Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Vale Jennifer Taylor

Dear Readers,

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Jennifer receiving her award for her 75th book: a Tiffany solid silver keyring.

It is with great sadness that we’re writing here today to tell you that the wonderful medical romance author, Jennifer Taylor, has died after a long battle with multiple myeloma. She was courageous and generous to the end and she is greatly missed, not just in the medical romance family but also the Harlequin family and by her beloved readers.

Jennifer wrote 85 medical romance novels over almost thirty years, entertaining millions of readers and capturing their hearts with her heartwarming stories set mainly in GP surgeries, country hospitals, or in the Mediterranean, a place she loved.

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September 2017

A few of the medical romance authors have written tributes below and we invite you to leave your own in the comments section.

Fiona Lowe writes:  I like to think of Jennifer at home with her beloved dog. Way way back in the day, before I was published, Jennifer was a driving push to highlight medical romances and as a ‘wanna-be author’, I commented on the new blog.  I won a green leather keyring with gold lettering that said, ‘Medical Romance’ and it had  a gold heart.  As an aspiring author, I used that keyring every day as a talisman.

By the time I got published, I’d rubbed all the gold off the leather!  When I sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon, I was so excited to be welcomed to the author group and ‘e-meet’ the woman who had organized the keyring.  She was warm and welcoming and generous with her sage advice. I remember her sorrow when her beloved husband Bill died and I remember the quilt many of the authors contributed a square to when Jennifer’s first grandchild was born. Only two days before she died, Jennifer was contributing to our ‘staff room’ conversation. Recently, during a stay in hospital, she’d been cared for by a handsome, Rugby-playing doctor who she declared was perfect hero material and great research for a book.  Vale, Jennifer. You are dearly missed.

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Jennifer & Bill at their daughter’s wedding 2006
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The quilt the medical authors made for Jennifer’s first grandchild.

Amy Andrews writes: I read Jennifer’s books long before I was ever privileged enough to know her as a person. Her’s (and Caroline Anderson’s) were the books I glommed when I was learning the craft of medical romance. When I finally made it into the medical romance author fold, Jennifer was so generous and supportive of me, especially in the beginning when everything was a little overwhelming. I couldn’t believe that this woman, whose books I had read and loved, was being my cheer squad. It was my great privilege to meet her on three separate occasions and I was very excited that she came to London last April when I was there for our medical authors high tea. I know it was a hike for her and was touched that she went to the effort.

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From left to right: Amy Andrews, Jennifer Taylor & Caroline Anderson. (April 2016)

Kate Hardy writes: I’m so sad that our dear friend Jennifer Taylor has died. I ‘knew’ her before I started writing for M&B, because I loved her books, and I was so thrilled to meet her in real life and discover that she was one of the nicest women you could ever know. In fact, I’ve been friends with her right since my very first M&B authors’ lunch, so we’re going back more than 15 years. I have an early pic here of some of the medical authors from 2003, which puts a lump in my throat, because out of the five of us Sheila Danton, Jennifer and Roger Sanderson are no longer with us, and Margaret Barker is frail. (This pic made our editor, Sheila Hodgson cry, too.)

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From left to right: Kate Hardy, Sheila Danton, Jennifer Taylor, Caroline Anderson, Roger Sanderon and Margaret Barker. (2003)

Jennifer and I set up the email loop for the M&B medical authors, so we could get together and talk books, gorgeous men, medicine and inspiration – not to mention giving people a hug when it was needed and cheering on all the good times. And how amazing it was, in the days before broadband, to think that we could actually talk to people on the other side of the world!

My enduring memory of her is her laugh. That lovely Liverpudlian giggle. She was always so positive and upbeat (and down to earth – never any airs and graces with our Jennifer). Even when she was facing some really difficult personal challenges and ill health, she always found something good in life – she was absolutely inspirational. And she was always one of the first to put her hand up and say she’d come to a meet-up (such as here in London when Amy Andrews came all the way over from Australia and we had afternoon tea).

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From left to right: Jennifer Taylor, Caroline Anderson, Fiona Harper, Annie O’Neil, Lucy King, Amy Andrews, Kate Hardy, Annie Claydon. (April 2016)

I was proud to be there when she got her award for her 75th book. Here we are beforehand – Caroline Anderson, Scarlet Wilson, Jennifer and Annie Claydon.P1100603 2-1

My daughter plays guitar and recently Jennifer told me how she met Paul McCartney as a teen.  Her friend lived just down the road from him, and they went to the Cavern and everything. Even when you’ve known someone for years, they still have the capacity to surprise you! 🙂  The day she told me this was the last time I saw her. At the M&B lunch – here we are with Susan Carlisle.

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From left to right: Kate Hardy, Susan Carlise and Jennifer Taylor.


Jennifer was one of the best. I’m grateful for all the years of friendship and laughter and hugs. And those memories are always going to be there.

Fiona McArthur writes: Jennifer was one of life’s kindest ladies and I feel blessed to have known her. We last emailed each other just two weeks before she died.  The photo on the left below was taken in London 2011 just after we’d spent the weekend together in Paris. We took photos of each other next to the Louvre to say, ‘Yay! We were here’. 🙂

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Jennifer Taylor & Fiona McArthur in 2011

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Caroline Anderson writes:

I was so sad to hear of Jennifer Taylor’s death, because our lives have touched intermittently for the last twenty-seven years. In that time, she’s been not only a fellow author but also, because she was warm, friendly and open and always, always kind, she’s also been a friend. I can’t believe she’s gone.

We only met up once a year, twice at the most, and always at author functions – most of which are a good excuse for a party and a lot of talking.  Authors all over spend so much time locked up with their own thoughts, generating words, that having an opportunity to have a real conversation with real people is always a joy!  And seeing Jennifer was ALWAYS a joy.

I remember one occasion when she’d travelled down to London with her husband for the author lunch and I was privileged to meet him. What struck me instantly was how like her he was – funny, gentle, kind, with a mischievous sense of humour so like hers.  I was so sad for her when she lost him just a few years later.  She dealt with his loss with quiet courage and great dignity, just as she dealt with everything life threw at her, and there have been some great sadnesses in her life, moments from which you don’t recover but simply soldier on.

That was Jennifer all over.  She was always so positive, so genuinely pleased to see everyone, and although I knew she was fighting a running battle with her health, she never let it show, never moaned about it or let it interfere with getting on with her full and busy life.

I’m useless at taking photos of memorable events, but luckily I also share these special author moments with Kate Hardy, and she’s taken some great photos of us together, which I’ve been looking at again. They bring a lump to my throat, because I can’t believe she won’t be there next time, that there’ll never be a next time.

It was a privilege to know her, to share however slightly in her life, to feel the warmth of her smile, to hear her lovely laugh, and there will always be a place for her in my heart.  Rest in peace, dear friend…

(Caroline with Kate Hardy, scattering rose petals in memory of Jennifer Taylor)

If you would like to share a Jennifer Taylor story– perhaps a book of hers touched you or maybe you met her– please leave a message in the comments.

Vale Jennifer.

Thank you for touching our lives in so many wonderful ways.

 Rest in Peace.

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Partying in London by Amy Andrews

One of the many pinch me moments I’ve had with this writing gig is being invited to swanky author parties. On the other side of the world!

Seriously. How awesome is that?

Thought you all might like to see some pics from the AMBA party in London last month with your medical authors. Kate Hardy has already shared some of hers but I thought I’d add some of mine into the mix too.

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Swanky 17th floor of the News Building with almost 360 degree views of London town!
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The lovely Scarlet Wilson with her thick Glaswegian accent who pronounces “girl” as “geddle”…that was an interesting conversation!
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The perfectly gorgeous Kate Hardy who was the star of the night with her 75th pin!
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The irrepressible Caroline Anderson (l) and the fabulous Annie Claydon (r)
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The fab Flo Nichol!
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And my seriously gorgeous, ever patient editor, Megan Haslam!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pics. Ever had a pinch me moment?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, The Writing Life

A Family’s Legacy

Mt NeboI’ve had a hard time this month deciding the topic of my blog. First, because it’s autumn where I live, I thought something about the season might be in order. You know, insert a pumpkin recipe or how to make cinnamon applesauce. Maybe something about a trip to the apple orchard. This is my favorite time of the year and blogging about it would be a natural for me. But, I’ve blogged IMAG0410autumn in the past, so I bypassed that topic. Then, I thought about word choices…why we use the often-odd configuration of words we do. For example, I saw a sign offering horseback riding lessons. At first, it seemed innocent enough. But then my mind started whirling with things like why call it horseback riding? Seriously, does anybody 20170812_151024_resizedever ride the chest of a horse? Next thing I knew, I was in the mental middle of a Michael McIntyre-ish comedy routine. Could almost picture myself pacing back and forth across the stage with him.

Sadly, the real topic came to me at a family funeral. My father-in-law was buried just over a week ago, and the Despain family gathered from places near and far to pay tribute.  It was a nice service done with full military accolades, and I’ll admit I korean-war-memorial-1809436__340[1]got a little choked up at the rifle salute and the playing of Taps. The weather was perfect, the people in attendance all respectful. As funeral services go, this was a very nice one. But, it wasn’t the funeral that caught my interest. It was the family stories that came afterwards, in the wee hours, sitting at the kitchen table, and at breakfast, and other odd times when the family was gathered. The stories were funny and sad, and they captured the essence of a man no one there knew in his entirety. What struck me was that the stories were only circulated among the older members of the family. The younger ones didn’t care.  They weren’t there. They didn’t listen.  And, I think that’s typical. As generations pass, so do the things that maybe only a generation ago were important.

I think about my grandmothers. One was a suffragette. I’m proud of that fact. In a lot of ways, knowing what my grandmother did has defined me. But, I don’t know the stories of her marches. Don’t know what made her want to get involved, or why my grandfather would have allowed it. I don’t even know where she marched. And, that’s my loss. My other grandmother told me of the times she and her family would covered-wagon-1675111__340[1]go on vacation in a covered wagon. They would be flanked by Native Americans as they were wandering outside the established United States in the early part of the 20th century, into one of the territories. And, my grandmother would sneak off and play with the Native American children who would come along to, what was essentially, escort, my grandmother’s family to a place where most people of the time didn’t dare go. I certainly know that story, but I don’t know why my grandmother’s family vacationed where they did, I have no idea what their covered wagon looked like, or why she knew and played with the children of the Natives sent out to flank them. Again, my loss.

Certainly, the old always gives way to the new. I understand that. But when I look at the photograph of my suffragette grandmother and see how much MacKenzie (who would be her great-great granddaughter) resembles her, I realize that my loss goes far beyond me. I can’t tell MacKenzie the stories of who her great-great grandmother was because, in a large sense I don’t know. I never took the time to ask.

And when I listened to the stories of my father-in-law, many of which were new to the majority of his six children, I wondered if anything of his life other than a few photos would be passed down, or whether those odd moments, when only the oldest of the family gathered around, would be the end of a legacy.

As a writer, I’m all for capturing those moments, writing them down – or, at least, the highlight of them. But I haven’t done that. Why? Because I never asked, and now the people I would have asked are gone, as is most of their legacy. Is a family legacy important? To the outside world—no. To the family—in some instances, yes. Overall, I don’t really know, but I hope it is. Because, for me, in another generation or two, I’d like to think that my family might sit around the still-life-379858__340[1]kitchen table where someone would say, “Dianne…yes, I remember hearing about her. Wasn’t she the one who wrote some books?”

R.I.P. Richard Steele Despain. You are missed.

No books coming out this month, but look for me in January, when both REUNITED WITH HER ARMY DOC and HEALING HER BOSS’S HEART will be out!

As always, wishing you health & happiness. And maybe a little bit of family history. 

Dianne

 

Excerpts

Excerpt – A Christmas Miracle by Amy Andrews

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Her knight in shining leathers! 

Trinity Walker has learned the hard way to stand on her own two feet for her sick son, Oscar. But, when ex-army surgeon Reid Hamilton walks into her life and offers her a job and a home, she can’t refuse! 

He might ruffle her feathers, but Trinity can’t help falling for the knight in motorbike leathers. Reid never expected this little family to bring such sparkle into his cynical life but now he’ll do whatever it takes to give Trinity the love she deserves this Christmas!

EXCERPT

Trinity was in the kitchen making a banana cake when Reid came home. She tensed as she glanced at the clock – ten past two. His footsteps diverted to the living room and she heard the rumble of two male voices for a couple of minutes.

Then he appeared in the kitchen.

He hesitated for a moment when he spotted her at the bench before nodding and crossing to the fridge. He pulled out a beer, twisted the top and tossed it into the sink from where he stood.

It landed with a clink.

He tipped his head back and took several long swallows. It took all Trinity’s willpower to keep her eyes on the job at hand and not feast her gaze on his neck.

“You do know Chase flirts with every woman with a pulse, right?”

The sentence came from out of the blue. She’d been feeling happy since returning from Allura. But Reid seemed hell bent on ruining that, too.

“Gee thanks,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm as a spike of temper infected her blood stream. “You sure know how to make a girl feel real special.”

“Oh for -” He bit off whatever expletive he’d been about to utter. “I just meant you should be careful, the guy wouldn’t know monogamy if it bit him on the ass.”

“Who says I’m after monogamy?” she snapped.

He blinked, clearly taken aback. Good. A slightly crazed sensation pushed at the inside of her skull as an urge to let fly took hold. She’d learned not to argue over the years. Not to rock the boat. To grind her teeth and quietly submit.

But, screw him. She was really pissed off now.

“I would have thought being a single mum and having to think about Oscar –”

Don’t bring Oscar into this.”

“I’m just saying,” Reid pushed, obviously not going to let it drop. “He’s not daddy material.”

“I’m not going to marry the man,” Trinity said, letting the spoon fall to the bench with a clatter as she crossed to the pantry and opened the doors.

She searched the shelves for vanilla. She knew it was in here because Reid used it to make French toast on the weekends.

God, she’d never be able to eat French toast again without thinking of him in this kitchen, beating eggs and flipping bread fried to a perfect golden brown.

Her anger cranked up another notch.

She glanced over her shoulder. Reid was glowering at her and it pissed her off even more.

“Maybe I just want to a quick tumble,” she said, her cheeks burning, her pulse throbbing wildly at her temples. “A few hours of goddamn pleasure. You ever thought of that?”

She turned back to stare blindly at the shelves.

Where was the bloody vanilla?

“Seeing as how you don’t fancy me,” she said, not bothering to turn this time because his rejection of her still stung, “why shouldn’t I look somewhere else?”

“Don’t fancy you?” His voice was deep and dark, brimming with pissed off.

Before she could blink his hands were on her shoulders and she was spun around and pushed hard against the pantry door. His face loomed up close, white hot flame burning in the blue eyes that raked her face. His breathing was husky, his chest heaving.

“I can’t get you out of my head,” he muttered, each word puffing his breath in her face, disturbing her fringe, “If you had any idea how much I wanted to rip your underwear off with my teeth the other night you’d run screaming from this house.”

Trinity’s heart rate skyrocketed as his grip on her upper arms tightened and his lips slammed onto hers.

It was a kiss that took. That ruled. That owned.

Possessive. Demanding. His tongue thrusting into her mouth, taking the kiss deeper. The graze of his beard marked her face, prickling everywhere.

She felt it everywhere.

She was a slave to the sensation. A slave to the onslaught.

His thigh jammed between her legs, high and hard, grinding against the apex of her thighs. She moaned as her aching flesh revelled in the delicious torture, rubbing herself shamelessly against him.

As quickly as it had started, it was over. His mouth was gone. The kiss was done. His hands still gripped her arms though, his thigh still jammed between her legs, the only things keeping her from collapse.

They stared at each other for long moments, nothing but ragged breathing between them. His mouth was wet and swollen, the white hot flame in his gaze burning brighter. He grabbed her hand and shoved it on the hard bulge pressing against the zipper of his bike leathers.

“This is not,” he whispered, “about me not fancying you.”

He let her go abruptly and stormed out of the room.

Trinity’s legs wobbled for a beat or two before they lost the ability to keep her upright and she slid down the pantry door to the floor, her fingers pressed to her mouth, her mind wiped of coherent thought.

LIKE IT? A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE IS OUT NOW AND YOU CAN BUY IT HERE

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Exciting News!

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Last week, it was announced that Mills and Boon in the UK will be undergoing a transformation!  A huge relaunch will be taking place in January, and we’ve been given a taste of some of the great things to come – a new logo, delicious new covers and re-designed point-of-sale material.

You can read all about the planning that has gone into the relaunch, and some of the customer research that’s taken place here, in an article in The Bookseller.

We can’t wait!  Tell us what you think.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

October New Releases

Is it really less than three months before Christmas?  Six new books for October, which include the first two books in the ‘Christmas in Manhatten’ series.

A Christmas Miracle, by Amy Andrews

Her knight in shining leathers!

Trinity Walker has learnt the hard way to stand on her own two feet for her sick son Oscar. But, when ex-army surgeon Reid Hamilton walks into her life and offers her a job and a home, she can’t refuse!

He might ruffle her feathers, but Trinity can’t help falling for the knight in motorbike leathers. Reid never expected this little family to bring such sparkle into his cynical life but now he’ll do whatever it takes to give Trinity the love she deserves this Christmas!

Christmas in Manhatten – A Firefighter in her Stocking, by Janice Lynn

A gift impossible to resist!

When a firefighter rushes a child into her ER, Dr Sarah Grayson is stunned that the ash-covered, exhausted hero is her incorrigible playboy neighbour, Jude Davenport!

Sarah is wary of such men, but when gorgeous Jude suggests a Christmas fling, she can’t resist. Yet their relationship deepens, and Sarah sees behind the playboy is a man who has loved and lost. He might try to keep his emotions on ice, but Sarah begins to wonder – could she be the one to heal his damaged heart?

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All the drama of the ER, all the magic of Christmas!

Falling for her Fake Fiancee, by Sue Mackay

A temporary arrangement…

Kelli Barnett invented a partner to avoid her parents’ matchmaking schemes. So, when her boss Mac Taylor – the man whose kisses once made her melt – offers to step in as her fiancé for a family wedding, Kelli snaps up his offer!

Widower Mac believes himself incapable of loving again. Until playing Kelli’s fiancé at the beautiful island retreat throws his senses into overdrive. But Mac must learn to let go of the past for this fake relationship to have a real future…

Reunited with her Surgeon Prince, by Marion Lennox

Claiming his secret heir – and his bride!

Dr Ellie Carson once married her secret prince, but then duty tore their whirlwind marriage apart – only Ellie was also pregnant!

Now, surgeon and Crown Prince Marc Falken is soon to become king – and he’s discovered he has a son! Claiming his heir means seeking out Ellie – the woman he’s never stopped loving. But can Marc convince Ellie she can be a doctor and his queen, and that finally they can become the family they were always meant to be?

Christmas in Manhatten – Sleigh Ride with the Single Dad, by Alison Roberts

Her secret Christmas wish

Dr Grace Forbes’ dramatic first day in Manhattan Mercy’s ER is unforgettable – especially when she runs into her old flame, ER Chief Charles Davenport, again!

That spark is still there between them but they’re different people now – after losing his wife, Charles is a single dad to adorable twin boys, while Grace has survived cancer but lost her dream of having children. Yet, as the weather gets colder she is drawn into the warmth of his family – could he make her Christmas wish come true?

Christmas in Manhattan
All the drama of the ER, all the magic of Christmas!

The Family She’s Longed For, by Lucy Clark

A family to heal her heart…

Dr Clara Lewis was devastated when Virgil Arterton left, but she picked herself up and started again, even after an accident that left her unable to have children…

Six years later, Virgil, now a widower, walks back into Victory Hospital – with his daughter! He knows leaving Clara was the worst mistake of his life but can he convince her he’s changed and that, if she’ll trust him with her heart, he can give her all the love and family she longs for?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

A heartfelt thanks by Kate Hardy

The highlight of my calendar is the annual M&B authors’ lunch and party. It means I get to see my author friends in person – including, if I’m lucky, some of those visiting from other countries – and the editorial team. And at the party the editors present milestone awards to the authors – this year it was to Michelle Styles (Historical) for her 25th, me for my 75th, and Carol Marinelli for her amazing 100th!

I think the easiest way to show what it’s like is by photographs. So here I am with Sheila Hodgson, senior Medicals ed (she edits my Medicals)

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And in the M&B offices where Sheila said some very nice things indeed about my books and almost made me cry.

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Carol Marinelli making her speech

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Oh, and did I mention the amazing view from the top floor of the News International building?

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The party in full swing:

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Me with Carol (and it’s not going to be another 10 years before we meet up again!)

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With my other editor, Megan Haslam (who edits my Cherish/Romance books)

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And my milestone award for my 75th book – this gorgeous Tiffany keyring 🙂

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But one thing I said in my speech I’d like to share here: authors don’t write their books in a vacuum. I’m incredibly blessed to have the most wonderful friends (officially colleagues and editors, but definitely friends) – people you can talk to when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and they’ll brainstorm ideas of how to get you out again; people who understand what it’s like when you get ‘tiny tweaks’ revisions (which are nothing of the kind!!); people who celebrate the good times with you and are there for you in the tough times (and it definitely goes both ways). And I’m also privileged to have wonderful readers – without you, I wouldn’t be able to do the job I love. So I want to say a very big thank you to you all, from the bottom of my heart xxx