Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Florida, Spring Break 2019

For more years than I can count, we’ve taken a ‘Spring Break’ trip with our three children. In recent years, as they’ve grown and are in college, or graduated and have jobs, it was sometimes only two of my three with us, or even just one a couple years ago. This year, it was only my hubby and me, and yet we still called it our Spring Break trip until several friends jokingly made fun of us, asking if we were still in school. ย I guess we need to just call it vacation, now ๐Ÿ™‚

We were invited by friends to join them for a few days at a condo they bought a couple years ago in Naples, Florida, so we happily accepted. I’d never spent time in that particular city, and it was just beautiful. Lovely beaches, great restaurants, and a pretty and enjoyable downtown. Here we are during a day trip on a rented pontoon boat, otherwise known as a Party Barge, where we ate stone crabs and drank wine, then stopped and dipped our toes in the sand and surf after enjoying lots of wildlife along the waterway.

George, Me,beach, Tampa

And at the Naples version of a farmer’s market, with great produce and honeys, as well as foods of all kinds. These are huge pans of paella – didn’t have any, but doesn’t it look yummy?Tampa:Jambalaya

And me enjoying a smoking cocktail, then eating fab sushi. I think you get the picture… Lots of drinking and eating! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

After we left Naples, we took a three hour ferry on the Gulf of Mexico to Key West – another place we’ve never been. It was crazy and fun – my husband said the main blocks were like ‘Bourbon Street on steroids’ but off the beaten path, it was totally different. The architecture was lovely, and we went to several fascinating maritime museums we really enjoyed.

 

 

Then we went to Ernest Hemingway’s house. Here’s a picture of one of the ancestors of his famous six-toed cats – there were so many of them there! And the first swimming pool within a 100 mile area that cost so much, Hemingway jokingly buried his ‘last penny’ in the concrete surround. And a pic of me hoping to channel great writing vibes as I stand next to his writing loft.

 

 

Can’t forget the sign showing that Key West is the southernmost point in the United States, and very close to Cuba! Lastly, a picture of the beloved and tiny Key deer that inhabit the area (we rented a car and drove up the Keys to explore). It doesn’t show how tiny it is – the size of a small dog – but does show how it’s totally unafraid of humans.

 

 

 

How about you? Did you take a ‘Spring Break’ trip? Or are you heading somewhere fun soon? xoxo

 

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Snow trip!

Happy 2019! My hubby and I rang in the new year at the lovely home of friends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was a wonderful combination of fun (as in, multiple parties celebrating two birthdays and New Year’s Eve), skiing, and relaxation by the fire.

The views from the plane were the first enjoyable part of the trip – the clouds look like icy snow, don’t you think? And the Rocky Mountains are spectacular.

jh plane ice cloudsjh plane mtns

The first full day we were there, fourteen inches of snow fell. Powder day! ๐Ÿ™‚ Much as I was tempted, I decided to stay at the house and ski the following day, which turned out to be a good decision, as it was a white-out. Hubby said it was the hardest ski day he’s ever had, so setting up party decorations with the other women had definitely been the best choice! But I did ski the next day, and it was gorgeous. Here are hubby and I overlooking the Tetons and Jackson Hole. Just beautiful.

img_3872Then there were the parties. Wow, I’m going on a serious less-food, no-alcohol diet for the rest of the month! ๐Ÿ™‚ But it was fun while it lasted. Here’s an appetizer at one of the birthdays on New Year’s Eve. Then we went up the Gondola for a party up the mountain, which had a great band and lots of dancing. Here’s a pic of friend Susan and me enjoying ourselves.

 

 

jh nye gala:r & susan

 

 

How did you ring in the new year? Are you a skier? Any trips over the holidays, or coming up in the near future? I hope 2019 brings you good health and lots of smiles. xoxo

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Summer, 2018!

We had a huge event this summer – our daughter’s wedding! It was such a wonderful day, and I’d planned to share a probably painful (for you!) number of photos and gush about all of it ๐Ÿ™‚ Except, I don’t have any pics! I didn’t take any myself because I wanted to simply soak up the day. Afterward, my daughter sent me a Google drive of all the photographer’s photos to download but…I couldn’t figure out how. And now the link has expired and I have to wait until she shares her files with me, and she’s across the country and busy with a work project and…please don’t tell her or my two sons about this problem, because the eye rolls and poking fun at my low-techness will never end!

SO. The wedding story and photos will have to wait until next time. Instead, I’ll share pics that I DO have from the week we spent in San Diego, just a few days after the wedding, at favorite uncle’s house at the beach. We’ve visited there nearly every year. This trip, though, was huge and unusual – my husband’s siblings, their spouses, and all the young adult children came, and even the newlyweds flew in for a few days after their honeymoon!

We always stay at Uncle Soc’s house at the beach, but the volume of humans meant hubby and I had to stay at a hotel nearby (I have two books set in San Diego, so now you understand why – love it there so much ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Here’s the view of Mission Bay from the balcony, and a pic of one of the ‘rescue’ seals the hotel keeps in an enclosure – he looks like a fake rock sculpture or something, don’t you think?

 

 

And here is the entire crew, standing behind their Incan (or is it Mayan?) temple sandcastle they all enjoyed working on one afternoon.

 

 

Another pic of the whole crew! Hubby took this in panorama mode. Uncle Soc’s small house doesn’t actually curve around like this – we were all crammed in with card tables shoved against the dining room table to make it super long ๐Ÿ™‚

Crew at dinner Uncle Socs

It was unusually hot while we were there, and the water crazy warm! It’s normally quite chilly to swim, but the water temp was the warmest it’s been since they began recording it over 100 years ago. Something to be concerned about, quite honestly, at the same time it was wonderful to swim in. The crew bought a large float meant for pools or lakes and took it into the waves, much to their screaming enjoyment. I declined to participate, figuring the last thing I needed was to re-injure my still-healing broken wrist. I think this photo shows I made the right decision ๐Ÿ™‚

Wave:Float:San Diego

Do you have a favorite place your family enjoys going together? I’d love to hear about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

And by the way, I have a new release out this month! It’s set in a town in Alaska that’s fictional but loosely based on a place where family actually lives. I think that’s my next trip, for fun research, with more books set there in the future… ๐Ÿ™‚

Alaska Cover

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Mail the Old-fashioned Way

 

(Giveaway alert! Check out the bottom of this post for the info!) ๐Ÿ™‚

On my birthday this past spring, I was surprised to receive not one, but two lovely birthday cards in the mail. Actual paper cards in the actual mailbox! I realized I didn’t expect them anymore, as most of us are busy and that extra effort doesn’t seem necessary when greetings on Facebook and through email make it so easy to send birthday wishes. I’d also gotten a few funny get-well cards from friends when I broke my wrist, and those brought a smile to my face at a time I didn’t feel a lot like smiling!

When I had a book giveaway last November to celebrate my tenth release, one of my winners, Mary L. from Florida, sent me this photo of her waiting for my book. It made me laugh – isn’t she the cutest? It also made me think, again, about how nice it is to open up our mailbox to find a package or card amidst the bills and junk mail.

Mary Lawon:mailbox

Remember when we had pen-pals, and the fun of getting that overseas mail? When I was a young teenager, my grandmother, who was from Bolton, Lancashire, England, found one for me through a friend who still lived there. She and I wrote back and forth for maybe six years until she got married at 19 and worked as a nanny, and I was at college. Since our lives were busier, the relationship ended, but somewhere, I still have her wedding photo stashed away.

When I cleaned out my late parents’ home, I found huge stashes of letters my father had written to my mother during World War II. I’ve read a few – some she’d separated out because they had a lot of detail about events unfolding in the Pacific, with some of the information physically cut out of the paper. I found that astonishing – obviously they couldn’t risk classified information going out to families, but can you imagine having the job of editing every single letter sent home? The rest are in boxes and this Navy duffle – there’s no way I’ll ever read all of them and, frankly, I’m not sure I want to. Some of them are very personal and odd for me, as their daughter, to read what my twenty-three-year-old father said to his new bride. Surprising and a little uncomfortable! ๐Ÿ™‚ But that’s the nature of a letter, isn’t it? A piece of paper that endures and can be kept, unlike electronic mail we can’t hold in our hands. That doesn’t bring with it the kind of personal feeling that reading someone’s handwritten words do.

Letters from Dad:Navy

Mailboxes themselves can be so much more interesting than the basic one we have. Here’s a photo of one I adore that I came upon while walking on a Florida vacation trip. Isn’t it wonderful?

Mailbox-Reading boy

Our neighbors across the street enjoy wine, and have an entire vehicle (an old Jeep) covered in slices of cork from wine bottles, with the words “Cork my Ride” on the back – it’s much enjoyed by folks at wine-festivals! Here, she’s put just a few on the top of her mailbox. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mailbox, cork

One of the things I’ve decided to do more this year is send old-fashioned mail. Birthday cards, cards to friends who are ill or struggling with life difficulties, and of course, mail out books to readers who want them!

How about you? Do you think mail is mostly obsolete, or will always be with us in a physical form? I’m honestly not sure it will be. Have you ever had an interesting-looking mailbox, or know someone who does? A pen-pal you got to know through only the written word? I’d love to hear about it xoxo

And speaking of wanting to mail things more often, I’ll be giving away a print copy of my May release, Tempted By The Brooding Surgeon, to a winner commenting on this post! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ย 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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ย 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?

JthKvFRUQwKQTgtzuoYX4w

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, titledย Tempted By The Brooding Surgeon.ย I have to say, I do love my hunky, brooding hero! ๐Ÿ™‚ Which do you like best, the Harlequin cover on the left, or the UK cover on the right? xoxo

olhpxmefqbez9ejkljzpa.jpg

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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?) ย The young adults showed up, too – my daughter and her fiancรฉ, 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

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’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย 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.

Wrist2

Lastly, you might have seen that Mills & Boon has redesigned their book covers, ย 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

51R1wpcSuRL

How has your 2018 been so far? Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Ari,James,GeoWedding

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ari:KyleB&W

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

DoeStaringInWindow

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

One more thing to be happy about? My tenth release!ย THE SPANISH DUKE’S HOLIDAY PROPOSALย is out this month. It’s part of theย Christmas in Manhattanย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

SpanishDuke:pin

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