Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Mysteries of Book Covers

Shuffling through my books the other day, I marveled at the way some of the covers are so different from each other, while others carry some of the same elements. I will admit that I know next to nothing about what goes into the making of a book cover, but I definitely have my favorites.

So it made me curious. What is it about a book cover that grabs your attention? Is it a hunky hero? A hero and heroine gazing into each other’s eyes? A fun and flirty image? Or do you  prefer teacups and doilies with nary a person in sight?

Anyway, I’m going to share a couple of my favorite book covers: one of my Harlequins and one of my indie published books (with special thanks to Fiona Lowe’s uber-talented son for his help with that one).  And then I’d like your input on what draws you to a cover!

First up is a book cover from all the way back in 2013. It’s one of the older style covers, but I truly love the image on it. The hero is just how I envisioned him and the cover reflects the title, to me. book cover 1

Next is one of my indie books. On this cover, I love the way the hero appears to be whispering something in the heroine’s ear. Maybe something naughty? Maybe something nice? book cover 2
So now it’s your turn. What do you like to see on a cover? What don’t you like to see? Or do you never judge a book by its cover? 🙂

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Pets, The Writing Life

Beauty and the Beast (aka Winter)

Winter has finally hit where I live. Up until now, it just teased us with periodic glimpses of chilly temperatures, but last weekend it decided to show us what it was really made of. We got snow. And there’s more snow forecasted for this weekend. And while I do normally love that fluffy white stuff, there are some less-than-pleasant things that go along with it:

  • Grocery stores that are crowded with those stocking up for what will surely be the next Snowmageddon. And yes, I was there among them, so I’m just as guilty.
  • Black ice that turns roads and sidewalks into skating rinks (usually ending with me landing on my backside).
  • Scraping the snow off my windshield and shoveling the sidewalks.
  • Cold slushy puddles that seep through your shoes and chills you to the bone.

But then there are days when I peer outside and there is this breathtaking blanket of white draped across every surface. Days when I relish making those first footprints with my dog as I head out to the barn to feed my horses. Days when the air is still and crisp and icy cold as it fills my lungs. winter 4winter 3

We recently had one such morning. The night before, we’d driven home through patches of dense freezing fog, and I remarked to my husband that I thought we might have hoarfrost the next morning. (It’s one of my favorite sights.) And sure enough, when I woke up, our trees and fences looked like someone had showered them with silvery fairy dust. I just stood there and stared for the longest time. My picture doesn’t do it justice, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.winter 1

So yes, winter definitely has its beastlier moments, but then it turns right around and redeems itself, wrapping itself in a beautiful white cloak and making everything go still. At least for a few minutes. It’s what I love most about this season.

What about you? Are you a lover of all things winter? Or are you more suited to tropical realms where frost and snow are forever banished? I’d love to hear what you like best (or least) about this very chilly time of year. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoy your sunny days now, because winter will soon be headed your way!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Special People

Special people. We all have them in our lives. Those folks who have influenced, loved and spent hours upon hours with us. For me, those people were my grandparents. While I didn’t live with them, they took on a valuable role during a time when my life was scary and chaotic. They spirited me away for an entire summer just as I was starting high school and changed my life in ways that…well, looking back, my life could have turned out differently if I’d not had that time with them. They taught me so much about how to care for myself and what “family” truly meant.

And when I grew up, got married and had children of my own, they loved those kids just as deeply as they’d loved me.grandparents 2

There was always a box of goodies at Christmas and we spent almost every Thanksgiving and many, many Christmases at their home. And they did simple things with my kids that meant so much at the time. My grandmother and my oldest daughter made Easter hats together. grandparents 3They didn’t have a pool, so my grandfather got out a blow-up dinghy and filled it with water so they could have fun. grandparents (2)My grandmother was a fussy, meticulous housekeeper, and that, at times, annoyed me. But she was also one of the most hospital people I knew.

Only now do I appreciate the sacrifices they made for me and their other grandchildren and great grandchildren. I hope that one day I can do for my own grandchildren what they did for me.

What about you? Was there a special person in your life? I would love to hear about him, her or them!

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

It’s a Jungle (of corn) Out There!

Maybe you can weigh in on a debate my son and I have been having for the last month: soybeans or corn? When we moved to the country a little over a year ago, there were soybeans planted all around our house. We could see the neighbors’ homes in the distance and watch fireflies dance across the fields in late June and July. It was beautiful. Magical. Well, I didn’t realize it then, but farmers rotate their crops in our area, planting soybeans one year and corn the next.

It’s a corn year. And those stalks enclose us, leaving only the lane that leads to our house. Who knew that corn grew that tall? Knee high by the fourth of July, goes the saying. Well by July fourth it was well past my knee and was as tall as I am!

Here is where the debate comes in. I LOVE the corn. I feel like I’m sitting in the middle of my own private oasis with not another person for miles and miles. The fireflies still dance, but they’re in our yard now, and it’s not the thousands of twinkle lights like last year. But I love it. It’s beautiful and watching the corn form those ears that have gotten fatter and fatter has been fascinating. My son disagrees. He says it feels claustrophobic (even though we’re sitting on five acres), and he doesn’t like not being able to see past it. That reminded me of when we lived in Florida. We had a visitor from another state–a state where you could see for miles and miles. She said driving on the Florida interstate really bothered her…she felt claustrophobic (like my son) and said that having the trees on either side of her was BORING.

What? Boring? I couldn’t even fathom that.

Which made me wonder if there really are two distinct preferences: being able see outside of one’s own little spot, or the cozy sense of privacy that vegetation affords. So here is my informal piece of research. Soybeans or corn? Do you like feeling hemmed in on all sides by greenery? Or do you like wide open spaces where you can see the world around you?

I really want to know. And maybe next year (soybean year), I’ll be able to see the other side’s perspective.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Gratitude

I’m trying to learn to be more grateful for what I have and for the things around me. I’m not always successful, but I figure it’s a process. I posted a blog about eight months ago about buying a house in the country. When we moved in, there were wildflowers blooming in almost all of the beds. I love wildflowers. There were daisies, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers, etc.  So when spring came this year that’s what I expected to see push up through the ground first.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, gorgeous daffodils raised their heads, followed by pink and red tulips. And some purple flowers that I’m not familiar with. All the beds were blooming and colorful. I was amazed. And oh so grateful. The people we bought the house from had planned well. And worked hard to make the flower beds beautiful. I don’t have the greenest thumb and wouldn’t know at all how to go about planting a garden so that it was in constant bloom. The daffodils have faded and the tulips blooms are slowly disappearing, but there are new flowers starting to show themselves.

spring flowers 3  spring flowers 2

So this morning, as I sit with my coffee and look out over our little patch of dirt, I’m grateful for the former owners and their green thumbs. I’m grateful for the flowers that are here now, and grateful for the wildflowers that soon will be.

What are you grateful for today?

Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Heritage Lost

I rely on the internet for information. A lot. More than I should. That was brought home to me when I opened a cabinet door I rarely use and saw a familiar sight: my mom’s handwriting peeking out of an old wooden recipe box.

I pulled the box down and opened the lid, and I was swept away on a wave of nostalgia. My mom has been gone for almost sixteen years and yet seeing her handwriting was so…her. I recognized it immediately. And it made me think. Have I done that for my children? Will they be able to one day look at something like a recipe and see the essence of who I was? recipes

I don’t know. And that makes me sad. If I want to find a recipe nowadays, my first instinct isn’t to go to that treasured box. Instead, I go online and try to find the best of the best of that recipe. How many positive reviews has it gotten? What hints do the reviewers give for making the recipe even better?

And once I’ve made that recipe, I’d be hard-pressed to be able to find it again. How have I come to this point and why? Maybe because I think it’s faster. But what about future generations of my family? Am I losing something in the process?

It could be that it’s time for me to slow down and leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that my children can find their way back to me. Don’t they deserve the same bits and pieces like the ones my mom left me?

I think they do. So I’m going to start thinking a little more about the way I do things. And hopefully one day, my kids will find a treasured recipe or a journal or a photo album that contains my handwriting.

Do you have a special way of passing something down to your kids or relatives? I would love to hear it. Or maybe there’s a special recipe you’d like to share. This is the perfect place! I’m taking notes.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Writing is Like Remodeling

So we remodeled our bathroom before selling our old house a while back. I know, you’re thinking we repainted and freshened things up a little bit. No. We RE-modeled. We took a minuscule bathroom that used to house a toilet and a freestanding plastic box shower (there was no sink) and completely tore it apart to make what became a walk in shower, housed our washer and dryer and was something that I loved to visit (for more than just the obvious reasons). It was a great selling feature when we sold it. What does this have to do with writing? Well, as we were going through the labor pains of this project, it made me think about how similar it is to my writing process. Especially in these ways:

bathroom-remodel-5
Our bathroom stripped down to the floor joists!
  1. I start with the kernel of an idea. It is like that original bathroom—rudimentary at best, with just the bare necessities.
  2. The idea has to be gutted…pared down to the foundations in order to build what will eventually house a finished story.
  3. Then comes the rebuilding—one step at a time, with each plot element in its place, until you’ve completed the first draft.
  4. Finally you arrive at a fleshed-out story—something you’re proud of. A story you’re happy to visit…and revisit!

    bathroom-remodel
    Finished at last!

So what do you think? There are all kinds of analogies for writing. I think decorating a Christmas tree could also be used: bare tree plus lights plus decorations, etc. Do you have any do it yourself stories (successful or not) you’d like to share? Or, if you’re a writer, are there any comparisons that fit your process? And here’s the latest finished project…er, I mean book.

9781335663344

Losing a baby tore them apart…

Can having another reunite them?

Losing their daughter left doctors Tucker and Kady heartbroken and when he couldn’t face trying for another child, it left their marriage in pieces. When they meet again at a medical event, their memories are reawakened—along with their scorching chemistry! But Kady still longs for a baby, and Tucker must finally face his fears if he’s to find happiness with her again…