Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

January Releases

Six new releases to get the New Year off to a great start!  We have a King, a Prince and a Duke – as well as Army Docs and two stories from The Sinclair Hospital.  Enjoy!

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Pregnant with his Royal Twins, by Louisa Heaton

New year, twin babies!

Midwife Freya MacFadden has stuck to night shifts since she was injured in an acid attack. But a hospital costume ball offers her the chance to hide her scars, and, lost in the moment, she seizes a passionate encounter with a handsome stranger. Leaving her pregnant…with his twins!

Desert prince Jameel Al Bakhari fought hard for his medical career, far from his kingdom of Majidar. And he’ll fight for kind and courageous Freya and their babies, too! But first Jamie must show her how beautiful she really is!

 
lgcover.9781488079467.jpgThe Surgeon King’s Secret Baby, by Amy Ruttan

A family by New Year’s Eve?

Reagan Cote left war-torn Hermosa thinking the gorgeous surgeon she’d shared a brief affair with was lost on the front line. So she clung to the child she was carrying.

While Kainan Laskaris’s voice is damaged, he’s alive. And when he finds Reagan in Toronto and discovers he’s dad to their sick baby boy, he asks her to marry him. Now he’s king of Hermosa, he needs a queen and heir, but before she’ll accept, Kainan must prove that marrying Reagan means more than claiming his kingdom.

 

lgcover.9781488079474.jpgForbidden Night with the Duke, by Annie Claydon 

One stolen kiss…

Nurse Megan Wheeler won’t let that passionate kiss, or the way she feels about Jaye Perera, ruin her dream job. Yes, he may be a duke, a doctor and devastatingly handsome but he’s also her future boss, and that’s a boundary she won’t—can’t—cross!

But working side by side under the Sri Lankan sun is a delicious torture. One that reveals to Megan a different side of guarded Jaye… After the hurts they’ve both experienced, can they learn to trust in love again?

 

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Tempted by Dr. Off-Limits, by Charlotte Hawkes

One night is never enough…

For trauma doc Major Elle Caplin, spending one night in Lieutenant Colonel Fitzwilliam’s arms is out of character but oh so good! It’s meant to be a one-off, until Fitz shows up on her army base!

Fitz doesn’t do long-term—he knows he’s bad news to anyone he cares about—and learning that he’ll be working with capable flame-haired Elle puts her in the strictly off-limits category. But with the memory of their hot, life-changing encounter keeping him awake, suddenly Fitz is tempted to break his one-night rule!

 

lgcover.9781488079498.jpgReunited with her Army Doc, by Dianne Drake

Can he trust her with his heart?

Army doc Caleb Carsten will do anything for his gifted son—even if it means returning to his hometown of Marrell and working for Leanne Sinclair, the childhood crush who once broke his heart.

Leanne is thrilled to meet Caleb again. But why can’t she remember more about their past, and what she did to hurt him so badly? And if Leanne can’t show Caleb she’s changed, will he ever trust her with his heart?

 

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Healing her Boss’s Heart, by Dianne Drake

Daring to love again…

When handsome surgeon Jack Hanson returns home, he’s not looking for love. His guilt over his wife’s death means he’s never going to risk his heart again! But feisty new employee Carrie Kellem can’t help but intrigue him…

Carrie’s tough childhood has made her independent; she doesn’t need anyone! Until she meets Jack… And suddenly Carrie wishes she wasn’t alone. Can she help Jack to let go of the past and see that he has a future with her?

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Words of the Year

This blog took a while to write (and my apologies for being late with it!).  Part of the problem was my topic.  The Collins Dictionary announced their ‘Word of the Year’ yesterday, which seemed to me to be a good conversation starter.  It was, unfortunately, also a cue for me to spend an inordinate amount of time doing some internet research.  Words of the Day, Words of the Year.  Popular words, and words which have fallen into obscurity.  Words which aren’t strictly speaking words 🙂 …

Because the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2015, was an emoji – the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji.  I remember a bit of discussion about it at the time, but I’m not sure that anyone can deny that emojis are now an established part of the way that we express ourselves.

This year, the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year isn’t strictly a word either – it’s two.  ‘Fake News’.  Amongst the runners-up my favourites were ‘cuffing season’ – which is apparently the ‘period of autumn and winter when single people are considered likely to seek settled relationships, rather than engage in casual affairs’.  As a romance writer I feel I need to work that into a book somewhere.  And ‘unicorn’.  I’m not entirely sure why that’s a candidate, but who doesn’t like unicorns?

I couldn’t find a Word of the Year from Webster’s Dictionary, but it I learned a bit from their Words of the Day – I’ll be sure to use ‘lagniappe’ (a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase), at the first available opportunity.  And from the Macquarie Dictionary’s list of words which have been suggested for inclusion, comes the word ‘hepeated’, which is when an idea is ignored when suggested by a woman, but loved when suggested by a man.

And who could resist ‘Snollygoster’?  I don’t even need to know what that means to love it!

Everyone has their own favourite words.  At the moment I have a cold, so ‘honey’ and ‘lemon’ are pretty high on my list.  I have a love/hate relationship with ‘manoeuvre’, which I have spelled out on my fridge door, because however many times I type it, I never spell it right the first time 🙂  I think ‘rose’ is a lovely word.  And, for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, I like the word ‘impetuous’.  What are your favourites?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Saving Baby Amy by Annie Claydon

The cover fairies are always gracious, but sometimes I just can’t stop looking at a cover.  I do love a good sunset, and this cover has to be one of my favourites!

SBA cover  CHAPTER ONE

Hospital gossip was a bit like the wind: unpredictable and prone to sudden gusts in one direction or another. Information could easily end up at the furthest corner of the hospital before it came to the notice of the people involved. So it was no particular surprise to Chloe Delancourt that she’d walked all the way over to the canteen before hearing a piece of news that quite obviously pertained to her.

‘So what’s all this about your boyfriend and a baby?’ One of the other junior doctors joined her at the end of the queue.

‘My boyfriend?’ Jake was long gone, and if he did have a baby it was nothing to do with her.

Petra grinned. ‘All right, so he’s not your boyfriend. Since he’s good looking, single and living with you, that might be classed as an omission on your part.’

‘You mean Jon?’ Chloe had only seen Dr Jonathan Lambert for a total of about ten minutes since he’d moved in two weeks ago.

‘How many good-looking men are you living with currently?’

‘Just the one…’ The ten minutes had been more than enough to notice that he was good looking. And that he had a delicious smile. But apart from that all she really knew about him was that he was a good friend of her brother’s and he kept the bathroom tidy. He’d started his new job at the hospital six weeks earlier than anticipated and had needed a place to stay because the renovations on his own house weren’t finished yet.

‘Glad to hear it. If there was more than one of them, I’d be looking for an invitation to come over for dinner at the weekend.’

Chloe shrugged. ‘Come over anyway, I’m not doing anything tomorrow. It’ll be just the two of us, though, he’s not exactly made his presence felt.’

‘If he’s working nights then I suppose you wouldn’t see much of him during the week…’ Petra was obviously turning the idea over in her head.

‘Or the weekend. He spends every waking hour over at his place. I’ve hardly seen him.’ Maybe Jon was avoiding her. Or maybe he just took the promise that she’d hardly know he was there very seriously. Whatever. It suited Chloe not to get too involved with a face as handsome as his.

‘Well, he’s here now. With a baby.’

‘What kind of baby?’

Petra rolled her eyes. ‘Two arms, two legs…the usual. A little girl, he was calling her Amy…’

‘What?’ Chloe almost dropped her tray and instead thrust it into Petra’s hands. ‘Where is he?’

‘He was in A and E about five minutes ago. Someone said he’d asked for directions up to Orthopaedics—.’ Petra broke off as Chloe turned, running for the doors of the canteen.

*

Chloe had sprinted across the courtyard and up three flights of stairs, back to her own department. Jon had been up to Orthopaedics and left a message that he was going back downstairs to A and E. By the time she got down to the Paediatric A and E department she could hardly breathe so it was just as well that the receptionist knew what she wanted without Chloe having to say so.

‘That was quick, I’ve only just paged you. They’ve just gone through. Consulting Room Three.’

The pager in Chloe’s pocket buzzed suddenly and she jumped, switching it off. Taking a deep breath, in an effort to slow her racing heart, she thanked the receptionist and walked slowly towards the consulting rooms.

If Amy was here, then where was Hannah? And if Hannah had left her child with Jon that posed a whole slew of other questions that Chloe really didn’t want to think about until she was sure of the situation. She knocked and turned the handle of the consulting-room door before whoever was inside had a chance to answer.

Jon was lifting Amy out of her car seat. He’d obviously dressed quickly, because his shirt was buttoned up wrong, leaving one red checked tail slightly longer than the other at the front. Amy fretted a little, and then seemed to decide that the strong cradle of Jon’s arms was a safe place.

‘What…?’

She hadn’t noticed how blue his eyes were before, or how tender. Or that his light brown hair, falling across his brow, gave him a slightly boyish look. Or that his hands seemed so large and capable next to Amy’s tiny fingers.

‘Sit down.’ Amy stirred slightly at Jon’s words, and then snuggled back against his chest. For a moment it seemed the best place in the world to be. Held in his arms without a care in the world.

But if Amy didn’t seem concerned about the whereabouts of her mother, Chloe was. ‘Where’s my sister?’

‘Hannah’s at your place.’ The tenderness in his eyes seemed reserved just for Amy, and he gave Chloe a more dispassionate look. ‘Sit…’

Clearly something was up, and he wasn’t going to tell her until she was sitting down. She bit back the temptation to tell him that she was a doctor too, and that she’d been working at this hospital a good deal longer than he had. Even if she did feel far more like a slightly panicky aunt than a doctor at the moment.

The dark blue windcheater on the chair next to him had been hanging in her hallway for the past two weeks, and was probably the most familiar thing about him. Chloe moved it, draping it over the backrest. When she sat down, an elusive hint of his scent halted the clamour of her senses for a moment, as if they’d paused to appreciate it. This wasn’t the time, or the place…

His eyes and the slight curve of his lips invited calm. No… Actually, they invited surrender, and that wasn’t something that Chloe was prepared to give. ‘Tell me what’s happened.’

‘Hannah was worried about Amy and she took her to her own doctor this morning. He told her that Amy just had a virus, but Hannah thought it was something more so she brought her to you.’

‘And…?’ Chloe reached across to feel Amy’s forehead. She was a little feverish, and her cheeks were flushed.

‘I agreed with Hannah. So I brought Amy here, where she could be examined and treated properly.’

‘But where’s Hannah?’ Chloe couldn’t keep the frustration from her voice.

‘She’s at your place. She was…a little distressed.’

‘A little distressed?’ Chloe frowned at him. Jon didn’t need to play the situation down for her benefit.

‘She was crying her eyes out, and she insisted on staying behind while I brought Amy here.’ Chloe’s eyebrows shot up and he flashed her a cool smile. ‘It’s okay. I got to know Hannah quite well when she was staying with James. She wasn’t entrusting Amy to a stranger.’

So, however distressed Hannah was, she was still thinking straight. That was something. James had mentioned that a friend of his had helped out a lot with Hannah, spending time with her and letting her talk, but Chloe hadn’t realised it was Jon.

But if Hannah had found someone to talk to in Jon, then Chloe couldn’t see how. He seemed somehow distant, as if Amy was the only person in the room he could trust with an unreserved smile.

‘Then you’ll know that Hannah’s…vulnerable.’ Chloe twisted her lips. Vulnerable wasn’t quite the right word. Hannah could be surprisingly strong and very determined. But she was young. Troubled sometimes.

‘I know that she’s almost ten years younger than you, and that she was only nine when you lost both your parents. That you and James have done your best to look after her, but it hasn’t always been easy.’

‘No, it hasn’t.’ Chloe hadn’t made it any easier. Hannah had always wanted to live with her, and Chloe had worked hard, saving every penny she could and adding to her third of the money from the sale of their parents’ house so that she could afford a home for the two of them. She’d bought the house, and then two months after they’d moved in Chloe had fallen ill. Hannah had gone to live with James instead, but had never really settled.

‘Look, Hannah’s okay for the moment.’

Okay for the moment. Most people had learned to settle for that where Hannah was concerned, but Chloe wanted more for her sister.

‘You do know that Hannah’s still only eighteen? And that Amy’s father isn’t on the scene?’ Hannah had run away two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. Chloe had been too ill to do anything but worry, while James had moved heaven and earth to find their sister. When he had, she’d been living with a boy of nineteen, who had been more than eager to give her up when James had wondered aloud whether Hannah’s queasy spells might be morning sickness.

‘Yes, I know. She’s all right.’ It seemed that Chloe was going to have to take his word for it, because Jon’s face showed no evidence that he really understood the gravity of the situation. His whole attention was focussed on Amy.

‘I’d just feel a bit better if she were here and I could see for myself.’ Her words sounded rather more accusing than Chloe had meant them to.

‘I felt that Amy needed to be looked at sooner rather than later, and that was my first priority. Hannah calmed down when she saw I was taking her concerns seriously and promised to stay put while I was gone.’

‘Yes… I’m sorry. Thanks.’ None of this was Jon’s fault. Hannah had put him in a difficult position and he’d taken the only decision he could. Chloe stretched her arms out towards Amy. ‘I’ll take her now.’

He didn’t move. ‘Why don’t you let me examine her? I can do it now—my shift won’t be starting for another three hours.’

‘And you’re better qualified than me?’ There was something he wasn’t saying, and Chloe guessed it might be that. It was true, after all. Jon’s speciality was paediatric emergencies, and even though he’d only been here a couple of weeks he was already gaining something of a reputation as an excellent doctor.

‘Yes, I am. And I’m not Amy’s aunt.’ He said the words dispassionately. ‘I dare say you’re a lot better at dealing with Hannah than I am. Why don’t you give her a call, while I fetch my stethoscope?’

Maybe he was just giving her something to do to keep her quiet, because it seemed that he had already come to some kind of agreement with Hannah. But he was right. Chloe nodded and Jon delivered Amy into her arms.

‘She’s two years old. All of her immunisations are up to date and she’s on no medication.’ If she was going to take up the role of concerned aunt then she may as well give Jon all the relevant information. And ask the relevant questions. ‘What do you think?’

‘I don’t know anything for sure yet.’ He got to his feet and walked out of the room, without looking back.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A postcard from London

Last month, wasn’t my turn to blog.  Which was as well, really.  In the wake of the then most recent terrorist attack on my home city, I didn’t have the words to express how I felt.  Kate Hardy put many of the ideas that were running through my head into words, in her blog Love is the Answer.

So what now?  Isn’t it a bit late to talk about all of this?  So much has happened in the last few months, and since the London Bridge incident there’s been more tragedy, more anger and more grief.  When I say that it’s not over yet, it’s not because I’m a pessimist, or I accept all that’s happened as just one of those things.  It’s because disaster and strife, of one kind or another, have been constant themes of London’s 2,000 year history.  There have always been challenges, of all kinds, and that’s no different for the almost 9 million Londoners today.

I hope you’ll forgive me a little bias, here.  For me, London’s the most beautiful and greatest city in the world.  I would say that, wouldn’t I?  There are so many other wonderful places in this world of ours, but London’s the one I call home 🙂

But I also know that we have our share of problems, and in the right quarters I can be just as vocal about those as I am about the joys of living here.  It’s because I haven’t forgotten about those who have been killed and injured, that I want a future for my city that holds something better.  And it’s with that in mind that I ask those of you in our worldwide community, whose most recent picture of London might be what you’ve read in the paper, to take a look at London through my eyes.

Please see the open, blue sky above the Thames, the crowds on both sides of the river, enjoying the sunshine and the sights.   The Tower, The London Eye, The Globe, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Palace of Westminster… the list goes on.  You’re never short of a sight to see in London, and after living here all my life, I haven’t run out yet.  Please see a city which welcomes people from all parts of the world, and benefits from what they bring us.  One where people like to disagree, on practically every issue under the sun, but where freedom of expression is defended.

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There are changes, of course.  But please see past the newly erected barriers protecting the pavement, on London Bridge and in other parts of the city.  Please see the hundreds of messages that ordinary people left at London Bridge – Love not Hate.  Please see the multi-coloured banners, floating high over Regent Street – London is Open.  These messages were in response to recent events, but the Carnaby Street lights last Christmas were on the same theme.  Love and Hope. 

 

Please see the flowers and green spaces, street performers, pavement artists and a city that just doesn’t know how to stay down.  And when you see all that, please smile.

So that’s my postcard!  What would you like to send from your home?

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – English Rose for the Sicilian Doc by Annie Claydon

9781474051507 This book almost didn’t get written!  I so loved doing the research that I would have quite happily spent all my time on that 🙂  But – as you can see – I did manage to tear myself away, and start to write.  And I was glad I did, because my archaeologist heroine gets to explore the beautiful island of Sicily, and solve a mystery.  And, to complete my writing bliss, she does so with the help of a handsome doctor!

Chapter One

The building shone white in the sunshine, a line of tall palm trees announcing that this was a place of some importance. Rose Palmer gripped her son’s hand, walking through the wide entrance doors and into a spacious reception area, refreshingly cool after the heat of the afternoon.

A building like this showed intent. Any archaeologist would tell you that buildings gave an insight into what a community thought was important, and Rose was no exception. The high ceilings and clean lines were a clear statement that the work that went on here was both vital and serious.

She hung on tight to William’s hand, for fear of losing him in amongst the melee of people who criss-crossed the space. She couldn’t see a reception desk, and she supposed the best thing to do was to ask someone. Easier said than done. Everyone seemed too intent on getting wherever they were going to stop and give directions.

‘Scusi…’ A woman in a white top that bore the insignia of the hospital stopped, and smilingly asked her something in Italian. Hopefully she wasn’t in need of directions too.

‘Inglese.’ Rose proffered the piece of paper that her friend Elena had given her, with details of William’s appointment, written in Italian.

‘Ah. Sì…’ The woman scanned the paper and shot a brilliant smile at William. Rose was getting used to the way that Sicilians always reserved their brightest smiles for young children, and so was her son. William reached up, and the woman took his small hand in hers.

‘Terzo piano…’ The woman gestured towards the lift and then thought better of it. Taking a pen from her pocket, she walked over to a water dispenser, leaning on the side of it to draw on the paper, smiling at William as she did so. Then she proffered the hand-drawn map, holding up her thumb and two fingers and pointing to the lift to indicate that Rose should go to the third floor.

Third floor, turn right and then the second on the left. She got it. Rose nodded and smiled and thanked the woman falteringly in Italian. William waved goodbye, and the woman responded cheerily, watching her all the way to the lift.

Upstairs, the corridors were less grand and more utilitarian. Rose followed her map, and found herself in a small, comfortable waiting room. A receptionist scanned her written directions and waved her towards the rows of chairs, before picking up her phone.

Rose made her way to the far corner, and sat down. She would rather have flown back to England to do this, but Elena and her husband would have none of it. All of the visiting archaeologists working at the dig were covered by private health insurance and this hospital was one of the best in the world. They would make the appointment for her and request a translator, and William would be in good hands. She was a guest on the island, and anything less would be considered as a lapse in hospitality.

And the one thing that Rose had learned very quickly was that you faulted Sicilian hospitality at your peril. So she’d accepted the offer and driven here, privately deciding that if the language barrier turned out to be more than she or William could cope with, she’d find an excuse to be on the first plane back home for a couple of days.

Someone laughed, and Rose looked up to see a man chatting with the receptionist. Her face was animated, smiling up at him in the way that women did when someone they liked also happened to be breath-catchingly handsome.

And even by the rigorous standards of the island this man was handsome. Straight, dark hair, grazing his collar. Smooth olive skin, high cheekbones and lips that were meant to smile. Rose couldn’t see his eyes, but she imagined them chocolate brown.

Only a man so immaculate could have got away with that jacket. Dark cream, obviously linen—on anyone less perfect it would have looked rumpled. But on him it seemed as if every crease had been carefully chosen and styled, to make the most of his broad shoulders and the slim lines of his hips.

Suddenly he turned, looking straight at her. His eyes were brown. Dark, seventy per cent cocoa, with a hint of bite. Rose dropped her gaze, embarrassed to be caught staring.

‘Mrs Palmer?’ He’d walked over and dropped into a chair opposite her. His voice was like chocolate, too.

‘Ms Palmer.’ It was a convenient halfway house for a single woman with a child. ‘Um… Parla Inglese?’

He grinned and Rose felt her ears start to burn. ‘Yes, I speak English. I’m Matteo Di Salvo, and I’m here to translate for Dr Garfagnini. He’s the paediatric specialist who’ll be seeing William today.’

Perfect. His English was clear and almost unaccented, although the slight difference in tempo made it sound seductive. Or perhaps that was just the way he spoke. Seductive just about summed him up.

Rose took a breath, trying to concentrate on the practicalities. ‘Thank you. You’re the interpreter here?’

‘No, I’m a doctor. Our interpreter is busy with some English tourists in the emergency department…’ He gave a shrug, which indicated that the matter shouldn’t be given a second thought. ‘Dr Garfagnini is running a few minutes late, and I wondered if I might take the opportunity to get to know William a little.’

Handsome and kind. And he spoke English. This man was a bit too good to be true.

‘Thank you so much, Dr Di Salvo. I appreciate it.’ Rose remembered that a handshake was usual in these circumstances and held out her hand.

‘Matteo, please…’ The caress of his fingers was just as alluring as the rest of him.

‘Rose.’ She snatched her hand from his, feeling her cheeks burn, and curled her arm around her son.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Together and Out Loud

Many years ago now, when I was studying English Literature, I arrived at the door of a tutor’s office with a friend.  We could hear the sound of a raised voice inside, and the scrape of a chair indicated that someone had leapt to their feet.

Reckoning that the tutorial had already started, and preparing ourselves for the embarrassment of being late, we knocked on the door.  But when we were called inside, we found our tutor alone.  In response to our puzzled looks (Had he just pushed someone out of the window??  The question was of some concern, since we were on the 14th floor…) he told us that when he was alone he often read aloud to himself, and with actions if possible.

The idea sounded a little outlandish to my inexperienced mind.  But when I tried it out, a lifelong love of reading aloud was born.

Reading aloud isn’t necessarily a solitary pursuit.  I used to read to an elderly lady, who shared my love of whodunits.  Together we worked our way through the exploits of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, stopping from time to time to compare notes on who we thought might have committed the horrible crime in question, or to discuss some of the finer points of the plot.  Sharing these stories made us firm friends.

I find it a different experience from audio books.  Don’t get me wrong – I love audio books – but having someone in the room with you, maybe stumbling over a few sentences or adding gestures to the mix, is more personal.  Re-capping together on the story so far.  Watching someone’s face, as they read or are read to.

So when a friend asked whether I might read one of my books to her mother, whose failing sight means she can’t read for herself, I agreed willingly.  Little did I know what a merry-go-round of emotion I’d let myself in for!

I read for about an hour each week and have a very vocal audience.  I love the way my friend and her Mum have a tendency to shout You go girl! whenever the heroine sticks up for herself, or Noooo! when the hero decides he must leave.  They spur me on by telling me which parts of the book they liked best, and by sending up a resounding cheer when we get to the happy ending.

But it’s not all plain sailing.  I always read my manuscripts aloud to myself, but reading the finished book to an audience is an entirely different prospect!  The writer in me always comes across a few bits that I’d change if I had the chance, and I have a tendency to laugh in all the wrong places, and to grimace during the more light-hearted parts of the story, because I know what’s coming next.  Watching their faces gives me line-by-line feedback, which is always a little scary!

It’s their kindness that keeps me going.  When my friend and her Mum say that they feel good after hearing the latest episode of the story, it makes the work that went into writing it pale into insignificance, next to the rewards.  And the feedback they give me helps me in the writer’s constant quest, to make the next book better than the last.

So – writers, am I alone in finding reading my own books aloud both a scary and rewarding process? And readers, do you prefer the professionalism of audio books, or the flawed warmth of an amateur?

And finally – let me share the covers of my latest release, out this month.  I’ve long wanted to write an archaeologist hero, but I find that whatever a hero can do, a heroine can do just as well!

9781474051507  31231  medical6

Burned in love, Dr. Matteo Di Salvo knows he should stay away from single mother Rose Palmer. But as he gets to know the beautiful English archaeologist, he longs to chase the shadows from her eyes… 

Rose is drawn to the handsome radiologist, though after her disastrous marriage, getting emotionally entangled is out of the question! But as the sun-drenched island of Sicily works its magic, she wonders if she’s finally found a man she can trust…with her heart and her son.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Quit while you’re still winning?

I was reminded the other day of a friend of mine.  When asked why he was moving on from a great job that he loved, his answer was, ‘I want to quit while I’m still winning’.

So what brought this particular piece of wisdom to mind?  I’d just finished my latest manuscript ( 🙂 ).  I was happy with the plot ( 🙂 ).  And I had a warm feeling in my heart for both the hero and the heroine ( 🙂 ).  Oh… and the manuscript was 63,000 words long  (Gulp!)

A few days later, after having some very stern words with myself and wielding a freshly sharpened red pencil like a sabre,  I was back down to 50,000 words – give or take a few.  And, although I’d just edited out quite a few of my darlings, I had to admit to myself that I was a lot happier with the finished product.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it.  You can have not enough of a good thing, but you can also have too much.  (Chocolate springs to mind.)  We’ve all watched TV shows that we loved for the first two or three seasons, but by Season 5 the magic had vanished.  I’ve never actually been on holiday for too long, but I’m told it’s possible 🙂  And I’ve come out of more than one film, wishing that it had been half an hour shorter.

[EDIT… and with my apologies for not making myself clear:  Some things in life are just too precious to quit, though.  For me, writing Medical Romance is one of them 🙂   ]

It’s a fine art.  Knowing when there’s still more to do and you need to keep going, balanced with knowing when this is the best something’s going to get and it’s downhill all the way from here.  And it takes nerve to quit while you’re still winning.  Last week I was very grateful for that 50,000 word limit, because it dragged me back into line and made me submit a better manuscript than if I’d been given free rein to ramble on for another 13,000 words.

So I’m starting to come around to the idea of quitting while you’re winning.  Not too soon – my optimism tells me that there’s always something good waiting around the next corner.  But maybe there are a few things which are better done in smaller measures.  What do you think?

I don’t have any new English language covers to show you this time around, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to show off a few recent covers from around the world, because it’s always such a thrill for me to see them.  Right to left, the French translation of my duo ‘Rescued by Dr Rafe’ and ‘Saved by the Single Dad’, the Italian translation of ‘Discovering Dr Riley, and the Polish translation of ‘Discovering Dr Riley’.