Appreciating Home and Away by Sue MacKay

For six weeks my DB and I have been constantly on the move, going back and forth between our home and Nelson, a city one and a half hour’s drive away, where we were house and business sitting for friends while they travelled to Europe. For me it was a great time to catch up with the spoils of city living – shops, meeting friends for coffee, eating at our favourite Indian restaurant, takeaways. The most important times were those spent catching up with friends I don’t get to see very often now. We had many shared meals and I hardly cooked at all when in Nelson. Back home in the Marlborough Sounds was time to take a breath and do the laundry, ready for the next trip over the hill.

Throw in two trips to Christchurch for four nights each time and a weekend with my writing group and by the time the six weeks were up I was beginning to wonder where home was. I’d wake in the middle of the night and have to think where the bathroom might be. Yes, I always got it right!

IMG_5512

But all this to-ing and fro-ing has made me appreciate home more. I live in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of New Zealand’s South Island and though it’s not isolated we are distant from a lot of things I used to take for granted – like friends only minutes away. Especially that. If I go to town I go with a list a mile long that seems to take all day to tick off each thing and then it’s time to head home. often without having seen anyone special. After this I’ve decided from now on I’ll see a friend first, then tackle the list.

On the plus side of living where I do is the fishing on the doorstep, the kayaking and cycling, walking in the hills, and the stunning scenery as seen in this photo. Five minutes after it was taken a large pod of dolphins came into our sound and were so close to the beach that I could hear their bodies slapping the water as they dived underneath the water. The bird life here  is amazing with tuis, bellbirds, blackbirds, waxeyes and sparrows making a tuneful racket all day long. Then there’s one bird that makes a real screeching sound and is a pest. The weka is a protected bird about the size of a chook and by far the cheekiest creature I know. I have caught one sitting on top of the TV, another in my office and even one under our bed once – making a disgusting mess as they obviously don’t look too hard for their bathroom.

People often ask if I get inspiration for my stories out here. Can’t say I do. I need people for that, lots of them. I would probably come with an idea sitting in an airport within minutes while it could take days out here. And when I do sit down to write I’m tucked away in my office which does not have a view.

I guess I’m a mixed up townie and  outdoors girl. At least living here I can go to town whenever I want to. One thing for sure, I’ll always love to travel almost anywhere, and I’ll always be happy coming home at the end of the trip.

What about you? Are you a homebody? Or do you prefer being on the move?

Wedding of the Year-at my house

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A couple of months ago I showed the preparations I was making for my son’s wedding. On May 24th the event came off without a hitch, well except for one issue. More about that in a minute. Nick and Lacey were married under the apple trees of a plantation house. It was a beautiful setting. The colors were orange, hot pink and yellow. It made a striking show against the green background. Every bridesmaid wore shoes to match their bouquets. The guys got in the act against my better judgment and wore strings in the same bright colors to match the girls shoes.       .OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My family and I. What can I say? I carry a ball bat when I want to make a point to all the tall people in my life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is Nick’s heart surgeon. He and his wife joined us for the big day. Nick is 25 and Dr. Kanter did his first surgery when Nick was five days old. Dr. Kanter preformed three more surgeries then a transplant at one year old and a aorta replacement when Nick was 19. Dr. Kanter once promised me quality of life for Nick. I think a wedding might qualify.

These are two of Nick’s nurses. The one in pink came all the way across the US to be at the wedding. Both took care of Nick when he was a baby. These are extra ordinary ladies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My niece made the cake. Each rose was hand done and  looked real. She did an amazing job.

Now for the cutest people there. My grandkids. I finished Anndee’s dress the week before the wedding. I even sewed during my Tuesday night critique group meeting. Alex was our one glitch for the day. He pulled a hot iron down on his arm the morning of the wedding. He burned his entire hand up to his elbow. Ouch! After seeing the doctor and having a wrap put on, his mother made it to the wedding venue on time. Alex wasn’t his most active self but he sure was dressed well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It was a happy day and the honeymooners are doing well.

Whatcha readin’?

DSCF3230-1HI, I’m just back from a lovely holiday/vacation in Papua New Guinea. (Photos are over at my blog http://www.fionalowe.wordpress.com) This trip featured checking out a different culture but there was also sailing, snorkelling, diving, eating, sleeping and reading!

I took my Kindle with a bevy of books and while I was there I got some reading done. Not quite as many books as when I was in Fiji….I blame the lack of a hammock at the Madang Resort for that ;-) …. but I did have a good shot at a few books.

On the flight over I listed to Elianne by Judy Nunn, a family saga set in Australia against the back drop of the sugar cane industry. It jumped between the turn of the 20th century and the turbulent times of the 1960s. The author had done a lot of research and I learned a few things. I LOVE the audio book app that my library offers. Do you listen to audio books? I love to in the car and when I’m gardening and cooking.

My next book was a Young Adult novel I had bought on sale ages ago when people were talking about it. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick was engaging and the dilemma in the book had me discussing it with the boys at dinner. Of course, in a YA novel the story pretty much demands that parents are absent, ineffectual or badly behaved so that the protagonists can grow. This book did all that and we got a good family discussion out of it!

 

Jill Shalvis‘ Rita-nominated novel, It had to be You was next on the list. I enjoyed returning to Lucky Harbour. Sometimes it can be tough for a reader to return to a town where the people you love are suddenly not behaving in quite the way you expect but this didn’t lessen my enjoyment. Plus the hero was gorgeous. Nuff said!

I then tackled my book group book, The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Big departure from romance and I am glued to my Spanish-English dictionary on my Kindle as there is a lot of Spanish language in it. I am figuring that perhaps now in the USA, there must be a lot of known Spanish in the general community because there is no actual translation in the narrative or hints at what the words mean. Most are not important but I like to know!  It’s an interesting read!

Finally, I read the second book in Kristan Higgins Blue Heron series, The Perfect Match. I can always depend on Kristan Higgins to make me laugh and I wasn’t disappointed.

Of course, there are still heaps of books on my Kindle because my buying of books far outstrips my time to read them! So what are you reading at the moment? I’d love to know!

 

Book news…Harlequin are releasing a series of anthologies of my previous medical romances in the USA, UK and Australia at the moment so if you search Fiona Lowe in the eBook store of your choice, you will be able to track them down. For more information about my books head to my website.

Look who’s talking…

Okay, so I admit that today’s post is a little shallow- and I apologise in advance. Perhaps it’s because of the World Cup and I’m hearing a lot of different languages, or because I’m currently writing an Italian hero…but I have to admit to having a girlie crush on any man with an accent.

And yes, I know that being kind and generous of spirit and having a sense of humor are essential qualities in a hero- but one sentence from a man who drops his haitches or has a lyrical r or just plain whispers in half-english and I’m a goner. And I know I’m not alone because exotic heroes are immensely popular in the form of Greeks, Italians, French and, of course, our Tina’s gorgeous Brazilians.

My current medical romance release features and Irish hero and I fell just a bit more in love with him every time I wrote a sentence.Shameless Maverick US version

Here’s the blurb: One kiss she didn’t forget!

Junior surgeon Kara Stephens has been assigned her first high-profile case to help an injured princess. Great news—if she wasn’t working with hot-shot Irish surgeon Declan Underwood, the man she kissed at the hospital ball! Declan’s notoriety with women is rivalled only by his reputation as the best reconstructive surgeon around. But his glamorous life in London is a far cry from his poverty-stricken childhood, and Kara’s about to discover that there’s more to her charismatic maverick than meets the eye…

So I thought I’d share with you some of my current crushes and rather hoped that you may have some more you can recommend?

Raoul Bova. The inspiration for Matteo, the hero in the book I’m writing. Italian. Tall. Dark and ubiquitously handsome.

Olivier Martinez. French. There’s no such thing as a mistake.

Gerard Butler…Scottish

Colin Farrell….Irish

For Kate, my blog twin, the newly single Antonio Banderas…

and again, because you can never have too much…

So who or which accent have I missed out? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list!

A Special Day for the U.S.A.

Parents with two children watching fireworks at sunset
The 4th of July is a big deal in the U.S. It’s a day to celebrate our Independence with family and friends. And fireworks. That day in 1776 changed the course of our nation’s existence.

It’s the one day of the year when it’s cool to be patriotic. American Dog

In fact, flag waving is required.

 

 

 

 

Of course, as an International blog, we celebrate all countries and personal pride for people of the world and the place of their birth…

In fact, it’s my favorite part of the Olympics – those opening ceremonies where all of the participating countries march in waving their flags and smiling with pride.

Worlmap

BUT July 4th is the good old USA’s special day, so what do you say – wish us happy birthday, and join us for a piece of the cake!4th of July cake

 

 

 

 

Let freedom ring!

Statue Of Liberty &  Fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the last line from your country’s National Anthem?

I’ll start – “…for the land of the free, and the home of the brave…” United States of America

 

Lynne Marshall

And the Nominees are….

Print

Over here at Love Is The Best Medicine, we’re pretty excited that FIVE of our talented band of medical romance authors have been nominated in the RuBY….the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year award. Woot! Squee!  It’s a great follow-on from Caroline Anderson and Anne Fraser (nominees) our Kate Hardy who won the British equivalent earlier in the year. For other medical authors who were nominated in the RNA and other awards,  please click here.

There are four categories in the RuBY; short sexy romance, short sweet romance, long romance & novels with romantic elements.

Your medical romance authors are a diverse bunch and of the five finalists, two have been nominated with books that are not medical romances but once you’re part of this group, we never let anyone go! So in alpahbetical order here are the authors and their nominated books.

Amy Andrews with Holding Out for a Hero. This book has already won the contemporary cover-HoldingOutForAHeroromance award at ARRA. YAY> When asked, “Why did you write this book?” Amy replied, “I wrote HOFAH a long time ago. It started out as what I thought would be a category romance and then morphed into this bigger than Ben Hur plot. I didn’t realise at the time but I know now that I wrote it because I couldn’t not. I just love this type of story. I call it urban-family romance. Stories set in cities where a bunch of quirky unrelated characters come together to form their own wonderful little community. Like a small-town romance but with a very urban landscape. My muse knew something back then that I didn’t. So the moral of the story is – always trust the muse!”

And the blurb says….

When sensible schoolteacher Ella Lucas rides into her home town on a Harley and seduces the resident football hero, Jake Prince, she figures she can be forgiven and move on. After all, she’s just buried her mother.

Two years later, back in the city, their paths cross again but this time Jake is in the process of destroying her favourite dive bar. With her home facing a wrecker’s ball, her school being closed down and her 15-year-old brother hell bent on self-destruction, it’s the last straw. Throw in a dominatrix best friend who is dating a blue ribbon guy so straight he still lives at home with his mother, it’s no wonder the sanest person in Ella’s life is a dog.

With all this to contend with, the last thing Ella needs is Jake back in her life. But, as fate would have it, Jake is the only chance she has to save her school.

As the school football season heats up, old secrets threaten to surface and Ella takes on greedy developers, school boards and national tabloids. But can she save not just her home, her school and her brother, but also the reputation of the man she’s never been able to forget? And, more importantly, does she want to?

Holding Out for a Hero is a quirky, heartwarming tale of unlikely romance, friendship and family.

17877159Lucy Clark with ONE LIFE CHANGING MOMENT

Lucy says, “This book is a very special one for me. A beautiful young girl, Zoe, passed away suddenly at the age of 13. I first met Zoe when she was 5 years old and she became close friends with both my children. Even now, a few years on, we still miss her so very much. Writers are given a unique opportunity to share their feelings through the pages of their stories and through One Life Changing Moment, I was able to share my love for gorgeous Zoe whilst helping Mackenzie and John to find their own happily ever after.”

And the blurb says….

Orthopedic surgeon and struggling single mom Dr. Mackenzie Fawles can’t believe her eyes when she sees John Watson—the man who saved her and her tiny daughter—again. He might have vanished before she had a chance to thank him, but she’s never forgotten how safe she felt in his arms….

John stopped doing emotion a long time ago, after the death of his wife and child. But an unexpected connection was formed the day he saved Mackenzie, and how she’s slipping past all his well-guarded defenses….

 

gold coast angels UKFiona Lowe with Gold Coast Angels: Bundle of Trouble .

Fiona says, “This book is the fourth book in the Gold Coast Angels series and I wanted to explore the themes of what it’s  like to live an everyday life in a tourist town that never stops, especially when life has not gone at all the way you planned and is peppered with devastating loss.”

And the blurb says…

Top-notch plastic surgeon Luke Stanley left Gold Coast City Hospital a proud family man — and returned from his vacation a widowed single father. Now Nurse Chloe Kefes is the only one brave enough to get close to the darkly brooding Luke.

Chloe has been through much in life herself, and knows falling for Luke and little Amber is asking for a bundle of trouble. But if she can help bring that laughing, easygoing man back, perhaps Chloe can bring the sparkle into all their lives again

18144270

Carol Marinelli with Secrets of a Career Girl.

And the blurb says….

With the same work ethic that made her a doctor, Penny is determined to start a family. She’s come to terms with having IVF alone, but the biggest obstacle is keeping it a secret from her persistent boss, Ethan Lewis.

Penny thought it was her hormones making her hyper aware of Ethan’s dark eyes and sexy smile, but as she confides in him, she realizes it’s their sizzling chemistry!

137601916917570216Melanie Milburne with Never Say No To A Caffarelli

Melanie says, ” I adore tea rooms and have favourites all over the country (Ed note..,I know this to be true and have taken tea with Melanie in two of them :-) ) Poppy runs a tea room in a sleepy English village when hot shot hotel developer Rafe Caffarelli sets his sights on her pretty little dower house.”

And the blurb says.…Poppy Silverton is as untouched as the leafy English village where she runs a tearoom. But her home, her livelihood and her innocence are under threat…

Rafe Caffarelli is a mouthwatering specimen of Mediterranean manhood. He’s a playboy billionaire and determined to buy Poppy’s historic dower house.

Poppy will not give up the only thing that remains of her childhood and family. She’ll fight Rafe–and her attraction to him–all the way. And be the first woman to say “no” to a Caffarelli!

All five books are available at your favorite eBook store!

For more good news from our authors who have kicked goals in other competitions this year, please click here.

Congratulations to all the nominees!  Has anyone read any of these novels?