Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

From McDonald’s to Mills & Boon Author: How 100 bad jobs have helped my writing

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I’ve had to work in some less-than-ideal places.

With frozen fingers I swiped a handful of coleslaw from the skip-sized container beside me. I slopped it into the plastic pot and felt another slice of my soul slipping away, smothered like those slithers of carrot.

Factory life was not for me; I knew that the second I donned that bright blue hairnet on day one, and joined a lady I’ll call Mable at the conveyor belt. Mable had pet rats. She didn’t specify how many, just that they were free to run around her home, and that her favourite rat had just died.

Mable now had to save hard to pay for his cremation ceremony, but luckily, ramming coleslaw into pots for Marks & Spencer’s would pay enough – eventually – to put her beloved pet to rest.

I was 18 when I started the summer job at the factory, in my humble home town of Spalding, Lincolnshire. Before that, at age 14, I worked in a fish and chip shop, earning £1.50 an hour.  I remember someone ordered a fried egg with their haddock once, and I panicked. I didn’t know how to fry an egg. I went to the small back room and cried. Then I told the poor, hungry customer that we were out of eggs.

My boss took me downstairs to the back room: “WE HAVE ALL THOSE EGGS!!!!” he cried, charging the air with fishy, facetious masculinity whilst pointing at what looked like 30 huge crates of them, some still covered in feathers.

I cried again. He sighed and begrudgingly taught his chip-shop prodigy how to fry one. I was good at it. It was the greatest day of my life.

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Not all jobs were bad. At the radio station I met some pretty cool people!

The people in the factory… and pretty much all those crappy jobs I had to endure in the name of making my own way in this world were passageways, transitional periods that I now realise were the makings of me as a writer; as a woman. As someone who’s now not afraid to turn new corners, try new things (and sometimes fail).

When rodent-fan Mable started up about funerals for pet rats; when I realised it made people happy to be served a good friend egg, and me happy to fry it, something shifted inside me.

Not only I was I meeting characters. I was becoming a whole new character myself.

At McDonalds (age 19), I made up my own special sauce and started putting it on burgers. I was fired. You’re not allowed to make up new sauces at McDonalds – I guess someone in a lab does that, or someone in a clown suit – probably both. I learned not to mess with fast food staples, or science.

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When the jello-shot tables were turned

When I moved to New York at 21 I took a job as a jello-shot waitress, as a side-job to answering phones for a production house on Broadway. I accepted a $20 tip for letting a CEO called Bradley take a tequila shot from my bellybutton. All his mates moved in for their turn, and I learned that saying yes to everything that sounds OK isn’t always OK.

Throughout my life, I’ve had loads of jobs I’ve hated and loads more that I’ve loved – like the time I spent at a Sydney radio station, meeting celebs! Each one has taught me something that’s changed me, kept me ploughing forward, kept me focused on my dreams and in the end… my writing. Lots of the character traits and scenarios in my books are now based on people I’ve met, stories I’ve heard and experiences I have personally had – good and bad.

In the factory, many people I met had grown content to let their biggest dreams pass them by, slowly but surely, like the items on that conveyor belt.

But I grew stronger, and way more grateful, and a hella-lot more driven! I worked as a freelance writer, traveled the world on my own; worked from campsites, bars, even a nudist beach in Vancouver (maybe I’ll tell you about that one sometime – ahem). As I write from here in my latest spot – Amsterdam – I feel lucky to be able to access this memory bank of mayhem, laughter and tears. I feel lucky to be able to twist these tales and adventures, and fill hundreds of pages with stories!

As any motivated ‘character’ would have you learn, you fail at something, you pick yourself back up. You keep your goals in sight and you keep a positive attitude. When something doesn’t work out, you try your damned best to move on with grace (even if your best pet rat kicks the bucket, or your McManager yells at you for your special sauce in front of everyone).

You simply have to trust that after all that crap, just like in a Mills & Boon novel, you’re surely headed for a happy ending.

My latest Medical Romance ‘Tempted By Her Hot Shot Doc’ is out now! Check it out on Amazon.

smaller for sigThanks for reading! I’ll be blogging here regularly but you can also follow me on Twitter @bex_wicks, and on Instagram at beckywicks. Check out my blog and sign up to my newsletter at beckywicks.com, or find my Becky Wicks Author page on Facebook.

 

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Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Healed by the Single Dad Doc, by Annie Claydon

9781474074957

Could single dad Ethan be the one…

…to put Kate together again?

When kind-hearted single father Dr Ethan Conway comes to vet Kate Foster’s rescue one night, it forges an unexpected bond between them. Could Kate be the perfect woman for Ethan and his young son to let into their life? If Kate can learn to trust again and let Ethan help her perhaps they can both move on—and be a family!

 

 

Chapter 1

Dr Ethan Conway was no stranger to the saving of lives. And also no stranger to the desolate feeling of having to accept that sometimes there is nothing that can be done.

And Jeff wasn’t ‘just’ a dog. He was Ethan’s dog. The gentle, giant Newfoundland would be over ninety now in human years. Old age was finally catching up with him and, if his gradual decline over the last three weeks hadn’t come as any surprise, it had still been hard.

‘All right, Jeff. She’ll be here in a minute.’ Ethan had parked the car in the empty forecourt of the veterinary surgery, and he twisted round in his seat. Jeff lifted his head slightly at the sound of his name and Ethan reached back, stroking the dog’s head. Jeff had been with him for nine years, through love and loss, dreams and shattered hopes, and the thought of losing him now hurt.

It’s okay to be upset about this.

The words of the pretty red-haired vet who’d seen Jeff last week sounded in Ethan’s head. He’d explained to her that, in the scheme of things, this wasn’t so bad and she’d cut through his bravado with one look.

Another car swung onto the forecourt, its headlights blinding him for a moment. It stopped at an interesting angle, taking up two parking spaces, and the driver’s door opened. Kate Foster got out, hurrying across to where Ethan’s car was parked.

‘I’ll straighten it up in a minute…’ Ethan wound the driver’s window down and she grinned at him. ‘Have you been waiting long? I’m sorry, my last call took a bit longer than I anticipated.’

‘I was early. And it’s good of you to see us so late in the evening.’

She brushed the idea away with a wave of her hand, even though Ethan knew from his earlier conversation with the receptionist that Kate had been working all day. Despite that, she was all fresh-faced energy as she craned her neck through the window of his car, her gaze seeking Jeff out.

‘Hello, Jeff. How are you doing, old boy?’

Jeff’s tail thumped on the seat and he raised his head again. Kate smiled, and Ethan provided the answer to her question.

‘He’s been a lot more comfortable since you saw him last week. I’ve been giving him the medication regularly.’

She nodded. ‘Good. Let’s get him inside and I’ll take a look at him.’

Kate unlocked the main door of the surgery and waited while Ethan unclipped the car safety-harness. Jeff lumbered slowly inside. The door slammed behind them and she squeezed past him in the narrow entranceway, leaving a scent of fresh air and flowers behind her as she walked through the darkened reception area and opened a door to the surgery at the back, flipping on the light.

‘Bring him through…’ She held the door open and Ethan bent, ready to lift the large dog up onto the examination couch. ‘That’s okay. Sit down there with him. He didn’t much like it up on the couch last time, did he?’

She’d only seen Jeff once before but she remembered. Ethan sat down gratefully on the long vinyl-covered bench which ran along one wall of the surgery, and Jeff sprawled on the floor next to him, leaning against Ethan’s legs.

‘You’ll be okay there for a moment? I’ve got to go and get my bag from the car.’ She gave a smiling shrug that, for one moment, dispelled the weight in his heart. ‘I should probably take another shot at that parking bay, too. I’m told the white lines are there for a reason.’

‘We’ll be fine. Call me if you need someone to wave you in to your space.’

She chuckled, and it occurred to Ethan that parking in a straight line wasn’t much in Kate’s nature. At work, she was thoughtful and methodical, but everything else she did betrayed a deliciously free spirit.

He heard the sound of the front door closing behind her. Then silence, broken only by the faint whisper of a car engine. A dull thud, and then silence again.

‘Better go and see if she needs some help, Jeff.’ Ethan shifted Jeff to one side a little and got to his feet. As he did so, the sound of a scream made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end…

 

Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Heritage Lost

I rely on the internet for information. A lot. More than I should. That was brought home to me when I opened a cabinet door I rarely use and saw a familiar sight: my mom’s handwriting peeking out of an old wooden recipe box.

I pulled the box down and opened the lid, and I was swept away on a wave of nostalgia. My mom has been gone for almost sixteen years and yet seeing her handwriting was so…her. I recognized it immediately. And it made me think. Have I done that for my children? Will they be able to one day look at something like a recipe and see the essence of who I was? recipes

I don’t know. And that makes me sad. If I want to find a recipe nowadays, my first instinct isn’t to go to that treasured box. Instead, I go online and try to find the best of the best of that recipe. How many positive reviews has it gotten? What hints do the reviewers give for making the recipe even better?

And once I’ve made that recipe, I’d be hard-pressed to be able to find it again. How have I come to this point and why? Maybe because I think it’s faster. But what about future generations of my family? Am I losing something in the process?

It could be that it’s time for me to slow down and leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that my children can find their way back to me. Don’t they deserve the same bits and pieces like the ones my mom left me?

I think they do. So I’m going to start thinking a little more about the way I do things. And hopefully one day, my kids will find a treasured recipe or a journal or a photo album that contains my handwriting.

Do you have a special way of passing something down to your kids or relatives? I would love to hear it. Or maybe there’s a special recipe you’d like to share. This is the perfect place! I’m taking notes.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Cover Gods Smiled On Me

by Susan Carlisle

Covers are a big deal to authors. When I was just a reader I had no idea what went into one. Or the importance of what one looked like. Most people are surprised to know that with most of my covers I have no opinion on them.

My first book, a nonfiction, about my son who has had a heart transplant I did get an opinion. I liked that because it was about my son and my family.NNH front cover

My first cover with Harlequin I was tickled more because it was my first book than because it was a great cover.

Heart Surgeon, Hero...Husband Cover

This cover is pretty but I’m not sure I would reach for it on the shelf. The story was fun to write and readers liked it. It was an award finalist.

His Best Friend's Baby2

Now, this one is more to my taste. I would give it a second look. But then I like handsome men.book cover 2

But oh-my-word my release for March is a KEEPER. The best I have every had and hope to ever have. The cover gods hit the mark with this one. Even my daughter who doesn’t pay much attention to my books said, “Mom, this one is going to sell!” To make it even sweeter the picture fits my character Rex to perfection.

I’ve even thought of making it into a promotional poster or pin.

Enjoy it while is lasts. I sure am.

Redeeming the Rebel Doc -cover

She was hired to rebuild his reputation…

But will this doc be too hot to handle?

After successfully fighting a year-long lawsuit, handsome, rebellious surgeon Rex Maxwell is ready to get back on top of his game! So when buttoned-up but beautiful PR exec Tiffani Romano insists on making him the center of his hospital’s campaign, he reluctantly agrees. And though she tries hard not to let him, Rex is determined to get under her skin…

Do you judge a book by its cover?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

March New Releases

March is going to be a busy month!  Get set for healing, redeeming, resisting and temptation – along with a miracle!

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 A Child to Heal Them, by Louisa Heaton

Might saving a little girl…

… help mend their broken hearts?

When ex-doctor Tasha Kincaid escapes to Africa to teach, haunted by the loss of a young patient, she never expects to find now-widowed Quinn Shapiro—the doctor who once broke her heart. But a pupil is sick and she needs his help! As they care for little Abeje, Tasha finds herself falling for Quinn again… Could healing this child help them embrace a future together?

 

 

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Healed by the Single Dad Doc, By Annie Claydon

Could single dad Ethan be the one…

…to put Kate together again?

When kind-hearted single father Dr Ethan Conway comes to vet Kate Foster’s rescue one night, it forges an unexpected bond between them. Could Kate be the perfect woman for Ethan and his young son to let into their life? If Kate can learn to trust again and let Ethan help her perhaps they can both move on—and be a family!

 

 

9781474074971Redeeming the Rebel Doc, by Susan Carlisle

She was hired to rebuild his reputation…

But will this doc be too hot to handle?

After successfully fighting a year-long lawsuit, handsome and rebellious surgeon Rex Maxwell is ready to get back on top of his game! So when buttoned-up but beautiful PR exec Tiffani Romano insists on making him the centre of his hospital’s campaign he reluctantly agrees. And even though she tries hard not to let him, Rex is determined to get under her skin…

 

 

9781474074940Resisting her Commander Hero, by Lucy Ryder

Frankie doesn’t need a hero…

But can she fight her attraction to Nate?

Paramedic Frankie Bryce is finally over her crush on her late brother’s best friend, ex-Navy SEAL Nate Oliver—but then he returns to their hometown, acting as if she’s still the wild-child teenager he has to protect because he promised her brother he would! Frankie’s all woman now, and she definitely doesn’t need rescuing! The trouble is, this super-sexy hero is impossible to ignore…

 

9781474074988Tempted by the Hot-Shot Doc, by Becky Wicks

Three weeks with a gorgeous TV doc…

How long can she resist?

Madeline Savoia is thrilled to be writing sexy, infamous Ryan Tobias’s biography—and to be accompanying him to the Amazon to film his TV show! She won’t be tempted. She’s just suffered a break-up and Ryan’s only interest is in saving lives—perfect! But their passion sizzles even before they reach the rainforest! Is three weeks up-close-and-personal enough to become for ever?

 

 

9781474074933The Doctor’s Baby Miracle, by Tina Beckett

Losing a baby tore them apart…

Can having another reunite them?

Losing their daughter left doctors Tucker and Kady heartbroken, and when Tucker couldn’t face trying for another child it left their marriage in pieces. Meeting again at a medical event, they find 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

Book recommendations for traveling?

Hello and happy March!

I’m having a very exciting time planning a sabbatical with my husband. We leave on March 23rd and will be away for 9 weeks! We’re fitting a lot in including a weekend in Vancouver, an Easter wedding in UK, a romantic weekend in Paris, a family get together in Barcelona, a 10 day hike in northern Spain (covering 200kms), a recuperative week in Portugal (we’re going to need it!! LOL), a gourmet week in Italy and a tour of Russia.

img_6189.jpgPacking everything to cover all these things will be interesting, to say the least, and there will be no room for books so I’m taking my trusty kindle. I’m looking for any must-reads you’ve found this year?

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours… 🙂

These are my most recent reads…

I have never read any Jayne Ann Krentz before, but thoroughly enjoyed reading Promise Not To Tell which is a suspense novel about a woman who has narrowly escaped a cult and the people she spent time with there…there was enough suspense to keep me interested and enough romance to make me sigh.

On Second Thought is another wonderful Kristan Higgins read about families, sisters and love (falling in, falling out, searching for, and then unexpectedly finding it). I adore Higgins’ books and you’re always guaranteed a few laughs and few tears and very satisfactory ending.

Still Me is book three in the life of Louisa Clark (the first one is Me Before You then there’s After You), an ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey to find love and herself. Moyes always writes such heartfelt prose and makes me weep!

Edge of Truth is the second book by Brynn Kelly about a group of ex-French foreign legion soldiers. The first book, Deception Island, won the RWNZ KORU Award last year and is a hot suspense novel that had me gripped on the first page. I’m just diving into this, but if it’s as good as the first one I’ll be thrilled.

The Camino. Unless you’re a fan of Shirley MacLaine (yes, the actress) or hiking in Spain this one won’t be for you. It’s a whacky and weird exploration of Shirley’s ideas and ‘past lives’ and not so much about the walk… this was inadvertently on the photo so thought I’d better mention it!!

(And I have Fiona Lowe’s Birthright downloaded already and waiting! 🙂 )

So…what have you read that will hold my interest on those long plane and train journeys? I love suspense and crime and (obviously) romance and women’s fiction. Also…what about audio books? Do you like them? Would you recommend?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Cover Crazy

One of the best things about writing Medical Romance, is the books which arrive regularly on my doorstep – not just the English-language editions, but the translations, too.  Many of the covers are beautiful, and since most of our English-language readers probably never get to see them, I thought I’d treat you today to a quick round-up of my own favourite covers from around the world.

My first stop is Italy – this cover was for the Italian edition of my first book ‘All She Wants for Christmas’.  I remember thinking I’d really made it into the world of romance writing when I saw this, because it’s the perfect romantic scene.  A heroine in a red dress, a hero in a tux and a glittering Christmas Tree.  Thank you Italy!

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Next, Germany.  Here’s the cover for ‘Re-Awakening his Shy Nurse’.  I can’t really claim this cover as all mine – there are three books in this anthology, but I’m sure that my book-buddies, Louisa George and Fiona McArthur, won’t mind if I say that the cover fits my story exactly.  A story about a vet who’s setting up a nature reserve wouldn’t be complete without a few trees…

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Now France.  I love the gorgeous, romantic French covers, and this one seems to me to really fit the bill.

Discovering Dr Riley

And Iceland.  The image fits the story beautifully, but I like the title even better :).  ‘Snowbound with the Surgeon’ became ‘Hot Snow’!

Hot Snow

My tour wouldn’t be complete without Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.  It’s difficult to choose from the many and gorgeous covers from Scandinavia, but this one really caught my eye.

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Next, Poland.  Here’s the cover for ‘Discovering Dr Riley’.  This story is set in the city, so the image is just perfect.

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Holland uses a blue theme for it’s medical romances.  I loved this edition of ‘Doctor on her Doorstep’

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tour, and I can’t finish without a big thank you to all the cover artists!  Or without including one of the brand new covers which are part of the UK re-launch for 2018.  Here’s the cover for ‘Healed by the Single Dad Doc’, which is available now!

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Could single dad Ethan be the one…

…to put Kate together again?

When kind-hearted single father Dr Ethan Conway comes to vet Kate Foster’s rescue one night, it forges an unexpected bond between them. Could Kate be the perfect woman for Ethan and his young son to let into their life? If Kate can learn to trust again and let Ethan help her perhaps they can both move on—and be a family!