Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases, Reading, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

A WRITER’S IMPACT ~ by Dianne Drake

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As writers, we never know who reads us, or what effect our writing may have on someone’s life. I get messages from readers who relate to certain aspects of my stories, who thank me for writing about an issue they’re facing in their life and allowing them to see another perspective, who identify with something I’ve written. It’s always gratifying to discover that someone I’ll probably never meet may be helped or cheered or comforted by my words. But when I started as a writer, that wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t think about who read me, didn’t consider that my words had impact. I wrote because I loved writing. But, I certainly didn’t think about the consequences. (I was writing non-fiction at the time).

Then one day, I received a letter from someone in Nigeria. It had been traveling the world for almost a year, trying to find me. Fate? Destiny? A winged messenger? To this day, I have no idea how it finally did get to me,th but truthfully, I think it was one of those meant-to-be moments. Over a year before the letter arrived, I’d written a magazine about a young man who’d been badly injured and disabled when he was 17. He’d been a normal kid, then a profoundly handicapped one. I’d taken care of him as a nurse immediately after his injury, then lost touch with him when he was sent to a neuro-rehab facility. Nearly five years later, I had a chance meeting with him again. I honestly didn’t remember him, but he remembered me. Anyway, we struck a friendship and I stepped in to help him through life from time to time, because his daily existence was very difficult.

Most people disregarded Randy because his speech was garbled and no one could understand him. But what I saw was a young man with so much potential, trapped in a practically useless body. Long story short, with a little help, Randy went on to be the one who was responsible for our city converting its mass transportation system to handicapped accessible – something that has benefited thousands upon thousands now, in the 30 years that he’s been gone. wheelchair-1230101__340Having a way to be independent was his goal, and I remember the day when the city passed the ordinance mandating that the buses here be equipped to accommodate wheelchairs. I also remember the day Randy became the very first person to board a bus in a wheelchair.

What he did was inspiring, and I wrote a story about it. Sadly, it wasn’t published until after his death. But the gist of what I wrote was that people of all capabilities can make a difference. Randy certainly did in his short, difficult life.

Nigeria

So, somehow that article made it to Nigeria. More than that, it made it to a family who was facing a crisis. Their 17 year-old son had been disabled in a car accident, much the way Randy had, and they were looking at quality-of-life issues for him. The doctors believed he should be put in a hospital for the rest of his life, since he would have little independent function. His parents were being told he would be a lifelong burden. Yet, they didn’t know what to do, and they were beside themselves with grief and worry over the decision they would have to make.

Then, they read my article. They didn’t speak English, so I’m assuming that someone translated it for them. Like I said, I have no idea how it got to them, how they read it, how their letter got to me. Anyway, they saw their son in Randy’s story. The injuries were similar. The disabilities almost identical. They also saw what Randy accomplished, even in his condition. Which is what helped them make their decision. They chose to not institutionalize their son but, rather, keep him at home and help him achieve the potential they knew to be there. Their letter to me, which was written by someone else who did speak English, stated that my article had changed their lives. It gave them hope that their son, in spite of his disabilities, could live the life Randy had lived. They thanked me for helping their family.

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I’d been getting published regularly for about two years when this travel-weary letter finally reached me and I can honestly say, it was the first time I’d ever considered that my words had impact. That people were reading me. That my responsibility was much greater than simply putting words on paper. It humbled me. Made me a different writer. Hopefully, a better one.

Years ago, I wrote a medical, No.1 Dad in Texas, that dealt with a child diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. For me, it’s been a reality for many years. But to so many people who reached out to me after the book came out, it was a positive look at something usually surrounded in negativity. I was touched by how so many people shared their stories with me, and by how they were grateful to see such a misunderstood and difficult condition treated with sensitivity and optimism. Again, I was humbled. Could I have written that book before I’d received that letter from the Nigerian family? I don’t know. I’d like to think I could have. But my article changed one family’s life, and their letter changed mine. So, who knows?

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We do touch lives in what we write. Sometimes we’ll discover how, most often we won’t. Still, it’s nice knowing we do. It’s also a huge responsibility–one that should humble every writer who puts pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. It does me.

I’ll have a new book out in June. Saved by Dr. Dreamy takes us back to one of my favorite places on earth – Costa Rica. Never can get enough of that place, which is why I return there every now and again for another book.

Until next time, wishing you health and happiness.

DD2

DD

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World

Fall

So coming up next week the DH and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. You can say it was love at first sight, because it really was. We met New Years 1999, when it was  turning into 2000. We didn’t start really dating until spring 2001 and we were engaged in August 2001.

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Me and my DH, his sisters and grandmother.

October 2002 on Canadian Thanksgiving (because I love turkey) we were married.

My DH proposed to me at one of my most favourite places in the world. North Bay, Ontario. I know that doesn’t seem glamorous, but I spent many happy summers and falls in North Bay, Ontario. My father’s family is from the north and I love the north.

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The beach at Sunset Inn North Bay, Ontario. Where the DH proposed. The lake is Lake Nipissing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, 14 years later we’re going back to the north, not quite North Bay though. We’re going to Algonquin Park.

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The famous Fall colours of Algonquin.

In all my travels to the north I’ve never actually been to Algonquin Park, which is sort of a travesty. My paternal grandfather (who was quite venerable when my father was born so I never knew him) worked in the park in 1917, building railroads and knew famous Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson and remembers distinctly when the artist was murdered, though this disputed I believe.

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My paternal grandfather. He was born in April 1885 and helped build the rail way to northern Ontario, including the Polar Bear Express.

My father said his father always stated that Tom was murdered. My grandfather was friends with him.

Algonquin is also famous for the fall colours. I’ve always wanted to see them. So, this year my DH said “Let’s go!” And booked us in at a resort only for couples outside the east gate of the park.

I’m SO excited, but slightly nervous as this is Moose rutting season and they like to hang out on the roads.

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You don’t want to mess with these guys!

I’m also nervous because I’m going to be totally unplugged and I’m right in the throes of a deadline for my fifteenth book. So right now I’m trying to get in as many words as I can so I can enjoy my three days away from everything (which is why I was late posting here today).

To all my Canadian friends HAPPY THANKSGIVING! And to everyone else, what’s your favourite part of Autumn?

You can find out more about Amy here. Or Tweet her @ruttanamy.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Bucket list stuff by Kate Hardy

As you might have gathered from previous posts, this is my Year of Having Fun, and last week I ticked quite a few things off my bucket list.

Ever since I was really small and first read Nordic mythology, I’ve wanted to visit Iceland. Last week, I finally made it to Reykjavic.

And it was AMAZING.

The midnight sun means just that. Look at this sunset!

iceland day 2 073 RK sunset

This was getting on for 11pm – but it didn’t actually get dark. I woke at 1am and it was still light. And at 3am. And I saw the sun rise at 5am.

iceland day 2 000 sunrise

We went to the Thingvellir National Park and saw the tectonic plates splitting.

iceland day 2 013 gct thingvellir

We saw amazing waterfalls with rainbows. (This is Gullfoss.)

iceland day 2 025 gct gullfoss

We visited the Geyir area and saw a geyser erupting (it’s really interesting because you can see the water boiling at the bottom and the cooler water at the top making a ‘lid’, and then you can see the pressure get too much and it blows).

iceland day 2 46a geysir

We saw humpback whales breaching in the wild (that was so incredible – really humbling).

iceland day 3 026 RK whales

We saw black sandy beaches. (This is the Dyrholaey promontory.)

iceland day 4 035 sit Dyrhólaey

We got up close to a glacier. (Solheimajokull.)

iceland day 4 045 sit Solheimjokull

And we walked behind a waterfall at Seljalandsfoss.

iceland day 4 053 sit Seljalandsfos

It was an incredible few days, and the best thing of all was sharing it with the people I love most in the world.

And, to top it all, today marks the release of my 70th M&B (it’s a Cherish/Romance rather than a Medical, but I hope you won’t mind me sharing here) and it’s my 24th wedding anniversary!

FFTSM

So have you visited anywhere that took your breath away?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Bucket Lists

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Just recently on Facebook, there have been a whole sheaf of bucket lists appearing where you either tick or place a heart next to the things that you have done. To me, these mass bucket lists are bit weird. Some of them have things like, see a dead body; watch someone die; fired a gun.

???

Odd, really. None of those should be on a bucket list! These lists are about aspirational things, surely?

I have a few things on my bucket list.

  1. Visit Canada.
  2. Visit New Zealand.
  3. Visit Australia.
  4. Go on safari in Africa.
  5. Swim with wild dolphins.
  6. Write a bestseller! (of course! lol)
  7. Be a passenger in an off road rally car.

But there’s one place I really want to go. A place I want to wander around for weeks, just absorbing the atmosphere and soaking up the nature and that place, is Yellowstone Park.

If ever there is a documentary about this place, then I watch it. If I come across someone else’s account of being there, I read it. Avidly. I stare at pictures on Pinterest, I dream, I wish, I wonder…

And so I decided to set a book there. Seven Nights With Her Ex. I figured that if I was going to write a book there, then I ought to go there (at least) and research it properly. I told my husband, who was thrilled at the idea and then we mentioned it to the kids.

Big mistake! My eldest son suffers from really bad anxiety, panic attacks and OCD and part of his OCD and anxiety are the thoughts that something really bad will happen to us. So when we mentioned we were thinking of planning a research trip to a majestical spot that just so happens to have a giant super volcano underneath it (that’s apparently due to go off at any moment, but its late, like a woman with a dodgy menstrual cycle) he told us, in no uncertain terms that we were not allowed to go!

So, I had to make do with my trusty, well-thumbed, Lonely Planet guide to Yellowstone and Teton parks. Oh, and my Pinterest board!

Sigh.

Seven Nights With Her Ex will be out September 1st, here are the pre-order/book buy links below. And do tell me what’s on your Bucket List!

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Home Again… by Carol Marinelli

“Youth,” he replied, “is the most beautiful thing in this world—and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!”

George Bernard Shaw

I have two homes, and so I hope you’ll understand when I say that I have just got back home to Australia after visiting home in England 🙂 Actually, I have three homes because I spent many holidays and most of my childhood summers in Scotland.

When it comes to writing I feel very lucky as I have several backdrops that I can readily tap into, though, I admit, even after more than two decades in Australia, the UK comes as a more natural setting for me.

On this visit home, I headed to Scotland to visit some of the places that used to be my playgrounds growing up.

I didn’t have much time so I decided to do a tour (www.discoverdunfermline.com) and cram in as much as I could, and I certainly achieved that! I’ve attached a few photos so you can see just how much my writing well has been filled!

Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Dunfermline Abbey
Dunfermline Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As children, we used to go to pantomimes at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie. I love Dunfermline Abbey but never fully appreciated it’s rich history, and so it was wonderful to be properly shown around. We drove to Culross where Outlander was filmed, and it brought it to life for me.

Culross Market Square
Culross Market Square
Culross
Culross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was on to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh
Edinburgh

Currently, I am writing a medical continuity, and my hero is from there, so it was lovely to reacquaint myself with such a magical place and to see where Dominic (my hero) grew up! It was a very misty day so the castle doesn’t show up in these photos but occasionally I got a glimpse, and you could always feel it’s magnificent presence.

Anyway, I am home from home now 🙂 My well is truly filled and I cannot wait to get back to my writing which I hope is all the better for such a wonderful trip down memory lane.

I hope you enjoy some of my photos, and I shall let you know when Dominic’s book comes out!

Happy reading

Carol xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Fall in Love with Medical Romance this Summer!

After a week of beautiful days filled with sunshine here in London there is only one thing on the minds of the Medical Romance team—summer holidays! From sandy beaches in exotic locations to city breaks in bustling capitals east and west to cosy country getaways here on the British Isles there’s been no end of discussion about how to make the most of the long days, warm nights and bright promise the summer season brings.

So, what is your trusty Medical Romance Editorial Team up to this summer?

Laura:

Though I’ve just returned from a week in Paris with a sojourn to the Loire Valley to go chateau-hopping (because why not?!) I’m already busy planning my next great adventure…to California for the RWA conference! It’s my first visit to the west coast and so I’m planning to make the most of it and will be enjoying the conference—and the opportunity to visit with some of my North American authors. Yay!—before heading off on a two-week road-trip up the Pacific Coast Highway. The wind in the hair, the sun on my skin—I can already feel the sense of total bliss!

Laura in the Loire Valley
Laura in the Loire Valley
Laura Outside the Louvre
Laura outside The Louvre

Sheila:

I’ve also just been to France—it’s on our doorstep and yet a world away. It’s a place where many of our Medical readers live, French ladies just love our authors’ romances and so I feel completely at home! In May good weather is never guaranteed, so we simply drove south until we hit some sunshine and found ourselves amidst the old world charm of Bordeaux and the delights of the Dordogne. What a place to feast on natural beauty and bounty – of course we had to visit the wine route! This summer I’m looking forward to the Romance Writers of America Conference, with the lovely Laura and some other colleagues, and catching up with both authors and readers around the world. Beyond that, well who knows, the Mediterranean is too good to miss in the summer, and my mind always turns to those gorgeous Italian doctor heroes that our authors write about – so Italy is next on my hit list!

Sheila’s French Getaway
Sheila’s French Getaway
Sheila’s French Getaway

Tilda:

 My first trip of the summer may not get me any stamps on my passport (or a tan, if that were even possible), but it is getting me excited for what lies ahead! First I’m heading to Somerset for the hilly countryside and hopefully some lazing in a hot tub (even if it’s raining). But the main event of my summer is a week in Cyprus, the sunny isle whose name I’ve only just learned to spell…and I couldn’t be more excited about my first holiday there! Naturally my bikini is already purchased, but I’ll still be torn between decadent days in the pool and trying to watch as much of the Olympics as humanly possible…

 

London in the Sunshine
London in the sunshine

There’s no doubt that all this jet-setting is going to be brilliant inspiration—the possibilities for where we’ll set our next miniseries are endless! And, of course, we aren’t the only ones who are getting that itch to travel! Our Medical Romance authors will also be on the move which means we get the pleasure of seeing some of them here in London. In fact, we’ve already welcomed both Amy Andrews and Fiona McArthur to Romance HQ when they’ve been in town visiting from Australia! And there’s no doubt we’re looking forward to gathering with our authors at RWA in San Diego and meeting hopeful Medical authors too 🙂

Flowers in St James's Park London
Flowers in St James’s Park, London

Tokyo, South America, Africa, Australia, New York, London, New Zealand….the list of amazing settings in Medical Romance goes on and on! And even if you aren’t going away you know you can still be whisked away to exotic worlds because there are six entirely different gripping Medical Romances set in diverse, enticing cities and locales around the globe out every month! So whether you are lying on a beach or lounging in the garden, let our authors whisk you away to somewhere wonderful with a hot doc!

So, now that you know our plans we’re dying to know where this summer will find you and your favourite Medical Romance. Let us know in the comments below!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life, Travels Around the World, Women's Business

A Waft of Scent, Dark and Dangerous

The title of this blog is a straight pinch from an as-yet-unpublished manuscript of mine, but it sums up my attitude to perfume. I absolutely love it, in case you’re in any doubt.

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Some of my Murano glass perfume bottles

I’m thinking about perfume at the moment for various reasons.

That as-yet-unpublished manuscript is the first reason – because the heroine has a huge store of perfumes she matches to her mood (which of course intrigues the hero).

The second reason is that it’s that time of year when romance writers start thinking about attending conferences. After a year of isolation, we catch up face-to-face with our colleagues, meet with and/or pitch stories to editors and agents, and listen to a range of experts on a fascinating array of subjects covering the craft or writing, the business of publishing, marketing and promotion, and trends in romance, and we eat and drink and party.

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My most exotic bottles where I keep my oils from Egypt and India

There’s only one thing we don’t do – and that’s wear perfume.

That’s because the thing that sets romance conferences apart from other conferences is that the very vast majority of attendees are women, and if all of those hundreds of women (or thousands, depending on which conference you’re attending) decided to wear a spritz of their favourite scent (as so many women are wont to do), all those little spritzes would become one big cloud of warring smells. That spells ‘migraine’ – even for those who tolerate strong aromas. And for those with an allergy? Unbearable.

Much as I adore perfume, I understand that. The scents I bought while living in the Middle East, for example, may make me feel like an exotic Arabian phenomenon just walking down the street, but they’re so heavy on the oud, they can twitch a nostril from a mile away. I’m afraid this makes them the problem children of my collection, so they’re not allowed out on the prowl all that often.

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The top of one of my favourite perfumes – Niki de St Phalle

Which brings me to my third reason for this blog.

Perfumes are always on the prowl in my books. I almost always give my heroines a signature scent. My heroes too, even if it’s soap! So I finally decided to give my passion its ultimate outlet and made my next heroine (currently underway) a perfumer. Boy, has that involved some fun research. And just so you know, the hero’s scent in this one is Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels, because the first time I sniffed it on a guy, I almost melted into a puddle. Although of course, there’s something under it that’s going to drive my heroine crazy as she tries to isolate it in her lab.

I suspect she’s going to have trouble with that, because it’s all about pheromones! Something Evie Parker in Wanting Mr Wrong could tell her all about!

Meanwhile, here’s a little perfume making video I found on YouTube for anyone else who shares my perfume addiction.

I’d love to hear what perfumes you love…or hate!

Wanting Mr Wrong hi res coverEvie Parker has never been one to swoon after celebrities – give her a neuroscientist over an actor any day! So when she develops her first movie-star crush, she’s determined to date her way out of it, starting with the next good-looking doctor she sees.

Hovering on the fringes of her life is her gay best friend’s determined brother, Jackson J Stevens, a famous actor who comes with trailing paparazzi. The one thing worse than a celebrity in Evie’s eyes is a media circus, so Jack isn’t an option no matter how hard he flirts with her.

Evie knows what she doesn’t want; Jack knows what he does. And somewhere in the middle, pheromones are making things go haywire every time they’re together.

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