New Kid in Town

Greetings from (slightly overcast) Sussex from yet another in the flock of newcomers to the Medical Romance fold. I feel a bit like I am signing up to a dating site: a bit shy, a bit nervous and terrifically excited all at the same time. Which was EXACTLY how I felt this February when i was wandering back from the cow barn, covered in poop and my phone rang with a number from London. It was an editor from Paradise Road: That’s right, Mills & Boon were on the line.

I received ‘my call’ after a rather fractured series of attempts to join the wonderful world of Mills & Boon. (Cue: bowl of cherries = life)

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My (writing) story began some time ago when a friend idly wondered aloud if a Mills & Boon couldn’t be written in a weekend. I decided to haul myself off to Death Valley and give it a go. (I know – a little weird – but I ended up going on a hike with a hot dentist and finding some fool’s gold….he didn’t call, I gave the ‘gold’ to a friend). The hotel room was cowboy themed, the air con barely worked and fudgesicles were 25 centsat the gas station across the road (and it was THIS century). Long story short – it takes longer than a weekend (particularly with the distraction of a widowed dentist from San Francisco pulling you away from your keyboard). I made it to somewhere in the neighbourhood of chapter five and -

Life ensued. I was transferred back to the UK after three years working in Los Angeles, had a nosedive of a relationship (a real turkey – he swore I’d never finish one of my writing projects. Ha! Take that you party pooper!). Then I got a new job, met and fell in love with my own Highlander (oh sweet heavens – just keep rolling those r’s for me honey) and, on a two week break between jobs wrote and finished my first real romance. It is a combination of exotic, magical and not entirely terrific (it’s called The Doctor’s Princess, is written by my even more exotic alter ego: Tabitha Fife: Yes. It’s self-published on amazon) and caught the eye of the Mills & Boon editors. Their interest was piqued– but they weren’t head over heels with Tabitha’s work and thought I should give it another go in the form of a contest – which I duly joined. Thus was born – The Surgeon’s Christmas Wish – the story that finally gave me the proverbial writing legs I’d been longing for and pole vaulted me to a three book contract. I love it – every single pulse-racing, nail-biting, lip-locked moment of it. Writing about falling in love every day? I was made for it and am incredibly grateful to be a part of this fabulous group of story weavers. Lovely to meet you all and see you again soon – Annie O’Neil (@annieoneilbooks and http://www.annieo’neilbooks.com)

Heart-melting moments. . .

Have you experienced them? Those moments when your heart seems to melt? Well, I certainly have!

I am not a sentimental person normally but a couple of weeks ago one of those moments in life that you just want to remember forever occurred. I was looking after my grandchildren while my daughter and s-i-l went out for dinner. I gave three year-old Max a bath and popped him into bed. We went through the usual ritual of night, night, sleep tight etc and I started to leave when a little voice said, ‘Love you more than jelly tots, Nanna.’ And my heart just melted.

Max.

Max.

It started me thinking about other moments when my heart has melted and it was surprising how many there are. I only have to think about my late husband walking our daughter to the alter and I get all choked up. Bill had been seriously ill and we’d only been given the go ahead for him to travel the day before we were due to fly to Thailand for the wedding. Watching him walking Vicky up the aisle definitely made my heart melt.
Bill & Vicky & Kathy

Then there’s the books I have read which have really touched me. Whose heart didn’t melt when they came to that line in Jane Eyre, ‘Reader, I married him.’ There’s all the films I have seen as well, the most recent being a new version of The 39 Steps staring Rupert Penry-Jones as Richard Hannay. My heart certainly melted at the end when Hannay sees the woman he loves and believed to have died, standing on the station platform!

So can you recall moments when your heart has melted? I’d love to hear about them!
love to you all,
Jennifer.

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!

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!