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.

K&A1

KyleProposing.JPG

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. 🙂

K&Akissing.JPGAriKyleHappyLaylaHH

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!

gilkiefolded-2

gilkiefolded

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.

gilkiegeofrontdoorgilkiemeback

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.

gilkiegeoinside

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?

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hi again!  As promised, here’s an excerpt from my September release, Reunited With His Runaway Bride.  I hope you enjoy it!

I’m starting a new book, and have a question! Is there a setting you particularly enjoy when reading a story, or is there a place in the world you rarely see a book set, and would like to?  Everyone commenting goes into the pool to win a signed print copy of my September release, and I’m happy to mail internationally. Thanks for your help! 🙂

Here’s the EXCERPT:

As she stared at his back, the memory of the last time they’d stood here together pinched her heart. She’d been so angry, so hurt, so confused, she’d yanked off the engagement ring he’d given her and thrown it right at him. The blinding, midday sunshine had caught the diamond, sending a prism of sharp white light searing across both of them just before the ring bounced off his muscular chest, pinged along the concrete and dived right off the side of the building.

At that moment, she hadn’t cared. Later? She’d felt a deep regret at losing that beautiful ring, and what it had meant. Or what she’d thought it meant. She wouldn’t admit it to a living soul, but for days after she’d searched the streets below, finding nothing but bits of asphalt and leaves and trash until she’d finally given up.

Probably, though, it was all symbolic. That ring had disappeared along with the future she’d thought she and Sean would have together.

She willed her feet to move toward him, reminding herself she wasn’t here to dredge up and rehash the past. Her goal was to be Sean’s friend tonight. To be a sympathetic ear after an unbelievably horrible day and uncertain future for Emma, not to mention the future of the baby who just might still lose his mother.

She moved to within a few inches of Sean’s side and gripped the railing, feeling the warmth of his arm near hers. Took in the scene in front of them, thinking about the disconnect of it all. How peaceful and tranquil it seemed compared to the churning going on inside her and doubtless Sean, too. To the life-and-death battles going on that very minute inside the hospital.

He didn’t move, didn’t speak, and she wondered if maybe he just wanted to be alone. But after looking for him the past hour, she was going to offer comfort if it killed her. Then leave if it wasn’t welcome.

“How are you doing?” she asked.

“Fine.”

Okay… She drew the cool breeze into her lungs and tried again. “What do you think about Emma’s prognosis?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. Liver laceration’s been repaired, ruptured spleen removed. C-section’s closed. Chest tube’s not draining any more blood, so they’ve removed it. Broken arm’s been put back together, and her broken ribs are going to hurt like crazy, but I imagine she’ll barely notice, considering everything else.”

He didn’t have to say the situation could still get worse fast. Why wouldn’t he look at her so she could see his expression? His tone was flat and emotionless, giving away nothing. It reminded her too much of the way he’d sounded after she’d told him it was over between them.

“Baby seems healthy, at least,” she said, forging on. “Remarkable, really.”

“Yeah.”

“Did Emma tell you what she’d decided to name him?”

“No.”

Not a surprise, really, since Sean had made his dismay over Emma’s life choices very clear, and she’d distanced herself from him the past months because of it.

“She’d decided on Wilson—your mother’s maiden name. She laughed about it, saying his uncle Sean would think it was a weird first name, but she plans to call him Will. I think Will Latham has a nice sound to it, don’t you?”

“Mom will like that.”

At least he’d answered in more than a monosyllable, but he still didn’t turn to look at her. Guess there hadn’t been much point in her coming after all.

“That moment in the ER when we thought we’d lost Emma. That was…” She stopped, because she couldn’t come up with a word even close to how it had felt. She knew how much he loved his sister, and pressed her hand to his warm back as she had earlier, thinking maybe that connection would help him let go and share. “That must have been incredibly hard for you.”

“Hard?” He suddenly swung to her, and the surprise of it had her taking a step back. He grasped her arms and pulled her flat against him, practically knocking her breath from her lungs. The dark eyes staring down into hers were again fierce, anguished, his features taut granite. “Damn it, Bree. You were in that car with her. It could have been you, too. You lying there dead on that table. I could have lost all three of you at once, in one second. Might never have seen my nephew, might never have been able to give my sister grief about her choices or her life again. Might never have been able to see your beautiful face and feel so mad at you I could barely keep from going ballistic. So angry that you left me I wanted to punch something.”

His voice cracked on some of the words before his arms wrapped tightly around her and his mouth came down hard on hers.

Bree curled her fingers into his scrub shirt and let herself feel every emotion in his kiss. The fear, the anguish. The frustration and anger and pain. Everything she’d felt, too, from the second she’d been able to focus enough to look across her car console. To see the mangled door pressing in on Emma. Everything she’d felt in the emergency room as everyone desperately worked to keep Emma alive. To deliver Will alive.

Everything she’d felt when they’d broken off the relationship that had seemed so foolishly perfect. Today’s intense emotions were confusingly tangled up with Sean and their past. From their instantaneous attraction and passion to the final argument six months ago, and that anger and frustration and pain had been nearly as unbearable as today’s.

Sean was holding her body so close against his, she wasn’t sure where he ended and she began, but his kiss began to change. It felt less about all those consuming emotions, and more about a deep relief mingling with the simple and profound connection they used to have. Softening into a tenderness that flipped Bree’s aching heart inside out, reminding her with excruciating clarity how good it had been between them. How delicious and wonderful and like nothing she’d ever experienced before.

“Bree.” His mouth barely separated from hers enough to whisper the word. “Bree.”

His fingers slipped into her hair, gently holding the back of her head as his lips caressed hers again so sweetly now, so leisurely, it weakened her knees and made her heart thud in slow, heavy strokes as the kiss changed again. Still sweet, still tender, but deeper now, stealing every molecule of breath from her lungs. Shaking, she slid her hands up his chest to cup the sides of his strong neck, to feel the warmth of his skin.

How could she survive without this?

Excerpt From: Robin Gianna. “Reunited with His Runaway Bride.”

reunitedcover

http://www.robingianna.com

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Visit to the Art Museum

Two of my husband’s cousins are visiting from out of state this week, and while we’ve had a number of get-togethers with relatives in the evenings, we wanted to do something fun with them during the day.  They live in Arkansas near several wonderful lakes, so when we visit there, we swim and tube behind their pontoon boats, and fish. Since we don’t have such a nice waterway, or a boat, we had to come up with something else to do! 🙂  And since it’s been ridiculously hot and humid and threatening rain, something indoors seemed like a good idea.

So we chose to visit our local art museum. While it was founded in 1878, we didn’t have many big benefactors until recent years, but in the past thirty or so years, it’s grown quite a bit. This month, there’s a Picasso exhibit, which we went to first. I wasn’t allowed to take photos of his work, but I like this quote of his that was on the wall. There are things I definitely don’t want to put off! (though housework isn’t one of them 🙂 )

picassoquote

After Picasso, we went into the new wing full of modern art.  Frankly, some of it is a bit hard for me to enjoy – a little weird! 🙂  But I liked this wire sculpture hanging from the ceiling – can you see the upside-down man inside it?  And I loved the horse made of branches.

wirearthorseartbranches

We moved on to more traditional works in the original museum building. I adore the folk art work of a local man, Elijah Pierce (1892 – 1984) who was born the son of a slave in Mississippi and eventually moved here. He worked as a barber and a preacher, and began carving wood when he was just a child. His Book of Wood tells the story of Jesus in pictures, which he would take with him to show people as he preached.  It is truly incredible!  I got to meet him late in his life when our state fair exhibited his work and he was there – such a sweet, gentle man. Here’s just one of his pieces.

elijah-pierce

I love the face on this child.  Isn’t she beautiful? I left the name of the artist in the car my husband is currently driving, so will have to add it when he comes home 🙂

girlart

Here’s an impressive glass sculpture made by Chihuly, and glass ‘boats’ hanging from the ceiling above a staircase. So pretty and amazing! I’d love to watch as they created them.

chilulyglass-boats

I could post lots more photos of the art we saw, but think I’ll close with the outside of the building.  Here’s me in front of a huge sculpture I can’t say that I particularly like (though it is eye-catching) and the giant word ART over the street, next to the college of art and design which is close to the museum.

img_1741ccadart

Do you enjoy art museums?  Any particular kind of art you like or don’t like?  Any favorite artists?

Oh, and by the way, I have a new release out this month, Reunited With His Runaway Bride.  Please stop by this blog again next week on September 14, as I’ll be posting an excerpt and having a giveaway!

reunitedcover

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Independence Day!

We just enjoyed our Fourth of July celebration for another year.  It’s the day Americans observe our independence from Great Britain – a bit of a reverse Brexit? 😉  On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and on July 4th adopted the Declaration of Independence. I read that through the summer, some held held mock funerals for King George III symbolizing the triumph of liberty – not very nice! 🙂  John Adams (later to become second president of the U.S.) wrote to his wife that July 2nd “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” He was right, but it ended up being on July 4th, which apparently annoyed him greatly 🙂

Across the country, parades and fireworks abound. Here’s a photo of our local parade, which we always took the kids to when they were younger.

indep-about-us

One of the biggest fireworks displays in the country, Red, White, and Boom, is right here where I live. This year, over 400,000 people came to see the 48,780 pounds of fireworks that were set off.  It’s pretty incredible! boom-1_db800c99-fe20-f434-9a26ba39443eae9c

Then there are local fireworks at various suburbs. Ours always has a concert beforehand, usually featuring bands that were popular back in the day.  A couple years ago, Smokey Robinson was here, and just as great as ever, and more recently, Earth, Wind and Fire were fabulous, too. I can’t find my photos of those, which really annoys me!  But here’s a photo of the grand finale through the trees, which is how we watched them this year.

pexels-photo-26134-medium

We’ve had a July 4th cookout all 25 years of our marriage. It’s changed as time has gone by and babies were born, then grew into big kids and now adults. We’ve lost some of the older generation, and when I look at photos of 25 years of parties, they’re poignant snapshots of the phases of our friends and family’s lives.

Here are a couple pictures from back in the day that I believe I’ve shared before. All the kids are now in high school, college and beyond. One of these days, we’ll have new little ones on the rafts!

KidsOnRaftPoolCrowd

 

This year’s party was threatened by a forecast of serious thunderstorms, but thankfully we got just a few sprinkles – whew!  Here are photos of the calm before the crowd arrived, as we were all set up to go.

pool2pool1

Here’s my son adding charcoal to the chickens on the spit. The grill got quite a workout – after the chickens came off, the burgers, hot dogs and corn got their turns. Yum!

ChickensOnSpit

And a few hitting the potluck buffet brought by everyone – let me say, there’s always plenty of great food!

July4Potluck

I’d like to hear about your celebrations!  What you do to celebrate the Fourth of July, or what other events do you enjoy that might involve cookouts and fireworks and fun?

I shared my June release before, but I’m showing it again because it’s part of the Hollywood Hills Clinic continuity. You saw from Amy’s post that the final two books, by Amalie Berlin and Tina Beckett, are out this month. I’m so happy to have been a part of such a great series, and can’t wait to read the last two!  🙂

PrinceMidwifeCover1

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Dogs and Cats and Pets – oh my!

Our houseguest this week is a cat lover, and while he was sweet and tolerant of our goofy bulldog, he enjoyed more the attentions of our unpredictable and not-always-nice older Siamese cat. It was another thing that made me think about what different kinds of pets (and do animals like horses count as pets?) mean to different people.

I grew up in a household that liked animals. Before my time, my great-grandmother had quite the blabbermouth of a parrot – I remember my grandmother talking about how angry she would get when she would sneak into a corner to read a book, and the parrot would screech, “Lucy! You’re reading again! Reading again! Reading again!” Then her mother would yell, and she’d shut her book to bang it against the parrot’s cage as she stormed away to do chores. 🙂 My great-grandmother also, I’m told, had a large tortoise that roamed the house, sadly meeting its demise when a rocking chair rolled over it (though honestly, I’ve always had a hard time visualizing how a rocking chair could kill a large tortoise…)

Anyway!  We had a menagerie of pets, but never a dog because we went camping a lot, and my parents didn’t want to worry about finding campsites that allowed dogs. Here I am as a young teen with my huge rabbit, Buffy, who lived in a big outdoor hutch. It once was invaded by an opossum who had her babies in the wooden box inside the hutch that Buffy slept in – I wonder how she felt about that!

MeWithBuffy

And our hedgehog, who was cute but prickly and sadly didn’t live long. 091

Over the years, we had turtles and hamsters and ducks and an adorable guinea pig who lived in a two story hutch we built in our family room, which I don’t think many parents would be enthused about!  But our most unusual (and most wonderful) pet was my raccoon, J.B. As an older teen, the boy I was dating lived on a farm and there were three orphaned baby raccoons, too small to have left the nest, roaming around the cow paddock. I bottle fed J.B. and raised him, and he knew I was his mother. Even when he weighed 25 pounds, if strangers came in the house he’d run up my body to my shoulders and peer around my head at them until he felt safe. 🙂  He was smart and fun and I loved him so much, but when he was a year old, it became apparent he needed to go back to the wild. So we trained him to eat more natural foods (since sweet rolls were his favorite treat, and he probably wouldn’t find them in the woods). We released him in a state park where there would be lots of picnic trash to forage through. When I go there today, I like to think his offspring are still running around in those woods and fishing in the river. 🙂

Me:JB

And speaking of unusual pets, a friend of mine has this hilarious goat as a pet – isn’t he awesome?

ThomasinGarden

I haven’t been able to talk my husband into too many pets, though we did have rabbits in an outdoor hutch at one time.  Here’s my now-teen son when he was little holding our lop-eared rabbit Flopsy, and snoozing with our Siamese cat, who is quite cranky.

GeoWithFlopsy Geo(little):Obi

And since I’d never had a dog growing up, I forced my reluctant husband into getting a dog. Honestly, all you dog lovers may think I’m an awful person, but even though we love him, he probably wasn’t the best choice!  Bentley is stubborn and silly and everyone runs when he approaches with drool dripping from his mouth, but he’s part of the family now, for better or for worse 🙂  His favorite pastime is chasing a Frisbee, then cooling off in the pool.  Here he is in what I call his hippo pose.

BentleyHippo

Tell me about the pets who’ve featured in your lives over the years – I’d love to hear about them!

I do have a new release coming out June 1st, The Prince and The Midwife.  It’s part of the Hollywood Hills Clinic continuity, and I’m so pleased to be part of such a great series with so many awesome authors!

Prince:Midwife cover

His Cinderella midwife 

Gabriella Cain prides herself on the exemplary service she provides to her celebrity moms-to-be. So she certainly doesn’t appreciate Dr. Rafael Moreno suddenly taking over her department…even if he is royalty—and gorgeous! 

But distrust soon turns to secrets shared as irresistible Rafe proves dangerously easy to fall for. With a painful past behind her, can Gabriella dare hope for a fairy-tale ending with her prince?