Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

New Year? New You?

Hello there everyone!

Are you fresh in from a long run? Has your Christmas Fitbit clocked your steps yet? Just finished off tucking into that amazing Veganuary veggie burger?

Me neither.

But if so, huzzah for you! Goal setting is great and for me – it’s the New Year’s List that nudges me to try new things. I love it. It’s how at the ripe age of *cough cough* I rode my bike from Saigon to Hanoi. It’s how I managed to start and finish a book. It’s how I learned how to make doughnuts from scratch. (Well…that just might have also involved showing off a bit for my future husband!)

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This year…for probably the first year since I could read or write….I didn’t kick off with a ream of goals. VERY unusual for me. images-2.jpegWhilst the holidays were overall lovely (Santa brought the most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned, the turkey wasn’t dry, no family feuds or rifts)…I wasn’t really up to speed because I’d lost my beloved pooch, Jorjie Porjie Wiggly Bum Smorjie, and I found it really tough. As such – I’ve found it harder to look towards the future with my usual gusto – HOWEVER – I’ve just started writing a Christmas book and it’s definitely making my cockles warmer.

Another thing that’s cheering me up is that my February book – Reunited With Her Parisian Surgeon is ALL. ABOUT. YOU.

That’s right. Remember when we did those quizzes about a year ago with Annie Claydon and Susan Carlisle? You invented a hero (brooding Frenchman, Raphael Boucher) and our heroine (feisty Aussie redhead, Maggie Louis). You also gave them some dark pasts. (Sorry, folks. I had to lose one of the dead relatives, because there was a pretty high body count if I took all of the quizzes ‘wish lists’ into account). The story was to be set in Sydney and Paris. Which it is…but there’s also a road trip to Broken Hill! I really hope you enjoy it, because I had SUCH a great time writing it.

And next on the list? I’m going to sit down and pop a new bucket list of goals onto a legal pad. You can bet your bottom dollar there’ll be one certain entry: Write More Books! In the meantime, if you fancy seeing your poll results in action….here it is, in the new-look M&B format…Reunited with Her Parisian Surgeon!9781335663313.indd

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Leftovers…or are they?

I don’t know about you…but when I plan a big feast (for me it was Thanksgiving which we held late as I live in the UK and I can’t seem to convince Parliament to give everyone the Friday after off, but that’s another story)….when I plan a big feast, I also plan for the leftovers. The first year I made Thanksgiving with a friend she was HORRIFIED that I hadn’t bought a turkey big enough to feed my family, her family and then the two of us and our housemate for the next week. Horrified.

Now I feel her pain.

We even have a whole set of Thanksgiving fans who come over….JUST for the leftovers! We get a couple of baguettes, people make sandwiches, or have exactly what they had the night before (I even made my sweet potatoes with marshmallows for the first time ever! Note to self: those don’t really play well on Day Two).

Now, I don’t know about you, but…my favourite is the good old-fashioned Turkey Sandwich. I like it with some cranberry sauce, some stuffing (my mother’s recipe…always my mother’s recipe…loads of onion, an embarrassment of butter, some toasted bread, walnuts, celery, little bit of this and that….delicious). I can tend to eat turkey sandwiches for about a week before I max out…or the crab and stuffing run out. But I’ve also made turkey stroganoff. Turkey curry. No one needs and excuse to finish pie. For the record, the pecan always goes first, no one but me eats the pumpkin (except this year my friend Charlotte confessed to a closet affection for it) and, just to be wild I threw apple into the mix.

Do you have any left over dishes you adore? Anything wild and wonderful you do with that half bowl of mashed potatoes, staring up at you…pleading for you to do something magical with it. Croquettes? Potato pancakes (aka latkes)? Mashed potato on your finger while deciding which pie to eat?

I know it sounds excessive…but this is a waste not want not scenario. I love my in-laws but they do not do leftovers and actively planHer Knight Under the Mistletoe to not have them. We also sell beef and whenever I am selling someone a joint or a piece I know they are planning to have on a special evening I always ask, and will you be wanting leftovers? Got any great left-overs recipes? Feel free to throw them my way.

Here’s a quick note about something new….I have a new book out in a couple of days…Her Knight Under the Mistletoe! I hope you enjoy it. (There is never a Christmas story I don’t love writing).

xx Annie O’

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Turn, turn, turn….

As I typed the title, I just realised I could be writing about turning pages (which is something I hope you all want to do when reading a medical romance), but I was actually going to write about the leaves turning into the glorious, magical shades of autumn. As all of our Antipodean friends are enjoying the lush, first fecund flushes of Spring, I am absolutely beside myself with the arrival of autumn. I LOVE IT.

I love getting to wear turtlenecks.

I love the arrival of Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

I love the Pumpkins (especially the blue ones and, as my fellow writer, Amalie Berlin, just reminded me there is an actual Cinderella Pumpkin. (Which just may be that mahoooosive pumpkin I spotted at my parent’s local grocery store. It was over 500lbs!).

I love that my typewriter has started typing pictures. And that my editor (see top middle pic) had a chance to meet me for lunch where they serve espresso the same way they serve tequila. The tomatoes that insist on ripening (or not as in the case of some of them).

Sunsets get better. Honey gets harvested. I love the nights closing in and thinking about lighting the fire. The cows will come in soon. I have legitimate reasons to start thinking about baking an excess of cookies. And wearing cosy clothes. Aaaaand…most of all I love reading. This year my To Read Pile is IMMENSE.

Oh!

And did I mention I’m going to meet a pal from New Zealand in Saigon and we’re going to ride our bicycles to Hanoi? There’s that as well. All busy and exciting.

What’s happening in your neck of the world? If anyone can inspire me to start working on the quilt I’ve been promising to make for the past *cough cough* years, You win a prize! xx Annie O

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).

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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?)

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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).

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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?

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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’

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.