Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Nick’s New Heart 30 Years and Counting… Excerpt

By Susan Carlisle

Nick's New Heart: 30 Years and Counting by [Susan May]

To pre-order ebook: Amazon

Print available on March 21


There was nothing unusual about my pregnancy, except for maybe my craving for chocolate-cream filled snack rolls. During my earlier pregnancies, I had painted the house, refinished floors, and even wallpapered, but I wasn’t as active during this one. With no obvious medical reason for an ultrasound, I didn’t have one, especially since our insurance wouldn’t pay for what they viewed as an unnecessary test. Andy, my husband, and I were satisfied with being surprised to learn if our new baby was a boy or a girl.

We arrived early at the hospital excited about having our fourth child and what we planned would be our last. My obstetrician had decided to induce labor because Zach, our fifteen-month-old weighed eleven pounds, two ounces when he was born. This baby didn’t need to be as large. He or she would also be joining Drew, age five and Mary Beth, three. If this baby had decided to come three weeks earlier, we would have had four children ages four and under.

The nurses assigned to me asked how many children I had. I proudly told them. Each was surprised to learn I already had three toddlers. One nurse curled her upper lip in a sneer, “Don’t you already have enough?”

            In the delivery room, the lights were extra bright, reflecting off the white tile walls as the doctor and Andy stood at the foot of the delivery table. They watched for the baby as I pushed.

Andy and I had met at Auburn University. He was tall and red-headed, contrasting sharply with my short stature and brunette hair. When we married, Andy wanted a big family, as did I. He worked in the carpet industry as a production manager, and after our first child was born, I became a full-time homemaker. This made me unusual among young women because the popular culture was to have a job and raise a family at the same time. Andy and I decided we wanted to have one parent home with the children.

We were a happy, busy family who enjoyed traveling, camping and football games. Everyone was looking forward to the new addition. I hoped for a girl; then we would have two boys and two girls.

I never had a sister and thought it would be nice for Mary Beth to have one. Neither had Andy. He had a brother, Tim, and I had two brothers, Bo and Ed. Another female would make the genders nice and equal in our family. 

Andy was so excited.  He grinned as if he were the one doing something wonderful as Nick moved to join the world. I smiled back at him, anticipating the joy of having another child.

Finally, the doctor announced, “It’s a boy!”

Nicholas Samual May was born at 5:20 p.m. on April 5, 1989. He weighed eight pounds and eight ounces, a healthy size for a baby.  

The delivery took twelve hours from start to finish. After the birth, I asked my OB if Nick was okay. I noticed he was bluer than my other children had been when they were born. I was reassured Nick had ten fingers and ten toes and looked good to him. His assistant put Nick on oxygen, but explained it was nothing to be concerned about – just routine.

In recovery, I asked the nurse, “Can you check on my baby?”

“He’s fine. You can see him later,” she said.

“I really wish you would check. My other child, just a year older, had to be in the Special Care Unit for low blood sugar, and I’m worried about this one.”

“Okay, I’ll see how he is.” She returned sometime later.

“He’s fine and in the regular nursery.”

Zach’s troubles had started at birth with him being so large that forceps were used to help him down the birth canal. From their use, a large hematoma formed on Zach’s head that took months to clear up. He had little muscle mass to his legs or arms. Early on, he didn’t eat as he should. I spent a good deal of time at the pediatrician with him. As months went on, he improved. At Nick’s birth we believed he would grow out of the problems.  

I was jealous when I learned Andy, the kids, my mother and in-laws had seen Nick. A nurse brought him out of the nursery so that his brothers and sister could touch him, and they had a big photo session. I hate that I was not there to participate.

I already had visions of our family of six filling the supper table. The hustle and bustle of birthday parties and Christmas mornings. Of sharing playdates with other moms.

I was very involved at our church and planned to continue that after the baby was born. We had a trip to Disney World on the calendar already. I hand sewed special outfits for the children and was looking forward to making one for this baby. Since I was home full-time, I kept the yard and saw to most things around the house. I’d even started writing a book. My life was full and some days running over.

From past experience, I knew I wouldn’t see Nick for the first few hours. After getting settled in my room, I asked for him. The nurse said she would bring him to me around 7:00 p.m. but no one ever brought him. I was getting worried. When I asked again, a nurse told me that there might be a problem with his blood sugar, but I’d probably get to see him around midnight. Although I was concerned, Zach had experienced the same problem and was fine, so I took it in stride.

I was still anticipating Nick being brought to me when the phone rang shortly after midnight. It was a nurse from the Special Care Unit. “I’m just calling to let you know we’ve transferred your baby to the Unit. We need to watch him a little more closely. He’s fine right now. We want him to stay that way.”

I interpreted that to mean that they were being careful because they were aware of Zach’s problems at birth. I settled into sleep but with a nagging feeling something wasn’t right.

The next morning, I called the Unit. “May I see my baby?”

The nurse put me on hold. When she returned, she said, “Dr. Reed is here and would like to talk to you.”

“I’ll be there in just a few minutes. I need to walk anyway.” I wondered what was going on but wasn’t too worried. Dr. Reed was our family pediatrician, and I wasn’t surprised he wanted to speak to me.

Reaching the Unit, I washed my hands and put on a gown. Dr. Reed stood beside Nick’s isolette. His characteristic smile was missing.

As usual, he went straight to the point, “Susan, your baby has some type of problem. He’s receiving one hundred percent oxygen, but the oxygen isn’t getting to his feet or hands. There may be something wrong with his heart.”

Oxygen level? Heart problem? My head spun. What was he talking about? I had a political science degree and knew little medicine wise beyond applying a Band-Aid. I had no idea what all Dr. Reed was telling me meant. My mind searched back to my high school biology to remember how the body works.

He continued, “I’m sending your baby to a hospital in Atlanta. I’ve already made arrangements. He’ll go by ambulance.”

I stared at him in disbelief, saying nothing. I looked at Nick, the floor, the ceiling, anything to make this news not be true. If I didn’t focus on Dr. Reed, maybe this would all be a bad dream. He had to be talking to someone else because my child couldn’t be that sick.

“The ambulance should be here in the next hour or two.”

The one he was referring to was Angel II, a neonatal ambulance that’s highly specialized, staffed by a driver, a nurse, and a respiratory therapist. It transports newborns from area hospitals to trauma centers for higher level care. I had been passed while driving on the main highway by one of these vehicles a few times. I never imagined my child might need one. This is when fear started to well in my chest. This type of heartbreak didn’t happen to us. We heard about it occurring to others.

Nick would be transferred to Egleston Children’s Hospital across from Emory Hospital, deep in an area of Atlanta where we rarely went. I had been there one other time, a year earlier. Zach had gone to the clinic to see a doctor about a possible heart problem, but nothing was found. Only because of that visit did I have any idea where the hospital was located.

Dr. Reed started a drug to keep the hole in Nick’s heart between the two upper chambers called the ductus arteriosus open. Everyone is born with this hole, and it closes anywhere from hours after birth to around three weeks later. Nick’s problem appeared when the hole began to seal.

I had no family with me. I looked at what appeared to be my perfectly formed new baby, yet Dr. Reed was telling me something was terribly wrong. I calmly said, “Okay.” What I wanted to say was no, no, no this can’t be happening.

When I left Dr. Reed, I was sure he thought I didn’t understand. He thought correctly. My brain was skipping like stones on a lake. I had to call Andy.

In slow motion, as if in a shadowy mist, my body trembling all over, I walked back to my room. Panic consumed me, but still I couldn’t grasp enough to know exactly what I feared. I refused to let the possibility of Nick dying cross my mind. I forced that possibility out of my thoughts the second it entered. I started praying – hard.

If I stood in the hall with my back to the wall, still, so still, so quiet, barely breathing, I started to believe that, even though I was in plain sight, I could be invisible. I would disappear. If no one could see me, nothing bad could happen. The horrible truth could not find me. It was surreal, like seeing my life from a distance.

When I finally made it to my room, I picked up the phone with a shaking hand. “Andy, something’s wrong with Nick.”

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

March New Releases

March is finally here! And with March we have a batch of new releases, including a very special final one. Meredith Webber is retiring from writing and her final medical romance is being published this month.

Congratulations Meredith on your retirement and thank you for so many years of amazing stories.

A Wedding for the Single Dad by Meredith Webber

Will the GP and the vet…

…say “I do”?

Crashing an ultralight, in the middle of the bush, was not part of the plan for vet Campbell. Neither was being rescued by local GP Lauren! The pull Campbell feels to Lauren is unrivaled…and, as they get to know each other under the starlit Australian sky, he finds himself wanting more. But with a bruised heart and a daughter to think of, love can’t be in the cards, can it?

Falling Again for the Animal Whisperer by Becky Wicks

Is unlocking past secrets…

The key to their future?

After inheriting half a Dorset veterinary practice, single mom Jodie is dismayed to discover Cole Crawford is her new partner. The renowned vet and animal behaviorist ended their intense love affair twelve years ago. Cole is determined to prove he’s changed, but Jodie has to protect her heart—and her little girl—from further heartbreak. Only, walking away from their practice would be nothing compared to walking away from their reignited chemistry!

Greek Island Fling to Forever by Annie Claydon

Their journey started in Greece…

Will it end with forever?

Single dad Dr. Benjamin hasn’t forgotten the woman whose life he once saved. And compelled by the knowledge that, while he couldn’t save his wife, Dr. Arianna is alive and well, Ben travels to a Greek island to see her. He never imagined the sense of homecoming he’d see reflected in Arianna’s eyes, or that their enduring connection would make a fling irresistible. So is a future together impossible…?

Night Shifts with the Miami Doc by Ann McIntosh

From fast-paced hospital days…

To slow, sultry nights!

Dr. Regina Montgomery’s temporary job in Miami is a chance to refocus on her goal of becoming chief of medicine. But she’s unprepared for her former resident, Dr. Mateo Herrera, to be working in the same hospital. When Mateo makes it clear he wants her…the term night shift takes on a whole new meaning! But Mateo’s family needs him, and Regina has fought long and hard for her career back in California…

Rescuing the Paramedic’s Heart by Emily Forbes

Bondi Beach Medics (Book 1)

You can’t heal a heart…

…by keeping your distance

Paramedic Poppy is back in Sydney. Her first stop? Bondi Beach’s surf and sand! There’s just the small matter of bumping into the bay’s newest elite lifeguard—Ryder Evans, her first love, who was forced to move away…taking a piece of Poppy’s heart with him. If she wants him back, she must be bold enough to let gorgeous Ryder show her what she’s been missing.

Reunited with Her Daredevil Doc by Susan Carlisle

An old flame…

…a new beginning?

Dana Warren almost doesn’t recognize the man Dr. Travis Russell has become. He’s far from the carefree guy she once spent an unforgettable summer with years ago as they trained to save lives and fight wildfires. Now an experienced smoke jumper, Dana must take the guarded doc through stunning but dangerous wilderness to reach a vulnerable patient—and take care not to lose her own scarred heart along the way…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Meredith Webber Retiring After Stellar Career!

After 30 years, the fabulous Meredith Webber has hung up her keyboard. Her first book came out in 1994 and her final book – her 103rd !!! – A Wedding For The Single Dad – came out mid February. You can check it out here!

I know so many of you who read and love medical romance, love Meredith’s books. She writes with such an easy style, her stories brimming with dashing heroes and capable heroines. From flying Doctors to sheiks and everything in between. Her books were among the first I read when I was looking at writing medial romance and, I was lucky enough to work with her on the popular Sydney Harbour Hospital series.

But more than that, Meredith is a friend. I worked with her on the Romance Writers of Australia executive in my pre-published days as well as on two RWA conference committees some years later where she was, as ever, a practical organiser who never saw a problem she couldn’t surmount and was always ready to talk me off the ledge whenever I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility of getting everything right.

Meredith pictured on right with Helen Bianchin (also now retired) in middle.

Mostly though, I will always be thankful to her for how she took me under her wing when I was a baby author – taking me out to lunch to celebrate when I first got the call from London and giving me a whole host of information about publishing and writing which was utterly invaluable. Anyone who knows Meredith, would not be surprised by this. She is kind and generous with both her time and her praise. She is the ultimate cheerleader, the person you want in your corner.

But don’t just take my word for it, here are some other medical romance authors, similarly blessed to have Meredith in their life.  

Carol Marinelli

When I finally met Meredith in person, I found out that her wonderful stories came from real experience and that many of her rich settings she had experienced and lived firsthand. She is one of the most perceptive people I have ever met and that deep wisdom shines through in her characters – they have real flaws, wants and needs that are always so relatable, even if he happens to be a desert sheikh! Her dry humour also shows in her writing as well as in person.

I have been lucky enough to spend time with Meredith on many writing retreats held on her beloved Gold Coast. She shares her deep knowledge so freely, but more than that she has been a wonderful friend and trusted confidant to me. I have been privileged to be on the receiving end of her sage advice and shall be forever grateful for it.

Marion Lennox

Meredith’s books are fun, sexy and skilled, but what sets them apart is her eye for detail.  Her forte is medical romance, and her tolerance for inaccuracy is zero.  On a number of occasions we’ve written linked romances.  Our Crocodile Creek series (with Alison Roberts and Lilian Darcy) was an enormous amount of fun, but what made it a breeze was Meredith’s meticulous planning.   The rest of us would say vaguely `let’s set the series on a tropical island’, and next thing we knew we’d have a detailed map of our imaginary island, an internal plan of the hospital – we’d practically have staff rosters!  Meredith made our worlds real.

As she does with her own stories.  Meredith’s sheiks are renowned in the world of Harlequin Romance.  No one does them better – she creates Sheik heroes who are gorgeous, passionate and totally believable.

Meredith has also been more than generous with her time, as an integral member of Romance Writers of Australia she’s fostered new talent, supported remote writers and always been there for fellow writers who needed her.

Fiona McArthur

Meredith was the person I contacted when I got ‘the call’. Mills and Boon wanted my latest manuscript. It must be a mistake. Surely. After ten years? What if I couldn’t do these last few things, they asked of me?  It was 1999, Amstrad computers, manuscripts were printed and posted instead of emailed, and Meredith, sage and warmly congratulatory on the phone, grounding me with such calm, common sense while I was hyperventilating.

‘Let me explain how this works.’ Meredith at her most pragmatic.

Meredith is the super cool, strikingly stylish aunt everyone wants in their family.

Allison Roberts

I have had the joy of reading Meredith Webber’s books for many years.  I’ve also had the privilege of working with her on our linked series of the Crocodile Creek and Wildfire Island books.  I can say with certainty that the elegance, intelligence and warmth that shines through her writing is a true reflection of her personality.  Meredith is the person I want to be when I grow up

I hope you will all join me in wishing Meredith a happy retirement and joy and love in all her future endeavours. Also, go buy her last book because, as always, its fabulous!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

How I Got My Idea for ‘Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc’

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

Dr. Jess Young plans to use her time on the small Scottish island of Thorney to figure out how she can rebuild her shattered life, after a recent blow that has stolen the future she dreamed of. Only Dr. Adam Campbell is a complication she didn’t expect! Handsome but hurting too, Jess sees a kindred spirit in Adam. Will he heal her already fragile heart…

I often get asked how I come up with ideas for my stories, so I thought I’d go through the thought processes of how I created my January release, Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc.

I love to write stories that take place on an island (because I live on an island and I like the community feel you get, where everyone knows one another.) Next to Hayling is an island called Thorney, but most of it is taken up by an army base. You’re allowed to walk the coastal walk, but that’s about it. Well, I liked the name, Thorney and decided that Thorney would be the great name for an island up in Scotland where I wanted to have a setting.

So, initially, that was all I had – a place, so then I had to think about what kind of medical establishments would be on this island. Would the island be big enough to sustain an entire hospital and the people to staff it? Or would there only be a GP surgery? With people going to the mainland for surgeries/emergencies, etc?

I preferred the intimacy of a small GP practice, with doctors that took on many different responsibilities and I knew there would have to be a resident doctor to be either my hero or heroine, with a new doctor arriving to play the other part.

Originally, I had my heroine, Dr Jess Young having arrived on the island to take over the hero’s job. She had already established herself there and was great friends with the hero’s family. His parents loved her and she had fallen in love with the stories they constantly told about him, the way he looked in photos and basically had developed a crush on a man she had never actually met (the reason for this crush on a man out of reach will be revealed later) The hero would then return from Afghanistan with PTSD and wouldn’t function well, however, my editor suggested that the hero could still have PTSD, but that he needed to very much be a fully functioning member of the medical team and that my heroine be the one arriving as a newbie and that we be there to watch her fall in love as they worked together.

So I went with that. But then I had to research PTSD and all the ways it could affect someone and how those issues might play into my story. Would there be night terrors, would he be affected by sights, or sounds? I decided that sound and night terrors would play into the story better, as I wanted my hero and heroine to be living in the same block of flats and that proximity would help for more scenes that would establish their burgeoning relationship.

So I knew what problems my hero had, but what about my heroine?

I wanted Jess to be as equally damaged as the hero, but how and why? Where Adam’s problems were mostly mental, I wanted hers to be physical and so I gave her a life-limiting disease. One that had killed her father, leaving her with slight Daddy issues and going after men that were never available to her emotionally.

Well, the Daddy issues were deleted! Mills and Boon like there to be strong heroines and Jess needed to be strong, to cope with her condition and also, to help Adam with his. I knew then, that Jess would be this incredibly caring individual, who put other people first, before herself and that this need to care, to deflect her concern onto other people, rather than herself, would be the key issue towards her and Adam falling in love and being vulnerable with each other.

Once I had all of that information, I began to write. A revised synopsis to send to my editor, and then a detailed chapter plan, exploring what would happen in each scene, before I wrote it. The chapter plan was six pages of single spaced work and as I wrote the book, became six pages of incredibly messy work, as I scribbled all over it and changed things as I went, as new things always occur to me, as I write.

I had this grand idea for a Black Moment at the end of the book, that took place in the pouring rain. You know that screen shot from The Notebook of the hero and heroine kissing in the rain, absolutely drenched? I wanted something like that, my characters arguing with each other, but only because they’re so frustrated and then they end up kissing and realising they can’t bare to be apart, but that idea was nixed by my editor (who suggested a different moment and I sadly placed my rain-drenched characters into a separate folder to be used in another story, at some point.)

So, there you have it. The thought process to starting a book.

It’s not actually as simple as it reads. It comes across that these Aha! moments come to you quickly and easily, but I promise you there were many days of head-scratching, hair pulling and biting of nails as I worked out various bits and pieces. There may even be lots of scrawled up bits of paper lying in rubbish tips with my notes still on them. Or maybe seagulls have used them to help line their nests? Who knows?

If you’ve got any writing questions, then please don’t hesitate to ask them below. I’m always happy to answer them.

Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

What’s your favorite trope?

Romance has always been my favorite genre. I’ve occasionally ventured into fantasy or historical fiction. I even enjoy a good thriller. Romance always brings me back though.

In a world that’s flipped upside down, I like the comfort of knowing there will be a happy ending when I get to those final pages. I like knowing that despite whatever drama the characters go through, they will live happily ever after.

Still, there are some types of stories that I like reading more than others. I’ll pass on the alpha gazillionaire with his fancy jet, but I can be easily reeled in when the past creates major roadblocks between love interests. High school sweethearts torn apart by something in their pasts and reunited a decade or so later? Enemies to lovers? Yes, please.

My upcoming release is just that – a second chance for former high school loves. Danny and Camilla have each lived a lifetime since circumstances took them down different paths. When they are thrown back into each other’s lives, neither one is happy about it. Well, at least not at first. But that’s the beauty of second chances, right?

An unexpected reunion…
A second chance at love?
Years ago, trauma surgeon Danny Owens broke his promise and broke GP Camilla Devereaux’s heart. Now Danny is back. The terms of his late father’s will mean Danny and Camilla have to work together for the next six months. They loved each other once, and it’s clear there’s still something burning between them. Can they leave the past behind and embrace the bright future they deserve…together?

Preorder here.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Celebrating a Milestone

By Susan Carlisle

On March 21, my youngest son, Nick will celebrate a major milestone. This is a milestone that few have achieved. In fact, to the best of my knowledge there are only four other people in the US or the world for that matter, who have done it. What is this milestone?

          Nick will have lived 30 years after having a heart transplant. To make it even more amazing he had his transplant when he was one year old. Today, he is 31.

            Born with only three of the four chambers to his heart, Nick had his first heart surgery when he was five days old, had another at three months old, another at one year old then his heart transplant. At nineteen, he developed an infection that caused an aortic aneurysm and had to have a new aorta.

            In the last 30 years, Nick has learned to snow ski and water ski, loves sports, has travel extensively, has finished college, has married and become a father. None of these would have been possible without his new heart. I will be forever grateful to Nick’s donor family. I wonder often it they realize what a gift they gave my family.

            To commemorate this major milestone, I have written a book called Nick’s New Heart 30 Years and Counting…  It will be released on March 21.

            On March 5, I’ll be posting an excerpt from the book. Come back then and tell me what you think.

Do you know anyone who has had a transplant?

Nick's New Heart: 30 Years and Counting by [Susan May]

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels


Participate in #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou, our upcoming Twitter and Facebook pitch events for Harlequin Medical Romance on March 26, 2021!  

Medical Romance Includes you

Have you been dreaming of captivating readers with a pulse-racing medical romance? Do you have a doctor ready to swoop a midwife off their feet? Or perhaps, it’s a tale of a paramedic who reunites with their surgeon ex for one night of passion…with consequences! We are looking for Medical Romance books from underrepresented authors that will immerse readers in the drama of the medical world. Underrepresented voices includes, but is not limited to, authors who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC), members of LGBTQ+ communities, marginalized ethnic and religious cultures, and people with disabilities and neurodiversity.

This is an opportunity to showcase your story idea to the Harlequin Medical Romance editors and maybe get some helpful feedback from Harlequin editors. You may even become our newest author!

The focus of the story must be on the development of the central romantic relationship against the backdrop of a contemporary medical setting. All of our stories feature dynamic and dedicated medical professionals who work together in a medical setting and present a range of sensualities from warm and tender to intense and passionate.

The romance writing and reading community includes people of all backgrounds, communities and cultures who share an enjoyment of stories that celebrate love and happiness. Harlequin is committed to bringing readers a wide range of stories that reflect our diverse society.

#MedicalRomanceIncludesYou is happening on Friday, March 26, 2021 from 8am to 8pm GMT. Here’s everything you need to know:

Hannah Rossiter from the Harlequin Medical Romance editorial team will be monitoring the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou hashtag on Twitter for book pitches (280 characters max) from own voices authors. Follow Hannah Rossiter on Twitter at @Hannah_ER24 for updates and tips leading up to the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou Pitch event.

Megan Haslam from the Harlequin Medical Romance editorial team will be monitoring the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou event on the Write for Harlequin Facebook group for aspiring romance writers. Join the group on Facebook, select “going” to the #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou event and post your pitch (500 characters max) to the event “Discussion” area on March 26.

If Hannah or Megan give your pitch a “like” please send your first chapter and story synopsis for review by submitting via Harlequin.Submittable.com to the Harlequin Medical Romance line. Be sure to include the hashtag #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou” in the subject line, and make sure your submission is long enough. One chapter should be about 3000-5000 words.

All submissions will be read and responded to within 60 days.

Please choose only one social platform, Twitter OR Facebook, to post your pitch. Don’t worry, Hannah and Megan will be reading every single pitch, so as long as you post it once, they’ll see it! Hannah and Megan may, in some cases, respond to your pitch after the 8am to 8pm GMT entry window has closed.

You’ll find the writing guidelines and word counts for Harlequin’s Medical Romance series here. There is lots of information on the Write for Harlequin website to guide you on what the Medical Romance team are looking for, so check it out here.

These Twitter and Facebook pitch events are specifically looking for underrepresented voices who love to write Medical Romance. We welcome submissions from all authors at any time to Harlequin Medical via Submittable.

We can’t wait to see your pitches!

The Harlequin Medical Team

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Soothing Sunday series

Ever get asked to do something that absolutely fills you with terror? You know, like give a speech to a huge crowd, or display something you made, or do an off-the-cuff presentation? Well, if you have, and are anything like me, it fills you with dread, give you that old butterflies-in-the belly sensation, maybe even robs you of sleep at night.

Yeah, that’s my life this week, since the lovely editors at Harlequin asked me to take part in the Soothing Sunday Series, where I get to do a live Facebook video, reading an excerpt of my upcoming release, Night Shifts with the Miami Doc.


My first thought when I saw the email was, ‘Soothing??? For whom?’

Obviously not for me! I haven’t been this keyed up since… I can’t even remember when.

Did I mention it’s live?

And that I have a face for radio, and a voice for a silent film?

Not to mention a Covid afro that refuses to be tamed?

Now that last one, I have to admit I’m rather enjoying. Since nothing is locked down here in Florida, and (of course) we have no snow, I know I could get a haircut if I really wanted to, but these wild curls of mine seem to suit these crazy times.

However, having taken part in a number of Zoom meetings and video calls over the last year, I know my hair, which is very fine and going gray, doesn’t really translate well in that medium. The gray bits sort of disappear, so I look as though a toddler got at me with a pair of pruning shears.

Still not getting it cut, though.

Of course, too, there are the technical aspects of it, which I’m not familiar with, and am sure I’ll mess up, including setting up the scheduled video. Nothing like being technically challenged in this brave new world of ours to make one feel, well, incompetent.

In the end, I hope I can bring it off without embarrassing myself, and if your free at noon on February 21st, 2021, I hope you’ll join me, so I’m not speaking into the void, mournfully wondering, “Is anyone out there?”

And now you know why I can’t get any sleep.

My crazy, rather paranoid imagination just won’t let me!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Feeling the Love, on Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day this Sunday, and we’re celebrating that precious feeling that makes the world go round!

In these uncertain times, love is more important than ever.  So whether you have snow falling outside your window, or you’re basking in hot sunshine (or anything in between) the Medical Romance Authors would like to wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day.  Whether you’re spending the day with that special someone, in your own good company, with friends or with family, we hope that you feel the love.  

We’ve taken a tour around the Harlequin/Mills and Boon websites in Australia, the UK and the US, and there’s something for everyone – free reads, competitions and articles, and the chance to save on your favourite romance books.

Harlequin, U.S. have a sweet offer – spend $25 or more on your order this weekend, and use the coupon code provided to save $10.  The offer lasts until 11.59 p.m. E.T. on Sunday February 14th, and you can find the details here.  Don’t forget to stop by at the Harlequin blog, for at-home suggestions for romance readers, and a Galentine’s Day discussion about how to write strong friendships.

Mills and Boon, Australia have a list of things to read and watch to satisfy our sweet-tooth cravings this Valentine’s weekend.  We loved this page, which features Valentine’s Day blogs and short stories from previous years – if you didn’t read these the first time around, you can catch up here.  And don’t miss their sale of best-selling E-books from just $1.99!  

Mills and Boon, UK are offering the chance to save 50% on your entire order until midnight on February 14th – look out for the code at the top of each page of the Mills and Boon website.  They’re also celebrating with an  A-Z of Romance quizzes, competitions and free reads.   And find out who your favourite authors (including our own Kate Hardy and Susan Carlisle), would love to spend Galantine’s Day with.  

Phew!  If there’s anything we’ve missed, or you’d like to tell us what you’ll be doing this Valentine’s Day, let us know in the comments.  And Happy Valentine’s Day, from our homes to yours!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

6 a.m.

I am not a morning person.

My mother is. Sadly, I did not inherit her genes in that regard. My ideal morning, any day of the week, involves sleeping until around 8:45ish, perhaps a shower and some personal grooming if we’re feeling especially ambitions, and then popping down to one of my favorite cafes for a 4-hour writing sesh. This happens maybe three times a month if I am very lucky, and yes, I do indeed feel blessed on those occasions.

But this January, I didn’t do a great job in the boundary-setting department, and I ended up with more writing projects on my plate than I could handle. The healthy thing to do would have been to drop or delay one project. So, of course, I looked at my calendar, looked at all the things I had to do, and decided that if I could wake up at 6am every day for the month of January, I could get it all done and keep my sanity.

I told my writing group, in order to keep accountability. Then I told my partner, who responded, “Why would you lie to your writing group? You’ve never woken up at 6am in your life.”

That is not true. I can bounce out of bed pretty quickly if I know we’re about to go on vacation.

In fact, for many years I had a job that required me to wake up at 6am, because I had to commute for over an hour to get to the Chicago suburbs. But that was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve lost my early-morning mojo.

Dear reader, the first day I tried to meet my goal, I rolled over and hit the snooze button. The second day, I got serious. I got set up with an accountability partner, and we sent each other pictures of ourselves hard at work every morning. I dreaded having to send the Text of Shame in the event that I stayed in bed.

It worked. I got up at 6am every single day in January, I finished everything I needed to do, and I became mildly stressed, but not overwhelmed or exhausted.

And I learned to appreciate the beauty of those quiet mornings. I love how quiet the street is outside my window. I love watching the snow fall, whisper-soft, before dawn. I love how snuggly the cat is, first thing in the morning. I love knowing that I’ve done something creative before work starts.

I never did become a morning person. I never quite got used to it; my body protested every day. But I did get to see another facet of the day, a slice of life that’s only available to morning people. I got a small taste of that powerful stillness, that feeling of knowing that even if the day’s bustle and noise hasn’t started yet, I have begun.

I’m trying 7am for February. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe 7:30.

~Julie Danvers