Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Welcome, Julie Danvers

I’m thrilled to be welcoming our newest Medical Romance author today – welcome Julie Danvers!  Julie’s debut Medical Romance ‘From Hawaii to Forever’ is available from the 1st June (not long to wait!) and it’s the perfect read for a sun-soaked holiday in the comfort of your own home.  I’ve asked Julie the need-to-know questions, so I’ll leave you to get acquainted…

color wall headshotI discovered Medical Romance when:

I’ve always been interested in medical dramas, whether they were fast-paced emergency room stories or cozy family practice dramas. In college, I was obsessed with shows like ER and Everwood, two very different medical dramas that demonstrate just how versatile the genre is. Discovering Harlequin’s Medical Romance line was a happy accident for me. About a year ago, I decided to get serious about my writing, and I thought that I wanted to write a thriller. As I was researching how to write suspense stories, I came across the So You Think You Can Write website, and learned that Harlequin had put out a call for new Medical Romance authors. I decided to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did, because it’s opened up a whole new world of storytelling possibilities. I might still write that thriller someday, but Medical Romance offers plenty of opportunities for excitement and suspense.

I wrote my first story when:

When I was eight years old, I wrote a short story called The Christmas Cat. I remember that I had a green gel pen that I really enjoyed writing with, so much so that I wrote an entire six-page story with it. Sometimes all it takes to find the motivation to sit down and write is a great pen.

Where do you live:  

I’ve lived in Chicago for almost ten years. I love it. It’s a great city, and all my stuff is here, so I don’t think I’ll ever leave.

My best trait is:

I don’t give up easily, which is probably a very useful trait for a writer. I think writing is a lot like yoga. If there’s something you can’t do yet, you get further if you think, “how can I learn to do that,” rather than, “I can’t do that.”

My worst trait is:

I am not a very tidy person. I’ve heard a number of writers say that if you want to make time for your writing, you have to put housework on the back burner, and unfortunately I think that advice is all too easy for me to follow.

Five things on your bucket list: 

  1. Visit Ireland, New Zealand, Banff, and Yellowstone National Park.
  2. Write a gripping psychological thriller-romance that tops the bestseller lists.
  3. Eat a bagel from the Beigel Bake in Brick Lane in London. I have been to London three times, and each time, some obstacle has prevented me from getting to the Beigel Bake. Someday it will happen.
  4. Attend a Broadway production of Bring it On: The Musical (you never know, it could come out again).
  5. Explore The Met Cloisters in New York.

 

Julie’s website can be found at www.juliedanvers.wordpress.com.  Her debut Medical Romance ‘From Hawaii to Forever’ is available from 1st June.

y404Two things she never meant to fall for:

Hawaii…and him!

When her perfect life implodes, high-flying city doctor Kat Murphy plans the ultimate escape. In Hawaii, she finds sun, sea and sand on her doorstep—and delicious paramedic Jack Harper to rescue her from drowning! Her fascinatingly carefree new colleague is temptation personified… And when Kat can no longer resist, she has an enticing offer for the island’s most eligible bachelor: a fling without forever…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Catching up with a PB&J

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  They’ve always fascinated me, not least because when I first heard about them, I thought that they actually did contain peanut butter and jelly.  (Note for our American readers – we refer to the preserves that we spread on our toast as jam.  In the UK, jelly is the wobbly gelatine dessert that goes with ice cream.)

Anyway.  PB&J always sounded a little odd to me, but it came up in the course of an email conversation with the lovely Susan Carlisle, which started with my enquiry about a typical American breakfast, took an unexpected right turn via marmalade and then got lost in a discussion of the various different names for things you can spread on bread or toast.  Somewhere along the line I admitted to my jam/jelly confusion, and Susan recommended peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to me, although not necessarily for breakfast.

It’s taken me a while to indulge my curiosity, but staying at home has given me a new respect for the untravelled path.  So I decided to make a totally British PB&J.  That’s peanut butter and jam, in case you were wondering 🙂

And my results?  Well, I think that ‘getting there’ might be the right term to use, and if anyone out there can see a flaw in my method and help steer me in the right direction, I’d be grateful.  I used buttered wholemeal toast, along with equal amounts of crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jam.  (I spent some time extracting the pieces of strawberry from the jam.  I’m not entirely sure why I did that, but it seemed a good idea at the time.)

I’m not sure that I qualify as a PB&J lover yet – I may need to work on my recipe a bit, or it may be an acquired taste.  But it has a lot of potential.  And it’s reminded me of what book-lovers already know.  Not being able to go out into the world, doesn’t stop the world from coming to you.

x500_b7823310-66af-4786-8070-fe58a1cb0220_360xAnd, in other news, I have a book out next month.  It makes absolutely no mention of PB&J’s but it does have a hero, a heroine and home made apple pie 🙂

Is love the one challenge…

they’ll face together?

Her rivalry with doctor Jamie Campbell-Clarke is fun and, most importantly, strictly professional!  After the devastating demise of her brief marriage that’s all plastic surgeon Anna Caulder can handle.  But when Jamie’s own painful past arrives at her London clinic, Anna’s compelled to seek a deeper connection… Once in his arms, Anna knows that’s where she wants to stay – if only she can find the courage to share her heart-breaking secret.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

I’m making a list…

I love a good list.  (I know that’s something I share with a lot of the regulars here at Love is the Best Medicine 🙂 )  For me, there’s something about writing everything down in a list, that gets it all under control and makes it easier to tackle.  Categorising is always good, and if there’s an opportunity for colour-coding, I’ll take it.

And ticking everything off.  That’s the reward, isn’t it?  Sometimes accompanied by chocolate.

So of course, when the New Year (a new decade, even!) rolled around, I had my pen at the ready.  I’m one of those people who still has a physical diary, an A4 day to the page one, which is great for jotting everything down in one place, and making lists.

But this year, my enthusiasm for the New Year’s list had palled.  Maybe it’s because this time last year I had a back injury, which meant that about the only thing on my list was to get back on my feet.  Anything that involved more than the minimum of physical activity stayed on the list, transferred from one to the next for months.  For a while, it seemed that my lists only reminded me that I had a mountain in front of me, and I was climbing it frustratingly slowly.

Finally, I took a different approach and decided to be a little kinder to myself.  Inspired by Facebook pictures from friends and fellow writers, showing some very impressive looking stacks of books written in the last ten years,  I made a list of all the things I had done in the last year.  And I’ll admit that it surprised me.  I wrote the better part of five books.  I rested up and then exercised my way back to full health.  Somehow, in the face of those two big things, the little things didn’t rankle quite so much.  And I when I thought about it, there were quite a few smaller things to add to the list as well.  However did I get this far in life without knowing how to knit socks?

So, this year the list-making has taken a new, and different turn.  Yes, I still have the To-Do list, because otherwise I’d forget things.  But the list in my diary, the most important list because it’s not jotted down on a spare piece of paper and thrown away when it’s served its purpose, has a slightly different function.  It’s a list of all the things I HAVE done that day.

So far it’s working rather nicely.  I jot everything down and go to bed satisfied, rather than wondering what I did today other than stare at my computer screen and mosey around in the kitchen (Ah yes!  That’s right, I wrote a couple of chapters…  Then I de-scaled the coffee machine, went for a walk, and…  So it goes.  I write down all the little, everyday things because those are the things I’d be putting on my To-Do list for the day.)

Maybe this is the start of something new.  Maybe by the end of the year, my lists will have become more elaborate, and I’ll find that I’m an inveterate diarist.  Or maybe I’ll abandon my Have-Already-Done lists, in favour of the To-Do lists again.  But so far, this year is the year of the list, but not quite in the way I’d expected.

I’ve heard people say that when they write a list they include a few things that they’ve already done, so that they have the satisfaction of ticking them off straight away.  I’ve long been guilty of that 🙂  So here’s the question.  What’s the very best part of a list?  The list itself, or the ticks?

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Pups that Make Miracles – Book 2

It’s my turn today, to introduce you to the second book in the Pups that make Miracles quartet.  I’m thrilled to be book-buddies with Susan Carlisle this month (our books are both out today!), and next month we’ll be having excerpts from Annie O’Neil and Karin Baine’s books.

This excerpt from Festive Fling with the Single Dad  introduces Flora and Aksel, along with another very important character.  Dougal is a puppy, rescued by Susan’s heroine and his story runs through all four of the books.  I don’t think I’m giving away too much to mention that Dougal will be finding his forever home in the final book of the series!

Chapter One

x500_277403d2-0c69-4134-b65a-8e71cb79fbd9_540x.jpgUp close, he looked even more…

More outdoorsy. Taller and blonder and… Just more. A two-day beard covered a square jaw, and his mane of shoulder-length hair was tied at the nape of his neck. His casual shirt and worn jeans gave the impression of an off-duty Norse god, and Flora McNeith resisted the temptation to curtsey. It was slightly over the top as a greeting for a new neighbour.

‘Hi. I’m Flora. From next door.’ She gestured towards her own cottage, tugging at Dougal’s lead in a fruitless attempt to get him to sit down for just one moment. ‘Welcome to the village.’

He looked a little taken aback when she thrust the food box, containing half a dozen home-made mince pies into his hands. It might be more than three weeks until Christmas, but the lights of the Christmas tree in the village had already been turned on, and in Flora’s book any time after September was a good time for mince pies.

‘That’s very kind.’ His voice was very deep, the kind of tone that befitted the very impressive chest that it came from. And it appeared that whatever kind of deity Aksel Olson was, language and communication weren’t part of his remit. He was regarding her silently.

‘I work at the Heatherglen Castle Clinic. I hear that your daughter, Mette, is a patient there.’ Maybe if she explained herself a little more, she might get a reaction.

Something flickered in his eyes at the mention of his daughter. Reflective and sparkling, like sunshine over a sheet of ice.

‘Are you going to be part of Mette’s therapy team?’

Right. That put Flora in her place. Apparently that was the only thing that interested Aksel about her.

‘No, I’m a physiotherapist. I gather that your daughter is partially sighted…’ Flora bit her tongue. That sounded as if everyone was gossiping about him, which was half-true. The whisper that Mette’s father was single had gone around like wildfire amongst the female staff at the clinic. Now that Flora had met Aksel, she understood what the excitement was all about.

‘You read the memo, then?’ Something like humour flashed in his eyes, and Flora breathed a small sigh of relief. Lyle Sinclair must have told him about the memo.

‘Yes. I did.’ Every time a new patient was admitted a memo went round, introducing the newest member of the clinic’s community and asking every member of staff to welcome them. It was just one of the little things that made the clinic very special.

‘Would you like to come in for coffee?’ Suddenly he stood back from the door.

‘Oh!’ Aksel’s taciturn manner somehow made the words he did say seem more sincere. ‘I shouldn’t… Dougal and I are just getting used to each other and I haven’t dared take him anywhere for coffee yet. I’m afraid he’ll get over-excited and do some damage.’

Aksel squatted down on his heels, in front of the ten-week-old brindle puppy, his face impassive.

‘Hi, there, Dougal.’

Dougal was nosing around the porch, his tail wagging ferociously. At the sound of his name he looked up at Aksel, his odd ears twitching to attention. He circled the porch, to show off his new red fleece dog coat, and Flora stepped over the trailing lead, trying not to get snagged in it. Then Dougal trotted up to Aksel, nosing at his outstretched hand, and decided almost immediately he’d found a new best buddy. Finally, Aksel smiled, stroking the puppy’s head.

‘I’m sure we’ll manage. Why don’t you come in?’

Two whole sentences. And the sudden warmth in his eyes was very hard to resist.

‘In that case… Thank you.’ Flora stepped into the hallway and Dougal tugged on his lead in delight.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Play it again, Sam

as11-40-5878~small
Close up of astronaut’s footprint in lunar soil, from images.nasa.gov

I love the cinema.  And one of my favourite films from this year so far, has been the documentary film ‘Apollo 11’.  Comprised entirely of footage shot 50 years ago, some which hasn’t been released before, it tells the story of the first manned mission to the Moon.

I almost didn’t go and see it – after all it’s a story that’s been told before.  I remember watching the moon landing on television, when I was a child, and I have to say that at that time I found it a little underwhelming.  I understood that I was watching history being made, but even though I tried to feel the importance of it all, it wasn’t quite as exciting as I’d hoped it might be.  We sat, staring at the television, and it seemed a very long wait until something happened – and when it did the pictures were so fuzzy it was difficult to see what was going on.

But this new film is a revelation!  One of the big differences is that that the film uses footage which was brought back from the mission – not that which was transmitted at the time, and so the quality of the footage is incomparably better.  It’s edited, as well, to make it more immediate.  And the pictures of Neil Armstrong, climbing down from the lunar module and setting foot on the moon for the first time were sharp and clear.  At last I felt the excitement and the sense of occassion that I’d wanted to feel all those years ago!

And, of course, we know more about the moon landings now.  At the time, it wasn’t widely known how little fuel was left when the lunar module touched down – there were just fifteen seconds to spare before the craft wouldn’t have been able to take off again.  Watching the landing, with the timer ticking away at the bottom of the screen and hearing the measured communications between mission control and the astronauts, I had my heart in my mouth.  And when it was time for the perilous journey home, even though I knew full well that the lunar module had successfully reconnected with the command module, the sharp footage from each of the craft as they docked in space had me sitting on the edge of my seat, holding my breath.

So this film really changed my appreciation of an event that I remembered and thought I knew.  I was moved by the immense bravery of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.  I shed a tear when they returned safely back to earth.  And I found the sense of wonder that had eluded me when I first watched the moon landings.

And it got me thinking.  Although this is a beautiful film, it tells the same story as the one I heard when I was a child.  Part of its impact now, is because I’ve changed.

And that applies to our stories too.  They’re a joint effort, between reader and writer to make a world together.  I rely on the reader’s imagination to help create that world, within the framework of a book.  And I have to hope that readers will trust me to bring them safely home at the end.  We’re in this together.

Is there a story – either true-life or fiction – that you’ve re-discovered and which has meant something very different to you the second time around?

 

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Falling for her Italian Billionaire by Annie Claydon

NEWRelease1First impressions matter, but often a heroine has to wait before she hears what a hero really thinks of her.  But I decided to ring the changes a little in this book, which is the first of my ‘London Heroes’ duet.

Gabriel DeMarco wakes up in hospital with a beautiful woman by his bedside.  The after-effects of the drugs that were slipped into his drink last night mean that he’s not able to stop himself from voicing exactly what’s on his mind…  

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

Gabriel DeMarco opened his eyes. That seemed to be quite enough work for today, so he closed them again.

‘How are you feeling?’ A woman’s voice flowed over him like warm honey. It was a nice voice, quiet yet firm. The kind of voice that any man should take notice of.

‘I could go back to sleep.’ The words slipped out before he had a chance to tell himself that sleeping probably wasn’t what the voice wanted him to do. And at the moment it seemed like a siren’s call, which couldn’t be resisted. ‘Or…I could wake up.’

It sounded as if the voice was smiling. ‘Why don’t you wake up? You’re in hospital.’

Really? The thought didn’t bother him as much as it should. He was comfortable and relaxed, as if lying on a cloud. He tried opening his eyes and light seared through his brain, making his head hurt. He’d just have to keep them closed for a while…

‘Which hospital?’ Not that it mattered particularly. But talking might convince the voice that he’d complied with her request.

‘The Royal Westminster. You’re in the private wing.’

That made sense. Someone must know who he was, and that the son of Leo DeMarco, head of one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Europe, could stand the cost of a night’s stay in hospital. Or maybe he’d been here longer than just one night. Gabriel couldn’t remember.

He flexed his fingers, running his hand across his chest and then moving his legs. Everything appeared to be working. No pain. Whatever he was in here for was probably very minor…

‘Open your eyes.’

No… He didn’t want to. Maybe he said as much, without knowing it, or maybe the voice just read his mind, because he felt the touch of a hand against the side of his face.

‘Come on. Open your eyes.’

He couldn’t resist. This time the pain wasn’t so bad, because the hand was shading his face. When he turned his head in the direction of the voice, a mass of red-blonde curls and a pair of blue eyes snapped suddenly into focus. What had happened to him suddenly came a very poor second in importance to who she was.

‘What’s your name? Are you a nurse?’ Stupid question. She wore a dark blue sleeveless summer dress, which seemed to be held together by a few buttons and a belt around her waist. Clearly not a nurse unless they’d changed the uniform from sensible to sexy.

‘My name’s Clara Holt. I’m not a nurse, although I’m medically trained. Your father sent me.’

His father? Since when had he started sending women to sit at Gabriel’s bedside? The thought occurred to him that maybe his father had, for once, made a marvellous choice. She was perfezionemolto bella… Porcelain skin and shining gold hair. Right now, making the gorgeous Clara happy was all he wanted to do…

‘Grazie.’ Her lips curved into a slight smile. He’d missed out her lips, and that was unforgivable…

‘You speak Italian?’

‘Only a few words.’

She knew the ones that mattered. Every woman should understand the words a man said when he called her beautiful.

Wait. How many of his thoughts had sprung to his lips by mistake, and what language had he voiced them in? The feeling that this wasn’t right was beginning to nag at the edge of his consciousness. If he thought a woman beautiful, he usually had the manners to wait, and make quite sure it was the kind of compliment she wanted to hear.

Gabriel shook his head, trying to clear it, and struggled to sit up. Pain shot across his temples and he suddenly felt very nauseous. The wonderful Clara reached out, gently pushing him back down onto the pillows.

‘You’ll feel better in a moment, just take it slowly.’

She was an angel. Clara could take him up to her cloud any day of the week and…

No! He still wasn’t thinking straight. He fought to locate a sensible question in his head, and came up with only one.

‘What’s the matter with me?’

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A fine Bromance…

I’ve always imagined that the heroes and heroines of my books have friends – the really great kind, who’ll be there for them through thick and thin, because our heroes and heroines are themselves the stuff that good friends are made of.  Sometimes the friends get a little page-time, and sometimes not, but in my head they’re always there in the background somewhere.

So imagine my delight, last year, when I found that I wasn’t just in the process of writing two linked romances – but that somehow a bromance had crept in.  Gabriel De Marco and Alistair Duvall are the founders of a charity in London.  They’re very different characters – Gabriel is a risk-taker with a talent for blue-sky thinking, while Alistair is the more practical of the two, a facilitator who can take the bold step of turning ideas into reality.  Their talents compliment each other perfectly, and have made the charity into a real force for good.

They don’t always see eye to eye 🙂  Everyone around them is used to hearing raised voices as the two passionately disagree.  But their friendship and respect for each other means that they’ll fight things out between themselves, and come to a conclusion that they’re both happy with.

About now I expect you’re beginning to feel a small concern for the two heroines of the stories!  It’s sometimes not an easy prospect to find yourself working with, and falling in love with someone who is one half of such a strong partnership.  But, when Gabriel meets Clara, Alistair knows that she’s the woman who can make his good friend happy.  Gabriel and Clara may have to overcome the real challenges themselves, but I imagine Alistair in the background, keeping his fingers firmly crossed that things will work out for them.  And likewise, when Alistair is re-united with Raina, Gabriel and Clara do what they can to smooth their path.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I loved writing these stories.  The two books gave me a chance to explore a little about a friendship, which isn’t always possible over the course of just one book.  This is one of the things I love about reading continuities as well – being introduced to characters who’ll be featured in the next books, and seeing them as part of a community of friends and co-workers.  What do you think?

 

 

Falling for Her Italian Billionaire
Can she protect her heart?  In this London Heroes story, protecting Italian billionaire, Dr Gabriel DeMarco, is bodyguard Clara Holt’s most challenging assignment yet. She’s vowed never to mix career with romance again – only Gabriel is breaking down the walls around her heart…

Second Chance with the Single Mum
Can her little girl reunite them?  In this London Heroes story, Dr Alistair Duvall is stunned when his ex-wife Raina walks back into his life with her amputee daughter. Losing their own baby tore them apart – can this little girl help them try again?