Excerpts, Guest Blogs

Excerpt – Greyfriars House, by Emma Fraser

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Prologue

Charlotte

October 1984

The house looms behind me, grey and forbidding in the moonlight. From the turret window a light flickers so briefly I can’t be sure I saw it. Ever since I arrived on the island I have had the sensation I am being watched, that someone wants me gone. But I no longer trust my senses. There is so much that is strange about Greyfriars.

It is very still. As if the island is holding its breath. I move towards the shore. What my great-aunt has told me so far has shaken me. And there is more to come. More secrets to be revealed. I am not sure I can bear to hear them.

As I pick my way along the rough path I think regretfully of the torch left behind in the porch. But I persevere, wanting to put distance between me and the house. The moon and stars provide just enough light although every now and again scudding clouds obscure the moon and I am momentarily plunged into darkness.

I continue through the trees, innocuous in the daytime, but in the shifting darkness as sinister as watching sentinels. Then at last I am in the open again, the sea, glittering in the moonlight, stretching in front of me. I suck in lungfuls of salty air and my pulse slows.

A rustle comes from the copse behind me and my heart kicks as I whirl around. Something has moved within the shadows. I think of the ghostly presences my mother told me about, then immediately dismiss the thought with an impatient click of my tongue. The only ghosts are the ones in my head. Some placed there by Georgina, others of my own making.

Tiger has run off and I can hear cracking of branches as she sniffs amongst the piles of rotting leaves. A shape swoops over my head and I smother a cry. A flutter and a flash. It is just the owl that roosts in the eaves, returning with a mouse trapped in its beak.

It isn’t just the house that unsettles me, or the two women within, it is me, the way I feel inside. Untethered and adrift. A boat without an anchor at the mercy of the wind and tide.

I’d told myself I’d come here to find answers although I knew, deep down, I was fleeing from the world, my grief, my guilt, from having to make a decision about the rest of my life.

Tiger growls. She has emerged from the bushes and is standing in front of the copse of trees, her ears up, her tail rigid behind her. The hair on the back of my neck stands on end. I know she is there before I see her. The figure emerges from the shadows, her face hidden. I have seen her before. Edith sleepwalking I’ve been told. I no longer believe it.

 

Greyfriars House‘ by Emma Fraser is available now in hardback and ebook, and in paperback in May, (available to pre-order from Amazon, now).

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Guest Blog – Emma Fraser

I have to write about stuff that excites, intrigues and delights me. In particular; real heroines of the past, old houses, WW2, and Scotland. And I’ve managed to find a way to incorporate all of those in my latest release, Greyfriars House. It’s a time-slip story, moving between the 1980s and WW2, based around a country house which stands alone on its own Scottish island. is about two sisters, a betrayal and the secret they kept for decades.

Eilean Donan castle
Eilean Donan castle

It’s hard to go anywhere in Scotland without tripping over evidence of the past – whether it’s brochs, wheelhouses, viking long houses, castles, country houses, historic cities with their tenements and ‘closes’ or wide open fields and glens that were once the scenes of bloody battles. Wherever I go I find stories I want to write. Who were the people who once lived here? How did they live? Who did they love? What were their hopes, what kept them awake at night?

Culross - where parts of Outlander filmed
Culross – where parts of Outlander filmed
One of over a hundred Green Men carvings in Rosslyn Chapel - home to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail
One of over a hundred Green Men carvings in Rosslyn Chapel – home to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail

We Scots have our fair share of local heroines not least Dr Inglis of whom I wrote in my first novel, When the Dawn Breaks. We have many, many others. For example Mairi Chisholm who treated wounded soldiers right on the front line during WW1; the Duchess of Sutherland who like Elsie Inglis set up hospitals to treat the wounded and, one of my favourites (who may yet feature in one of my books) Lady Nithsdale who rode all the way from her home in Traquair House to the Tower of London to rescue her husband – and succeeded. Traquair House was where I discovered the priest’s staircase – a secret staircase that provided an escape route for the resident priest as practising the catholic faith was forbidden during the reformation and once I’d learned about it, I had to use it in Greyfriars House.

In Greyfriars House, I return once again to WW2 and the women who lived through it and who faced unimaginable circumstances.

Finally, we Scots, or some of us, believe in the supernatural. My grandfather who came from the Western Isles firmly believed he had the ‘second sight.’ He said he dreamt of boats pulled up on the shore whenever someone was about to die. Ghost stories have always been an integral part of Scottish life and sometimes, when I stand in a ruin, or am alone in a Scottish glen, I sense the people who once lived there. There is an element of the supernatural in Greyfriars House too.

Do you have a particular heroine you’d like to tell us about? Have you ever felt ‘spooked’ by something you couldn’t explain? Have you visited Scotland and what did you love most? I’d very much like to hear.

isbn9780751566123.jpgThanks to my wonderful medical author colleagues who invited me to post here. On Monday I’ll be posting an extract of Greyfriars House now out in hardback and ebook and in paperback in May (available to pre-order from Amazon, now). I do hope you’ll return here to read it.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

New Year? New You?

Hello there everyone!

Are you fresh in from a long run? Has your Christmas Fitbit clocked your steps yet? Just finished off tucking into that amazing Veganuary veggie burger?

Me neither.

But if so, huzzah for you! Goal setting is great and for me – it’s the New Year’s List that nudges me to try new things. I love it. It’s how at the ripe age of *cough cough* I rode my bike from Saigon to Hanoi. It’s how I managed to start and finish a book. It’s how I learned how to make doughnuts from scratch. (Well…that just might have also involved showing off a bit for my future husband!)

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This year…for probably the first year since I could read or write….I didn’t kick off with a ream of goals. VERY unusual for me. images-2.jpegWhilst the holidays were overall lovely (Santa brought the most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned, the turkey wasn’t dry, no family feuds or rifts)…I wasn’t really up to speed because I’d lost my beloved pooch, Jorjie Porjie Wiggly Bum Smorjie, and I found it really tough. As such – I’ve found it harder to look towards the future with my usual gusto – HOWEVER – I’ve just started writing a Christmas book and it’s definitely making my cockles warmer.

Another thing that’s cheering me up is that my February book – Reunited With Her Parisian Surgeon is ALL. ABOUT. YOU.

That’s right. Remember when we did those quizzes about a year ago with Annie Claydon and Susan Carlisle? You invented a hero (brooding Frenchman, Raphael Boucher) and our heroine (feisty Aussie redhead, Maggie Louis). You also gave them some dark pasts. (Sorry, folks. I had to lose one of the dead relatives, because there was a pretty high body count if I took all of the quizzes ‘wish lists’ into account). The story was to be set in Sydney and Paris. Which it is…but there’s also a road trip to Broken Hill! I really hope you enjoy it, because I had SUCH a great time writing it.

And next on the list? I’m going to sit down and pop a new bucket list of goals onto a legal pad. You can bet your bottom dollar there’ll be one certain entry: Write More Books! In the meantime, if you fancy seeing your poll results in action….here it is, in the new-look M&B format…Reunited with Her Parisian Surgeon!9781335663313.indd

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Writing is Like Remodeling

So we remodeled our bathroom before selling our old house a while back. I know, you’re thinking we repainted and freshened things up a little bit. No. We RE-modeled. We took a minuscule bathroom that used to house a toilet and a freestanding plastic box shower (there was no sink) and completely tore it apart to make what became a walk in shower, housed our washer and dryer and was something that I loved to visit (for more than just the obvious reasons). It was a great selling feature when we sold it. What does this have to do with writing? Well, as we were going through the labor pains of this project, it made me think about how similar it is to my writing process. Especially in these ways:

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Our bathroom stripped down to the floor joists!
  1. I start with the kernel of an idea. It is like that original bathroom—rudimentary at best, with just the bare necessities.
  2. The idea has to be gutted…pared down to the foundations in order to build what will eventually house a finished story.
  3. Then comes the rebuilding—one step at a time, with each plot element in its place, until you’ve completed the first draft.
  4. Finally you arrive at a fleshed-out story—something you’re proud of. A story you’re happy to visit…and revisit!

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    Finished at last!

So what do you think? There are all kinds of analogies for writing. I think decorating a Christmas tree could also be used: bare tree plus lights plus decorations, etc. Do you have any do it yourself stories (successful or not) you’d like to share? Or, if you’re a writer, are there any comparisons that fit your process? And here’s the latest finished project…er, I mean book.

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Losing a baby tore them apart…

Can having another reunite them?

Losing their daughter left doctors Tucker and Kady heartbroken and when he couldn’t face trying for another child, it left their marriage in pieces. When they meet again at a medical event, their memories are reawakened—along with their scorching chemistry! But Kady still longs for a baby, and Tucker must finally face his fears if he’s to find happiness with her again…

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

From Maternity Leave to Medical Romance!

Happy New Year!

Now that the last of the mince pies have been eaten and the rogue Christmas decorations have been tucked away, it’s time for most of us to return to something resembling routine. For Harlequin Mills & Boon editors Vic Britton and Carly Byrne this means embarking on a whole new normal as they return from maternity leave and swap babies for billionaires!

A few weeks ago I was knee-deep in nappies, baby food and squeaking animals… now I’m neck-deep in heroes, heroines and glamorous locations… how life has changed! As a commissioning editor for the Harlequin UK series team I love nothing more than getting lost in romance. It’s an extreme contrast from where I’ve been ‘lost’ for the past 10 months – on maternity leave with my first little bundle of noise, snot and sticky hands, otherwise known as Henry.

Being my first baby I’ve certainly gone through the rollercoaster of emotions I’m sure all new mums go through, from the moment he was born and life changed forever to the moment I went back to work and life changed yet again! I’ve been back at work now for a mere week and so I’m still riding that rollercoaster, I know I will be for some time, BUT I am so glad to be back! I’m finally Vic again (as opposed to ‘Henry’s mum – proud as I am to be that, of course) and I’m finding that I have a renewed love for and dedication to all things romance.

I have been an editor for 12 years, but during the past 10 months Henry has taught me to be more patient, more caring and more open in all aspects of my life and I can’t wait to bring this new perspective to my editing.

For 4 days of the week it will be hurdles, hooks and happy ever afters, leaving the other 3 for the joy of teething, toddling and tantrums… bring it on!

Vic x

 I’ve returned from mat leave for the second time around, after the birth of my second daughter Isabelle, and I can honestly say (even though it’s a cliché) that the hot cups of tea and uninterrupted adult conversations never get old! I’m much more appreciative of these little luxuries now I’m a mum.

I love having two completely different worlds to inhabit – from wiping faces and trips to the park at home to travelling the world with a gorgeous hero at work (not literally, sadly), but in both worlds, I’ve found a biscuit or treat works well as an incentive!

Reading stories about pregnancy and babies strike a new chord with me – and often cause floods of (usually happy) tears – an occupational hazard when reading Medical Romance. And I’m even more partial to a cover with a cute baby on the front 🙂 

I’m very lucky to work in such a supportive team and in a job that allows me to escape into whatever world I’m reading about. And at the end of the day I get to read bedtime stories to my girls and remember that whether its nursery rhymes now or romance when they’re older – books bring so much comfort and joy!

Carly

If you have any questions for Vic or Carly, about toddlers or tycoons(!), please leave them in the comments below.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I can still say Happy New Year, even though January is nearly half over, can’t I? 🙂

It’s been both good and bad for me so far. Had a crazy busy but very nice Christmas, with all three of my young adult kids spending the night here Christmas eve, which I loved. The tree went up very late – barely a week before Christmas, but it got done! Our favorite uncle that we visit in San Diego stayed here for a week, and when youngest came home from college, we got the tree. It stood naked for days, but finally got dressed for Christmas.

 

 

Then we had a DDD New Year’s Eve party – Dance, Drinks, and Dessert! 🙂 My hubby was quite excited about this, working on his dance playlist for a long time. Then he put our disco ball in the ceiling, which definitely added to the party atmosphere (can you tell he’s serious about parties?)  The young adults showed up, too – my daughter and her fiancé, two of his friends, and my nieces, which definitely added energy and fun! Our neighbors won a gigantic bottle of champagne which they brought, and that added to the fun as well 😉

 

 

So, on to 2018! We put our world back to normal and I finished the revision work I always do on a printed-out copy, ready to apply it to the computer manuscript. Which takes quite a bit of time, since some of my notes say things like ‘Better’ or ‘More’ 😉  Then what happens? I slipped and fell on our driveway, and broke my wrist. AARRGH! It happened last Monday, and is miserably handicapping, not to mention painful. But I’m lucky that it doesn’t appear to need surgery unless the bones shift, so keeping fingers crossed about that! It’s making finishing the revision extremely difficult, but my lovely editor has said to take whatever time I need, which I appreciate.

Wrist2

Lastly, you might have seen that Mills & Boon has redesigned their book covers,  point of sale design, and promotional items for 2018! Here are a few of the covers, and the cover for my May release – what do you think?

M&B New Design

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How has your 2018 been so far? Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year 🙂

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

January Releases

Six new releases to get the New Year off to a great start!  We have a King, a Prince and a Duke – as well as Army Docs and two stories from The Sinclair Hospital.  Enjoy!

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Pregnant with his Royal Twins, by Louisa Heaton

New year, twin babies!

Midwife Freya MacFadden has stuck to night shifts since she was injured in an acid attack. But a hospital costume ball offers her the chance to hide her scars, and, lost in the moment, she seizes a passionate encounter with a handsome stranger. Leaving her pregnant…with his twins!

Desert prince Jameel Al Bakhari fought hard for his medical career, far from his kingdom of Majidar. And he’ll fight for kind and courageous Freya and their babies, too! But first Jamie must show her how beautiful she really is!

 
lgcover.9781488079467.jpgThe Surgeon King’s Secret Baby, by Amy Ruttan

A family by New Year’s Eve?

Reagan Cote left war-torn Hermosa thinking the gorgeous surgeon she’d shared a brief affair with was lost on the front line. So she clung to the child she was carrying.

While Kainan Laskaris’s voice is damaged, he’s alive. And when he finds Reagan in Toronto and discovers he’s dad to their sick baby boy, he asks her to marry him. Now he’s king of Hermosa, he needs a queen and heir, but before she’ll accept, Kainan must prove that marrying Reagan means more than claiming his kingdom.

 

lgcover.9781488079474.jpgForbidden Night with the Duke, by Annie Claydon 

One stolen kiss…

Nurse Megan Wheeler won’t let that passionate kiss, or the way she feels about Jaye Perera, ruin her dream job. Yes, he may be a duke, a doctor and devastatingly handsome but he’s also her future boss, and that’s a boundary she won’t—can’t—cross!

But working side by side under the Sri Lankan sun is a delicious torture. One that reveals to Megan a different side of guarded Jaye… After the hurts they’ve both experienced, can they learn to trust in love again?

 

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Tempted by Dr. Off-Limits, by Charlotte Hawkes

One night is never enough…

For trauma doc Major Elle Caplin, spending one night in Lieutenant Colonel Fitzwilliam’s arms is out of character but oh so good! It’s meant to be a one-off, until Fitz shows up on her army base!

Fitz doesn’t do long-term—he knows he’s bad news to anyone he cares about—and learning that he’ll be working with capable flame-haired Elle puts her in the strictly off-limits category. But with the memory of their hot, life-changing encounter keeping him awake, suddenly Fitz is tempted to break his one-night rule!

 

lgcover.9781488079498.jpgReunited with her Army Doc, by Dianne Drake

Can he trust her with his heart?

Army doc Caleb Carsten will do anything for his gifted son—even if it means returning to his hometown of Marrell and working for Leanne Sinclair, the childhood crush who once broke his heart.

Leanne is thrilled to meet Caleb again. But why can’t she remember more about their past, and what she did to hurt him so badly? And if Leanne can’t show Caleb she’s changed, will he ever trust her with his heart?

 

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Healing her Boss’s Heart, by Dianne Drake

Daring to love again…

When handsome surgeon Jack Hanson returns home, he’s not looking for love. His guilt over his wife’s death means he’s never going to risk his heart again! But feisty new employee Carrie Kellem can’t help but intrigue him…

Carrie’s tough childhood has made her independent; she doesn’t need anyone! Until she meets Jack… And suddenly Carrie wishes she wasn’t alone. Can she help Jack to let go of the past and see that he has a future with her?