Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Why strong women need to write about strong women in fiction by Fiona Lowe

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Out now in print and eBook (Aus & NZ) and in AUDIO for the rest of the world.

I’m writing this on International Women’s Day on the back of being asked to pen an article for the Australian press on why it’s important for strong women to be writing about strong women in fiction. So I thought I’d share the article here, but without all the ads.  I’ll pop the link in too  just so you know it’s legit 🙂 https://bit.ly/2TPVLJp

Fiona Lowe’s new book looks at the reasons why Australia needs strong women

“When I finished high school, the contraceptive pill had been around for twenty years and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch had been out for a decade.

But the messages about careers from my private girls’ school were mixed. I’d been placed in the science stream. I was expected to go to university. But when I announced I wanted to be a park ranger, I was given a “dose of common sense.”

At an interview in the late 80s, I was asked how I could possibly manage working and studying full-time as a student midwife when I had a husband. Apparently, he’d starve without me.

The generation of women following me received a very different message: you can have it all — a high-flying career and a family. That message is as flawed as all the others preceding it.

“To be a captain of Australian business you are 40 per cent more likely to be named Peter or John than to be female,” leading workplace expert Conrad Liveris said in a report that went viral in 2017.

Women continue to do a larger percentage of domestic chores irrespective of whether View More: http://sarataylorphotography.pass.us/fiona-fridaythey work in paid employment, as Annabel Crabb demonstrated in her book The Wife Drought. These two issues, along with many more, are why I write about strong women living ordinary lives and facing extraordinary challenges.

I receive letters from readers sharing their own life adventures, many similar to my characters. This sort of connection with fiction normalises experiences and helps women know they’re not alone. Women do most of the emotional heavy lifting and, no matter the generation, they face unrealistic societal expectations. As a result, they are inherently hard on themselves for perceived failures.

The four women in Just an Ordinary Family are no exception.

By and large, women are the emotional cornerstones of their family and community. We work outside the home, but a certain portion of our brain is always connected to the domestic sphere — the mental load. Who is picking up the kids? Delivering food to sick parents? Buying the gift for the fifth birthday party? Or as GP Libby Hunter in Just An Ordinary Familydiscovers at breakfast as she’s racing out the door to work, it’s yellow day at school and her daughter doesn’t own a single piece of yellow clothing.

Life’s a constant juggle and balls get dropped. Instead of blaming themselves, I want women to fight back against learned behaviours and look at the division of labour in their family. I sew these seeds in fiction. We don’t need to do everything even if we feel we should. I’d love it if someone reading Just An Ordinary Family took away something from Libby and Nick’s teamwork in parenting and division of household tasks.

With Australia’s current childcare arrangements, more women than men are questioning the impact of their career choices on their children, although I also sense a shift in younger fathers. Is this why many women are stepping back from the less-than-family friendly corporate world? Jess, the career single mother in Just An Ordinary Family faces this dilemma. She has chosen to relocate and start her own business so she can to work around her young son, however this decision too comes with its own set of challenges.

And what of women who are childless by choice or circumstance?

Alice Hunter was working for her partner’s company when the relationship broke down. She found herself out of a job and a home. At thirty-four, a time when women are expected to have their life under control, society views this as failure — no children, no career, no money. This impacts on self-esteem and mental health. A single, childless man is not scrutinised with quite as much judgment.

Older women are also challenged by societal expectations. Post-menopausal women become invisible. Try getting served in a technology store!

When a woman has defined herself by her career and her mothering, the loss of both can leave her floundering. Karen Hunter doesn’t particularly want to retire, but at sixty-five she is feeling that pressure. She enjoys being a grandmother but she’s raised her daughters so surely there’s more to life?

In Just an Ordinary Family, I’ve explored four women trying to live their best life against a backdrop of expectations, loss, betrayal, heartache and regret. Sure, they make mistakes — we all do that. It’s what we do with those mistakes that counts. This is why portraying strong women in fiction battling real moral and ethical dilemmas matters.”

So what are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

7B300F51-F2BD-4F6E-8AE7-C954131659B9Meanwhile, for a bit more information about Just An Ordinary Family,  my meaty saga about family, friendship and the complexities of modern relationships, head on over to my website  and read the blurb, an excerpt and some reviews. For photos  of the setting, check out Pinterest.

For readers outside of Australia and New Zealand, you can LISTEN to Just an Ordinary Family on Audible in your region.

JUST AN ORDINARY FAMILY

Liane Moriarty meets Jodi Picoult in this tensely negotiated story of family ties, betrayal and sacrifice.

Every family has its secrets…

Alice Hunter is smarting from the raw deal life has thrown her way: suddenly single, jobless and forced to move home to her parents’ tiny seaside town. And now she faces an uncomfortable truth. She wants her twin sister Libby’s enviable life.

Libby’s closest friend Jess Dekic has been around the Hunter family for so long she might as well be blood. She’s always considered herself a sister closer to Libby than Alice ever could be…

Libby Hunter has all of life’s boxes ticked: prominent small-town doctor, gorgeous husband and two young daughters. But when she is betrayed by those she loves most, it reveals how tenuous her world is…

For Karen Hunter, her children are a double-edged sword of pain and pride. She’s always tried to guide her girls through life’s pitfalls, but how do you protect your children when they’re adults?

As the family implodes, the fallout for these four women will be inescapable…

Bestselling Australian author Fiona Lowe wields a deft hand, creating utterly addictive storytelling that will have you questioning your own perceptions of what family is.

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Bushfires are not supposed to happen in spring…

Down here in Australia, I live in the south and that means colder winters and wetter springs than the northern states.This week, as we’ve been enduring a cold snap as chilly as winter, our friends in the north are battling bushfires. I can’t post photos as they are copyright but to fully understand, click here.

Although bush fires are common in Australia, they are not common in spring. They tend to happen during, and at the end of, long hot summers. They also don’t happen much in Queensland due to the flora. But, years of drought and its devastating effects are changing our environment and the world’s climate is changing, making for a seimsmic shift in how we experience natural disasters. My heart goes out to the people who have lost loved ones and lost houses — their lives will never be the same. Sadly I know this from being a couple of handshakes away from bushfire victims, from being a nurse who cared for burn victims and from the extensive research I did for my novel, Home Fires.

So what can I do from my damp home in the south ? I can donate to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army I can reach out to friends who live in the areas and check they are doing okay and I can post pretty pictures of my spring garden to try and give people a lift when the mental load of helplessness gets too heavy.

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

North To Alaska by Fiona Lowe

I’m just back from Alaska and I have walked into a storm of work..edits on the next big family saga book.. and family stress…neither bad… but more things to do than I have hours in the day. None of it is helped by the failed USB stick half way through the massive 21st photo book for Boy Wonder and I lost 80 hours of work . SO, having the opportunity to blog and remember that I was relaxed on this recent holiday is a good thing. So here we go!

From the 7 days cruising up the inside passage to the 18 days we drove, flew and walked in mainland Alsaks, we gave the 49th state of the USA a really good crack. If you want to see glaciers, jagged snow capped peaks, sea life…humpback whales, orca, sea otters, puffins, bald eagles, a myriad of different gulls, sea lions and harbour seals…. and interior wild life…grizzly bears, moose, caribou, voles, artic foxes… then head on over. But do it fast. The glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate.

Fiona x

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Day of Appreciation For Women

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It’s Mother’s Day down here in Australia and I’m pretty sure it’s the same in the USA. I’ve always had a healthy skepticism about Mother’s Day, which is a day that can be fraught with disappointment and wrought with unrealistic expectations.  I learned early on it was important to ‘stage-manage’ the day so that I got the day I wanted.  If the weather was good, that meant a picnic or a bike ride 🙂

36876778_1943859195636256_9096832636638199808_nThis year, for the first time in 24 years, I do not have a child around to spend the day with and not even a husband, he’s at work, but that’s okay! I have a day planned and after yesterday’s huge day of two book talks 50 kilometres apart and dashing 100 kilometres to see Boy Wonder in a production of RENT, I’m thinking a nap might be on the agenda 🙂

Before I had my own children, I was a foster carer, an involved auntie and working with children in the community. I don’t believe this day belongs only to mothers but to women who care for others. Let’s face it, that’s ALL women. We’re the emotional touchstones of our community.

These days I’m writing longer novels about women and the issues in their lives using the skills I learned writing romance. There is always at least one mother in my books. In fact,   BIRTHRIGHT starts on Mother’s Day. I had a bit of fun there and one son’s infamous statement one mother’s day when he was 16 is now in print 😉

Currently,  Daughter of Mine, Birthright and Home Fires are only available in Australia and New Zealand but I am working towards publishing them myself  in the USA and the UK. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for when that happens, please drop me a line at fiona@fionalowe.com

How are you spending your day?

Wishing you a very happy day! Take control and make it your own.

Fiona xx

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

Hello, Everyone! Big wave!

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged here as when it was last my turn, I was on holidays in the UK. We enjoyed a few days in London, but the highlights were spending  an entire day with fellow medical romance author, Annie  Claydon, as she toured us around Hampton Court.

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Fiona Lowe and Annie Claydon

I was also able to attend the Association of Mills & Boon Authors luncheon and cocktail party where I got to meet LOTS of authors who, up until then, I had only met online. There’s medical romance author, Kate Hardy, front and centre in the red and holding the tickled pink banner.

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After all the excitement of party, party, party, it was time to work off the chocolate and champagne by cycling through the English countryside in the Cotswolds.  In case you didn’t know, the word, “wold” means hill and I can certainly testify to that! We rode up a LOT of very long and steep hills. It was a fabulous trip even if it did come with ALL the weather: blinding rain, headwinds so strong there was a point when I had to peddle DOWN a hill, sunshine and sunburn, oh and midgies….give me an Aussie fly any day than swarms of teeny-tiny midges that get in your eyes, ears, nose, down your bra; everywhere!

We saw some fabulous scenary and I sometimes thought I was back home in the western district of Victoria when I passed all the dry stone walls 🙂

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We cycled along minor roads with hedgerows dripping with blackberries, along bridal paths and canal tow paths and through so many picturesque villages, we started to get a bit blasé.

 

Time and time again, I felt like I was on the set of The Vicar of Dibley, The Holiday, Pride and Prejudice or Downton Abbey, and when we were in Lacock, we were where many of the Harry Potter movies were filmed. And, all those jokes about the Brits wearing green wellington boots and walking their dogs along country lanes? Well, it’s no joke, it happens! And they don’t ever have just one dog…minimum of three in the Cotswolds!

With the rise of the mobile/cell phone, the old red phone boxes are being put to good use as a central place for the village defibrillator! How cool is that? I also saw one as a community book exchange and in one village, a barista was working a coffee machine 🙂 57161DF7-5757-4AFC-9C54-CD75EA7DD778

Have you ever been somewhere real when you felt like you were on a film set?

In Book News, I am getting excited about my next big saga, HOME FIRES, which is out in Australia and New Zealand in February 2019. Instead of a family, this time I’ve tackled a community in crisis eighteen months after a bushfire. Sadly, due to climate change, more and more communities are dealing with wildfire (California as I speak and Canada has a long history too).

The silly season is about to gear up, so I want to take this time to wish you all a happy festive season and may 2019 bring you plenty of time for reading!  Fiona xx

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Tune out…Switch On… by Louise George

Tune out…switch on

Do you ever just switch off?

 

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In my last blog post here I told you about the amazing trip I was taking with my husband, which took in 10 countries in 9 weeks. We had a fabulous time; we ate, drank, walked…boy, did we walk! And we switched off.

Lots of people have asked us what the highlight of the adventure was for us and I unequivocally say it was the walk. Also known as The Way or The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, it spans the top of north western Spain. We covered 220kms in 10 consecutive days. Our feet hurt and our legs ached, but we pretty much smiled all the way (although that had a lot to do with how lucky we were with the weather!)

Picture2We met some amazing people, some of whom were walking the full 800kms on their own (although you can’t possibly be alone the whole time; there are far too many people to chat to along the way). On the day we completed our 220kms we were two of about 35 people who finished the walk that day. The numbers rise steadily through the summer to somewhere in the hundreds each day.

At the beginning we decided to document our walk on Facebook so our friends/relatives etc knew we were safe/uninjured etc. and because that’s what we do, right? But as the walk progressed we became less and less inclined to spend our down time in a new village/town searching for a decent WIFI connection (in the middle of rural northern Spain, this was a challenge) and then uploading photos etc…when we could be connecting with people and places we’d never seen before. In person. For real. And so eventually we decided to switch off. Completely.

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It was so lovely to spend time together just walking, chatting and exploring, not checking Facebook, not snapping photos because we thought they’d make an impression on Instagram. Not wondering who had ‘liked’ our posts etc… It was liberating and refreshing to talk to people and look around us in our little bubble; to notice things like how the snow crunched under our feet, how the wind felt on our faces, how free we were, and very lucky, to be able to do this. And it was so good not to know what was happening on the other side of the world/all the crappy things going on. It’s amazing how social media permeates everything we do these days.

Add to this the fact that a couple of weeks later I dropped my phone down a Russian toilet and couldn’t communicate with anyone digitally at all, my tuning out was now not deliberate but forced!! Having no phone was weird, (I use it mainly to take photos anyway)…but it was genuinely interesting to sit at a café or on a train and people watch. Mainly, to see people glued to their devices!! Also, to see people trip up, fall over or bump into others because they were staring down at their screens as they walked!!!

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So now I’m home I’m trying to take weekends off social media. Switching off and breathing, chatting, exploring…is that something you do? Ever had a digital detox? What do you think?

Louisa George is an award winning author of books with humour and heart.
RITA finalist. Allergic to housework. Zumba addict. Visit her website for a complete list of her novels, which includes women’s fiction, contemporary romance and medical romances.
Her most recent medical romance is, Reunited By Their Secret Son  Mills and Boon  Amazon US Amazon UK

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

And We’re Back! by Fiona Lowe

Happy New Year! Going by the world’s weather reports, you are either sweltering in a heat wave of epic proportions or freezing with an artic blast that is dumping you in  metres of snow and withering conditions. Welcome to 2018!

IMG_0316In Australia, it’s summer and after all the Christmas food frenzy, I am back exercising and alternating between swimming and running. I’m working summer hours, 9-3pm while the rest of the household is on holidays. Put it this way, I will shoot anyone who tries to take my noise cancelling headphones off me. After work, I’m catching up on movies, reading, entertaining and playing board games. The two new games are Settlers of Catan and Sequence. Next week, we’re off on our annual camping beach holiday where I plan to eat, sleep, walk, swim, sail, surf and cycle. Oh, and read. Lots and LOTS of reading.

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BOOKS!   My next medical romance isn’t out until May but never fear, I have other books available. I’m very excited to say that Daughter of Mine, my Australian-set family saga is now out in a second printing and this time in mass market paperback.  The Book Depository, with it’s free postage is stocking it. Squee!  So no matter where you live in the world, you can buy it and it will be shipped to you 🙂

Daughter of Mine is a novel about family, secrets and lies and how you can live in a family and never really know your relatives. It’s about mother-daughter relationships and sisters. Australian Country Magazine says, ‘A sweeping Australian novel of lost love and tangled family secrets…’ and the Weekly Times says,This is a readable and thoughtful book. It has winner written all over it.’ Read the first three chapters here.

KGEF0782Birthright, my next big novel is about family and this time it’s also about money. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a relative’, is a popular saying and scratch the Jamieson family just a little and you’ll uncover secrets,  betrayal and revenge. It’s out on Feb 19th but it’s up for pre-order. 🙂

If you live outside of Australia or New Zealand, then The Book Depository is your only option. For the ANZACS, preorder it from your fave book store, either physical or online. You can read the first two chapters here.

So my January is some work and some relaxation. What do you have planned?

Fiona xxx

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