Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

And the winner is…..

Good morning everyone! Apologies for being a day late – I know you all have been on tenterhooks waiting to find out the poll results (the one about the tropes).

Image result for fairytalesUnknown.jpeg

AND – the answer is – I can’t figure out who answered what. There goes my career at the office for statistics!

HOWEVER…there are TWO people who got the first question right and we have two books to send out so…whoever answered PERFORMER to the pick the real trope question – you have just won yourselves a book! If you could either comment below and/or get in touch with me with your mailing details via annie@annieoneilbooks.com that would be absolutely fantastic. I would like to send a special shout out to everyone who answered Monkey in a Hurricane because that was my very own specially made up trope – but I think I am going to start writing it and making it real.

Now for the other results:

Question two asked which one you thought was a fake romance and nearly all of you selected right – Nun. It is not a popular romance trope. Turns out, it pretty much only worked for Maria von Trapp (Mother Superior really had called it when she slapped the flibbertyjibbet label on Maria, didn’t she?)

Unknown-1.jpeg

Question Three asked your favourite princess and she is: Cinderella! Nipping on her heels were Rapunzel, Snow White and Lara Croft – who had a fleeting lead – but lost it in the end (tight shorts aren’t ALWAYS the answer, ladies).

images.jpeg

Then we had out dreamboat heroes and the winner is: Prince Charming! He had an impressive lead over The Beast, Other (Gaston and Charmer got votes), Romeo and Brad Pitt came last! Imagine that.

On to favourite tropes: Tied at number one was Enemies to Lovers and Fake Engagements! (Note to self: write next book as a fake engagement between enemies who become lovers). Taking a close second is Forbidden Love and lagging behind was the Love Triangle. None of you didn’t like the Love is a Myth idea…I was deeply unsurprised by this.

Out of my favourite tropes you went for: Reunion, Military, Jilted bride then cowboy. There goes my jilted cowhand story (hee hee!)

And finalliy – tropes that make you a little bit sick? No heroes teaching our girls the ways of love. We’re not stoopid! Really bad boys, scarred childhoods, friends to lovers, amnesia in heroines (but heroes could – you better check out Louisa Heaton’s library – she’s got a boy who had a conk on the head) and here was a new one for me – heroes and heroines who are TSTL – Too Stupid to Live. That made me laugh. Oh! And a final shout out to the lover of Betty Neels physicians who always had a ‘vast person’ in her books (Neel-speak for Tall and Broad).

Thank you all so much for participating in the quiz. It was great fun. Please do get in touch if you guessed the ‘performer.’ Otherwise – there will be more quizzes in the future!

Today is publication day for me, so if you fancy a new duet – here they are! All the best everyone, speak soon xx Annie O’

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Do you speak the language of love?

Unknown-1.jpegUnknown.jpegUnknown-2.jpeg

Hello there everyone,

Seeing as our American pals (and a Scot and a Kiwi) are en route to the Romantic Writers of America Conference…I thought today would be the perfect day to take a little quiz. It’s easy, I promise.

You’ve all heard of tropes, right? A writer’s shortcut for describing a situation in a novel to a reader -a Cinderella Story, a modern day Romeo & Juliet… In other words – it’s an elevator pitch (“Jaws in Space” Can you name that film? Spoiler alert – it’s Alien.)

I always think I’m a trope free zone, but it turns out this simply isn’t the case. It seems virtually nothing is original.

Moulin Rouge? Prostitute with the Heart of Gold (ditto to Pretty Woman)

The Princess Bride? Woman in Peril

PS I Love You? Matchmaker/Widow/Better as Friends/Dead Man Writing/Hapily Married/Mess of Woe/Romancing the Widow/Reunion Kiss/and on and on and so on and so forth, but…

WE SIMPLY CAN’T GET ENOUGH!

We love love and the harder we have to work for it the more rewarding, tear-jerking, heart-thumpingly fabulous it is!

So…take a little trip down Trope Lane and let us know what you think

And PS: There’s a duet of Italian Royals in it for the person who comes up with the best FAKE trope and an Annie Claydon special (think Sizzling Hot Single Dads!) for the runner up!

 

If you’re aching to work your way through some royal books with jilted brides, runaway bridesmaids, working for the boss (times two!), reunited, redemption and opposites attract…why not take a gander at my book out this August: It’s a duet…by me! xx Annie O’

Thumbnail-1.ThumbnailServlet copy.jpegThumbnail.ThumbnailServlet.jpeg

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Chic Sheikh…and how I saw him…

I had a great experience last year: writing my first ever continuity with five other Medical Romance authors. Paddington’s Children’s Hospital. For me? Terrific fun.

Apart from just working with the rest of the women, which was wonderful, and feeling like a global coffee klatsch, I also got to write my first Sheikh (which I loved) and my first Fictional Desert Kingdom (I now want to vacation there).

unknown-2.jpegIt was with that story that I started doing something that now really helps my writing…I changed my desktop image. It all started when we started a Pinterest page and now I CAN’T GET ENOUGH VISUALS.

This is the first one I used: It’s for Idris’s (our beloved, grief-stricken, darkly enigmatic Sheikh) Palace. I wanted his palace to feel more like a home. He has a young daughter who his world revolves around and is not about the trappings of being a billionaire (which he is). But it doesn’t mean it can’t be amazing! Thank you architect Sami Angawi for designing it. I would move there in a heartbeat.

Now…I also like to have pictures of my hero and heroine’s visual inspiration tucked up in the far left hand corner of my screen. This is who we have:

unknown-31.jpeg

Aren’t they gorgeous? And for those of you television watchers out there – it is Rudolph Martin (NCIS fans will remember him) and, of course, Jessica Capshaw from Grey’s Anatomy fame.

AKA: Arizona Robbins.

unknown-4.jpeg

The next big step? The magical desert kingdom. Nothing like a little stroll on the beach to get the romance flowing! And the creative juices. What do you do to set your mind on fire? Sometimes all it takes for me is a word. Or a pomegranate. Right now? I’m all about the visuals…and sometimes…that’s no bad thing. Enjoy!

images.jpeg

healing-the-sheikhs-heart.jpg

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

….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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Santiago’s Convient Excerpt!

medical3 Hola everyone! It’s time to salt up your margarita glass or down a Cuban coffee as it is Valentino Brother o’clock. I’ve got an excerpt here from a couple of chapters in. There has already been a “meet” between our hero (Santiago) and heroine (Saoirse – pronounced Seer-shuh)….but only during work hours.

The action has moved to local Miami Cantina, Mad Ron’s where things are a bit more relaxed…or are they? (I think I might’e messed up the spacing on this so apologies in advance!)

 

“Here you are, mija.”

Saoirse reached out both hands to take the iced glass, loaded to the brim with a freshly whizzed margarita. With salt. It was a take-no-prisoners cocktail and about as well deserved as end-of-day drinks got.

“Your parents named you well, Ángel!” She gave the bartender a grateful smile. It had been a lo-o-o-ng day. New Year’s Day celebrations seemed to have lasted two weeks in Miami. One of their patients had only been adorned in a swirl of glittery tinsel. Didn’t he know it was bad luck to leave his decorations up so long? Or take quite so many little “magic” pills? It was one way to start the New Year with a bang. His girlfriend had looked exhausted.

“Murph!”

She looked up, scanning the growing crowd, eyes eventually landing on her friend Amanda waving to her from the entryway to the patio, arm crooking in a get your booty over here now arc. She took a huge glug of the margarita, convincing herself it was to make sure the drink didn’t spill as she wove her way through Mad Ron’s Cantina to the picnic-table-filled, blue-tiled garden area already overflowing with well-wishers for Joe. She’d been lucky when she’d landed him as a mentor in her work-study program. The guy had seen it all. Not to mention the fact that, forty years on, an ambulance had helped him accrue a vast pool of friends. The place was heaving.

“Hey, girl! What took you so long?” Amanda gave her one of those American half hug things she was growing to like. Irish people weren’t huggy like this, but after the day… No. Make that the year she’d had? The blossoming friendship was a much-needed soul salve.

“I wanted to stop by the hospital to check on a patient.”

“Oh? Bit of a hottie, was he?”

Saoirse snorted. Mostly to cover up the fact it had been the roadside stranger she’d been hoping to see, not the tattoo-covered vet they’d saved.

“Not so much. But he’d been out a long time—cardiac arrest—and I wanted to see what his recovery was like. Curiosity. Never seen a guy make it through who’d had over twenty minutes of compressions.”

“You did that? Twenty minutes?” She blew on her fingers in a color-me-impressed move.

“Don’t be mad!” Saoirse waved away the suggestion, trying to shake the “the mental image of Mr. Mysterioso’s very fine forearms as she did. She had a thing for forearms and his had launched straight to Number One on the Forearms of the Week list. Not that she actually kept a list or anything. She blinked away the image and forced herself to focus on Amanda. “No mad compressions for me. I would’ve stuck my magic electric shockers on him straight away.” She made her best crazed-scientist face to prove it was true.

“You’re such a diligent little paramedic, aren’t you?” The verbal gibe was accompanied by an elbow in the ribs.

Saoirse jabbed her back and laughed. “Hey! Don’t be shortist!”

“As long as you promise not to be tallist!”

They clinked glasses with a satisfying guffaw. Amanda towered over Saoirse and rarely missed a moment to comment on her friend’s diminutive stature. Just about the only person in the world who could.

A swift jab of pain shot through her heart at the memory of her fiancé—ex! Ex, ex, ex! Ex-fiancé resting his head on top of hers. To think it had made her feel safe! What a sucker. She shook off the scowl the memory elicited and replaced it with a goofy smile when she saw Amanda’s questioning look. The woman had laser vision right into her soul. “Wouldn’t it just be my luck to come across the lippiest desk nurse in the whole of Miami?”

“Not everyone’s prepared to take all your blarney, Murph. Fess up. Why were you really at the hospital? Don’t tell me you’re a margarita behind the rest of us just because of quizzical interest. You got exams coming up or something“?

Saoirse avoided the light-saber gaze her friend was shooting at her and took another thirst-quenching glug, a shiver juddering through her as the ice hit her system.

“Oh. My. Word.” Amanda’s eyes were well and truly cemented across the heaving garden. Saoirse’s shoulders dropped. Phew. Dodged a bullet. Looked like eye candy had saved the day.

“Three o’clock,” Amanda murmured. “Tall, dark and too freakin’ sexy for the word sexy. I’m going to get a cavity in my eye from the sweetness of this man. Murph—what’s better than sexy?”

Mr. Mysterioso popped into her head and quite a few words jostled for pole position. “Edible? Scrumptious? Lip-lickingly perfect? Luscious?”

Hmm…there was a bit of a food theme going on here. Couldn’t have anything to do with the perfect caramel color of the knight in shining motorcycle gear’s forearms, could it?

“Luscious,” Amanda repeated, her voice all soft and swoony. Was she remembering she was happily married?

“Three o’clock?” Saoirse had to at least take a glimpse. Looking never hurt, right? It was the feeling part that hurt—and she wouldn’t go down that stupid, heart-crushing path again.

Her eyes flitted from face to face, none of them fitting into the knee-weakening territory Amanda’s stranger clearly dominated. “I can’t see him!”

“Get up on the picnic bench, then.” Amanda didn’t wait for Saoirse to protest, all but lifting her up and aiming her toward the entryway. “You’ve got to get a look. This guy could fill up a calendar all by his lonesome. Then they’d have to make up some more months just for fun… Can you imagine it? Mr Yes-Ma’am-uary!” She gave a military salute before giving Saoirse an additional prod to hurry her up on her quest to steady herself on the bench seat.

“For crying out loud, Amanda. Quit your pushing, will you? I can get on the bench by myself—Oh…”

They said lightning never struck twice. But that had been disproved. And today was blasting another hole in the theory.

“You see what I mean?”

Did she ever? And when Saoirse’s eyes connected with the object of their evaluation…she needed to get down from the bench. Quick smart.

“He’s all right. I’ve seen better.” Saoirse jumped down and took another spine-juddering slurp of her icy drink. Her jets needed cooling. Big time.

“You’ve gone mental.” Amanda’s jaw all but dropped in disbelief. “The man rocks it!”

“Rocks what exactly?” Saoirse went for a dismissive snort and ended up cough-choking. Awesomely sexy. Not.

Okay. So she didn’t really need to ask the question because she knew exactly what he rocked. And it wasn’t just her boat. He was rocking her tummy. Which was currently doing some sort of loopy ribbon-twirling fest thing with the half of margarita it had inside it. He was rocking her heart. Which seemed to have kicked up a notch—or seventeen—in the pace department. Her entire nervous system was experiencing a takeover as if he were playing a goose-bump xylophone along her arms…then down her back and in a sort of heated swirl around her—

“Uh.” Amanda pressed a hand to her friend’s forehead. “Are you sure you weren’t at the hospital to make sure you aren’t going clinically insane?” She drew out the last word just to make super sure Saoirse knew her friend thought she was nuts. “How on earth are we ever going to find you a hot boyfriend to marry in the next two months if your taste in men is so weird as to not find that amazing specimen of a man…?” Her hand shot out in a pointy gesture and made contact. With a chest. A chest Saoirse had already had the good fortune to stare at for some length of time earlier that day.

Amanda’s jaw dropped again.

“Miss Murphy. We meet again.”

“YOU KNOW HIM?

That’s what Amanda’s wide-eyed look said. And then she said it out loud for good measure.

“Ha!” Saoirse barked. “No.”

Saoirse’s eyes darted between her friend and Mr. Mysterioso. This was awkward. Why wasn’t the earth being kindly for once and swallowing her up in a freak sinkhole incident? Now would be a pretty good time for Mother Nature to intervene if she was ever going to show her largesse. She hadn’t bothered when her fiancé had left her standing at the altar like a complete and utter ninny in a ridiculous meringue of a dress… Well…it had rained a lot so it had masked the tears, but Hop to it Mummy Nature—now’s your chance to make things right!

“Santiago.”

He stretched his hand forward toward Saoirse, who ignored it, and then to Amanda, who—after exclaiming how fun it was that he was a lefty—took it, gave it a stroke with her other hand to check for a ring and shook it in slow motion, all the while mouthing to Saoirse “You know him?”

“Santi, if Santiago’s too much of a mouthful.”

The comment was aimed directly at her. And elicited some images that would’ve sent a nun straight to the burning flames place.

Saoirse drained her glass. It wasn’t ladylike and rocketed a brain freeze straight to the neurotransmitters that would’ve helped her with witty rebuttals, but…tough. Mr. Created-for-Calendars here had made an impact and she’d been working long and hard on the impenetrable fortress built around her heart, not to mention her—ahem—golden triangle. Or whatever it was called these days. ”

 

Excerpt From: Annie O’Neil. “Santiago’s Convenient Fiancée.” iBooks.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

An Extra Slice of Gratitude Pie (and a dollop of Thank You)

For those of you who weren’t aware, I’m a Connecticut Yankee living in Queen Elizabeth’s Court (and by court…I sort of mean…well…the whole of the United Kingdom). It sure doesn’t stop me from celebrating American Thanksgiving, though.

This year – as we try to do every year, was full of firsts. We had our first Canadian, who was celebrating her first Thanksgiving (Canada has one, too – just a bit earlier in the year). This was the first year  I was brave enough (in the twenty-odd years I have lived in the UK) to put MARSHMALLOW on top of my sweet potatoes (smash hit – just sayin’. It was worth the gamble). It was the first year I didn’t go all control freaky and I actually accepted an offer from someone to make the pies (DELISH!).

But what got my little heartstrings a stretching the most – was something my husband and I started as our own family tradition (my family never did this)…where we went round the table and had to say what we were grateful for. In a crazy display of NOT Britishness – the Brits took to it like ducks to water. Not only taking their turn to be grateful, but saying it STANDING UP and with a spoon microphone (natch – always makes things jazzier).

And me? I got to go last. I was grateful for the friends we had, the pie we ate, the gigumbous turkey I will be making sandwiches out of until Christmas and very grateful for my entry into the magical world of romance writing. I have my moments where it’s tough, but I love it. The readers, the writers, the characters I hate to say goodbye to, the ones I can’t wait to see the back of – all of it! So thank you for being there. I’m grateful for you. (And for leftovers. Yum yum). All the best and see you soon! (oh, and if you’re dying for a Christmas read – my latest book – The Nightshift Before Christmas is already out. Hope you enjoy). xx Annie O’

51MIfsWAAdL._SY346_.jpg

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Tempting Christmas Tidbits!

51MIfsWAAdL._SY346_.jpg

All through the hospital…magic was stirring 

It might be Christmas, but Dr. Katie McGann would prefer to bury her head in her work than celebrate. Until her estranged husband Dr. Josh West strides into the ER, turning heads and making her heart flip. 

Two years ago their world and their dreams ended, and they had to part. But Josh vowed never to stop fighting for his wife, and with the clock about to strike midnight he knows he has one last chance to heal Katie’s heart…one kiss under the mistletoe at a time.

’twas the book before Christmas….or at least one of them. 

Some of my absolute favourite romances and films are set in the holidays. Nothing says magical to me more than the time of year when we truly concentrate on what means the most to us: the people we love of course! (And chocolate covered caramels).

Here’s a little teaser from my book out on November 1st…enjoy!

‘Okay, people! Listen up, it’s the start of silly season!’

‘I thought that was Halloween?’

‘Or every full moon!’

‘First snowfall?’

‘Hey, doc? Is that where your locum tenens is? Stuck in one of the drifts?’

‘He won’t last long in Copper Canyon, if that’s the case. A man needs snowtires.’

‘A woman just needs common sense! I follow the snowplows! Got them tracked on my phone!’

Copper Canyon’s Emergency Department filled with laughter. Impressive considering they were down to a quality – but skeleton staff. Never mind the fact it was almost always one of the busiest weeks of the year. The town was full of holiday visitors and the ski resort up the “hill” always had an emergency or six their small clinic couldn’t handle.

Katie scanned the motley crew who would see her through Christmas Eve and, for some double shifters, into the Big Day itself. Valley Hospital was no Boston General, and that’s just the way Katie liked it. The facility was big enough to have all the fancy equipment, small enough to be able to give the personal touch to just about everyone who walked through those doors. And if they needed an extra hand, there were always the Emergency Services guys up on the mountain willing to lend a hand. It wasn’t home yet…but she’d get there.

‘Thank you, peanut gallery. Time to focus.’ Katie tried her best to smile at the small, but vital crew all visibly buzzing with Christmas cheer. It wasn’t their fault she wanted to rip every bauble, snowman and glittery snowflake from the walls. Someone else took that prize. ‘Thanks for wearing your red and green scrubs by the way – you all look very…festive.’

‘Who doesn’t love Christmas, doc?’ A tinsel-bedecked RN quipped.

Me.

‘Right!’ Katie soldiered on. They were used to her grumpy face, no need for Christmas to morph her into a jolly, stethoscope wearing elf. ‘Just in time for the lunchtime rush, I’ve got our first Christmas mystery x-ray!’ A smattering of applause and cheers went up as she worked her way through the dozen or so staff and slapped the x-ray up on the glowing board with a flourish.

‘Any guesses?’

‘Why would anyone stick one of those up their –‘

‘I know! Especially at Christmas.’

‘At least it’s not a turkey thermometer. We had one of those last year. Perforated the intestine!’

The group collectively sucked in a breath. Ouch.

‘C’mon Dr. McGann, that’s too easy. Give us a hard one!’

‘Alright, then,’ she turned to face the cocky resident. ‘If it’s so easy, what’s your guess?’

‘Cookie cutter?’

Katie winced and shook her head.

‘Nope. Good guess, though. Try again.’

She joined the staff in tipping their heads this first one direction, then the other. It wasn’t that tough…

‘Tree decoration. Six pointed snowflake. My Gramma JamJam used to have one. It was my wife’s favourite.’

Katie’s body went rigid with shock as the rest of the staff turned to see who the newcomer to the group was. She didn’t need to turn around. She didn’t need to imagine who or what Gramma JamJam’s tree was like. She’d helped decorate a freshly cut fir in her old fashioned living room as many times as she had fingers on a hand.

As her thumb moved to check the most important finger was still bare, waves of emotion began to strike her entire body in near physical blows. She willed her racing heart to still itself, but every sensory particle within her was responding to the one voice in the world that could morph her by turns into a wreck, a googley-eyed teen, a blushing bride….

Dr. Joshua West. Her ex-husband.

Well. He would be her ex if he would ever sign the blinking divorce papers!

There’s your teaser! And, in advance, wishing you all happy holidays – in whichever form they come! x Annie O