….and breathe.

Unknown-2.jpeg Hands up everyone! How many of you out there make a concerted effort to give yourself a break each and every week let alone each day…just for you? I don’t. My days are crammed with activity – which I like – but now it seems – the happiest people take time out to stop the world and smell the roses.

Do you know your hygge from your lagom (apart from one being Danish and involving friends, candles and extra cosy blankets and the other being Swedish and being *ahem!* a bit more austere….three minute ice shower chased up by clearing your cupboards anyone?)

But seriously – when was the last time you actually sat and mainlined a new album the way you did when you were a teen? Are you a long, bubbly bath type? I am flawed in that respect. I can’t sit still long enough to get through a chapter of the book I magically imagine myself reading by candlelight whilst lurching half of the bubbles onto the floor in an aUnknown-1.jpegttempt to retrieve my rapidly warming glass of prosecco I envisaged the moment requiring. It never works out. All I do is get really hot feet and stress out about whether or not I’ve stayed in long enough to make it worth the energy used to get all that hot water in our lovely, but grossly underused bathtub. How about the last time you got a facial? And yes, even one of those inexpensive squeezy ones from the supermarket counts. What about just sitting down and painting your toenails? In stripes? Or frosting cupcakes then surreptitiously checking if anyone was looking before licking the whole bowl clean?

Have you answered “Not even close to recently enough to remember” to each and every one of these things? Never fear – help is on the way.

Obviously the best way to obtain joy and utter contentment is with an excellent romance novel – and if it’s a medical romance? so much the better. images-2.jpeg

Given that the world refuses to make days longer (who doesn’t need an extra twelve hours in the day if, on top of everything else, we’re also supposed to write books, get all the laundry done, do the grocery shopping AND have an aromatherapy bath with essential oils!

Lately, I’ve been building little things into my day that make each day feel – not like a spa day exactly…but giving ‘got to get through it’ things a bit of oomph. When I buy new pens? I pick ones that make me grin. Ditto to post-its. I know, I know. Not everyone gets google-eyed over lined post-its in neon on colours, but it turns out I do. I’ve also stolen a trick from my writer pal, Louisa Heaton and have started lighting a candle when I write. And I’m CONSIDERING bringing back something I used to do back in the days when worked in news and was on a tight deadline: The way I would alert my colleagues to the fact I was busy was to pop my tiara on my head (you all have tiaras, right?). The way I would let them know I was both busy AND cranky was to don my  tiara (natch) and a pair of rather wonderful fairy wings I bought for a tenner at a local costume store. My colleagues would walk into the office – take one look and head for the hills. Giggling, usually. But that was part of the plan. The point being – everybody’s day takes dips…but if there’s a way to give yourself a little mood booster…why not give it a try? If that doesn’t work, you might want to try taking half an hour and googling pictures of Tom Hardy. A friend and I did that the other day and I felt twenty years younger just giving myself thirty solid minutes of giggling over eye candy. Deeee-lish

I’d LOVE to hear what you all do to cheer yourselves up, or make your days have a bit more serenity.

3899dfe821816fbcb3db3e3b23f81585_XL.jpgIf all else fails…might I recommend just staring into the gorgeous baby blues of
Her Hot Highland Doc. 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt – No Job for a Girl, by Meredith Appleyard

Chapter 1

xno-job-for-a-girl.jpg.pagespeed.ic.srNlgeGzMFIf there’d been any other way, Leah would have taken it, welcomed it with open arms. But there wasn’t. She rolled her tongue around her mouth, trying to make enough moisture to swallow, and scrubbed sweaty palms across denim-clad thighs.

Another patch of rough air and the tiny twin-engine plane dropped like a stone. Leah’s stomach lurched into her throat; hands flew to the armrests, knuckles blanching. Cold sweat prickled between her shoulder blades. Being buffeted about in a small aluminium capsule thousands of metres above sea level had just rocketed to the top of her list of least favourite pastimes.

She risked a look sideways. The man crammed into the seat across the narrow aisle hadn’t even looked up from the Guns & Ammo magazine spread across his lap. Her gaze darted around the small cabin and the remaining four occupants appeared just as unperturbed. And the pilot was laughing and chatting to the passenger in the seat beside him.

The moisture she’d been searching for moments before flooded her mouth when the Piper Chieftain shook and shuddered like a boat tossed about on a wild sea. More of this and her hastily eaten breakfast would reappear. Were the experts lying when they said air turbulence wasn’t that dangerous?

She plunged her hand into the seat pocket but came up empty. Great. No airsickness bag. She did a rapid inventory of the contents of her hand luggage. The only bag she had was the canvas carryall.

Her eyes watered. She licked her lips and swallowed hard, held onto the armrests until her fingers ached, silently drafting her eulogy. Always did her best . . . Not afraid to stand up for what she believed in . . . Scared witless by turbulence when flying in small aircraft.

The pilot’s voice sputtered through the tinny intercom. ‘Apologies for the bumpy ride, folks. It shouldn’t be much longer. Keep yourselves belted in and I’ll see what I can do.’

The small plane bounced and chopped some more. Leah squeezed her eyes shut, mentally rehearsed the brace position and hung on. After what felt like an eternity, the twin engines changed pitch and the flight smoothed. With considerable effort she relaxed the death grip she had on the armrests, flexing her fingers.

She would have to get used to this. Flying in a small aircraft was the way she’d get to and from work for the next months. Being sick in her own lap or, worse, onto the bloke sitting next to her wouldn’t be a stellar start to what was already a tenuous position.

Leah made herself look out the tiny Plexiglass window. She tried to concentrate on the dry watercourses snaking their way through the desert below instead of rehashing, for the umpteenth time, her final interview with Cameron Crawley, the Head of Safety, Security and Environment.

She scanned the blindingly bright salt pans, the intermittent drifts of red sand. But there it was again, that interview . . . The man in his slick-looking suit with his thinly veiled misogyny; an attitude at odds with his age and his position in the company. Cameron Crawley had looked younger than Leah’s thirty-eight years, and although she’d bumped up against similar prejudice before, it had usually been from the more senior, blue-collar male workers.

The horizon flatlined into infinity. She pushed against the ache that tightened her throat. In the interview he’d made his position abundantly clear, more by what he hadn’t said than what he had. He would have preferred the job went to someone, anyone, with more testosterone. He’d kept reiterating how rough and tough the construction fly camps were for men, the subtext being how did she think she’d survive out there? Few women did, and only by being as rough and tough as their male counterparts.

My Love Affair with the Australian Outback – by Meredith Appleyard

We’re thrilled to welcome Meredith Appleyard back to Love is the Best Medicine today!  Meredith will be joining us again on Friday with an excerpt from her latest book No Job for a Girl.

Meredith Appleyard1The setting for my latest book No Job for a Girl (Penguin Random House Australia, March 2017), is the South Australian outback, in all its stark and fragile beauty. A timeless land, reminiscent of a moonscape. And if you look closely, home to a variety of extraordinary flora and fauna.

A memory that will stay with me forever is waking to my first outback sunrise. Travelling by Greyhound bus to Coober Pedy to take up a job as a freshly minted registered nurse, I woke from an uncomfortable doze, opened my eyes and was awestruck. Above the dark and endless nothingness the horizon glowed like molten gold; the night sky softened to a wash of gold-tinted hues of pink and blue. It was beyond beautiful.

For me, the outback has never lost its appeal. Even when the daytime temperatures hit 50ºC plus, and birds drop from the sky, I can’t help but be amazed that anything survives at all. It’s a landscape full of wonder, a landscape that demands respect.

It takes a special kind of person to work in these extremes, so far from the supports and comforts of home. The challenges, both personal and professional, are huge, and the rewards well earned. Among the most memorable of my work experiences are the times I spent working in remote areas – the opal fields of Coober Pedy, remote communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, and the oil and gas fields of the Cooper Basin.

Nursing in these places taught me to be independent and resourceful. I loved the autonomy and the challenge to be self-sufficient. What a cast of characters I worked with, laughed with, and shared my hopes and dreams!

It’s no surprise then that my latest book is set in the outback, in a construction fly camp. And that the main character, nurse and safety advisor Leah Jackson, relies on her skills, common sense, and a well-stocked RFDS medical chest to make a success of what they said was no job for a girl.

Please enjoy!

Regards

Meredith

The Affects of a Great Story

I have discovered an author that really hits the mark.Book

I know Tami Hoag has been writing books for a while

but for some reason I’d never read one.

Well, I am now going to read everything she’s ever written.

I started A Thin Dark Line last Sunday while staying in town with a friend. At the end of chapter one (late at night) I got up and closed my bedroom window, then checked out the rest of the house to make sure we were safe. Not that we would’ve been if Ms Hoag’s protagonist had been on the prowl in Nelson.

This is a look into the dark side of people’s characters, and since I love crime stories, riveting. I only put it down when I absolutely couldn’t avoid appointments. As for that window? I was doubling checking everything.

And I want to read more, you say. Absolutely. This is writing at its best. Really drew me in.

Have you ever read a book that had you looking over your shoulder? Or considering situations in a different way?

On a lighter side, and with no interruptions to your sleep, here is my latest HM&B Medical. Set in the Sinai Peninsula with army medics, it’s amazing what can happen when the hero and heroine’s usual parameters are thrown aside.

Resisting Her Army Doc Rival

 

Hero, hero, who loves a hero?

I am getting ready to write a new book, which is always an exciting prospect! One of a quad. And I am stoked. Because I’d already written a quad with the same fabulously talented authors, under the Hot Latin Docs! umbrella. We had a blast planning those books. And we’re already having fun figuring out how we’re going to link these new books, and most importantly…our heroes–hunky firefighters and paramedics who work out of the same station house. They also shared the same foster home growing up.

Did I mention how excited I am?

So, in planning my particular hero, Deakin Patera, I am having to figure out what makes this guy tick. Who is Deakin Patera? I’m discovering him little by little. And that makes me curious about what kind of heroes readers connect with.

I write a lot of playboys, but one of my favorite types of heroes is the angsty, broody, wounded, damaged, scarred–you get the picture–hero. Sometimes I dive so deep into the angst, though, that my hero has a hard time holding his breath long enough to reach the surface and retrieve his happily-ever-after. So this time, I will plan carefully (famous last words!).

Do you like angsty heroes? Or are you more of a fan of a hero with witty comebacks? Swashbucklers? Playboys? Bad boys? What kind of hero makes you go weak in the knees? I really want to know!

In the meantime, here are the covers from our Hot Latin Docs! quad, written by Annie O’Neill, Amy Ruttan, me, and Amalie Berlin. It was hard to leave those heroes behind, but I know I’m going to love this new cast of characters just as much!

Fiona Lowe – Radio Star!

8330788-3x2-340x227Last week, our own Fiona Lowe was interviewed on Radio National, (the Australian equivalent of the BBC in the UK and NPR in the USA).  We all loved the way she spoke up for Romance Fiction!

So click the link below, to hear nine minutes which we know will put a smile on your face.  Go Fiona!

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/booksandarts/iwd:-fiona-lowe-romance-writer/8328540

Celebrating Milestones By Fiona Lowe

RIMG0010Back in 2006,when my debut novel, Pregnant on Arrival , a medical romance, hit the shelf, I had a party. I had two actually! One at home with a small book signing and the other at the RWAustralia conference. Fast forward to 2012 and my first single title novel, (my 9th overall) Boomerang Bride gave me a party when it unexepectedly won amefave1
Rita award. Since then I have happily bounced between writing medical romances and the single title romances, taking me up to 28 books. Apart from online ‘parties’ to launch these books, I haven’t done much more than that. Well, there has been the odd glass of champagne 😉

 

So here I am at book 29, Daughter of Mine, which in some ways is a big departure for me and yet it isn’t. I wanted to write a multigenerational novel  about mothers, daughters and sisters, and to do that I had to move beyond a novel that focused on one or two couples. Yet, I couldn’t have written Daughter of Mine without the preceeding 22 medical romances and six single title romances 🙂 Romance fiction taught me how to write deep emotion…how to wring feeling out of words, and I channelled all that into Daughter of Mine.  So with this new book baby in my hands, I decided it was another milestone and a party was in order. We threw a book launch 🙂

Boy Wonder, who is on a gap year, organised it. After meeting with me in the office (aka, the kitchen table) and being given the budget, he set to work. He designed the invitation, he found the venue, he bought the alcohol, he liaised with the caterer, he made sure the microphone had batteries……  All I had to do was buy a dress and shoes, write a speech and turn up 🙂

70 people came to help me launch Daughter of Mine, including the fabulous Julie from Dymocks, who brought the book store 🙂 I even read a passage from the book! There was champagne, some yummy nibbles and a lot of joy. The old blue stone mansion’s ballroom was THE perfect venue as the book features two such houses.

The experts are always telling us that acknowledging milestones and having traditions are important for our mental health and family cohesion. To that end, I’ve always made a fuss of birthdays, and singled out turning 13, 18 & 21, along with graduations from school levels.  I’m just not that great at throwing parties for me, but I am really glad we did it.

Are you a milestone/traditions person? How do you celebrate?

BOOK NEWS!  Two books! Forbidden to the Playboy Surgeon and Daughter of Mine!

Daughter of Mine CoverDaughter of Mine, is out now in print and eBook in Australia and New Zealand. (Oh, and Harriet is a surgeon…)

And here’s the blurb….

When your world falls apart the only person you can depend on is your sister. 

The three Chirnwell sisters are descended from the privileged squattocracy in Victoria’s Western District — but could a long-held secret threaten their family?

Harriett Chirnwell has a perfect life — a husband who loves her, a successful career and a daughter who is destined to become a doctor just like her.

Xara has always lived in Harriet’s shadow; her chaotic life with her family on their sheep farm falls far short of her older sister’s standards of perfection and prestige.

Georgie, the youngest sister and a passionate teacher, is the only one of the three to have left Billawarre. But is her life in Melbourne happy?

Despite all three sisters having a different and sometimes strained bond with their mother, Edwina, they come together to organise a party for her milestone birthday — the first since their father’s death. But when Edwina arrives at her party on the arm of another man, the tumult is like a dam finally breaking. Suddenly the lives of the Chirnwell sisters are flooded by scandal. Criminal accusations, a daughter in crisis, and a secret over fifty years in the making start to crack the perfect façade of the prominent pastoral family.

A thought provoking novel about family expectations, secrets and lies.

Buy links are here

 

 

9780373215218On March 21st April, Forbidden to the Playboy Surgeon, a Mills & Boon medical romance and book two of the Paddington Children’s Hospital series is on side. 🙂 Set in London, it features a buttoned up neurosurgeon and a fish-out-of-water Australian, who is driven to succeed. There is also a fairy tale ball  so what more can you ask for 🙂

The blurb: Unbuttoned—and out of bounds!

Sparks fly from day one between playboy neurosurgeon Alistair North and his talented, sexy trainee surgeon Claire Mitchell. He’s on a mission to help überserious Claire relax, but his cavalier approach is driving her crazy.

Alistair is completely out of bounds, even if he is completely gorgeous—he’s her boss! But when he confronts Claire after a difficult surgery, desire overcomes reason. With secrets holding them both back, can they find a way to turn their forbidden passion into forever?

Buy Links are here

Happy Reading! Fiona x