Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Hot Docs!

Seasonal Ramblings

This year has been a rollercoaster, filled with triumphs and tragedies; the sort of year one wishes to see the back of, although it wasn’t all bad. A year that, in some ways, seemed to be as long as two and yet, in others, flew past. There were so many things I said I wanted to do, but didn’t get done—for example write one more book, crochet presents for all the ladies on my list—but I refuse to beat myself up over my shortfalls. I’m at an age now where I fully accept I can’t do it all, no matter how hard I try. Sometimes, you have to be gentle with yourself, (she says, while eyeing that one gift that HAS to be done in the next couple of days!)

All the ups and downs have shown me, again, never to take anything for granted, and also to be oh, so thankful, for the things that make life special. Even the littlest of things.

As I started trimming our Christmas tree, memories bombarded me. I’m sentimental about my ornaments, and always worry that one or another of the very old ones may not have survived, especially since this year they were shipped from Canada, where I used to live, to my new home in Florida.

Finding them all intact made me so happy.

Just a little thing, but so meaningful at this time, when I look at various old ornaments and think of all the people I love, some of whom I’ll see next week, others now gone, but never forgotten.

And there are newer ones, some I made, others given to me as gifts, that remind me of the love of family and friends. The wooden Garfield and Odie my brother gave me years ago. A little sailboat and a train my mother bought for my son, and the Patrick ornament I made to tease him, since he shares the name with that kooky starfish from Spouge Bob Square Pants. A polar bear I made after my friend Amy Ruttan asked me to make her some as swag for one of her books. Looking at them made me smile, and filled my heart with gratitude for love given, received, and shared.

I wish for you all joy and peace, and everything great and wonderful for the year ahead. I’m so grateful to be a part of such a fantastic community, where promoting love is seen as glorious, and necessary. Because love, in all its shapes and forms, is worth celebrating, now and always.

Patrick ornament on the tree, making me smile, and miss having his namesake here, every time I see it!
Sleepy Polar Bear on a bell snoozes another year away…

And for a heartwarming Christmas story, with a daring Scottish doctor, and a nurse who craves stability, all set on an island called The North Pole of Scotland, may I humbly suggest The Nurse’s Christmas Temptation?

Lots of love, fruitcake (grin), and season’s greetings,

From me, Ann Mc

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations

Christmas in October is better than Christmas in July!

When I was a child, like most kids, I loved Christmas. There was so much to look forward to. Not just gifts, but, in my case, a trip to my Grandma’s house in the country, visits to my Aunt at the beach, and Christmas brunch at my Grandaunt’s house too.

Even as a young adult, I enjoyed the season, for different reasons. In Jamaica, “the season” pretty much starts on December 1st and lasts until after New Year, with parties of all kinds, family visits, etc. abounding. Also, my mother loved Christmas and we’d spend happy hours decorating the house and planning for the making of Christmas puddings, along with figuring out who was hosting what event among the family members.

Truthfully, my feelings about Christmas starting changing the year my mother passed away. Although by then I was a mother myself, and I always tried to make it special for my son and step-kids, but my own personal feelings about the holiday took a bit of a dive.

The final nail in my Christmas cheer coffin came from working in a retail craft store, after I moved to Canada. Initially the needlework and cross stitch kits started coming out in June, and then we’d have a reprieve until about September but after that it was all Christmas goods. A few years later there was a “Christmas in July” event at the store and then it was all Christmas thereafter, until I was, frankly, sick of the whole thing.

By the time actual Christmas came, I was without even a modicum of seasonal cheer. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I was more likely to say, “Bah, humbug” than “Merry Christmas.”

Last year, though, I found myself looking forward to Christmas once again. In this new life of mine there may not be any winter snow, but I’ve rediscovered the joy of the season. Having a Christmas themed story coming out in October this year though, almost set me back! “Too soon!” I thought, when I saw the October 1st release date, but I’ve gotten over that knee-jerk reaction, to rather enjoying the thought of those people who really love the holidays getting a chance to get their hands on Christmas books!

BookOct6My Christmas story, The Nurse’s Christmas Temptation, is available now, for all you folks who just can’t wait until December to get your Christmas fix. I hope you enjoy Harmony and Cam’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Unfortunately I’ll be offline when this post goes live, but once I get a chance to check, I’ll make sure to reply to any comments.

Holiday Celebrations

Valentine’s Day & Giveaway

So this is the first giveaway I’m managing on Love is the Best Medicine, so bear with me! Also, I’m rousing out of a horrible stomach flu that walloped me early Tuesday. Bleh!

BUT, I do like Valentine’s Day, because it’s a cheat day for me. Although, not this year because of said stomach flu. Bleh. Plus it’s fun in a goofy, whacky, cheesy way that I like. Or at least, I try to make it that way.

And one of the ways I love making Valentine’s Day “fun” is funny cards.

I do write romance. I get that, but I like some goofiness to my romance. Just ask my husband, who is a romantic on how he has to deal with a goofball like me.

I thought it might be fun to share some of my favourite Valentine’s Memes.

 

Now, for the contest. We have some books, of course generously donated by our lovely Medical Romance Authors. PLUS I have chocolate and a Valentine’s Duet I wrote a couple years back to give away.

I’ll leave this contest open for a couple of days and announce the winner next week. All you have to do is comment and I’ll let Random(dot)org pick a winner.

I hope you have a fantastic day today and remember tomorrow is 50% off chocolate! 😉

Amy xo

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations

Groundhog Day

It’s technically tomorrow, which is February 2nd.

I have a love and hate relationship with that holiday, because it makes no sense. If Wiarton Willie, Punxsutawney Phil, Shubencadie Sam (to name a few) see their shadow it means 6 more weeks of winter. If they don’t, we get an early spring…which usually works out to be in *GASP* six weeks.

Also that movie, with Bill Murray drives me slightly crazy!

Groundhogday

Fun Fact, that Shubencadie Sam is the FIRST groundhog on the day to make an appearance because he’s in Nova Scotia and on Atlantic time.

ground-day-winter-memes-1

I’m so ready for spring to start! Winter is SO not my jam, especially when I live in an area that gets pummelled by Polar Vortexes.

So, instead of Groundhog Day and that furry rodents prediction that makes me grumpy, I’m going to focus on my plans for spring 2019!

I have some pretty fun stuff coming up. I’m taking my Dad to see John Cleese (we’re both HUGE Fawlty Towers/Monty Python fans). I’m going to a book conference in Niagara Falls called Romancing the Falls in May and I’m hoping I can make it to RWA Nationals in New York City this summer.

I have more books contracted. I’m currently plotting out a duet with the lovely Susan Carlisle.

And I’m still training! In fact, I set a goal beginning of January to fit into a size 18 dress for my brother’s wedding at the end of March. I ordered a size 18 dress, it came and it’s too big. Not quite into the next size down, but I was pretty happy that all my strength training and clean eating is paying off. Also, shifting my mindset from the word diet to lifestyle helped a lot.

And today, my 21st book released. So I’m pretty happy about that.

So I’m going to ignore the groundhog and is unpredictable prediction that seems to drive everyone around here CRAZY and focus on the good that’s coming!

groundhog3

Happy February!

9781335641403 What happened in Vegas…

Has life-changing consequences!

An impulsive Las Vegas encounter that left practical Dr. Emily West married to world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ryan Gary should have simply been a lesson learned—except now she’s pregnant with his baby!

When Ryan arrives at Emily’s Seattle hospital to assist on a case, they’re reunited and their powerful spark reignites. But can working side by side with Emily convince lone-wolf Ryan he’ll be the perfect dad, now and always?

 

 

 

 

 

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, 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!

 

 

FAQs, Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Quirky Stories

The Truth About Pumpkins

10-12 blog top photoOnce upon a time, there was this cute, somewhat round orange thing attached to a vine, sitting out in the field. Then later, it became the craze, and even the madness of certain segments of society. But, that’s moving too far ahead in the story. So, let’s take it back to 1584, when French explorer Jacques Cartier, who was skipping his way merrily through the St. Lawrence region of North America (aka Canada), reported finding fields of gros melons which, in the English language, translates to big melons. This is when the story gets a little tricky and Google Translate gets confused. The name pumpkin actually originated from the Greek word for large melon which is pepon. Pepon was changed by the French into pompon (who knows why?) then the English changed pompon to pumpion (again, who knows why?) Anyway, after the name was bandied about for a while, American colonists had to get in on the act, so they changed the perfectly good pumpion into pumpkin.

10-12 blog1By that time, the poor little orange thing said, “Enough!” So, what was thought to be an exclusive North American or Canadian or Upper New York vine that sprouted orange globes (even though seeds were discovered that could have put the pepon-pumpion-pumpkin in Mexico as early as 7000 B.C.) was finally, and somewhat unfirmly, established as a North American fruit. Or, squash. Or, melon. Or, placemats (as the indigenous North American populations used them.)

This is where I could skip ahead to where pumpkins turned into latte and the stuffing for certain popular sandwich cookies, but that leaves out a lot of history. Like the origins of the pumpkin pie, when the early colonists sliced off the pumpkin 10-12 blog carvingtop, removed the seeds, and then filled the hollow cavity with milk, spices and honey then baked it in the hot ashes of a dying fire. Or how the traditional turnip and potato jack-o-lanterns gave way to the big orange thing when Stingy Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could pay for his drinks at the local pub.

The Devil, being who he was, liked that type of shenanigan, so he did what Jack asked of him. But Jack decided to keep the money for himself and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Score one for Jack. Except, being basically a stupid man, he eventually freed the Devil, 10-12 blog vintage devilunder the condition that Mr. D would leave Jack alone for a year, and in that year, not claim Jack’s soul if he died. Well, that turned out pretty good for Jack, so in another year he decided to try more trickery on the big D, who was, apparently too dumb to know better when Jack asked him to climb a tree and pick him some fruit. But while the D guy was up that tree picking away, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree so that the D dude couldn’t come down until he promised Jack he wouldn’t  bother him for ten more years.10-12 blog devil umpkin

Sadly, Jack died shortly after his deal, but he wasn’t allowed into heaven because he was judged to be as unsavory as his D buddy was. But, Jack’s D buddy wouldn’t let him go to the warm place either, and instead banished him into the dark of night with only a burning coal, otherwise known as an emblem of hellfire, to light his way. But because that coal was too hot to handle, 10-12 blog coalJack put it in a carved-out turnip (or potato if that’s your carb of choice. Or, if you’re British, the ever-popular beet was also Jack-approved) and he’s been wandering the Earth with his root vegetable ever since, at first calling himself, Jack of the Lantern. But as many of us do, he took on a pseudonym –  Jack O’ Lantern.10-12 blog turnip

Then, of course, when he reached America carrying his rather small tool, the Americans, as only they would do, decided that larger was definitely better. And that’s how Jack went from toting around a fairly lightweight turnip/potato/beet to a rather heavy and awkward pumpkin. 

10-12 blog vintage hlloween pumpkin

Now that we know the absolute truth about the origins of the pumpkin and the Jack O’ Lantern, let’s look at what years of research has taught us about the pumpkin:

– Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini.
– Pumpkins are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron.
– The heaviest pumpkin in its original form weighed 1,810 lb 8 oz.10-12 blog pumpkin flower
– Pumpkin flowers are edible.
– The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
– The pumpkin spice latte drink made popular by a certain famous coffee chain 10-12 blog pumpkin lattedidn’t contain actual pumpkin pulp until 2015, but now it boasts the exact measure of a tad bit of pulp. Also, in a good year, this drink generates $80 million in sales. Oh, and those sought-after sandwich cookies with tasty pumpkin spice filling – no pumpkin in those whatsoever.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. My new book, SECOND CHANCE WITH HER ARMY DOC, out now, has no pumpkin in it either. Not in reference, not in a sample of the actual fruit, vegetable or whatever the heck it is. Why? Because this author doesn’t like pumpkin. But, I like my book, so please have a look at a story about what it takes for a lost love to be found again. And I don’t mean pumpkin love.

As always, wishing you health and happiness, and a recipe for Toasted Pumpkin Seeds if that’s your thing:10-12 blog seeds
– 1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
– 2 teaspoons melted butter
– 1 pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees  F (150 degrees C).
2. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.
3. Makes 6 servings. Nutrition per serving: 83 calories; 4.5 g fat; 8.6 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 4 mg cholesterol; 12 mg sodium.

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