor, the depression of the problem is as painful as the swollen joints.

I’ve wanted to write a heroine with RA for a long time, but didn’t have quite the right story until Dances Under the Harvest Moon. It’s a small facet of the larger tale, actually, but something that resonated for me. And, maybe, it’s something I’ve been wanting to work out through a story. Also, I felt like a book was a way to reach out to readers who suffer chronic illnesses and to touch their lives with some of the hard-won wisdom I’ve gathered over a lot of years.

Because I was diagnosed as a twelve-year-old, I’ve had a long time to think about how to manage life with an autoimmune illness that makes me chronically fatigued and in pain. And to manage the emotional toll that daily pain and fatigue take. As my heroine learns, sometimes dreams need to be tailored to fit your needs. In my case, it turned out to be a great blessing that I wanted to be a writer since a stay-at-home job allows me to take better care of myself. I can nap when I need to, and take days off when I’m just too drained to work.

I also learned how important it is to put a priority on good health. Frequent doctor appointments can be a bother but they keep me on the straight and narrow. I’ve have five surgeries in the last nine years and those have kept me away from the computer for weeks on end, but I am the healthier for it in the long run. The investment in my health will keep me writing stories for many years, and that in turn, makes me happy.

Truly, the biggest battle for me has been to maintain a positive attitude. It’s easy to feel down when dealing with a chronic condition, so I work hard to enjoy the good days. I savor the pain-free hours. I count my blessings. I make plans for the day when my fingers won’t cooperate (hello, dragon-speak!) and try to adapt the things I love to do for a body that doesn’t always cooperate. It helps to be mindful that my obstacles could always be worse. But most of all, I try to dance in the moonlight whenever my feet will let me.

Do you love to dance? Share with me the song most likely to get out on the dance floor—fast or slow—and I’ll give one random poster a copy of my holiday Blaze 2-in-1 with Tawny Weber, Undercover Festivities.

DANCES UNDER THE HARVEST MOON can be purchased in eBook format for/from:

Paperback edition available ONLY from eHarlequin.

Joanne Rock

Joanne Rock

Four-time RITA finalist Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn't like. The USA Today bestselling author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small-town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly---love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she's not writing, Joanne enjoys travel to gather new ideas.

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13 thoughts on “It Must Have Been Moon Glow”

  1. its a toss up between Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler and By The Light of The Silvery Moon Doris Day and Gordon McCrae… love the movie also.

    1. joannerock joannerock says:

      Hi Diana!! Thanks for stopping by :-). The Doris Day song makes me think of my mom… I can picture her singing this one sometimes.

  2. Avatar Erryn Barratt says:

    I’ve Had The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing

    1. joannerock joannerock says:

      Erryn, that movie did so many things well. A really great romance!

  3. Avatar Enisa Haines says:

    Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues. I hear that song and all i want to do is melt into the music and the beauty of the words by swauing my body in a slow, languid dance.

    1. joannerock joannerock says:

      Enisa, that is a beautiful song!

      1. Avatar Susan Simpson says:

        Hi Enisa, your blog comment has been chosen as the winner! I will send you an email with details. Thanks so much!

  4. Avatar Enisa Haines says:

    Thanks so much. Gorgeous surprise to be the winner.

    1. joannerock joannerock says:

      I just ordered the book from Book Depository today! Congrats, Enisa, and thank you for stopping by!

  5. Avatar jrey8971 says:

    I’m not much of a dancer but I like to listen to music and I enjoyed reading your blog today. I live with Chronic Migraines and pain and I can totally relate to how you feel about your chronic condition. Staying positive is a great! And having a passion is wonderful and keeps you motivated. Always savor the good days… 🙂

    1. joannerock joannerock says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog! Have you read any form of the spoon theory about chronic conditions? The metaphor was really helpful for me to share with some people who didn’t understand why I occasionally needed to end my day in late afternoon and take to the sofa! While it’s great to have days with a lot of spoons…. sometimes we run out early :-). Take good care of yourself!

  6. Hello a song that I want to dance to is Howling at the Moon by Phantogram

    1. joannerock joannerock says:

      Deanna, that sounds like is has seasonal appeal too!! Thank you for stopping by the blog this week 🙂

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