Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Quirky Stories, Travels Around the World

The Ten Monsters of Christmas

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I would love to bring you good tidings of Christmas this year but instead, I’m bringing you a fun little background of The Ten Monsters of Christmas. Yes, even the nicest of all holidays, the one where we wish everyone peace and joy, has its dark side. Talk about a way to ruin a jolly holiday.

krampus-1085000__340So first, there’s KRAMPUS. Yes, we’ve all heard about him in recent years. He is the evil anti-Santa who walks around carrying a stick, looking for people to beat, especially children who haven’t been obedient. He’s a predominantly European Christmas monster, originating in Austria, but popular celebrations centered around this demon are popping up everywhere, and celebrated on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day.

Next comes the merry old JÓLAKÖTTURINN, an evil Icelandic Yule Cat who lurks about the countryside at Christmastime, ready to eat people who haven’t received new Christmas clothes to wear. Apparently, this cat monster is tied to an Icelandic tradition where those who finish all their work on time receive new Christmas clothes, thus making them immune from getting eaten. Like Krampus, the Yule cat is used as a threat to motivate children to work and keep them in line. “You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry…”or you’ll be eaten by the Yule Cat, kiddies.

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  Then there is FRAU PERCHTA an ugly Christmas witch who hangs out around Austria and Germany during the 12 days of Christmas with the express the-witch-641232__340purpose of punishing the sinful by ripping out their internal organs and replacing them with garbage. Now, that’s a lovely Christmas tradition if ever I’ve heard one. 

Not to be outdone by all the other Christmas child punishers, BELSNICKEL, who made it from Germany to live amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch in the U.S. carries a switch to punish the bad children at Christmas. But he does have a good side, as he carries candy to reward the good ones. Knecht Ruprecht and Ru Klaas are also monsters from German folklore who get their holiday jollies by beating children.

Another in the line of the traditional Christmastime children haters is HANS TRAPP from France, who, disguised as a scarecrow, punishes bad children by eating them. Even though he was reportedly killed, it’s said he still visits young children before Christmas to scare them into good behavior.creepy-1217174__340

And, to make matters worse, there’s the evil French butcher PERE FOUETTARD, who, with his wife, lured children into his butcher shop, where he killed, carved, salted and ate them. St. Nicholas did come to the rescue in this story, by taking Pere Fouettard captive and turning him into a servant whose job it was to dole out punishment to bad children on St. Nicholas Day.

Not to be left out, the JÓLASNENIR, or Yule Lads, 13 Icelandic trolls, stole things and caused trouble around Christmastime, so as one might expect, their purpose in life was to scare children into behaving. Somewhere along the way, they met the benevolent Norwegian Julenisse (Santa Claus) and decided to try a little kindness like he showed, by leaving gifts in the shoes of good children. But if you were a bad kid, your shoes were left empty which was a much kinder fate than eaten by the Icelandic Yule Cat.norwegian-troll-210334__340

However, if you get by the Yule Lads, there’s another Icelandic monster to deal with at Christmas –  GRYLA, their mother, and let’s just say, she’s not in line for a Mother of the Year award because she encounters bad children at Christmas, especially the ones who don’t obey their parents, then kidnaps, cooks, and eats them. And, to make matter worse, her precious pet is the dreaded Yule Cat. Talk about the traditions of a family at Christmas.

So, in my family, Christmas has always been about the children. We even have a brand new one, Westin, to welcome into our tradition. He’s going to grow up in a family where Christmas is about love and peace on earth and all the good things associated with the holiday. My wish for him is that there will never be any monsters in his world. And this is my Christmas wish for you…

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Christmas Movies

by Susan Carlisle

I’m addicted to Christmas movies. There I have said it. This year it seems like they have been on for six months. Hallmark showed them in July and started again with new ones in late October. Even the Lifetime Channel is getting into the act more heavily. Their movies are a little edger than Hallmark, but very good. I have to admit I have seen all of them on both channels. If I didn’t get to see them the night they debuted then I caught the reruns during the week. Some of the movies I have seen over and over throughout the years. It is hard to beat a good romance at Christmas.

ChristmasjoyI have to say, I was super excited to see my friend, Nancy Naigle’s book come to life in Christmas Joy. It was well done and the characters were wonderful. She also got a shout out in another movie where the character was working in a book store and made a suggestion to a customer about what book to buy.

On Christmas Eve one of my every favorite people and author, Caro Carson’s book-to-movie will be showing on UPtv and SuperChannel. Hometown Holiday should be great. I will be watching.

It’s exciting to see romances being turned into movies.

If you are looking for a Christmas book to read during the holidays I happen to have one for you.

Santa Daddy

When a small-town mom…

Falls for a big-city doc…

Nurse Lauren Wilson is used to doctors coming and going in her Oklahoma town — and doesn’t expect prestigious Boston doc Paxton Samuels to be any different. Until they’re snowed in together and their sensual tension reaches boiling point! But knowing Paxton is due to leave after the festive season, can Lauren risk giving him her heart and her little boy a daddy for Christmas?

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

How do you feel about Christmas movies?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

2018… My year of living “Mindfully”.

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Hey all!

I realize it’s still early December (and probably a bit soon for all those year-end wrap-ups) but since this is my last slot for the year, I figured I’d go ahead and share now. Plus, I’ve got a new release to tell you about and a cool freebie opportunity, if you’re inclined to read to the end of this post!

So, back at the end of 2017 there was a thing going around on Social Media about choosing a word to be your guiding star for the upcoming year rather than setting a bunch of resolutions that no one keeps anyway. I decided to hop on board this new tradition. The word I chose was Mindful.

According to Mirriam-Webster, the word mindful is defined as: inclined to be aware.

What I hoped was to live my life making better choices—in everything from food to finances. To real consider the long-term impact of whatever decision I was making instead of doing things on the fly, as is a bad habit of mine.

Did it work?

Sure, in some ways. I made a budget and stuck to it. I began cooking at home a lot more and meal-planning. I tried hard to stop and be aware as often as I could about what I was doing, why I was doing it, how I was feeling about it so I could choose where to go next.

Do I sometimes still find myself mired in doubt and depression, wondering how in the heck I ended up crying in the corner of my couch with a tub of frosting in one hand and some sappy movie on TV? Yep. But I’ve also learned (by being mindful) that it’s okay to feel those things. It’s also possible to make different choices in the future to ensure I don’t end up there again.

Will I be choosing a new guiding word for 2019? I will. I’m thinking maybe Purposeful. Which is probably good, since I just signed on to write 3 more Medicals books over the next year, so I’ll need all the discipline and time-management I can get!

How about you? Are you a resolutions type person or have you tried the guiding word? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Now for a bit of a shameless plug…

Do you love sweet, small-town romances? How about quirky librarians with the hots for their older brother’s best friend? Maybe a touch of unrequited love stirred in for fun? Then try my debut release with Entangled Bliss, HOW TO SEDUCE A BAD BOY! It doesn’t release until January 14th, 2019, but it’s available for pre-order now at the link below. Here’s the delicious cover and blurb:

HowToSeduceABadBoy-bliss-final-v02

Melody Bryant has heard it all before. Sure, she’s the epitome of the stereotype for a librarian. Loves order. Loves rules and deadlines. Loves books. But what she doesn’t love is still being a virgin at twenty-four. Unfortunately, the only guy she’s ever been interested in turned her down flat. And then left town. Eight. Years. Ago. Ugh.

Now her birthday is fast approaching and she just can’t take it any longer. She’s finding a guy before her birthday in five weeks or she’s adopting two more cats and fully embracing becoming “the crazy cat lady.”

But when her latest date ends in epic failure–everyone thinks of her as the “proper librarian,” she realizes what she needs is to ruin her reputation. And she knows the perfect guy to help her: the baddest bad boy in town. This Army vet won’t know what hit him…

Click Here to Pre-Order your copy now!

And finally, for those Medicals readers who enjoyed my debut book with the line, ONE NIGHT WITH THE ARMY DOC, and want to read more in my Anchorage Mercy world but can’t wait for the next book in my Anchorage Mercy world releasing May 2019, then here’s a special present just for you! I’ve written a holiday novella, featuring Bobby Templeton—the hockey-star patient from ONE NIGHT WITH THE ARMY DOC—who meets the woman of his dreams just before Christmas. You can get a copy FREE, just for signing up for my monthly author newsletter. Cover, blurb and link to sign-up below:

The Nurse's Holiday Goal

An Anchorage Mercy World Novella 

Their first holiday together could be their last…

Six-foot Candace Kaine has always felt like a giant, like an outsider looking in at everyone else’s normal-sized happiness. In her professional life, she’s a dedicated, hard-working, confident ER nurse, but in her personal life—after a horrendous break-up—the thought of opening herself up to another man terrifies her. Then larger-than-life hockey star Bobby Templeton convinces her to bid on him at a local bachelor charity auction, and more than snowflakes are falling between them.

Bobby wants Candace from the first moment he sees her, but when he’s injured in a game right before Christmas, he’s forced to admit he needs her help too—if he wants to keep his promise to the at-risk child he mentors and remain on his feet, since he requires round-the-clock observation for his concussion.

From decorating the tree to taking in a local production of A Christmas Carol, Candace and Bobby’s feelings for each other grow and deepen as the hours pass. But when Bobby receives a dream offer from his agent that will change his life, Candace is forced to confront her fears about relationships and must decide how far she’s willing to go to achieve her goals.

Click here to sign up and get your FREE copy today!

Cheers and Happy Holidays everyone!

May all your fondest wishes and wonderful dreams come true in the New Year!

Traci

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Deck the Halls…

This is sort of a mish mash post of what I’ve been up to. Also, I bit under the weather and I’m pretty sure my cold meds are clouding my judgment.

I’m so excited that December is finally here! Even though revisions for book #23 have landed in my inbox, I’m still excited that it’s December.

Even though I really don’t like winter all that much, I do love Christmas. I love spending time with my kids and turkey. I like snow, for a slight and short brief window of time. I like the lights. I also know this time of year will be hard. First Christmas without my Mom.

Part of what I’m doing to work through all this though is focusing on gratitude. Harlequin Dare author Stefanie London introduced me to The Five Minute Journal. Every day and every night I reflect on gratitude and positivity.

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It’s completely shifting my mindset!

What’s also helping is Bootcamp classes. When I walked into that first Bootcamp class end of September I said to myself “You’ve got to be kidding me?”

I started with 2-3 times per week. Now I go 4-5 times per week.

There is something really gratifying about lifting a loader tire and flipping it over.

Also part of this shift in mindset and gratitude is making more time for my kids. They’re growing so fast. My daughter is 15, my autistic son is almost 13 (January 2019!!!) and my youngest is 9.

So I take time out of my day to connect with each of them. Even if it means building Lego.

My first set to conquer was Harry Potter’s Great Hall.

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878 pieces???!!

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Basilisk
Evil Basilisk escaped the Chamber and is coming to destroy us!

 

 

This was the first time I ever attempted Lego ANYTHING. It took me about four days, but I found it quite enjoyable and my 12 year old said he was proud of me for attempting it and that it was a cool set.

We’ve decided to add Christmas lights to it and display it over the Holidays.

That and we have some more Harry Potter Characters to include with it that wasn’t including in the set. Mainly You Know Who.

Even though I’m bogged down with revisions, I’m completely relaxed for the first time in months! It’s amazing what a bit of gratitude and a shift in mindset can do.

Also, another fun announcement. My Dad is getting a new dog! His beloved 12 year old beagle Snoopy passed in September from liver cancer. It was devastating after our summer, but a couple of weeks ago he told me and my brother that he was lonely. He needed a dog.

My brother’s wife found an organization in Texas known as the Texas Chihuahua Rescue.  Apparently Chihuahuas are the #2 most euthanized dog in the state, so TXCR is a non profit that saves them from kill shelters, vets them and then transports them up to FURever homes in the northern States and Canada. In particular, Ontario.

The first dog my family had when I was a kid was a Chihuahua. We’re no stranger to them. Dad was immediately approved after they checked his references, which included me and our Veterinarian.  In about a week Gordon (isn’t that fate that they named him Gordon which is a totally Canadian name) will be joining us here in Ontario. We got him a coat and a bed. I’m crocheting him a blanket out of pet yarn and we’re all excited that he’s coming!

Gordon

So yeah, there’s gratitude and happiness everywhere.

I hope that you all have a marvellous Holiday Season. xo

 

Escaping the big city…

For love under Icelandic skies

When surgeon Betty Jacinth’s heart is broken once again, she takes a job in Iceland for a change of scenery. She expects cold weather—but not the frosty welcome she receives from gorgeous but brooding Dr. Axel Sturlusson! Now father to his orphaned niece, Axel gradually thaws, and a flame ignites—but when Betty’s ex begs her to return, can she make the right choice for love?9781335663795

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

December New Releases

Hello to all our lovely medical romance readers. The year is just about at an end. For some of us the weather is getting cold and maybe even snowy, for others its been a sweltering start to summer! But, wherever you are, we hope these 6 new books will keep you company during the festive season.

To those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas from us to you. And joys of the season to everyone!

Their Christmas To Remember by Amalie Berlin (Scottish Docs in New York)

med6A Christmas kiss with the rebel surgeon….

In this Scottish Docs in New York story, Dr. Angel Conley will do anything to bring the joy of Christmas to her young patients. Only she doesn’t count on gorgeous Scottish surgeon Wolfe McKeag being her reluctant partner in crime! They’ve both spent their lives running from relationships, but as their passion for each other turns into so much more, dare they believe in the magic of Christmas?

 

 

Healed Under the Misteltoe by Amalie Berlin (Scottish Docs in New York)

med3A precious gift to mend his scarred heart.

In this Scottish Docs in New York story, when Dr. Lyons McKeag finds an anonymous gift in his locker, he’s furious! But nurse Belle Sabetta isn’t fooled by his brooding, Scrooge-like exterior… Her own experiences of loss means she knows a little kindness, especially at Christmas, can go a long way. And Bella’s innocence and passion could be the gift that heals Lyons’s damaged heart.

 

The Billionaire’s Christmas Wish by Tina Beckett (Hope Children’s Hospital)

Only a Christmas miracle will make his wish come true…med5

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, since losing his wife Theo Hawkwood hasn’t enjoyed Christmas, and now his daughter Ivy is ill, he has even less reason to celebrate. Unless visiting diagnostician, Madison Archer, can perform a miracle… While Madison works to find a cure, Theo is fighting a growing attraction to her… Is Madison the miracle he’s been waiting for?

 

 

 

ER Doc’s Forever Gift by Sue MacKay

med1All she wants for Christmas could be right next door!

Sienna Burch finally has the stability she’s longed for and a home to call her own. And as tempting as her new neighbor, sexy ER Doc Harry Frost, is, Sienna knows he’s bad news! Harry never stays anywhere long—he’s the opposite of what she needs. But as passion sizzles between them, beneath the Christmas lights, everything begins to change…

 

 

Christmas With Her Bodyguard by Charlotte Hawkes

From temporary protector to love of a lifetime…med2

Obstetrician Rae Rawlstone has worked hard to distance herself from her fame-seeking family and scandalous past. Only now her past is catching up with her—because she’s spending Christmas under the protection of ex-army surgeon and first love Major Myles Garrington! Behind the shadows of her bodyguard’s gorgeous eyes, Rae recognizes they have more than chemistry in common. Could learning to trust one another lead to happy-ever-after?

 

The Army Doc’s Christmas Angel by Annie O’Neil (Hope Children’s Hospital)

med4Letting go of his past to embrace their future….

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, pediatrician Dr. Finn Morgan keeps himself fiercely private—after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he pushed everyone away. So his unexpected attraction to colleague, physiotherapist Naomi Collins, infuriates him! Something in her stunning eyes tells him she’s a survivor too. Christmas is a time for healing, maybe they’ll both find what they’ve both been looking for—in each other’s arms…

 

 

Did you know you can also buy every month’s releases in a boxed set??

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

The dark days of December and the art of self-care by Kate Hardy

Kate HardyDecember’s a bit of a tough month for me. I know it’s the one where everyone’s looking forward to Christmas, and it’s all glitter and tinsel and lovely stuff… But it’s also the month where I lost both my parents. My dad’s anniversary is today (where have the last eight years gone?) and my mum’s is just before Christmas. So this is the month where I find it hard to be my usual disgustingly happy, exuberant self. I want to celebrate my lovely memories rather than brood (both my parents would be absolutely furious with me), but there’s this big dark cloud that just seems to hang over me.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles at this time of year. For me it’s about getting through the days between now and Christmas and making myself smile, even when I don’t feel like it. Which means taking care of myself properly (aka cramming every moment so I don’t have to think). My tips for self-care:

  • Move – it stimulates endorphins. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog-walk, dancing yourself silly, hitting the gym, swimming – whatever you enjoy. Just move. You’ll feel better.
  • Get outside – again, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a pretty spot having a coffee, or going for a walk: just get some sunlight. (Ironic, as it’s tipping down with rain here as I write this – but it’s one of the reasons why I go out with the dog just before dawn, so I get the pretty bits of the sky. This is our favourite spot at the beginning/end of the walk, where we catch the early sun reflected in the water. How lucky are we to have this on our doorstep?)
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  • Connect – tell someone you love them. Think about what you appreciate about the people in your life and tell them – in person, by text/email/a daft notecard. Arrange to meet up with a family member or friend for lunch/coffee/theatre.
  • Do something you enjoy – for me, that’s a trip to the theatre or a gig, watching a film, or playing the guitar or piano (not to a high standard, but I don’t do it for other people – I do it for me), or a museum or pottering around old churches. Or, at this time of year, Christmas lights. (This is Somerset House from last weekend – I didn’t go skating, but I’d gone to London to see an exhibition at the British Library and also Antony & Cleopatra with my best friend, and we took a walk round the South Bank after the performance.)
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  • Nourish – make sure you’re eating well. When you’re miserable, it’s tempting to stuff your face with something sugary, but it’s going to make you crash. (And this is why I’ve recently rejoined WeightWatchers – very impressed by their new attitude, and it’s making me rethink my choices so I enjoy what I eat and I don’t have to feel deprived.)
  • Create – if drawing or painting makes you feel happy, do it! (I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, so my ‘create’ is pottering about in the kitchen, creating something nice.)

I think the key here is being as kind to yourself as you are to other people. May December be kind to you – and be kind to yourselves.

imageKate’s latest book, A Diamond in the Snow, is a True Love rather than a Medical – but if you like Christmas decorations and lights, you like stately homes and ballrooms and all things Regency – oh, and dogs, then this has your name on it…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations

The Medical Romance Team are proud to present…Hope Children’s Hospital!

When it comes to Christmas you can never be too prepared! And the Medical Romance Team certainly weren’t wasting any time when it came to planning Hope Children’s Hospital, our Christmas continuity for 2018. We started brainstorming last October (yes, we were that excited…!). It’s always a huge amount of fun coming up with ideas, and this year’s continuity was no different. In fact, it may be one of our favourites, so we wanted to give you a sneak peak of what goes on behind the scenes, and share all the festive fun with you…

But first, what do we mean when we say ‘continuity’?

A ‘continuity’ is the Mills & Boon team’s term for a miniseries of linked books which are written by different authors and which the editors come up with the overall story theme and individual plot outlines for. We normally brainstorm four romances for these…so naturally they’re a highlight of our year!

And how did Hope Children’s Hospital come to life?

Well, first off, the Medical Romance Team got comfortable and settled into a meeting room (with copious amounts of tea and treats, of course!) to begin thinking about what we wanted the continuity to be about. Quickly deciding that we wanted something centred around the hope and joy of Christmas on a children’s ward, it was time to invite the rest of the M&B Team to join the party (sorry…the meeting).

And with the help of a few mince pies to get the ideas flowing, we discussed everything! From the type of hospital and what fabulous location it would be set in, to who the heroes and heroines would be – this was such fun! Then, and maybe most importantly, we talked about how each of the romances would interweave and interact with one another so that readers could fully immerse themselves in the magical world of Hope Children’s Hospital.

Next, it was time to hand over to our fabulously talented authors and let them loose on their individual stories (they’re the expert storytellers, after all!). And luckily they loved the continuity just as much as we did! They were excited to get collaborating themselves – with 4 stories, 4 authors and 4 editors, communication was key! – and turn the outlines into pulse-racing love stories with a huge helping of medical drama and festive spirit!

And, now, one year later, here we are! The first two books have already hit the shelves, the final two won’t be far behind, and it’s time to cuddle up with a hot beverage of your choice and dive into this year’s Medical Romance Christmas continuity.

Here’s what you can look forward to in…

Hope Children’s Hospital
Christmas magic on the children’s ward!

It’s a time of miracles and magic – and as Hope Children’s Hospital prepares to celebrate its first Christmas in the historic city of Cambridge, England, the staff will do everything they can to make their little patients’ wishes come true.

Billionaire CEO Theo Hawkwood leads a world-renowned handpicked medical team who strive to give the best treatment to their precious charges, and hope to all who come through the doors. This Christmas, they’ll discover that miracles can be found in the most unexpected of places – and love will prove to be the greatest gift of all!

Their Newborn Baby Gift
by Alison Roberts

One Night, One Unexpected Miracle
by Caroline Anderson

Available November 2018!

 

The Army Doc’s Christmas Angel
by Annie O’Neil

The Billionaire’s Christmas Wish
by Tina Beckett

Available December 2018!