Happy Valentine’s Day! (includes a giveaway)

One of our favourite days of the year is coming soon!  And to celebrate Valentine’s day, we have books to give away!

Amy Andrews, Amy Ruttan, Annie O’Neil, Annie Claydon, Avril Tremayne, Emily Forbes, Fiona Lowe, Jennifer Taylor, Kate Hardy, Louisa George, Lynne Marshall, Robin Gianna, Scarlet Wilson, Sue MacKay, Susan Carlisle, Susanne Hampton and Tina Beckett will each be sending a book to one of our lucky winners.  All you need to do to be included in the draw, is to leave a comment in reply to this post before Saturday 14th February.  We’ll be posting again on Saturday morning, with a list of winners, so please do call back then to see whether you’ve won!

We’d love to hear your Valentine’s Day stories, or your thoughts about what makes the perfect Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps you’d like to try our Valentine’s Quiz, and let us know how you did.  Or maybe you’d just like to send us a wave from your corner of the world.

And just for fun, we’ve put together a Valentine’s Quiz.  We’ve selected some of our most romantic covers, and have blanked out the titles and author names.  Can you guess which cover belongs to which writer?  We’ve made it a little easier by giving a list of eight possible answers underneath each cover.  How many do you recognise?  

First Double Release & A Challenge

So February marks my first double release of His Shock Valentine’s Proposal and Craving Her Ex-Army Doc. Harlequin bundled them as the Sealed By a Valentine’s Kiss miniseries.

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When I first thought about the Ralston brothers I had no intention of releasing them together like this. I wanted to write one and then the other. Slowly. Of course, the medical team offered me this terrific opportunity to write the books close together and they’d release them at the same time. I also had to write them with a Valentine’s theme, which honestly did bring an amount of panic in me because the first book was almost done and set in summer!

I also happened to be writing these when I was ill with the horrible gallbladder and waiting for surgery. Romance, especially setting two books on what is one of the most romantic days of the year, was something I was not feeling.

I saw it as another challenge that I had to conquer. A goal I needed to meet, even if I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do it at all.

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Still, I’m never one to back away from a challenge when it comes to writing. I will however back away from challenges that involve sharks, spiders and heights.

And it was a challenge to write so fast. I wrote 3 books in the span of 3 months. The third book being my May 2016 release Perfect Rivals which is part of the Hollywood Hills Continuity.

I try to rise to the challenge when it comes to my writing because I’m so darn grateful I get to do what I love the most and that dream came true because I took a chance at a little thing called a Fast Track.

In 2010 I saw the call for a Medical Fast Track, which was similar to the current Medical Blitz that’s running now here.

I saw it as a challenge. I wanted to write for Harlequin and I decided to go for it.WritingICAn

On the eHarlequin forum loop I see so many writers who are afraid or think because they’ve gotten rejections that they can’t do it. I’m proof that YOU CAN DO IT!

I’d been rejected by Harlequin before I sold. And I’ve been there, thinking I can’t do this. I’m not good enough. I still think that when I send in my books. I’d fuss and futz over them to the end of time if I could.REVISE

 

So if you’re on the fence about trying for the Medical Blitz, don’t be. Just do it. Hit send and maybe one day you’ll be here, talking about your debut with us. Honestly one of the best things about selling to Medicals is the other authors and the community.

I’m challenging all of you on the fence or too scared to submit, to submit to Harlequin. Even if you’re not submitting to medicals. I’m challenging you to TRY, because if you don’t try you’ll never know.

Take the chance and best of luck to all those who have.

AwesomeWriting

 

Born and raised just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. After the birth of her second child, Amy was lucky enough to realize her life long dream of becoming a romance author. When she’s not furiously typing away at her computer, she’s a mom to three wonderful children who use her as a personal taxi and chef.

You can find out more about Amy at her website or follow her on Twitter.

February Releases

Six new releases this month for your enjoyment!

Mills & Boon Medical series brings you pulse-racing medical dramas…

CRAVING HER EX-ARMY DOC

Having sworn off love when his wife left him for his best friend, ex-army doc Luke Ralston revels in his lone wolf existence. Until the arrival of beautiful doctor Sarah Ledet tempts him to reconsider his stance on romance. Sexy Luke is the last bk1

kind of distraction Sarah needs as she starts over, determined to prove herself once and for all. But when an avalanche traps them together and body heat is the only way to survive suddenly all bets are off!

THE MAN  SHE COULD NEVER FORGET

Returning to her island home is a bittersweet experience for Nurse Caroline Lockhart. This paradise is where she spent many happy years, but it stopped feeling like home the moment her first love, Keanu, walked out of her life, breaking her innocent young heart.

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Dr Keanu Russell is stunned to see Caroline again, and distressed to see the pain in her eyes. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can convince Caroline that they do have a future…

 

THE NURSE WHO STOLE HIS HEART

Leaving Anahera Kopu was the hardest thing Dr Luke Wilson ever did. He was torn by duty and desire, and his decision devastated them both…

Now Luke’s reappearance on Wildfire Island threatens to turn nurse Anahera’s life upside down. She lost her heart to him before, but now she has something even more precious to guard. Their young daughter!

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Luke doesn’t know he’s a dad, but their child holds the key to unite them. This time…forever?

 

DISCOVERING DR RILEY

After a childhood spent in foster care, art therapist Corrine Evans knows how important first impressions are. So when her enigmatic new boss Dr Tom Riley questions the impact her work can make Cori is intent on proving her value!

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But as Cori gets to know this devoted doc she realises there’s a dark shadow haunting Tom’s past. And as he begins to let her in Cori discovers there’s so much more to Dr Riley than she ever dared dream…

HER HOLIDAY MIRACLE

Talented A&E doc Cade Byfield appears to have it all, yet there’s always been something missing. When Dr Rebecca Flynn arrives on his Caribbean island, Cade begins to think that she might be the answer.

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But the mysterious beauty hides a devastating secret – the family Cade wants is the one thing she can never give him. Until one smouldering kiss in the eye of a storm makes Rebecca question…could trusting Cade with her past give them both the future they dream of?

 

HIS SHOCK VALENTINE’S PROPOSAL

New doctor in town, Esme Peterson, is direct competition for GP Carson Ralston and he isn’t pleased. Especially as her beauty and disarming manner threaten the barriers he’s carefully built around his heart…

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Guarded Esme tries to keep Carson at a distance. But as the battle for power between them heats up, rivalry soon turns to insatiable passion. And a shock Valentine’s proposal changes everything!

Half a century…

kate hardy sept 2015 400pxThis is a very strange month for me, because I’m about to have a Very Significant Birthday.

I don’t think it’s the fact of turning 50 that worries me (though there is a fabulous article on the midlife crisis by Miranda Sawyer which I just read – about five years late!

For me, the sticky bit is the fact that my dad’s birthday is two days before mine. I always used to throw a family party for him; he was the centre of attention, and I was in the kitchen, making sure that everyone had enough to eat and drink. Birthday cake was his, not mine; and I made sure everyone sang to HIM, not to me. Sure, I got cards and birthday hugs, but I didn’t have to deal with the bits that make me uncomfortable.

The last birthday party I held for me was five years ago – six weeks after I buried my dad. I hated it. Everything felt wrong. I said afterwards that I would do parties for everyone else, but I wasn’t doing one for me EVER AGAIN. (And I’ve stuck to that. Out to dinner with DH and the kids and friends, sure. But no party. No cake. No fuss.)

But 50. It’s quite a big deal for me, actually. My mum made it to 41; my dad’s mum made it to 41; and my mum’s mum made it to 51. I should be celebrating the fact that I’ve got this far – especially as I had that cancer scare last year.

Plus it’ll be the last time my eldest is home for my birthday, because this time next year (grades permitting) he’ll be at uni. So I need to mark the occasion.

I thought about having a big party with a band. But my closest friends sat me down and pointed out that I’d still sneak off to the kitchen and I’d spend the whole evening making sure everyone was having a good time and had enough to eat and drink. Plus I wouldn’t get to spend quality time with everyone, and I wouldn’t be able to hear anyone properly.

So what I’m doing instead is having lots of little celebrations, so I get to spend proper time with people. I’m taking my closest family and best friends out for a posh lunch (and, hey, I’m even wearing a dress). The kids and DH have sorted out a cake (well, I did all the organising but the brief was in a sealed envelope!). And there will be bubbles :) And we’re going to celebrate half a century.

Do any of you find birthdays difficult? What’s your trick to making everything go smoothly?

0116-9780373010820-bigw51S2VAhhBOL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_Kate’s latest releases are a Medical Romance, Her Playboy’s Proposal (definitely one for Poldark fans) and you can get an early copy of her Harlequin Romance/Cherish Billionaire…Boss…Bridegroom! from the Mills & Boon/Harlequin websites. You can find out more on Kate’s website (http://www.katehardy.com/) – or find her on Facebook

Say what you mean (and mean what you say!)

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I was watching a programme on television the other day called Come Dine With Me. In case you haven’t seen it, it involves a group of strangers being brought together and over the course of a week they each take it in turn to cook dinner. The guests award points at the end of the evening and the host with the highest score wins one thousand pounds.

Anyway, the episode I was watching was set in Yorkshire. When the first host opened his door to guest number one, he uttered the immortal words, “Hey up!” Roughly translated it means, Hello. Lovely to see you. Welcome. and it’s the perfect example of how we use English in a way that often confuses people from other parts of the world.

Have you ever commented that you’re spitting feathers when you’re really thirsty? Or replied to an enquiry after your health that you’re fair to middling? I know I have, and I’ve never given it a second thought either. But how confusing it must be to someone who doesn’t come from your particular area.

I love local sayings and think they are something we should cherish. In Liverpool, for instance, we might describe something good as being “boss”, while in another part of the country they might describe it as “wicked”. Then there’s all the local endearments: love, duck, hen, cock, my lover – the list is endless yet they are all terms of affection.

In Lancashire where I live, the standard reply to how are you is Oh, just keeping goin’ with me ‘ead down. Taken at face value, the words barely make sense but used in this fashion they perfectly describe someone who is well enough to be getting on with his life.

So, do you have any sayings particular to the part of the world where you live? When you open your door to your guests, how do you greet them? I’d love to hear them so I can add them to my collection!

The End Game?

images.jpegHave you entered yet? Or are you too busy writing for the Fast Track to read this? I hope you’re taking a well-deserved breather, have a snack, a cup (or a cocktail glass) full of something delicious and a brain that is whizzing on creative overdrive.

I got my first nibble from Harlequin Mills & Boon Fast Track and BOY HOWDY was it ever worth the smoke coming out of my keyboard to take the risk. The truth? They didn’t want my first effort as the hero – despite my best efforts – kept coming across as a sexist pig. I was confusing Alpha with A******. Oops. So don’t do that. Feel free to learn from my mistake.

So – a rather fabulous editor encouraged me to join, later in the year, the SYTYCW (So You Think You Can Write) with a fresh story – but to keep my voice. Oh – and not have my hero be such a putz. So I sh0116-9780373010837-bigwelved my ego and attacked a whole new story. A month or two later? THE PHONE CALL. And guess what? I scooped my hero out of the bin and he is now starring in One Night…With her Boss (out now) – Yippee!

Okay – I’m dithering…you know why? Because, it also transpired when I was writing my first (second and third books…okay, okay…and fourth and fifth – you get the idea)… I was writing and writing and loving it – and then came….The Ending. I couldn’t write them. I was TERRIBLE! My editor and I had an honest talk and we both agreed that endings were most assuredly were not my forte. Why? Because I hate for it to end! But let me tell you – what a great discovery to make. Now I almost always, whenever I am stuck – stop what I am doing ….and write the ending. Then I know where I am going. I maybe not know what’s going to happen before we get there…but what I knew was an undeniable truth – when two people are meant to be together? They are meant to be together. So…boom! Doesn’t always make it easy – but this is an extremely long-winded way to say, if you are at the beginning of your writing journey – don’t be shy if there’s a bit you think you could improve on. Hug the heck out of that thing and figure out a way to awkwardly dance your way to Improvement-ville. Getting better at something you love feels … magic.

If you are not at the beginning of your writing journey – here is me wondering what your amazing tips and techniques are for leaping over those writing hurdles we all encounter.

51IxdrobCSL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_The beginning of March sees the release of the first book I wrote that just flew out of my fingers….until the end…..which received (ahem!) a rewrite or two. Here’s hoping you think it was worth it! I know just ogling the cover fills me with just a little too much pleasure. Enjoy….and make sure you keep yours eyes peeled for our super quiz which is coming out in February.

Announcing the 2016 Harlequin/Mills & Boon Medical Romance Fast-Track!

#MedicalBlitz

February 1st-14th 2016

Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I’m the Assistant Editor on the Harlequin/Mills & Boon Medical Romance team. We’re thrilled and grateful to have been invited to contribute to Love is the Best Medicine and look forward to getting to know you all and sharing our love for Medical Romance. If there’s anything you’d like to know please just ask. The Medical Romance editorial team (Sheila, Tilda and myself) would love to hear from you!

There is so much to love about our jobs on the Medical Romance editorial team but one of our favourite things is finding new voices to add to our spectacularly talented author base. And right now we’re looking for exciting new authors to join our amazing Medical family!

Medical Romances are stories with cutting-edge medical drama and settings, in some of the world’s most vibrant and beautiful cities! With pulse-racing medical drama bringing them together Medical heroes and heroines find themselves in a wide variety of intense, emotional situations—ER emergencies, heart and transplant surgeries, city hospitals, GP practices, paediatrics, Maternity wings, IVF clinics, jungle or outback settings and medical rescue just to name a few!

Our #MedicalBlitz is a fantastic opportunity for your Medical Romance to get fast-tracked!

What we want:

  • A query letter that introduces you and your book – and any previous publishing credits, contest wins, or affiliations
  • A 2 page detailed synopsis. Show us what drives your story forward, including the internal and external conflicts your hero and heroine face on the road to romance. We want to know what happens in your book, even the ending. (No cliff-hangers in the synopsis, please!)
  • Your first chapter (up to 20 pages)

 Here’s how it works:

  • From February 1st until midnight (EST) on Valentine’s Day, we invite you to send in your submission. Go to http://Harlequin.Submittable.com and click on ‘#MedicalBlitz Submission Fast Track!’ to submit your first chapter and synopsis.
  • Every contemporary Medical Romance submission will be read by one of the Harlequin Medical Romance editors and will receive editorial feedback by February 19th. That’s quite a fast-track!
  • We’ll then request to see more of the submissions that show the most promise!

This isn’t a contest but a chance to showcase your work to our editors and get some helpful feedback in an accelerated time frame, and maybe even become the newest Harlequin Medical author. If you’ve ever dreamed about being published, send us your submission. We want to read YOUR story!

And check out the hashtag #MedicalBlitz on Twitter. We’ll be sharing tips, insider details, our wish lists, and more throughout the Blitz. Planning on submitting? Have questions? Please leave a comment. I can’t wait to hear from you!