Excerpts

The Bush Telegraph, by Fiona McArthur

Hello again and welcome to the Love Is The Best Medicine Blog. Fiona McArthur here.

Today, I’d like to chat about The Bush Telegraph, my latest Penguin contemporary romance fiction. I loved the setting and the people in this book so much it was hard to let them go. If you haven’t been to outback Australia, and I’m talking past Longreach, which is twelve hundred kilometres from Brisbane, across to Winton, and further to Boulia and down the back way to Windorah (a loooong way) then there’s some amazing Australia you still need to see.  If you possibly can, then I sincerely hope you manage to do so. If you have or can’t, enjoy the visions though my eyes and meet some amazing people in the book and I wish you an experience you will never forget. I thought I’d share an excerpt from Chapter 2, because it talks about the distances from the point of view of eleven-year-old Bridget, and I loved being eleven again. Love Fi.

The Bush Telegraph

Chapter Two

Welcome to MiddletonPopulation one?’ Bridget’s mother slowed the car as she read the sign out loud. ‘Gotta love outback Queens- land.’ 

Her mum smiled, but at eleven years old, Bridget felt more horrified than amused. As she stared at the poo-brown emptiness, she couldn’t believe she’d been born out here somewhere. 

Soon they drove past the roadhouse/pub, the only remotely house-like building in the sad excuse for a town. The wide gravel drive held two dark cars out front like two black teeth in a yawn of boredom. 

‘There’ll be more people at Spinifex, Bee. And it’s only for twelve months. Don’t worry.’ 

Bridget looked at the tin roof radiating heat and couldn’t help imagining an egg sizzling sunny-side up. It was so hot! 

Her mother said, ‘A hundred and fifty years ago, this was a changing station for Cobb & Co horses between Winton and Boulia.’ 

Bridget sat straighter at the mention of horses. One of the possible upsides of her mother’s nursing contract in western Queensland was the chance that she could have a horse – her mum had said she’d think about it. She couldn’t have her best friend, Millie, or any of the friends she had on the island, but maybe a horse . . . 

Bridget pressed her face to the window again and stared at the single-building village. ‘That has to be the smallest town ever.’ 

Her mum laughed again as she sped up out of the ‘built-up- area’ speed zone. It wasn’t funny, but at least one of them was in a good mood. Bridget couldn’t even begin to compare the last town they’d passed through after driving for hours, Winton, with Lord Howe Island. 

She wanted her old world with people she knew. Not this empty world. She’d seen Darling Harbour, the zoo, lots of places really, when she’d spent holidays on the mainland while her mum had been nursing there. Bridget was still in shock that they’d left the island where she’d grown up. 

She couldn’t believe she wouldn’t be going back to the Island Central School, where you didn’t have to wear shoes if you didn’t want to. Out here, she’d bet her feet would burn right off if she went barefoot. And they’d be here for twelve months! Year Six had been the year she’d been looking forward to. She puffed out a worried sigh. Finally, she’d be a senior girl, but now she’d be in a new school, with people she didn’t know. What if they’d all learned stuff she hadn’t? 

This place out here in the centre of Queensland would be horrid. These huge distances you had to sit in the car for. Long, straight roads that went over the horizon and then over the next and the next. Her gaze tried to stop the shimmery mountains wiggling like mirages in front of her. This just felt all wrong. 

‘Look at the baby emus!’ 

Her mum’s words shifted Bridget’s dark thoughts and her eyes widened. Wow. ‘The mother emu’s so tall.’ The flightless bird’s long neck turned to look at them with suspicion as the car slowed again and her spotty followers quickened their pace. 

Bridget laughed out loud at the three speckled emu chicks as they trotted beside their mother parallel to the road. 

‘The landscape’s changed a lot since yesterday, hasn’t it, Bee?’ Mum offered the obvious statement. 

Bridget’s brief excitement died. Der. 

They’d flown into Brisbane, a city like Sydney, where they picked up her mum’s almost-new car and their sent-ahead belongings. That had been exciting. 

Last night they’d stayed in a long, skinny cabin at a place called Longreach. She knew why they called it that – it had taken ages to get there. But they’d had pizza delivered to their little house at the end of a row of tiny overnight houses, and that had been fun. 

But that was last night. Now they were approaching their destination from an angle Mum said even she hadn’t seen. Bridget hoped they were on the right road. Granny usually gave the direc- tions if they drove anywhere. 

A pang of too-recent loss tightened her throat. How odd it felt, to have just Mum and her on the road, and it would be even stranger to be in a house on their own. 

Their home on the island with Granny had always been full of friends. Bee loved impromptu parties, and when Mum flew out to work for the week Bridget had always had Granny and company. 

Bridget remembered the funeral, the day they’d poured Granny’s ashes and special tree oil into the hole under the fig. What had they called it? A Living Legacy Planting Day. Something about converting ashes into living molecules that would help the tree grow, like the circle of life. Weird. But it was what Granny wanted. 

There was something comforting about how Granny could be a part of the magnificent tree she’d always loved outside her beach house on the island. Bridget could see in her mind the little plaque staked in next to it with Alma Toms written on it. 

Granny was still on Lord Howe.
Bridget wasn’t.
Bridget sucked air through her teeth and turned to face her mother, trying to get the message across. ‘It’s different from the island.’ 

There’d be no dashing off to follow a lizard into the bush. No sitting on a high rock watching the waves. She spread her hands. ‘It’s so empty. So far between places. We can’t tramp around the place, like we’d normally do on the island.’ Tramp. She sighed – that was what Granny used to say. 

The words made her remember everything she’d be missing all over again. There would be no Granny. No beach. No ocean. This was the never-never, like in the books she’d read at school. With the heat and dry, where Mum said people died in the desert. 

‘There are other things to do.’ Her mum waved at the window. ‘Though exploring out here in the hot sun isn’t safe. Promise me you’ll remember that. And if you ever decide to take off without telling me’—she gave her a stern look—‘you have to also remember that without water or shade, your life will be in danger.’ 

‘I’ve got it, I promise, Mum.’ Like she hadn’t said that before. ‘Don’t go anywhere without telling you. Shade. Water. But what will we do when you’re not working?’ Bridget’s worry made her voice crack. 

The silence stretched. Even her mum couldn’t think of anything at the moment. ‘We’ll have an adventure,’ she finally said.

‘Small towns and gossip go together like trees and birds.’

It’s been more than ten years since Maddy Locke left Spinifex, the small outback town where she gave birth to her daughter, Bridget. Now she’s back to prove she’s got what it takes to run the medical centre and face the memories of that challenging time in her life. But everything’s changed – the old pub is gone, her new colleagues aren’t pleased to see her, and it’s drier and hotter than ever.

Station owner, Connor Fairhall, thought he’d left the drama behind in Sydney, but moving back to Spinifex with his rebellious son, Jayden, hasn’t been the fresh start he’d envisioned. His brother, Kyle, is drinking too much and the only bright spot on the horizon is meeting Nurse Maddy, who’s breathing new life into the weary town up the road, little by little.

Can Maddy ignore the rumours about Connor and risk her heart again? Or will the bush telegraph spread along the wire fences and stand in the way of trust?

From Australia’s renowned midwife and bestselling author of The Desert MidwifeThe Bush Telegraph is a romantic drama about love, friendship, community and the joys and challenges of life in the outback.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Maeve’s Baby – An Outback Brides Book by Fiona McArthur

Waving from Australia, and hope this finds you all well and safe. Thank you for having me on Love Is The Best Medicine. Especially on the FIRST SATURDAY blog. I’m honoured.

Just for fun – I have a ten minute you-tube video talking about this book which you can click on if you’d like to hear it. Or you could skip and read on.

 

The book I’d like to introduce you to today, isn’t one of my Harlequin Medical Romance, but it is a Medical Romance Western and just as much fun. It’s from an American publisher called Tule Publishing.

I actually think Maeve and Jace are two of the most enjoyable characters I’ve written. They jumped off the page, never stopped talking, each amusingly original, dedicated, but hurt from the past in their own way. Of course, there are babies born, like all of my books.

I know my love of this book has a lot to do with my love of all the characters in Wirralong, our fictitious Australian town, and the smile I get when I think of the other Australian authors in now, our third series. How wonderful is that!

BTW My Holly’s Heart from Series 1 won the NZ Koru Romance Book of the Year 2019 and now Lacey from Series 2 is a finalist for 2020 in the Koru. Both are available in print and ebook. Please wish Lacey luck.

As I said, my joy comes from the fact our little bride’s town is a place I feel comforted to visit, with strong, wonderful people. To be able to return, and in my case meet old friends like Holly and Ben and how they’re going, catch up on Lacey and Cameron and cheer the progress of their children, it really is like visiting family on holidays. I think that’s the best part about series romances. Do you enjoy a series? I’m addicted to them.

Just saying, all the Wirralong Brides makes me smile. The town makes me feel warm.

I hope Wirralong makes you feel warm, comforted, safe and surrounded by friends. Wishing you quiet happiness and contentment in your life, and joy in your books. I thought I’d share  a fun part that I always think about when I think of my latest Wirralong Bride, Maeve’s Baby…

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Excerpt from the book

By eight twenty his daughter was asleep. He agonised over the late hour and decided any time before nine was acceptable. And he’d said he’d ring.

He took himself into his bedroom and dragged the pillows into a tall pile and leaned back against them.

Okay. Crikey, he felt like a teenager asking a girl for a first date. He’d already kissed Maeve. And she wasn’t scary.

Except today, maybe. The thought of her standing on two steps glaring down at him made him smile.

He pressed the call button.

The phone rang six times before she answered. He knew. Because he counted the rings.

‘Lucky this isn’t a video call,’ she said.

Jace felt the relief bubble up as laughter. He leaned back more loosely into the pillows with a stupid grin on his face. He loved she just launched straight in without salutations. ‘Why’s that?’

‘Guess where I am.’

‘I hope not,’ he said.

‘No. Not the ladies. I don’t take the phone to the ladies.’

He hooted. ‘Good to know. Where are you?’

‘I have no clothes on.’

He stilled and somewhere a hot flame licked between his legs. Just like that. With five words. ‘Is this one of those phone-sex calls?’

He heard her snort down the line. ‘I’m in the bath. There’re bubbles. So, you can’t see anything. And it’s certainly not phone sex.’

‘Damn.’

‘You’re late.’

‘The horse book I read took ages. Jemima is now asleep.’

‘So, what is this call about, anyway?’

‘I was thinking …’

‘So much better than just reacting,’ she agreed piously, and he wondered if she was talking about today. He would not get side-tracked.

‘At work, we are Dr Jace Bronson and midwife Maeve McGill.’

‘Observant, aren’t you.’

He refused to be derailed. He’d been working this out. ‘Then there’s me and you, Jace and Maeve.’

‘Hmm.’ She was listening. After a short pause she said, ‘And?’

‘I was thinking Jace and Maeve could talk at night before we go to sleep. Thought we could try tonight, and see how we go.’

There was the sound of bubbles and splashing.

‘Are you okay?’

‘I was just thinking underwater.’

He had to smile at that. Picturing that. Nice picture.

She splashed then said, ‘It’s lucky I bought one of those waterproof phone cases, then.’

‘Did you know …’ he paused, his face cracking into a smile as the idea expanded, ‘…there’s a bath here in this place for me, too?’

He heard a soft laugh. Sounded breathy to him. He shifted on the bed enjoying this way more than he’d thought he would. Finally, she said, ‘You’re saying we could both lie in the bath and chat? At night? In the dark?’

‘I hadn’t thought of the dark, but that’s a nice idea.’

‘Um. Then I’d have a full picture of you in my head, naked in your bath, with bubbles.’ A long silence, but he had the feeling she wasn’t finished. Eventually she said, ‘That’s pretty darn hot, regardless of the temperature of the water.’

‘Tell me about it.’

 

Maeve’s Baby came out 5th August. Grab your copy today from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.au | Amazon.uk

Kobo | Apple Books | Nook

Google Play | Tule Publishing Store

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Personally signed print copies can be purchased from Fiona’s bookstore here.

I do have a free ebook copy of Maeve’s Baby to send to someone – so do leave a comment and be in the draw. The draw question – Do you love Series romances? Why or what is your favourite part or series – Or even why not? I’d love to know.

Thank you as always, dear Love Is The Best Medicine community, and I will see you next month, for The Bush Telegraph, when my big book for Penguin Australia comes out.Xx Fi

If you’d like to learn more about Fiona and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect on FacebookInstagram and Twitter using @FiCatchesBabies.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Guest Post: Fiona McArthur

Waving to lovers of medical romance around the globe. It’s always so great to drop into your friendly blog-room for a guest appearance. Thank you so much for the invitation.

2020 is certainly a wild ride and I feel like this is the perfect time for me to reconnect with you and be a part of sending love and kindness to each other. Huge hugs from Oz.

Instead of talking testing and increasingly more tragic times let’s talk books, and those magical places you can ‘time-out’ and lose yourself in, for a brief respite from reality. These are my contributions to the bookshelf this year.

Publication-wise for me, so much has happened – 31st of March 2020 saw the launch of my second author published book. How cool is this cover?  Choosing my own, different to anything I have anywhere else, cover and titles, is such fun. I love it. This book is still full of romantic heroes and strong women but with a freedom to be different. I invite you – Come on an adventure to the wilds of Papua New Guinea with Jacinta as she follows her jungle doc.

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And did you see Midwife On The Orient Express?  
That was my first foray into a self-published fiction book in Nov 30 2019. A trip with a difference and a great place to feel like you’re on an amazing journey. I loved this book so much and who doesn’t love luxury and dressing up.

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And also going strong are my big books in Australia. My seventh outback medical drama for Penguin Australia, The Bush Telegraph is out 1st September 2020. How gorgeous is this cover? And doesn’t she go beautifully with my set of new ebook covers. I just love them.

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But back to medical romance. Did you see my third in the The Midwives of Lighthouse Bay series for HM&B medical romance? A secret baby book with a difference. How sweet is this little girl in the pic?  Just like in the book 🙂

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And currently, well, I’m mentally in Barcelona, a place I visited before all this madness with Bronwyn Jameson – think Princes Of The Outback – and now it’s time to finish off my next medical romance for HM&B with my sexy dancing Spanish doc. Out in January next year. So, along with all our fab medcial authors, I’m hard at it to give you more.

And because I’ve been home longer than any time in the last ten years I’ve read more.

What have I read recently?

Giver of Stars- fab.
Where the Crawdads Sing – loved it
Full Moon Riing by Keri Arthur -loved it
Junkyard cats – so different – can’t wait for more of these.
Alone With The Stars – about Amelia Earhart – fab
Smoke Bitten: Mercy Thompson Series – just finished want more.

So what have you been reading? Are you listening to audio, ebook or print? Or have you taken up writing?  I’d love to know. One of the comments will win a bookfunnel ebook of Midwife In The Jungle with my warmest wishes to you.

That’s me, sending you healthy, happy and healing vibes for you and your loved ones far and wide from Fi on the farm (taken a couple of days ago) with love

xxFi  www.FionaMcArthurAuthor.com

PS. And a huge get well soon to our lovely reader, Helen Sibbritt ,who pops up on this blog and comments on this page so often. We love you, Helen. xx

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

December is upon us.

Hello there and happy December. My word it’s close to 2013.

The Christmas parties have started. This is me, our doctor’s surgery party, on the Junk at Port Macquarie. Such fun.

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The exciting news is I’m on long service leave from my other job and normally I’m trying to fit ten things in at once. I’ve four weeks off and go back on the afternoon of Christmas Day. With luck I might even get to catch a Christmas baby as well, but for now, I’m only getting out of bed when I want to for the next wee while. That’s pretty cool.

 

Apparently I have three hundred (300!) long service days owing to me – so – wow! I guess that means I’ve been in this little country hospital a long time.

 

So this year, in the lead up to Christmas, once this last bit of my 28th book falls into place, (I’m just at that smiley, Oh my goodness, I love this, point J) then I’ll be on holidays from writing too.

I’ll be really able do all those things I keep meaning to do every year before the end of the year but never get to. So excited about that.

 

What do you wish you could get done at this time of the year? Like Christmas cards, where did they go? I love Christmas cards (and the Christmas missive with all the family goss) yet the last two years I haven’t managed the satisfaction of achieving that goal. There’s something really cool about sending a card. All I managed last year was a quick return for those who sent to me – I mean you can’t miss those.

 

Then there’s the massive spring clean. With my youngest child officially an adult (in Australia that’s eighteen) there is a lot of sorting of accumulated unnecessary items. My husband has put his hand up to help make that happen before the end of December. I’m seriously excited about that.

 

But most of all I’ve got a to-be-read pile a mile high.

 

So it’s an exciting month, what have you got planned for December? I’d love to hear

 

Keep well and keep happy

Luv

Fi

xx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Why Fifty Shades Is Like Music

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I went to a sponsored dinner recently and on the table were little gifts. It’s everywhere. And I wondered what the secret is?

Have you read it? The book that everyone’s talking about? I know I heard (Courier Mail Aug 22 2012) that combining the three book sales comes to 2.7 million copies sold in Australia. Amazing when there’s just under 23 million of us. Every where I go, groups of women are talking about it. People who haven’t read a book for years have read all three. Is it the same where you live?

 

A man I met on the train was very derogatory about people who had read it. I wasn’t interested enough to ask if he had read anything in the last few years. My husband made a very good observation and I’d like to share it with you. He said ‘Stories and storytelling that people choose are really like music and musicians. So simple. I love that analogy.

 

Some people love classical, blues or country. Then occasionally, say a country star, shines so brightly that everyone falls in love with the song. And it doesn’t have to be the most technically exact performance, just strike a chord, or an idea, or a fantasy. 

 

Now as a very young thing I loved The Partridge family and thought David Cassidy was worth swooning over. I’ve belted out ‘I Think I Love You,’ (probably his most famous song) and still know all the words when it pops up on a CD mix one of my boys made for me. Or Ted Mulry, ‘Jump In My Car. (I did try to put the link in there but it didn’t transfer) It’s on u-tube though. Not many technical riffs, so not a ‘literary’ song, but the tunes like that, they make me smile, big grin smiles. Story songs.

 

My husband shakes his head. He likes Southern Rock, great drumming and fab slide guitar, when seriously I can barely hear the instruments unless I strain because I’m listening to the words. Listening to the story. That’s the draw for me.

 

Back to Fifty Shades. I know it’s fantasy, I find the concept intriguing, as a teenager I read The Story Of O, and again I’m so pleased I can satisfy curiosity from the comfort of my armchair. I’m only 56% through the first novel,  so my kindle says, and enjoying it very much. As usual I’m a bit slow jumping on the bandwagon here, but as a writer, it makes me think about what appeals and I really don’t think its all about the sex. 

 

To me, that’s just the platform that propelled the story into stardom. I think it’s a romance and a well written one at that but I’ve read other comments that weren’t in agreement. That’s okay, tastes vary, and I find it easy to read. It sold to 2.7 k buyers in one small country. And the draw for me is how the young inexperienced heroine can change him. I haven’t read much so maybe I will be disappointed but that’s what I’m looking for in it. 

 

So why do people like a particular book or particular author. And why do they dislike certain ones and feel so emotional about it they scream. There’s a whole load of books out there I wouldn’t read and others love. A bit like the different discussions about self-publishing or e-publishers who of course are appealing to lots of readers. ‘Long Live The Difference.‘ Just like in music. Different tastes are great…especially if you love a medical romance.  Love to hear your thoughts

xx Fi

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Gotta Love Vegas

Las Vegas

What a place –  Once visited never forgotten. 

Today, someone asked me if I would like to come with them to Vegas for a week. Not a great time for me to empty my piggy bank so had to regretfully decline – but it got me thinking – and remembering. Such a fun place.

I went with my mate, Bronwyn Jameson, before a conference in New York, more than a few years ago and we had a ball. Put $1 in a poker machine and that was me bored, but the sight of that city blew me away. And the heat, “110 degrees in the desert city,” the pilot drawled, as we went in to land. I remember the lines for the bus at the airport because 10,000 quilters were coming into town for a convention. My first real experience of waiting for a bus.

We hired a car for the day, the red mustang, of course (the one in the piccie),  and drove in the desert –  not off a cliff like Thelma and Louise (not allowed with a hire car)  – but the desert WAS spectacular. Not so much fun on the freeway though. Speaking of near death experiences Shopping was to die for and we nearly missed getting the car back in time because I was going berzerk with the visa card. I still remember Bron running for the door of the rental agency as I drove down the strip in heavy traffic.

So tell me. Have you been to Vegas? Never want to go there? Maybe can’t wait to get there, dream of it or dread it. Las Vegas is anything but whishy washy.

I’d really love to hear your thoughts or your stories. Please xx Fi

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Country Towns

Before I start… Just making sure EVERYONE knows FIONA LOWE was nominated for a RITA with her Single title for BOOMERANG BRIDE! That is soooo cool. Awesome news for a great medical romance author. Congratulations Fiona!!!

 

 

 

Well I’m the other Fiona. Fiona McArthur …And hello to all as I find my way into my first blog on our new site.

Small towns- you all know I love to travel and I just got home after a week away on the Gold Coast – so I do love coming home to my small town.

Things like when I went to the cake shop yesterday to pick up a cake for a midwife who was retiring.

You know, Happy Retirement, Annette, in purple (midwives colour – or color if you’re in the US) and a little pink plastic baby on the corner of the cake, pink diapered bottom up in the air, so cute. I digress.

Anyway, the lady behind the counter says, ‘Hello, Fiona. I haven’t seen you for a long time.  My daughter’s due in a few weeks. Hope you’re on when she comes in to maternity ward.’

Darn I wish I could remember that lady’s name (I really DO know her – just not her name) but will ask my friend, who grew up in this small town and is actually related either through her family or her husband’s to 90% of the people here.

Anyway, I was pretty chuffed. It’s very special that she feels she can trust her daughter to my care. (And they gave us the big size cake for the price of the small one we had ordered and it was truly scrumptious by the way) In return I will drop in one of my ‘Don’t Panic Guide To Birth,’ books because those last few weeks is when the nerves will kick in for any first time mum.

Anyway, point of story, it seems I was the midwife for her daughter’s birth “mumble, mumble”  years ago. I find that really, really cool. And I will let you know if I do actually work on her special day.

I’m sure it happens in the city too, especially birth centres, the midwives get to know a family when people come back for their second and third babies but here we know people, their histories, their tragedies and triumphs. The daughter’s of the teachers who taught your kids, (even the ones who hated your kids) the newspaper editors wife,  and the hairdressers. There’s always someone you know. No pressure of course.  So don’t stuff up, either.

My husband, retired this year after thirty years as a paramedic and he knows everyone, has either picked them up in his ambulance or been at a house when someone else was picked up, and it’s a long day in town if he goes to shop because people want to stop and chat.

But both of us wouldn’t change for the impersonal. I guess that’s why I so enjoy writing rural based midwifery stories and love to share those heart warming moments that seem to crop up so often in small country towns.

Big day at work today with lots of emotion and very familiar faces waiting for their baby to arrive. Guess that’s where this blog came from if you think it’s a strange topic for a blog when my new book out now, “Falling For The Sheikh She Shouldn’t” is such an exception to my usual romance environment.

It’s definitely not a country town setting. More international and great fun. My first Sheikh. Woohoo. Do let me know what you think. Have a great week.

Xx Fi