August is definitely Romance Writers’ conference time and next up is the Australian conference which is in Sydney this year.
I know lots of authors and readers have already landed but I will be there in time for the Harlequin author afternoon and the cocktail party! I have checked in on-line for my flight and am about to start packing – as always culling shoes is the hardest part 🙂 My few days involves a cocktail party (or two), a dinner, meetings, an interview, lots of walking and an afternoon sailing on the harbour. I’m not sure that four pairs of shoes will be enough!
I’ll shortly be celebrating the release of my latest book, out in September (October in Australia), which is set in Sydney. Reunited with Her Brooding Surgeon, is one of a duo with Amy Andrews, Tempted by Mr Off-Limits. Our Nurses in the City books tell the stories of siblings, Grace and Hamish, and their search for love and happiness.
In the meantime, on behalf of all the medical authors I want to wish Fiona Lowe ‘GOOD LUCK’ for the awards ceremony. Her book, Daughter of Mine, has been nominated for the Romantic Book of the Year.
Will you be in Sydney for the conference? Have you got a costume for the Tuxedo and Tiaras cocktail party? And how many pairs of shoes have you packed!? Let me know in the comments,
There’s something so glorious about feeling your feet in the earth. Getting dirt under your nails and not caring. Leaving home without your phone.
I went to Burning Man a couple of years ago and I’m actually heading back to Black Rock City again in a couple of weeks – something I’m sure I’ll write about afterwards. But the Garbicz Festival last week, set in the magical surroundings of a Polish forest and lake, was my first foray into festival life away from the dusty Nevada playa.
The Garbicz Festival marked the first time (in my late thirties I might add!) that I’d been to a festival with friends, slept in a tent and danced in a forest till dawn. I’d do it all again. Maybe with a bigger tent.
Festivals are medicine to me. They’re the perfect chance to switch off and re-connect with what matters most…. people.
Also, when you’re free to clear your mind in the open air, it’s amazing how many more creative thoughts bust through the doors and beg to be written down.
My imagination was on fire out there; a thousand story-lines inspired by these enchanting settings. The breeze rippling the lake at sunset, singing with a Spanish musician and his guitar in a neon purple cape; the way the Music Ashram went from one muttering shaman to a full on orchestrated dance party in a clearing. We lounged, we bounced, we blew bubbles.
While some friends were entranced by trance at epic sound-stages, others sat by a fire and made up songs. No pressure, no rush, no worries.
The Garbicz Festival really is a special affair; every part of it felt crafted with pure love! You can read about its history here, of how two brothers bought the land to build on and deemed it far too beautiful in the end. Who can blame them? There’s magic in the air here – you can feel it.
I had to let my new potential story ideas go for the most part, and trust that the best ones would come back. I might be waiting a while. Let’s not get carried away. Festivals also tend to hurt your head… a lot.
So maybe a book about a festival is in order, at some point. I’m not sure how the leads would fare, losing each other, finding each other, finding themselves. There’s also a thin line between a person who loves the odd weekend in nature, and a hippy who no longer feels the need to shower (I went three days, don’t judge).
Hmm. There are lot of details to iron out here. Maybe I’ll go find a tree to lie under, and think about it some more.
I’ve been pretty good with my social media stuff, not expressing opinions about much of anything, even when I’ve had plenty of words and opinions. I don’t engage in debate or argument, though. That’s just me. Everybody’s entitled to what they want to believe, and I subscribe to the ‘live and let live’ philosophy. But as good as I’ve been, I do have some thoughts about the personal adjustments I’ve had to make simply to keep my mouth (or my typing fingers) tuned off.
Now, here’s my opinion pushing its way through. I think that’s what more of us should do. Not the closing mouth part so much as the adjusting part. For me, not expressing my opinions publicly has been rough because I’m an opinionated person by nature. Too opinionated, according to my husband. But, I’ve worked really hard to keep it to myself these past couple of years, and it’s actually quite nice to realize that I can sit back, listen, and possibly learn a thing or two I wouldn’t have, had I not adjusted my old attitude and turned it into something better.
To me, adjustment is about what do in our lives every day to get ourselves through to the next day. It would be nice if things slowed down, or even stopped sometimes. It would also be nice to think that when we wake up in the world today, we’ll wake up in the very same world tomorrow. But that doesn’t happen, does it? Next week I’ll wake up a year older than I’ve been for the past 365 days. I’m perfectly fine with the age I am now, but no matter how hard I fight against the marching of time, I’m going to have to adjust to being another age.
Years ago, I thought the whole cell phone thing was stupid. Why do people have to stay in touch every minute of every day? I didn’t have one, didn’t want one. But, I finally gave in. Don’t remember why. Just remember that I did. I didn’t use it much, though because mentally, I wasn’t able to make that adjustment yet. Or, maybe I just didn’t want to. Whatever the case, I carried it around for a year, turned off most of the time, and wondered why I was paying such a ridiculously high price for something I wasn’t using. So, eventually ,I turned it on and opened up a different kind of world for myself. And while I don’t consider myself one of those obsessives who buries her nose in her phone every minute of every day, I do find that it comes in handy because I allowed myself to adjust and, due to that, my cell phone became the means by which my kids can call and text more often. And I can stay better in touch with friends. It’s an adjustment that has enhanced my life, even though I was dragged into it practically kicking and screaming.
Technology aside, we’re called on to make so many other adjustments. I adjusted to life without a mother, then without a father. I’ve adjusted to life after I went from walking to crutches to a wheelchair. I’m adjusting to a spotty amnesia that resulted from an illness I had a couple of years ago. Most of all, I’m constantly adjusting to all the things that surround my life, good or bad. I have to, or I’ll find myself encased in a life so small that it will eventually squeeze me in and trap me there. And I don’t want to be trapped because there are so many great, new experiences out there for me to have, if I allow them in. If I adjust.
Adjustment is defined as an adaptation to a particular condition, position, or purpose. Roget lists some of its antonyms as: disarrange, disorganize, disturb, disorder, confuse, worsen. Aren’t those ugly words? They’re sure not words I want in my life. When you look at the entire list of antonyms, it gives you acid indigestion or angst, or both. But the synonyms are so nice: accommodate, fine-tune, compose, harmonize, redress, rectify. All things I’d much rather do than disarrange or worsen. Sure, adjusting isn’t always easy, or pretty. Sometimes it goes against our natural grain or our preconceived beliefs and notions. But it’s also a means to growth and, in this day and age, we do have to grow in order to survive. That’s just the way the world is, now. Actually, it’s the way the world has always been. If not, we’d still be starting our fires with a flint (if we’d even adjusted ourselves to the point that we had fire) and hunting our dinner with a club or a spear.
So, here’s a practice adjustment to try. Tomorrow morning when you wake up scowling because you hate getting up in the morning, take ten seconds and smile. No, not a grudging smile. Make it a genuine one because you’re facing a new day with new possibilities. Be glad for those ten seconds. Make that smile your daily adjustment. Give yourself ten or maybe twenty seconds of smiling, with a couple of happy thoughts thrown in for good measure. Do this every morning and soon something as simple as a ten-second smile will become part of your daily routine. Sure, it may seem silly, but it may also be the baby step you need toward a much bigger adjustment you’ll have to make at some other time. And I promise you, your life is going to be filled with adjustments no matter what you do. How you handle them, though, is what will make the difference between being miserable and finding a place where you can be happy or, at least, happier than you would be if you refuse to budge. So, get over it, get on with it. Get around it, get through it. Change it, fix it. Budge, adjust. Make it accommodate your life and the lives of the people around you. Embrace it. Hate it, if you have to. But find a way to make it work. In the end, if you don’t, you’re the one who gets hurt, or left behind. That’s not where you really want to find yourself, is it?
Now my blatant promo for the day: Bachelor Doc, Unexpected Dad is out this month. It’s all about an Army doc who is faced with several big adjustments in his life, and how he confronts them. It’s available in all the usual places.
So, until next time, wishing you health & happiness.
Back in the nineteenth century, people used to go to a spa town and ‘take the waters’ to cure themselves of anything from skin complaints to leprosy…
And this weekend I fulfilled a long-time wish to go and see the Roman spa and baths at Bath. (If you’ve read Unlocking the Italian Doc’s Heart, my last Medical, you might have noticed the reference to the Roman Baths in London – this is a continuation!)
The hot springs in Bath bubble up into three springs at the rate of 1.17 million litres a day, at a temperature of 46 degrees C.
In Celtic times the goddess Sulis was worshipped there (hence the town’s Roman name, Aquae Sulis) and then in Roman times the bath complex was built in about 60AD and Minerva was worshipped. There are remnants of a temple here as well as the bath house, changing rooms and saunas; and a really stunning survival is the lead curse tablets. Citizens who were unhappy about something would write it down on a lead tablet, roll it up or fold it into an ‘envelope’, and throw it into the spring to let the goddess deal with it. One of the curse tablets is written in Celtic – it’s the ONLY known piece of Celtic writing. Anywhere. In the world. (It’s untranslatable, but I was very excited about it.)
Piccies: the Great Bath.
The head of Minerva.
Curse tablets (one Roman, one folded over, one Celtic – you might be able to make out the diagonal downstroke of the letter L). Plus Roman remains and a middle-aged medical author…
Originally people bathed in the waters for a cure (anything from skin ailments to leprosy), and from the 17th century people drank it. You can actually try the waters here in a little paper cone. As a Medical author, I knew my duty was clear. As an English graduate, I knew Dickens had mentioned the waters in The Pickwick Papers – Sam says, ‘I thought they’d a wery [sic] strong flavour of warm flat irons.’
I was expecting it to be vile (because the biggest component of the 43 minerals is sulphate), but I wasn’t expecting it to be warm (despite what I said about the temperature above!). And, actually, it wasn’t that bad. ‘Interesting’ is probably the right word. It didn’t restore me on a very hot day (that was the iced coffee I had later!). But it was interesting…
Kate’s latest book, Carrying the Single Dad’s Baby, is out later in August. If you like Notting Hill, astronomy and cute children, this one’s for you 🙂
Army doc Matt McClain and career woman Ellie Landers share one unforgettable night, never expecting to meet again. And then Ellie arrives on Matt’s doorstep—pregnant! Matt has just become guardian to his orphaned nephew, and this nomadic medic isn’t ready to be a father of two! But, faced with losing Ellie and their baby, Matt might just realise that he has what it takes to make them a family.
Finding his Wife, Finding a Son, by Marion Lennox
Reunited with his ex-wife… …and her secret son!
In this Bondi Bay Heroes story, when Dr Luc Braxton is called to a collapsed shopping mall the last person he expects to rescue from the rubble is his fiercely independent ex-wife Dr Beth Carmichael—and Toby, the little boy he never knew she had. But to keep them in his life Luc must learn to love Beth the way she needs him to…
One Night with the Army Doc, by Traci Douglass
Is one night enough… To convince her to stay?
Travelling to Alaska to film the latest episode of her TV show is just what brilliant diagnostician Dr Molly Flynn needs. It’s the perfect escape from her family’s expectations—until she clashes with privacy-loving ex-army doc Jacob Ryder over her patient’s care! But as friction turns into flirtation can Molly trust that Jake sees the real her and loves her…just the way she is?
Surprise Twins for the Surgeon, by Sue MacKay
From holiday fling… To parents of twins!
Suddenly single, broken-hearted nurse Alesha Milligan didn’t plan to holiday alone. Or to be rescued on her first night by a sexy stranger! Maybe a holiday fling with surgeon Kristof Montfort is just what she needs… But then Alesha discovers she’s pregnant—with twins! She knows Kristof isn’t ready for a relationship, but can she convince him that the magic between them can bind them as a family for ever?
The Shy Nurse’s Rebel Doc, by Alison Roberts
From playing it safe… To falling for her rebel boss!
In this Bondi Bay Heroes story, ER nurse Samantha Braithwaite has learnt never to put limits on herself. But working with Dr Blake Cooper is her biggest challenge yet. He thinks she’s shy, but that makes her determined to prove she can make the Special Disaster Response team. And as days spill into nights the chemistry they’ve tried to hide is about to explode!
Their Own Little Miracle, by Caroline Anderson
A surrogate mum— And then she fell in love…
When Dr Iona Murray agrees to be her sister’s surrogate she never imagines it will lead her into Dr Joe Baker’s arms. Joe has no intention of ever being a sperm donor again, or of becoming emotionally attached after his painful divorce. But when he meets Iona his boundaries become truly blurred. Will they be able to give up their baby…or each other?
We’re welcoming Traci Douglass back today with an excerpt from her debut Medical Romance, One Night with the Army Doc. Enjoy!! Traci will be joining us in a regular blog spot in the next few months.
Is it enough to convince her to stay…?
Filming the latest episode of her TV show, diagnostician Dr Molly Flynn clashes with privacy-loving ex-army doc Jacob Ryder! But as friction turns into flirtation does she dare believe they might have a future…together?
“I’m surprised you came here to Alaska,” Jake said finally, after pulling a black “Anchorage Mercy” T-shirt over his head. The clothes helped, covering all that forbidden flesh. “Doesn’t your network usually prefer more glitzy locations?”
“MedStar thought a sports star case would draw in more viewers, so here I am.”
“That simple, huh?”
“That simple.” Molly wiped her face on her towel then slung it around her neck, her nerve endings on high alert with him sitting so close. “Why are you so against the media?”
“I was raised to keep my head down and stay humble. Doing good should be its own reward. And I’ve had some bad experiences with reporters in the past.”
Jake leaned against the wall beside her, his arm brushing Molly’s and sending a fresh explosion of sparks through her system.
“So… Molly Flynn. Daughter of the famous Roger Flynn?”
She cringed, staring across the empty gym. “Yes.”
“We spent a whole semester in medical school studying his suture techniques.”
She gave a derisive snort and he narrowed his gaze, his expression thoughtful.
“Must be hard, living up to that kind of perfectionism.”
“You have no idea.” Head lowered, Molly poked the toe of her running shoe into the car- pet. “Everything in my household was performance-based. Everything.”
“Ouch. I’m sorry.”
Outside, the world might be pure chaos, but in here with him all seemed oddly private and safe. But cracks were appearing in the logical wall she’d built to keep him away—the one that told her touching him, tasting him, would be wrong. Jake was so close now that Molly could see the tiny flecks of gold in his stormy gray eyes, and all her practical ideas and reasons evaporated.
“For what must have been a tough childhood,” he said, his voice gentle, husky as he leaned closer still.
She didn’t move away. “It wasn’t like I was abused or anything.”
“No.” His gaze lowered to her mouth. “But I bet you weren’t nurtured either.”
“Nurtured?” The invisible cord between them tightened, the word squeezing Molly’s heart like an embrace. “N-no. I wasn’t.”
“Such a pity…” Jake frowned, his lips hovering over hers for a brief second before capturing them in a light kiss.
Warning bells clanged in the back of Molly’s mind, telling her this was happening too fast. Telling her she’d only be hurt by this man who saw too much, who fought as fiercely for what he believed in as she did. But instead of pushing Jake away Molly twined her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, craving his taste more than she craved her next breath.
Jake groaned low and slipped one hand around her waist while the other cupped the back of her head as he deepened the kiss. Molly opened her lips, welcoming the gentle sweep of his tongue and his minty, sweet flavor. It was nice and wonderful and…
Cursing, Jake pulled away and grabbed the cell phone clipped to the waistband of his shorts, blinking down at the screen with a frown. “Sorry. I’ve got a critically ill patient in the ICU. He’s stabilized enough to get a CT scan. They’re taking him now.”
Today, we’re thrilled to welcome Traci Douglass to the Medical Romance team! We’ll be posting an excerpt from Traci’s debut Medical Romance One Night with the Army Doc, on Monday, but first, over to Traci for her answers to the need-to-know questions!
I discovered Medical Romance when:
I started reading Harlequins way back when I was in high school. Presents was my line back then—Penny Jordan, Charlotte Lamb. Good stuff. Then I moved into reading more single-title romances. My love for medical dramas began back in 1994 when ER first came on the air. For its time, it was a ground-breaking show and I was in school, studying to be a Certified Medical Assistant. I was in love with all the brave nurses and the handsome doctors working hard each week to save lives and find love (Luka and Abby forever!). Later, I watched both House, M.D. and Gray’s Anatomy religiously. Now, I’m a huge fan of Call The Midwife and have been binging all the seasons on Netflix. There’s just an added element of suspense and drama when you’re dealing with life and death and the essential things that affect people’s everyday lives so much. These are all the same things I love about the Medical Romance line and I’m so excited to share all the stories in my head when I’m watching these shows with all of you!
I wrote my first story when:
I wrote my first novel when I was in my early twenties, a romance that will remain hidden forever. LOL. It was a twisted tale of forbidden love between a handsome college professor and one of his shy, bookish students at an all girl’s university. After that, I didn’t pick up the pen again until November of 2011. That’s when I had a dream that just refused to leave my head until I wrote it down. One month later, I had 100K+ paranormal romance in my hands and no idea what to do with it. I started revising and joined my local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and found some fantastic critique partners and things just kept rolling from there. I started to submit that novel for publication in June of 2012 and it sold in October of that same year. I’ve been publishing ever since, both traditionally–and more recently—self-publishing (as I received the rights back on that first, original paranormal romance series earlier this year when the publisher closed its doors).
Where do you live?
Midwestern United States. Amongst the corn and fireflies. Fun fact: The state where I live, Indiana, just named the Say’s Firefly as our state insect.
My best trait is:
I’m very determined and focused when working on a goal. If I set my mind to do something, I’ll get it done or die trying.
My worst trait is:
I’m very determined and focused when working on a goal… Oh wait. LOL. It’s a blessing and a curse, I suppose.
Five things on your bucket list:
Make the New York Times Bestseller list
Spend an entire Spring in Paris
Live by the ocean
Own a huge ranch where I take in rescue animals of all varieties
Take a grand tour all over the world and visit as many countries as I can
Thanks so much for having me on the blog today! I’m thrilled to join the Medical Authors team and look forward to meeting and sharing more stories with all the lovely readers out there. Oh, and stay tuned. I’ll be back in a couple of days with an exclusive excerpt from my debut Medical Romance, One Night With The Army Doc. Until next time, Happy Reading!
Traci is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary and Paranormal Romance. Her stories feature sizzling heroes full of dark humor, quick wits and major attitudes and heroines who are smart, tenacious, and always give as good as they get. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and she loves animals, chocolate, coffee, hot British actors, and sarcasm—not necessarily in that order.
Filming the latest episode of her TV show, diagnostician Dr Molly Flynn clashes with privacy-loving ex-army doc Jacob Ryder! But as friction turns into flirtation does she dare believe they might have a future…together?