Welcome Annie O’Neal

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I discovered Medical Romance when: I met the man who would become my husband. I had been working in television and had a couple of months in between jobs so thought I would have a go at writing a romance given that I was in the heady throes of falling in love. When I was looking on the Mills and Boon website I saw the Medical Romances and knew it was the genre for me.

I wrote my first story when: I was about 10. I very distinctly remember writing a story about a squirrel named Spunky who liked to sort out the social dynamics amongst his large family of squirrels.

 Where do you live? On a farm in Southeast England along with my husband, 15 cows, 2 sows, 12 piglets, a handful of chickens (number changes depending upon Mr Fox!) and two very large dogs.

 My best trait is: my newfound ability to make salted caramels.

 My worst trait is: Clumsiness. I can fall off of a flip flop. Not very graceful.

Five things on your bucket list:

Climb Mt Kilimanjaro

Publish a Medical Romance (hey wait! I got that one!)

Eat sushi in Japan

Learn how to barrel race in a rodeo

Make a faultless batch of profiteroles

Out now:        The Surgeon’s Christmas Wish

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 Not just for Christmas… Lone wolf Dr Tara Braxton is finally back on track. Running a ski injury clinic is a world away from her old life… and her research-stealing ex-fiancé. But her peaceful existence ends when she hires Dr Fraser MacKenzie. With his haunted sapphire eyes he simultaneously weakens her knees and presses all the wrong buttons! And when an unexpected kiss leaves them both reeling their frozen hearts begin to melt. Can Fraser overcome the secrets of his devastating past in time to make Tara’s Christmas wish come true?

 

Authors having fun

One of the best times of the year as a Harlequin author is the times we actually all get to be in a room together.  It doesn’t happen often enough – and there are always some missing faces, but when it does happen, we have a ball.

This year the Mills and Boon Author lunch was held in September.  We lunch, and then there is a cocktail party hosted by Mills and Boon in the early evening.

So here is the motley crew!  This is myself, Caroline Anderson, Kate Hardy and Louisa George at the cocktail party!

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The next day was great too.  Louisa was flying home to New Zealand so I stayed an extra night in London with her.  We had a fabulous time visiting the gorgeous poppies at the Tower of London.

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We might have visited Harrods too…..

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Saturday night was a trip to see the fabulous musical Wicked and Sunday was an unexpected tour of Buckingham Palace, where of course, we had to have tea and cakes!

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There is something so fabulous about spending time with other authors.  Roll on next year!!!

Covers

So sorry to be late posting! What can I say? Life got in the way. Not only did it get I the way, it threw a massive spanner in the works and I spent all day yesterday,running round like a blue bottomed fly, trying to put my world right again!

And….breathe…..!

So! What I wanted to talk about was book covers. I was waiting for my first ever book cover to be released to me and I finally found it on Amazon. I’m very happy with it, though my hero and heroine don’t look *quite* as I’d imagined them to be, but the cover image is very sweet.

It’s so thrilling though to finally see my *name* on a Mills and Boon book. After 15 long years of trying to write for them, I’ve finally got my dream.

It’s a great moment, and after yesterday’s events, it was a good moment amongst all the bad stuff that was going on.

So tell me, what did you think to your very first cover? Was it as you imagined?

Sexy Vets by Amy Andrews

When thinking about this blog subject today I was trying to come up with something medical. Yes, I know, we don’t have to have a medical focus but I try to keep on message.

The thing is, I don’t really have a medical out at the moment. I do, however, have a book where the hero is a vet – my hot new Brazen, No More Mr. Nice Guy.

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Subsequently we have scenes with animals – a male Cashmere Lop rabbit called Charlie and a sulphur crested cockatoo called Shakespeare, in particular. And another one that I won’t really talk about but let’s just say it makes me cry every time I read it!

And then there’s Mack. Who is a very sexy vet!

Add to that a drunken night of fruity cocktails, a sex list and two people who need rebound sex in the worse kind of way and you get a whole other book :-)

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But my point is….Sorry, where was I?

Oh yes…my point is – like doctors, vets can also be very sexy men. And women. I wrote a female vet in my novella, The Billionaire Claims His Wife, a few years back and who can forget Sharon Archer’s fabulous vet heroine, Caitlin, in her debut novel?

I also have a confession to make. I had the teeniest little crush on James Herriot from the All Creatures Great Small TV series when I was a girl. He was definite hero material to me! A man who’s good with animals? How can that not melt your heart (and your underwear) ?!

So now I want to know, vets, yes or no? Do they make good heroes or are they too “soft” and “wholesome” for those of you who like a bit of a badass hero?

Unexpected Consequences

One of the things I love the most about writing medical romances is the research. I’m a sucker for all of those not-so-common ailments and spend far more time than I should perusing medical sites and my trusty Physicians’ Desk Reference.

There are a couple of problems with research, though. One is that I’m not squeamish. At all. And my filter for knowing what others might find icky seems to let all kinds of things slip through. I have a friend who just had surgery on her foot. She has a long line of stitches on the side of her big toe, another line on the bottom of her foot (where a neuroma was removed) and more stitches on three of her smaller toes. Well, she posted pictures of the stitches on Facebook. I studied them, commenting about how good they looked–not much redness or puffiness–and only realized later that other people were writing things like “Ack!!” “Frankenstein’s foot!” and other similar comments. Yep. No ick filter.

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Tina and Dolly stretching their legs on a rainy day.

There’s another side of research, though, that involves the heart and not the mind. About a year and a half ago, I began writing a story about a hippotherapist (a therapist who uses horses to treat cognitive and physical challenges). I’ve been around horses for many years and have always loved them. In fact, several of my books have horses mentioned in them. But a strange thing happened as I was researching this newest book. It engaged something deep inside of me. So when I went with my husband to his (mumble mumble) high school reunion a couple of months ago, we were chatting with one of his friends, and hubby mentioned my love of horses. The friend stopped in her tracks. “You’ve been around horses?” It turned out she works at a nearby equine therapy stable, and they desperately needed volunteers–as in they might have to cancel one of their classes if they couldn’t find a few more people to help out. Coincidence, anyone? It was the perfect storm–in the best sense of the term. I jumped at the opportunity! So now I’m a side-walker for a precious little girl who stares longingly at the horses as they’re led into the arena. An expression of love that I recognize from my own childhood days.

Research. Sometimes it has unexpected consequences, of the best possible kind.

Have you ever read (or written) a book where the subject matter touched you deeply or made you want to get involved in some way? I’d love to hear about it! Oh, and here’s the cover of the book that started my journey:

His Girl from Nowhere

His Girl from Nowhere

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My first Halloween party!

In just over two weeks I will host my first Halloween party with a haunted house theme… not one drawn to anything too ghoulish or overtly scary I’m going for the Munsters or Dark Shadows feel.  My costume is ready, complete with long red wig and black jeweled crown, I have the scary menu (Including spider decorated eggs) and now enough decorations to turn the house into a something that Lilly or Morticia would find aesthetically pleasing.  I did  think of foregoing the dusting for few weeks to give my home a level of authenticity (and give me a break from housework)  but it would more than likely just result in asthma for the entire family.  So I shall hang the fake cobwebs, light the red candles in the antique silver candelabra and enjoy a tradition that my daughter, Orianthi (below dressed as a vampire) and her American friends have been celebrating for many years.

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Of course what party would be complete without a playlist …so I headed to iTunes and bought Halloween party songs including dance hits like the Monster Mash, Purple People Eater and the theme from Psycho!  How could the party not be a huge success with this classic music, gratuitous fake blood and bad wigs?

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What surprises me most is that it’s taken me this long to get into the scary spirit and throw my first Halloween party.  And it can’t be my last because true to form, I got carried away and I now have enough tacky decorations to fill at least one wing of a Westfield Mall!

Have you ever thrown a Halloween party, been a guest at one or would you rather forget this trick or treat tradition?

The Space in Which We Write

My writing life is hectic. My husband and I run a small business out of our house – we manage about 300 properties. And because I’m technically in charge of that business and have to answer questions and emails from time to time I won’t give up and surrender the business to a real office because I write at home in the comfort of my own office. But every morning at 8:30 the crews show up for their work assignments and troop into the second office which just happens to adjoin mine. By the time they turn in their assignment from the day before and go over the details with my husband, and get their new work load for the day, it’s anywhere from 9:30 to 10:00. Then the company secretary shows up, followed three days a week by a part-time office worker. And phone calls…one after the other.

And I’m expected to write through all this, which I actually manage to do. But to be honest, I’m always amazed when I get a book completed.

I have a nice, comfortable office, custom built for my needs and I love it. Wish it was separated from my house, even though that’s not possible. But I love the days when I have the house all to myself, no one’s there, no one comes in, the phone doesn’t ring. All is quite and my creative juices can flow freely. That’s a rare occurrence, however. So I’ve learned to adapt. I write with all the activity going on around me. Shut it out, pretend I am alone, and tell people to go away or be quiet if they’re bothering me. Otherwise, I can’t write. I’ve asked my husband to build me a nice, heavy, sound-proof door that I can shut and maybe that will do the trick. I hope so anyway. Because I especially need my quiet solitude when deadlines are pressing down on me.

So what do you do to avoid the distractions? Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. Maybe most people write through them better than I do. But I must admit, the older I get and the busier I am the more they bug me. Any ideas or suggestions?”

DD