Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Springtime and Mother’s Day

At least, it’s springtime here in the U.S. and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, though I know my friends on the other side of the world are enjoying the coming of autumn, instead! 🙂

The emergence and beautiful blooms of spring flowers feels bittersweet to me, as it was my mother’s favorite time of year and I feel her absence, especially since this weekend is Mother’s Day.  An avid gardener, she dreaded when her flowers would get zapped as winter approached by what she called, in a dramatic voice, “The black hand of frost.” So descriptive! 🙂 The first signs of spring made her beyond happy. She planted bulbs in abundance, and adored when her woodland flowers bloomed.

After she passed three years ago, I transplanted some of her flowers to my own garden. The trilliums and forget-me-nots, the bluebells and Jack-in-the-Pulpit and  Solomon’s Seal all blooming now make me think of her and smile, at the same time it makes my heart ache that we can’t walk through our gardens together, or go to various nurseries, or enjoy the several botanical gardens nearby the way we always did. But I remind myself that all those memories mean she’s still here with me, doesn’t it?

Here are a few of the transplants from her garden.

And then there are my own flowers. The azaleas – wow, they are gorgeous right now! And my lilac I planted about five years ago – it’s not quite as fragrant as the old-fashioned ones my mother had, but the flowers are spectacular.

And then a few other things blooming right now–allium (one of the few things the deer don’t munch on!) and lily of the valley, which I love, and which has gotten so thick and lush, filling in the large space I was hoping it would like.

And this pretty little thing which I planted last year and can’t for the life of me remember the name of. Will have to dig in the shed for the little plastic insert, as I expect I still have it. Unless someone knows and can tell me?

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So, as I write this and look at the photos, I realize that spring flowers make me a lot happier than sad, and I’m blessed to have had a gardener mother to pass her love of flowers on to me.

How about you? What spring flowers grow in your world, and what are your favorites? Are there any that always remind you of someone you love or loved? I’d like to hear about them, and any special memories you carry with you.

I have a new release out this month, titled Tempted By The Brooding Surgeon. I have to say, I do love my hunky, brooding hero! 🙂 Which do you like best, the Harlequin cover on the left, or the UK cover on the right? xoxo

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I can still say Happy New Year, even though January is nearly half over, can’t I? 🙂

It’s been both good and bad for me so far. Had a crazy busy but very nice Christmas, with all three of my young adult kids spending the night here Christmas eve, which I loved. The tree went up very late – barely a week before Christmas, but it got done! Our favorite uncle that we visit in San Diego stayed here for a week, and when youngest came home from college, we got the tree. It stood naked for days, but finally got dressed for Christmas.

 

 

Then we had a DDD New Year’s Eve party – Dance, Drinks, and Dessert! 🙂 My hubby was quite excited about this, working on his dance playlist for a long time. Then he put our disco ball in the ceiling, which definitely added to the party atmosphere (can you tell he’s serious about parties?)  The young adults showed up, too – my daughter and her fiancé, two of his friends, and my nieces, which definitely added energy and fun! Our neighbors won a gigantic bottle of champagne which they brought, and that added to the fun as well 😉

 

 

So, on to 2018! We put our world back to normal and I finished the revision work I always do on a printed-out copy, ready to apply it to the computer manuscript. Which takes quite a bit of time, since some of my notes say things like ‘Better’ or ‘More’ 😉  Then what happens? I slipped and fell on our driveway, and broke my wrist. AARRGH! It happened last Monday, and is miserably handicapping, not to mention painful. But I’m lucky that it doesn’t appear to need surgery unless the bones shift, so keeping fingers crossed about that! It’s making finishing the revision extremely difficult, but my lovely editor has said to take whatever time I need, which I appreciate.

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Lastly, you might have seen that Mills & Boon has redesigned their book covers,  point of sale design, and promotional items for 2018! Here are a few of the covers, and the cover for my May release – what do you think?

M&B New Design

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How has your 2018 been so far? Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year 🙂

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Things that make me happy

I’ve struggled with writing this year. Not sure of all the reasons, but I know the main one has been anxiety over the political climate in the U.S. and the bad news all over the world that keeps becoming worse news. It makes my gut churn and my heart ache, and it’s hard to write love stories with happy endings when I’m feeling that way.

I decided something had to change. And since I can’t change all the other stuff, I started focusing on things that make me happy. Things that make me smile and feel good. And it’s working! 🙂 I’m having a lot of fun with the book I’m writing now, thank heavens.

With the goal of feeling happy in mind, I’m sharing some of that happy with you. Here are photos of things that make me smile.

 

The autumn color here wasn’t as beautiful as usual, for the most part, probably because the weather has been strange (very cool in August, then hot in October!). It didn’t help that we had lots of rain this past week, which knocked leaves off trees that were turning. But here’s one that put on a show, anyway. The colors make me happy.

AutumnTree

Last month, my husband and I were at my favorite place – his uncle’s house on the beach in San Diego. I absolutely love it there. There’s nothing like the steady sound of the ocean and soothing feel of the breeze to make anyone feel calm and at peace. There’s also nothing like the amazing sunsets when the horizon is clear of clouds. Nothing makes me happier than waking up with the sounds and scents of the sea.

SDSunset

We’ve been to several family weddings this year, which were wonderful, especially because I got to spend time with all three of my kids together, which doesn’t happen often enough any more. Here are my three offspring spiffed up in their finery 🙂

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And speaking of weddings, my daughter is engaged! Apparently the thing to do these days is take engagement photos. Here’s one of them – I think it looks like a romance novel cover! 🙂

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Here’s the bluebird that has decided to stare at me through the window in my office. I think he’s been battling the bluebird he sees in the window, which is why he has an angry look in one of these photos 🙂 But lots of time he just relaxes there. And who wouldn’t feel charmed and happy with a bluebird by your side?

 

And speaking of wildlife staring at me while I’m working, this doe seems to be asking for me to bring her a treat, doesn’t she? 🙂

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And then there’s our silly cat. He’s supposed to be my son’s pet – his friend’s cat had a litter last year and he couldn’t resist the kitten cuteness, even though we told him not to bring it home! So of course, Anakin is here now even though my son is back in school in an apartment. But we lost our old cat last month, so I have to admit that having this one around makes me smile. He likes to ‘help’ me write, and also believes he should take up the maximum amount of space possible 🙂

 

 

While there are lots of other things that make me happy, I’ll close with a few photos of a drive my hubby and I recently took through country roads. It was a beautiful day, and the huge combines were everywhere harvesting corn. I wasn’t able to catch a photo of corn pouring from the chutes into trucks practically overflowing with it, but it was a sight to see. And then there was the new, green, winter wheat. A lovely sign of next year to come 🙂

 

 

One more thing to be happy about? My tenth release! THE SPANISH DUKE’S HOLIDAY PROPOSAL is out this month. It’s part of the Christmas in Manhattan series with books by Janice Lynn, Alison Roberts, Amalie Berlin, Amy Ruttan and Susan Carlisle.

Here’s a photo of my book with me holding my 10th book pin from RWA 🙂

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Here’s hoping for you to feel a whole lot of happy too, starting right now! xoxo

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Summertime Busy!

Summer is always a busy time around here, but this year has been extra crazy! It started before summer, with my youngest graduating from high school. It was a beautiful day! Then lots of yard work and flower-planting and food preparation for his party the following week. Here are the two of us, then him looking at me grumpily, asking why I’m taking so many photos 😉

 

After that, I went to an out-of-state wedding by myself to see my cousin’s daughter get married. Then, as a family a week later, we spent four days in Atlanta, Georgia for our nephew’s wedding. Here are my three kiddos dressed in their finery. It was a really fun time with lots of family from all over the country.

Ari,James,GeoWeddingBefore the wedding, my husband asked me how I felt about having a Summer Solstice dinner for a few friends, and I said “Uh, sure…” not paying attention to when that actually was. Which turned out to be two days after we got back from Atlanta. So there was a bunch of stuff to do for that, and it turned into 16 people somehow, but we had a really good time. Here’s a photo of a bit of the sashimi appetizer some gourmand friends brought to the party, and it was amazing! And here’s a photo of all the cleanup left for the next day – unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the actual food. 🙂

 

I was finally able to get going on my new book, but lots of interruptions have made it slow-going. For the past 26 years, ever since we got married, we’ve had an annual July 4th party. So we couldn’t exactly have this be the first year without one! Here are the menfolk admiring the chickens on the rotisserie, and my hubby, after getting the chickens on and before guests arrived, taking a moment in the pool on our new floatie – Pegasus 😀 My goal is to get a hilarious picture of myself on that thing, as I haven’t experienced it yet.

 

And next week, we’re having an engagement party for our daughter and her fiancé to introduce the two families. I shared the pictures of him popping the question on my last blog, but here are a few of the engagement photos they’re planning to use on the wedding website and Save-the-Date announcements (weddings seem more complicated than in the olden days!).  I think they all look like they could be a romance novel cover! 🙂

 

And after the engagement party, I’m off to Orlando for the Romance Writers of America Conference. So you can see why I’m struggling to get this book written!  How’s your summer been?  Fun, busy, relaxing, or all of the above?

Robin xoxo

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Wedding Coming Next Year!

A couple Sundays ago, my daughter texted her father and me to say she and her boyfriend Kyle would like to stop by that evening to show us something, and would we be home?

We were tempted to throw a bottle of champagne into an ice bucket, but figured we should wait to see for sure exactly what they wanted to show us! But we had a pretty good idea, as a couple months earlier, Kyle had contacted my husband and me, asking if we’d meet him at a coffee shop. Looking very nervous after initial chit-chat (and we were feeling nervous, too!) Kyle asked for our blessing to ask Arianna to marry him. While my husband privately felt they’re too young, I pointed out that must a father thing, because they’re both 25, have been dating three years, have college degrees, and good jobs 🙂 Kyle said all the right things to make our hearts happy and put a little tear in our eyes, (not to mention that he’s a really wonderful young man) so we gave our blessing.

Fast forward to a couple months later, and Arianna thought they were just going hiking to a beautiful spot near here with Kyle’s dog, Kyle’s sister Lauren, and her dog. But he and Lauren had it planned out, and she snapped photos of him proposing to Arianna, capturing my daughter’s reaction.

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Awww! Isn’t that beautiful? I’m really happy for both of them. Arianna is our oldest, and our first wedding, so this will be exciting! Stay tuned for me likely torturing you about it in the future (they’re planning on it happening summer of 2018). 🙂

So here are a couple more photos of the happy couple, and Kyle’s dog who doesn’t seem terribly impressed by the whole thing. 🙂

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Any advice you can give me regarding planning a wedding? Pitfalls, things to include or avoid? I’d love your input! xoxo

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Green and Black Thumbs

Gardening and growing plants is in my blood. My mother, grandmother, aunts, uncle and cousins (all on my mom’s side of the family) were (and are) avid gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts. As a teenager, I used to propagate plants under grow lights in our basement then sell them at garage sales after they’d grown. I can’t imagine I made much money doing that, but it was fun and any cash when you were a teen was good money, right?

My husband’s father also loves plants, and has a solarium attached to his house. Every plant inside (and there are a lot!) go outside for the summer, which is quite an undertaking! While my hubby doesn’t share the same enthusiasm as his dad, he does believe in taking plants out of the house so they’ll grow as large as possible. Not always a good thing!  This huge cactus that he grew as a start from his father’s cactus finally got so giant, there’s no way it’s leaving its current spot. I wish I could show you the spectacle of my sons, my daughter’s boyfriend, and my husband wrestling this very heavy and prickly thing into the house last summer!

And this candelabra cactus is less than half the size of one we had that inexplicably died last year (both also from starts). At first I felt bad about the big one turning brown and going kaput, then remembered how many times I’d been vacuuming and got sharply stuck in the rear by the stupid thing as I bent over 🙂

Most of the plants live in this sunroom in the winter. The room feels pretty empty in the summer, as the furniture goes outside, too. But it’s a very pleasant room to write in when it’s cold outside and the sun is shining!

While many of the plants thrive, I have to admit to failures in addition to the big candelabra cactus, some of it through inadvertent neglect, and some for other reasons. My poor little cactus garden was ignored too long and most of them died, with only these few left. It used to be so cute! But this jade got moved outside too early last year and was zapped by frost, slowly dying bit by bit ever since. It’s a sad sight, isn’t it? Clearly time to say goodbye, especially as we have another large one that’s pretty healthy.

These beautiful phalaenopsis orchids are so easy to grow and love to bloom and bloom! Then there are the standards every house has to have – the long, trailing pothos.

How about you?  Green thumb or black, or somewhere in between? Do you have a favorite plant you like to grow?

By the way, I have a new release this month! It’s called BABY SURPRISE FOR THE DOCTOR PRINCE and it’s part of a duet with Amy Ruttan called Royal Spring Babies. I really like the North American and UK covers, but the Australian one? Not so much – the scruffy guy just doesn’t cut it as my handsome doctor prince, as far as I’m concerned! 😉 What do you think? Which do you like the best?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Growing up camping in our 1932 trailer

Any of you grow up camping? I believe that living for a time with nature instills a love of the woods and streams and the outdoor world in a way that’s different from anything else.  My hubby did not camp growing up and still doesn’t care to, and although he appreciates and enjoys the outdoors, too, I believe it’s different for him than what it does for my soul.

My experience was slightly unusual, in that we camped in a 1932 vintage trailer that is now rare.  Called a Gilkie, they were designed by Warren Gilkison and built in Terra Haute, Indiana from 1927 to, I believe, 1947, and among the first pop-up campers built.  My mother grew up camping in one her uncle owned, and she remembered campers coming from all around the campground to watch it go up, as many had never seen anything other than tent camping before.  People often came to look at ours, too – it’s not very pretty, to be honest – many people asked if it was an old Army vehicle because it’s painted a forest green.  But it was common for people to question what it was, and what car the spoke wheels came from.  🙂

I recently brought it to my home after I sold my late parents’ house where it was stored. It hasn’t been camped in since 1988, when my parents took a summer-long trip out west spanning thousands of miles.  Here are two photos from then – one taken in Northern California among the redwoods, and one in Utah.

gilkiecaliforniagilkie-utah

Opening it up a few weeks ago was better than opening any Christmas gift 🙂  It was like looking inside a treasured time capsule – I had no idea what I’d find, and what memories it would bring. I found our old kerosene lantern, and I can still vividly remember how it smelled when it lit the camper at night. The worn, enameled bowls we’d washed our faces in, which made me smile. I wish I’d taken photos of them, as they’re kind of inaccessible right now!  It also made me really happy to see that it’s still in great condition – I was a little worried that after so many years unopened in my parents’ garage that mice or something might have gotten inside. But the Navy blankets from WWII were still on the beds, as were the old quilts, the metal boxes that came with the trailer for food storage, and the wooden boxes my dad had built to hold canned goods and such.  Here are a couple of photos of it folded.  It’s surprisingly compact, and larger inside than you’d think!

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And photos of it with the side double beds slid open, and the top raised, with my son at the front door, and me on the other side where the spare tire is. We weren’t terribly meticulous when we put it up, so the canvas isn’t pulled as tightly as it should be.

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Lastly, here’s my son sitting inside on one of the beds (this shows less than half of the inside). All my kids had seen it folded from the outside, and weren’t too impressed, for obvious reasons. Opened, they felt differently, and my youngest said, “This is a pretty genius design!”  Needless to say, that made me smile too. 🙂  As I plopped myself onto one of the double beds and stared at the ceiling, I remembered the sound of the rain on the canvas, the feel of the breeze on my face through the screens, the scent of that kerosene and the outdoors and the canvas, which smelled exactly as I remembered.

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So, here’s the tough part. Obviously, I love this trailer. I’d love to keep it in the family, have my children use it for another generation. Realistically, though, I can’t imagine that happening. My 22 year old son ‘wants’ it, but who knows where he’ll be or what he’ll be doing in the future? Will he want to deal with the fact that it has a unique hitch?  Get it the new tires it needs? Will he have a place to store it? Right now, it’s tucked into the back of our garage behind a small car, but it can’t stay there forever.

So, I’m thinking I need to give it a new home, either to a camping retailer showroom where camping enthusiasts can enjoy seeing something from the olden days (I have one interested) or a private owner who would love it and use it (my parents’ old neighbors want it). Will I regret it if I sell it? Maybe. And then there’s the question of what price to put on it – there isn’t one for sale in the U.S. right now that I can find. It’s a niche market, but someone may want to pay a lot more for it than the neighbor is offering. In fact, I saw a 2011 blog on a Model T enthusiast website where someone had paid $1000 for one that was in literal tatters and all bent up, and were planning to restore it.

SO. Any advice for me?  And were/are you a camper, or not?