If you build them..., The Writing Life, Women's Business

Here Comes 2022!

It’s hard to believe, at least for me, that 2021 is coming to an end. One of the things I love doing at the end of the year is buying a new planner. I spend a few weeks, lovingly adding them to my wish list, dropping off the ones that don’t “spark joy” before finally choosing my planner. My husband, who only uses a wall calendar (HOW?) laughs at my love of planners.

Last year he really wanted to get me one for Christmas and finally broke down and just asked me to order what I wanted so he could wrap it. I happily complied!

Planners are one of my true loves. In December I start getting my next year planned out. Life often gets in the way (looking at your 2020 & 2021) but I still like to put in all the things I know I need to do.

Like two more medicals – and hopefully more.

Next year I am also planning to use a kanban board to plan a quarter at a time. I don’t have a true office; I use a nook in our bedroom. I built the kanban board at the entrance to the noon – in our bedroom. My husband even helped me get it set up.

He may not understand the board, but he fully accepted it. True love really does exist!

Anyone else have a planner you carry everywhere? Or a kanban board? Or are you like my lovely husband and don’t need one at all?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, If you build them...

What’s Next?

We’ve been on a quest over the last couple of months, to find the Perfect Hero and his Perfect Heroine.  I know that I can speak for Annie O’Neil and Susan Carlisle, as well as myself in saying it’s been enormous fun – a big thank you to everyone who’s taken part.  This is the last of our quizzes for a while, though we’re hoping that we’ll see a little more of Dominic and Maggie later in the year.

But before we go, there are a few more burning questions.  We know all about Dominic and Maggie, so lets put them together now, and see the sparks start to fly!

If you’d like a reminder of the answers to our previous quizzes, all of the posts are in one place – please hover over the ‘Features’ item in the menu, and click ‘If you build them…’.  Our story starts in Sydney, Australia where Maggie works as an ambulance paramedic.  She and Dominic have met before, when she was an exchange student and spent a year in France.  But she’s not expecting to find that he’s in Australia, and that they’ll be working together.


Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, If you build them...

If you build him…she will come! (Or something like that!)

Mercy me – what a naughty series of thoughts I’ve had since we’ve built our sexy French hero who’s name is…..wait for it…..A TIE! Dominic and Rafael wrestled for the main place and ended up tying so when he is in trouble with his mother he is Dominic Rafael , and when he is with our heroine…he is …I’m going to say Dominic as a first name and Rafael as a surname…So there we are. Everybody’s a winner. We also have news on our heroine…but let’s start with Monsieur Enigmatique! (I do believe that’s Franglais for mysterious).

There’s much more to building the perfect Medical Romance hero than a name and you came back in spades
Unknown-3.jpegHe’s had a past and boy was it dark. Dominic  grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, working his fingers to the bone to put himself through medical school and became a surgeon in one of Paris’s most esteemed hospital. All the hard work landed him back between a rock and a hard place when he lost his best friend’s daghter on the operating table despite being told he was too close to the case. This, in the wake of losing his wife…in the same accident. Now, the only thing that keeps him alive is guilt and the ambulance he drives round Sydney (spoiler alert on our heroine’s home!) in a quest to try and put some good back into the world.Unknown-6.jpeg

His laugh? It lights up our heroine’s world, but it’s no braying donkey laugh. It’s soft and hard to win, but between the gap in his teeth when he finally does smile and the way he drags his hand through his already-tousled dark hair to make it look even more crazy bear…it’s worth every joke in…Maggie Louis‘s  arsenal. Her jokes don’t exactly come thick and fast either. Not after getting posted to the same beachside hospital she was rushed to as a child when she nearly drowned!

But is there a spark? Boy is there ever! And Domnic doesn’t have to go all Alpha, six-pack, uber-male to prove it. When his fingers brush against Maggie’s, he always pauses  just for a moment – then meets her questioning look with a soft gaze that’s akin to a promise he would so dearly love to give. It’s much easier for him to speak openly to his mutt called Monster. Maggie’s not falling over herself to open her heart just yet either. For one thing – her house is a no-go zone. There’s always a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. She’s a paramedic and works nutty hours! Besides, when she’s got free time she spends it with her young friend who she met through the Big Sister programme or is watching black and white movies. One day, if everything pans out on the professional front, she hopes to be director of a community medical programme – putting the friendly neighbourhood Docs  straight back into the heart of the neighbourhood.Unknown-8.jpeg

Are you in love already? Stay tuned for another quiz coming soon from Annie Claydon where we really flesh this out. In the meantime, I’m going to be asking out editorial team if we should just go ahead and write this thing. Any feedback from you as to whether or not you’d want to read it would be appreciated!

We really hope you’re enjoying the quizzes/polls and are LOVING the feedback. Keep it coming! All the best from me and my pals at Harlequin/Mills & Boon xx Annie O


Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, If you build them...

His Perfect Match

Susan Carlisle

A week ago we ‘fleshed out’ our very handsome hero. Every hero needs that perfect match. So today, we would like to put some curves to our heroine.


She is smart and sexy with emerald green eyes and curly auburn hair that often rebels against constraints. Our girl is a match for any man yet she guards her heart closely. After making some serious mistakes where her love life is concerned she doesn’t want to repeat them. She was adventurous enough to spend a year at school in France. There she met our hero. He was the one person kind enough to introduce her around. Now that he is the new guy in town she is returning the favor. (Isn’t that what every female should do for a handsome hunk from their past?) Like the hero she is a rescue paramedic which means they will be working side by side, facing the same challenges.

The big question is how long will it take until the sparks fly?

Okay, it’s time to add that meat to our heroine’s bones.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, If you build them...

Head to Toe – He’s a Hero!

Remember a few months ago when we ‘built’ a hero with our quiz? We talked about eyes, hair colour, jobs that got us all a bit twitter pated (that’s starry-eyed for those of you who don’t remember Flower falling in love in Bambi) and the fact a little salt and pepper action around the temples never a did a fella any harm in the looks department.

Here’s a little recap of the man we came up wtih if you don’t remember:

Our hero is a rescue medic. He’s strong, committed and right by your side exactly when you need him. His cornflower blue eyes are the windows to his soul. Not to mention that thick, chestnut hair your fingers are itching to run your fingers through. When he’s not working, he’s usually got his best friend, a trusty mutt – one ear up one down – by his side. There’s no dressing to impress. He’s got casual smart down to a T. Oh! And did I forget to mention his sexy French accent? Just the memory of the first time you heard it – in the corridors of high school when you were an exchange student and he was all sexy-nerdy . Yum. The man he’s turned into makes you wish you’d paid him a bit more attention. Well, now’s your chance. He’s back in your life…and this time it could be for good. Here are a handful of pictures to get your creative juices flowing….


Feeling good? Thought so. Okay…now let’s get this man up and running! (Oh, by the way – for the order of preference, just drag and drop OR if you’re doing this on a tablet – you can rank them 1 – 5). Have fun!

PHEW! That was fun. I hope you enjoyed doing our quiz. LOADS of the information was thoughtfully compiled by our very own, and rather fabulous, Annie Claydon (Hip Hip Hooray Annie!)

Look our for our next quiz, coming next week. Together we will build up (and break down) what fuels our heroine in her darkest and lightest moments. Please do let us know if you have further thoughts in the comments section. You never know….this guy might find his way into a book!

xx Annie O’

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, If you build them...

A perfect heroine

Annie O’Neil went on a quest for a hero, last week, and with our readers’ help she’s found him!  A huge thank you goes to everyone who answered the survey!

Now it’s my turn to take up the challenge, and find a great heroine.  She’s going to be the perfect match for Annie’s hero, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll share the same interests or outlook on life.  She might do, but maybe she’s his exact opposite – its up to you to choose.

First things first.  Annie’s sent me the results for her survey, so let’s check this guy out…

f4559b16-e0b3-446f-82df-302397c0cf99Our hero is a rescue medic, strong, committed and right there when you need him.  His cornflower blue eyes are the windows to his soul, and what girl can resist running her fingers through his thick, chestnut hair. When he’s not working, he’s usually accompanied by his best friend, an adorable, one ear up and one ear down, mutt.

He doesn’t need to dress to impress and his style is casual smart.  But the way he wears a pair of chinos, and that sexy French accent is enough to melt any heart.  He’s met the heroine before – he was her friend in High School, the nice guy who she wishes she’d paid a bit more attention to.  And now he’s back in her life!

Some of the questions in Annie’s survey could only have one answer – perhaps the hardest fought of these was the hero’s accent. Scottish was the most popular second choice, with Irish also a strong favourite.  But there were some additional ideas that we can keep in mind as we continue on our journey.  Might our hero have a few grey hairs to give him that distinguished air?  Or perhaps there are some rescue animals, horses, donkeys or goats, in his life somewhere?

And now, the heroine.  Who’s the very special woman who’s going to turn this guy’s world upside down?  If you have any other ideas that I’ve missed out in the survey, please feel free to include them as a comment, below.

We’ll be back next month, with the results to this survey.  And in the coming months, you might just be hearing from our hero and heroine again, because every great couple needs a great story…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, If you build them...

We ALL need another Hero (Especially when he’s fictional!)

f4559b16-e0b3-446f-82df-302397c0cf99We don’t know if he’ll be tall, dark or handsome when the idea pings into our minds (well…actually that’s not true). Sometimes it’s a pair of eyes. Sometimes it’s a voice. A pair of muscular forearms, a particularly swarthy 5 o’clock shadow. Who knows what gets your heartbeat palpitating – but one thing we know for sure? If there isn’t a hero…there isn’t a romance. SO! We have this fun little survey for you (hopefully you’ll find it fun) to see if we can put together the perfect hero for you (and we’re not talking Mr. Potato Head style either). Reach for your ultimate dream man when you take our very first… Fantasy Hero Survey! And please do let us know in the comments section if you have any bonus features/traits/jobs/eye colour we haven’t thought of. The world is your oyster!

PS – We are going to have a perfect heroine survey next week (Or pretty close to next week!) If there is anything in this survey that is confusing – or hasn’t worked or we’ve left out – first of all – blame it all on me (Annie O’Neil)…any praise goes to Annie Claydon whose magnificence I plaigarised (sp?) with gross intent. We’d love this website to be as much about and for you as it is about and for the writers. You’re our people!!!! So…please….even the super shyest of you….don’t be scared. Let us know what you think and let us see if we can help make your dreams come true. xx A O’