Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Where do the ideas come from?

Because I’m a nurse, when people find out I write medical romances they ask me if I use things that happen at work in my books. The answer to that question is always a very definite NO before I go on to explain that my readers would never believe the things that actually go on in a hospital. It is a case of reality being much stranger than fiction.

Then they ask “Well, where do you get your ideas from?” The answer to that question is always easy. I get my ideas from all the voices I’ve heard in my head for as long as I can remember. (Don’t tell my daughter, she’s a mental health nurse and she already gives me some weird looks when I try to explain my characters lives to her. I’m afraid she thinks I have imaginary friends.)

But it’s not really that simple. My ideas come from everywhere. Researching medical fields, watching TV shows, reading articles online and just being around people helps give me inspiration for my books. And sometimes I’ll have an idea for a future book come from another book I’m working on. That’s exactly what happened with my book, The Neurosurgeon’s Unexpected Family, that came out this month.

I discovered Hannah in my book, Sarah and the Single Dad, the story of a nurse practitioner who worked on a pediatric transplant unit. One of her patients was a little girl named Lindsey and her mother was Hannah. When I discovered that Hannah was a single mom working hard to provide for her daughter while making her own way through nursing school, I had to give her a much needed happily ever after.

And no one could be more perfect for her than Dr. William Cooper, an ice cold surgeon who is determined that he doesn’t need a family. Hannah had a lot of fun proving him wrong while he learned to take care of his baby sister. The single mom, fatherless child, orphaned toddler and her big brother were a motley crew, but I knew from the first chapter that they made the perfect family. Because no matter wherever my ideas come from, my characters always get their own unique happily ever after.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

My Idea of a Romantic Hero

Recently I was asked by my editor if I would be interested in doing a Q&A for the Mills & Boon blog. Of course, I was interested so I started going through the questions and there was one question that really sparked my imagination. What qualities would I look for in my dream romantic hero? Tall? Dark? Confident? Oh yes, I love all of these, but there is so much more to my romantic hero.

I grew up reading about the alpha hero. Powerful, rich, and worldly, he was as far from the world I knew as possible and if I’d ever actually met a hero like this I probably would have ran as far as possible. But still, doesn’t the image of that tall, dark, billionaire set our hearts pounding? I know it does mine.

But not every romantic hero needs to be an Alpha. The Beta hero can be just as dreamy, especially those intensely devoted doctors, such as the ones we find on our televisions each week. And has there ever been a more fantasy worthy hero than surgeon Dr. McDreamy?

Both of these types of heroes have great qualities, but I have to admit I find the qualities of a beta hero much more endearing. Caring, compassionate, and dedicated to helping others, now that is what I look for in a hero. And it is these heroes that I write about.

From my first book, From Midwife to Mommy, where Texas cowboy turned pediatrician, Trent Montgomery, leaves his home to take a job in Miami so that he can fight for custody of his niece Maggie to keep a promise to his brother (now that’s a hero),

to my friends to lovers book, Stolen Kiss with the Single Mom, where ER doctor Scott Boudreaux, is the man who is always there to support his best friend’s widow,

and to my latest book coming out in May, The Neurosurgeon’s Unexpected Family, where single doc William Cooper takes on raising his orphaned half sister, with a little help from a caring nurse,

my heroes are all brave men determined to take care of the ones they love while making a difference in the world. What about you? Beta or Alpha? Personally, I think I have room in my dreams for both.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Hoarding or collecting? I’ll let you decide

This year I decided not to make the usual new year resolutions. In the past I have made resolutions to better my personal life , resolutions to fulfill some of my dreams and resolutions to better my career both nursing and writing. This year I wanted to do something different. So instead of making a resolution, I choose a couple words to focus on this year.

The first word I choose was discipline. Now, there are many parts of my life where I hope to apply this word. Recently, I’ve used the power of the word to help me limit my social media time giving me more time to concentrate on my family and my writing. But right now I am having a disagreement with my family as far as my need to use more discipline in my collecting of books.

Now while I call it collecting, my children have been known to refer to it as hoarding. They love to tease me about the amount of books in my office and the pile next to my bed. They think I have a problem. Not being big readers themselves (yes I know I was a failure though it wasn’t from lack of trying) they don’t understand the thrill of holding a new book in their hand nor do they understand that special feeling you get when you pick up a book and remember the pleasure a story brought you in the past.

But if you’re reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you’ve experienced this and are probably a bibliophile like me. Only recently, I’ve discovered that someone who not only loves books but also loves collecting books and cataloging books is called a bibliolater.

So now I feel I have proof that instead of a hoarder, I’m a bibliolater. But before you make a decision let me show you some pictures of my library/office which is organized alphabetically by genre.

So what’s the verdict? Hoarder or bibliolater? I think we both know the answer.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Learning to Like Lemonade

I should be packing for a trip to Key West right now, only for the second month in a row I’ve had to reschedule the trip due to the tropical storms and hurricanes this year. Though I live in Florida, I’m over 700 miles from the keys and while our weather has been warm the water at the beach is getting cold so I was looking forward to some time on the southern beaches. Also I’d planned on doing some research for a future book set around a Key West helicopter rescue crew that I’m really excited about writing.

At first I was really disappointed, both me and my husband had managed to coordinate our schedules for the time off which doesn’t happen very often. Except for weekend camping trips, this was to be our first trip together in five years. And that’s when it hit me. Our last trip had been to a cabin in the Smoky Mountains where we’d spent hours on the back porch enjoying the views.

Fifteen minutes later I’d made last minute reservations at the only cabin I could find available that promised seclusion and amazing views.

The next day I was talking to my youngest daughter about the changes in our plans and she was telling me how much she is over this year, as we all are I’m sure. She challenged me to find a way to look at this last year with some type of optimism and to share it with her. I told her I would, but to be honest I’m not sure there’s enough sugar in the world to sweeten all the lemons we’ve been given this year. It’s been a rough one. I’ve finally decided that instead of looking at this time as a whole, we just need to make the most of all the little things that have brought us pleasure this year and the small moments we’ve had to enjoy being with our loved ones even if it hasn’t all been in person.

So I’m putting away my bathing suit today and pulling out my winter clothes. This trip wasn’t what I had planned, but I’m determined to make the best of it. I’m even considering writing a romantic Christmas novella about a new divorcee and her hot neighbor whose a park ranger in the Smokies. And with views like this I’m sure I’ll find the inspiration I need.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

I miss earrings.

Yes, this seems like a small thing in this world, but to me this realization came at a time when I was searching for what I could do to bring some normalcy to my life. I was trying to decide if it was really worth putting makeup on when most of it was going to be covered up by my mask when it hit me. I hadn’t put on a pair of earrings in weeks. You see, wearing the same color of scrubs every day at work gets very old and most nurses find a way to individualize their look. For some its a special head band that brings them pleasure, for others its a bright pair of shoes. For me, it was my earrings. Deciding on which pair to wear was a part of my normal life, but with masks and goggles being the new work accessories wearing earrings has become impossible.

Now, you have to understand that the earrings I wear to work have to meet one specification. They can’t be expensive. For years inexpensive jewelry wasn’t an option for me. I have a bad allergy to some metals so that I have to stick to sterling silver or gold for my ear wires or studs. Fortunately, I discovered jewelry making a few years ago and now I can design my own earrings using metals that my skin doesn’t react to. Since I had never had a touch of artistic talent, I found this medium to be very rewarding. Not only do I get to design and play with pretty beads, but I also get to wear them too.

just a few of my favorites

Staring in the mirror that morning I tried to remember the last jewelry project that I had finished. I couldn’t. It had been too long. Fortunately I had a stash of beading supplies so as soon as I had a spare minute I started a new project.

And while I won’t be able to wear the necklace to work, as soon as things get back to normal I will be wearing these new earrings. Until then, I’ll just have to settle on making more fun pairs to wear later. Because like books, you can never have too many pairs of earrings.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Gift of Life

While during my days off I write stories to give my own version of heroes their happily ever after, during the day I work as an RN in a position called the House (that’s what the staff calls the hospital) Supervisor. Not long after I took the position, I was lucky enough to have one of the donation recovery organizations invite me to visit their headquarters in Virginia. It was a visit that opened my eyes to how donations after death touch so many people. From transplants to research, most of us know someone that has been impacted by someone else’s gift after death. While there, I got to meet the people at the facility doing amazing research where by using 3D printers it may be possible in the near future to actually produce a liver from donated hepatic cells. The possibilities are endless and it is all because someone is willing to give the gift of life to help a stranger that they probably will never know. It was this selfless gift that inspired me to write my latest book. Sarah and the Single Dad shows how a young father’s need for a miracle to save his son helped a mother make the decision to donate her own son’s organs and what happens years later when they meet again.

David was the perfect single dad of a little boy who is a heart transplant recipient, but still there was something missing in both of their lives. Fortunately for him, there’s a stubborn nurse practitioner waiting for him in Houston, Texas, who is the perfect match for the two of them.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Unexpected Journeys

Like a lot of us, I was looking forward to doing some traveling this spring and summer. And while I’m disappointed that most of my plans have had to be canceled, I know it’s for the best. So earlier this week when I found myself a little down, I started going through old pictures from trips I’ve taken in the past. I enjoyed reliving the trips to Disney I’ve taken with my family, trips to New Orleans with my best friend and other trips such as the one to Times Square in New York last year where I got to sign my debut medical with Harlequin Mills and Boon, From Midwife to Mommy.

But I also realized there are many more trips I’ve taken over the years. The first one I remember was when one of my teachers read the book The Secret Garden to my class and I was carried away to the Yorkshire moors. Since then I’ve been on trips to Middle Earth with elves and hobbits, trips to other planets, and even trips back in time where I’ve fallen in love with handsome Vikings. I’ve visited cowboy ranches, beaches on deserted islands, and castles in Europe. And while I might never have left my home while I took these trips, because of some great authors I’ve been able to have some experiences that I never would have been able to have any other way.

So if you’re like me and are feeling a little down about canceled plans this year, go through those pictures or pick up a new book and enjoy the journey.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

No One Understands a Booklover like another Booklover

I’ve been rushing around all day trying to get everything ready for my trip to Nashville to attend the Book Lovers Convention next week. It’s something I look forward to every year with a count down that begins months earlier as me and my best friend start working on our costumes for all the different parties. Of course, this year is going to be a little different as I’ve just found out that I will be signing for the first time at BLC and there lies the problem I’ve been faced with this week. Not that I’m not excited about signing books as an author. It’s what I’ve dreamed of for years, but still a part of me wants to be that reader standing in line waiting for the doors to open so that I can fawn all over my favorite authors as they sign my books and I’m struggling a bit to find out exactly where I fit in now. I know, it’s a terrible problem to have, right? Of course, it’s also only a problem that another booklover would understand.

I’ve been a booklover since a teacher read The Secret Garden to me in elementary school. Suddenly it opened up a new world for me. There were places that I could travel to in a book that I didn’t even know existed. But the surprising thing was it wasn’t enough for me to read the book. I wanted to share the book with everyone else. Unfortunately, I found that not everyone understood this need I had to talk about the books I read.

And then one day I met someone who loved books just as much as I did. By this time I was the mother of four great kids and I was working as a Labor and Delivery nurse (I’ve since learned that a lot of nurses read. Believe me, the escape we find in books is just as good as therapy and much cheaper). We soon became the best of friends and now we’re more like sisters. And it was our love of books that brought us together.

A few years later, after trading books and talking for hours about our favorite authors, we discovered the Romantic Times Convention and before we knew it we had made friends not only from our country, but from all over the world. We had found our tribe, a place where we belonged and where it was safe to talk about the romance books we loved. It was a booklover’s heaven.

And now, for the first time, I’ll be attending as a published author. I’m excited and scared at the same time and I know that the experience will be a little different this year, but surrounded by all the other booklovers I’m pretty sure it will still feel like heaven.

Do you have a special place where you go to meet up with other booklovers? A book club or an online group? I’m always looking for other booklovers and I’d love to hear about them.

And if you love best friends to lover stories like I do, check out my March release, Stolen Kiss with the Single Mom, where best friends Scott and Lacey share an unexpected kiss after a terrifying moment in their New Orleans emergency room.