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

How to Have a Never-Ending Holiday!

Hello! It’s Hannah here. I’m the Assistant Editor for the Mills and Boon Medical Romance team. I’m so excited to be back on Love is the Best Medicine and to talk all things Medical Romance.

First things first! How was your summer? It’s been a busy – but exciting! – time at True Love Towers. From the Love to Write competition in search of romance writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds (the deadline is Monday 4th October so, aspiring authors , you still have time to submit!) to the Mills and Boon team’s return to the office, we were hit (as we always are!) by just how lucky we are to work in the world of romance.

So, as we soak-up the last of the late-September sun (after the soggiest summer ever in the UK!), we thought now was the perfect time to show that just because Autumn in fast approaching, it doesn’t mean that the chance to travel the world (through Mills and Boon Medical Romance’s latest books!) – has. Here’s your ticket to unlimited armchair travel!

Island Fling with the Surgeon by Ann McIntosh

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From fake to forever?

When Dr Genevieve convinces nurse Zach to enter a fake relationship to help keep her meddling mum at bay, she’s confident there’s no danger of it turning into more. But is their ‘fake affair’ at risk of becoming all too real?

Hawaiian Medic to Rescue His Heart by Annie O’Neil

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Tempting the single dad!

Firefighter and paramedic Zach is looking forward to a quieter life in Hawaii and building a brighter future for himself and his son. But his beautiful, kind, vibrant new colleague, Lulu, has the potential to derail all of his plans…

 

Reawakened at the South Pole by Juliette Hyland

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A reunion of a lifetime!

ER Nurse Helena wants to break free from her parent’s perception of the fragile premature baby she once was. Her new, South Pole-based job is the perfect solution. But, Dr Carter’s arrival proves you can’t erase the past. He once disappeared from her life, leaving no trace, but he never left her heart…

 

Costa Rican Fling with the Doc by Traci Douglass

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Temptation in paradise!

For single mum Sara, life has been all about raising her now adult son. But, volunteering for a medical charity in Costa Rica, it’s finally the nurse’s chance to focus on her passions. Only her guarded new boss, Gabe, sends all her senses into overdrive, for once, sensible Sara can’t help wondering – what if they didn’t resist temptation?

 

What destination is #1 on your bucket list? We’d love to know!

With love,

Hannah

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt: Island Fling with the Surgeon

I have a dear friend who has been super-supportive of my writing career, buying my books whenever they come out and even recently asking me to sign my latest, which she swears is her favorite. While I definitely have more than one friend who buys my books, her love of Island Fling with the Surgeon means a lot to me, because she’s one of those people who doesn’t hesitate to give her honest opinion. Well, maybe she just wouldn’t *say* anything if she hated it, but she wouldn’t say she liked it if she didn’t!

As I keep saying, this was a fun book to write. My impulsive, mischievous heroine and steady, loving hero are the kinds of people I’d love to hang out with, and I want to party with their extended families. While we can’t make it back to the Caribbean just yet, or have the opportunity to visit far-flung family and friends, I hope this book will remind us all of what awaits once we can again!

Excerpt: Island Fling with the Surgeon

Zach leaned back as the deepening shadows cast Gen’s face into a mysterious, gorgeous study in gray scale. They were sharing companionable silence, while she watched the final colors of the setting sun fade from the sky, and he found himself equally enthralled by her profile. The more time he spent with her, the more fascinated he found himself becoming.

It was all well and good to say they were play-acting in an effort to fool the people around them, but he knew, for him, the acting was starting to feel far too real.

Leaning over her earlier, he’d realized he was tempted to kiss the top of her head or her cheek.

It had been a long time since he’d felt drawn to another person the way he was to Gen. He could spend hours with her and never feel bored or uncomfortable—except when his body reacted to hers in untoward ways, like when they’d danced together.

Whew.

That had been far too real for comfort.

She’d moved like silk in his arms, her lush body swaying in perfect time with his. It had been easy to imagine they really were a couple, and all he had to do was dip his head and she’d lift hers for a kiss.

Which was something he’d been thinking about way too often.

Kissing Gen.

It had crossed his mind repeatedly that kissing her on her cheek when her mother was around would seem highly unusual. After all, they were supposedly in the midst of a months-long relationship. Wouldn’t it be more natural for them to greet each other with a kiss on the lips?

But that was a direction he was chary of going in, since he wasn’t sure he was ready to take such a step.

It seemed far too dangerous to go down that path, especially with his heightened awareness of the attraction building toward the beautiful woman across from him.

What he was beginning to feel for her was way too close to desire to be entirely comfortable, despite the fact it would make his performance all the more realistic.

Shaking the thoughts away, he got up to turn on the lights in the house and catch his breath.

“Would you like some pudding?” he asked, as a way to distract himself. “I have some stewed local plums and ice cream.”

The sound of her little chuckle made him smile too.

“That’s not pudding. That’s fruit and ice cream. But no, thank you.” Her chair creaked as he watched her get up. “I’m going to head home. I’m operating early tomorrow morning.”

As she spoke, she came into the kitchen, blinking at the brightness of the light. When she rubbed her left eyelid, he realized she was probably more tired than she was letting on.

“Okay,” he said, his brain unerringly going back to his previous thoughts about kissing. “Drive carefully, and let me know when you get home.”

“Will do,” she replied, taking up her handbag. “And why don’t you come by my place tomorrow evening for a change. I’m so in love with your house, I keep coming here, making you cook for me. It’s time I returned the favor.”

He chuckled. “I don’t mind. I like cooking.”

And he liked having her there. She brought new life to the house, blowing away the cobwebs of his previous funk.

“And I very much like eating your cooking,” she agreed serenely, as they walked to the stairs. “But come by anyway. I have a hankering for steak, done on the grill.”

“I’d like that,” he admitted, and it was no lie. He’d only glimpsed the inside of her town house when he’d gone to pick her up for one of their excursions. It would be nice to get a more intimate look. “You need me to bring anything?”

“Nope.”

They were at the foot of the steps when she paused, looking up at him, and something in her expression froze him in place.

“Zach,” she said softly, coming a little closer. “I’m going to kiss you. If you have any objections, now’s the time to voice them.”

His throat was suddenly so tight it rendered him unable to voice anything at all. So instead, he opened his arms to her, reminding himself it was all just play-acting, even as his body hardened and his heart rate went into overdrive.

She smiled slightly, but it had an uncertain edge to it, and he saw the color staining her cheeks just before she stepped into his arms.

And even though he tried to hold back, he couldn’t resist moving his mouth against hers, deepening the kiss in minute increments until he felt the tip of her tongue touch his lower lip.

Then all bets were off.

New Releases

August New Releases

Happy August! I can’t believe this summer is almost over for us in the northern hemisphere.

Congratulations to Ann McIntosh on her 10th book with Medicals!

It’s shaping up to be a whirl wind year and to that end we have some great new releases for you:

The Princess and the Pediatrician by Annie O’Neil

One Caribbean night together
One pregnant princess!
When Dr. Lia Trelleburg—aka Princess Amelia of Karolinska—meets hot pediatrician Oliver Bainbridge at a fundraiser, she decides to break the habit of a carefully controlled lifetime and indulge in a breathtaking night of passion. Only, Lia falls pregnant, and Oliver stuns her by agreeing with palace protocol—yes, they must marry! Despite the odds, could they really find the happiness they desire together…as a family?
The Island Clinic novel
 
The Island Clinic quartet
Book 1 – How to Win the Surgeon’s Heart by Tina Beckett
Book 2 – Caribbean Paradise, Miracle Family by Julie Danvers
Book 3 – The Princess and the Pediatrician by Annie O’Neil
Book 4 – Reunited with His Long-Lost Nurse by Charlotte Hawkes
 

Taming the Hot-Shot Doc by Susan Carlisle

He’s lost everything…
Dare he risk his heart?
When renowned Chicago surgeon Matt Chapman agreed to testify against a notorious crime family, he lost his family, his fiancée and his career. Now he hopes to start again in an idyllic Mississippi town. But his efforts to keep to himself are threatened by his new boss, Dr. Shay Lunsford, who seems just as alone as he is. Dare Matt get closer to Shay and risk his heart again?

Reunited with His Long-Lost Nurse by Charlotte Hawkes

An unexpected reunion…
…in paradise!
Leading heart surgeon Liam Miller has come to St. Victoria to perform lifesaving surgery. He never imagined the distraction of bumping into the woman who loved him and then left him without a word! Avoiding nurse Talia Johnson is far harder than he thought—especially when their inconvenient but still-burning attraction keeps boiling over! As their painful secrets come tumbling out, are they ready to finally confront the truth?
The Island Clinic novel
 
The Island Clinic quartet
Book 1 – How to Win the Surgeon’s Heart by Tina Beckett
Book 2 – Caribbean Paradise, Miracle Family by Julie Danvers
Book 3 – The Princess and the Pediatrician by Annie O’Neil
Book 4 – Reunited with His Long-Lost Nurse by Charlotte Hawkes

Island Fling with the Surgeon by Ann McIntosh

Make-believe?
Or more than she bargained for?
When Dr. Genevieve Broussard convinces nurse Zach Lewin to enter a fake relationship to help keep her meddling mom off her back, she’s confident there’s no danger of it turning into anything more. Her first priority has to be her surgical career, and both Gen and Zach are still reeling from recent betrayals. But as the summer heat in the Caribbean loosens inhibitions, their fake “affair” is at risk of becoming all too real…

Falling for the Billionaire Doc by Amy Ruttan

Two polar opposites…
…a once-in-a-lifetime connection!
Dr. Kiera is on a mission: to save her hospital! She simply can’t let this lifeline for the local community vanish. There’s just one problem—surgeon Henry. He’s certain that a new, bigger hospital is the key to saving lives, not Kiera’s small hospital, which is just like the clinic where his fiancée tragically passed away. But it’s when Henry suddenly finds himself in need of a temporary fiancée that their worlds truly collide!

A Single Dad to Rescue Her by Sue MacKay

A tempting paramedic…
His second chance at love?
Called out to an avalanche, firefighting chief Jamie comes to strong-willed Kayla’s rescue. He’ll never forget the way Kayla gripped his hand. Or how the gutsy paramedic instructed him on how to save her! But he’s vowed not to pursue a relationship until his boys are grown. None of them can suffer another heartbreak. Yet Jamie feels an unrelenting pull toward Kayla. Might it be her turn next to save him?
Queenstown Search & Rescue novel
 
Queenstown Search & Rescue trilogy
Book 1 – Captivated by Her Runaway Doc
Book 2 – A Single Dad to Rescue Her
Book 3 – From Best Friends to I Do?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Friends to Lovers!

Here at Love is the Best Medicine, we love tropes!  So we’ve been asking our Medical Romance authors to tell us their favourite tropes, and to choose one of their own books as an example.  We’re starting with Friends to Lovers, and Ann McIntosh and Annie Claydon have given us their thoughts…

Ann McIntosh

One of my favourite tropes has always been friends-to-lovers.  There’s just something so delicious about two people who, having known each other for a while – and knowing where a lot of the secrets lie – suddenly start seeing each other in a different light.  Whether it’s when one party has been in love with the other for years, or the pair have simply been buddies, that moment when things change does it for me every time.

Ann has chosen her book Best Friend to Royal Bride 

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…is the one you’ve hidden the longest.

Realizing her world is dramatically falling apart, surgeon Mina’s childhood friend Kiah offers her a fresh start on the beautiful Caribbean island he calls home. She’s beyond grateful for his help in regaining the spirit and purpose she feared she’d lost. But when a long-denied attraction spills into their friendship, they must decide whether to risk everything on the breath-taking passion that’s quickly unravelling between them!

 

Annie Claydon

Best Friends can say anything to each other, right?  Or maybe not quite anything…  I love the dynamic between friends who suddenly discover that there could be more to their relationship, and who don’t quite know what to do with that realisation.

Annie has chosen her book Best Friend to Royal Bride

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When two friends break the rules…

…the consequences are irresistible!

Best friends Marie and Alex have been inseparable since medical school. Until one impulsive kiss changes everything…and Alex reveals his long-kept secret: he’s king of an exiled royal family. Marie knows she doesn’t belong in Alex’s privileged world but now neither can deny their unexpected and intense connection. And Marie must decide if she can risk it all to stay in Alex’s arms…as his queen.

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Return to St. Eustace

In July of last year, one of the favorite of all the books I’ve written was published. Being a tropical girl, I’d wanted to set a book on an island in the Caribbean, yet couldn’t decide on a specific one. After going over it in my head again and again, I decided to create a fictional island nation, called St. Eustace, (not to be confused with the Dutch island of Sint Eustatius) and set Best Friend to Dr. Right there.

Then, as is the way of authors, I moved on.

But that world, those characters, the setting kept calling me back.

The fact is, the Caribbean is a rich, multicultural area, which attracts so many people for so many different reasons. Centuries ago it was an area people ran to, to hide, to escape, to reflect, to prosper, and it’s really little different now. That aspect of the Caribbean is one that fascinates me and that fascination led me to a new storyline, and back to St. Eustace.

So, Island Fling with the Surgeon was born, and will be released in August 2021. In it two flawed but delicious characters navigate their way through a faux love affair, that becomes oh, so real! There are also glimpses of familiar characters from Best Friend to Doctor Right. I hope you enjoy the excerpt below!

Make-believe?

Or more than she bargained for?

When Dr. Genevieve Broussard convinces nurse Zach Lewin to enter a fake relationship to help keep her meddling mom off her back, she’s confident there’s no danger of it turning into anything more. Her first priority has to be her surgical career, and both Gen and Zach are still reeling from recent betrayals. But as the summer heat in the Caribbean loosens inhibitions, their fake “affair” is at risk of becoming all too real…

Excerpt

The drive over to Coconut Beach took only about fifteen minutes, but Zach found his thoughts repeatedly going back to Genevieve, no matter how he tried to keep them on other matters. So much so that, on turning into the car park next to the beach, he thought perhaps his eyes, following the lead of his brain, were playing tricks on him.

That couldn’t be Dr. Broussard sitting on the bonnet of her car waving to him, as he pulled into a nearby space, could it?

It most certainly was, and as she hopped down from her perch and made her way toward his car, bemusement had the muscles in his neck tightening.

What the heck was going on?

He had hardly closed the car door behind him before she started speaking.

“Hey, I’m sorry to stalk you like this, but I really needed to talk to you, and the hospital wasn’t the best place to do it…”

Although she stopped to take a breath, Zach didn’t have a chance to utter even one word before she asked, “Would you be my boyfriend?”

Gen hadn’t meant to blurt it out like that, but she was so nervous her palms were sweating, her knees were weak and the words just tumbled out of her mouth. The look of shock on Zach’s face just made it all worse. Heat climbed the back of her neck, and she rubbed at it, trying to dispel the prickling sensation.

“I’m sorry?” he said, his voice clipped and terribly precise, sharp enough to cut. “I beg your pardon?”

“Oof,” she replied, then wished she could pull the inarticulate sound back into her mouth, especially when his eyebrows contracted into a fierce scowl. Who would have thought she’d won prizes for elocution in the past, if that was the best she could come up with? “No, I’m sorry. I know it sounds crazy, but will you give me a chance to explain?”

He was still wearing that scowl, and the searching nature of his gaze made her wonder if he thought she was nuts.

She was wondering the same thing herself and couldn’t blame him if he were!

“I’m waiting with bated breath for you to do just that,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm overlaying the words.

She rubbed at her nape again and tried to regain some hint of composure.

“I’m not propositioning you, although I know it sounds like it.” The urge to start babbling again had her stopping and taking a deep breath. After blowing it out, she continued. “The truth is, I lied to my mother and told her you and I were involved in a relationship.”

“You what?”

He said it softly, but he couldn’t have sounded any more dangerous if he’d shouted.

Gen held up her hands. “I know. I know. It was stupid, but Mom is always on at me about not having a social life, and one night I just couldn’t take it anymore. So, I made up a story to get her off my back.”

Not the entire truth, but close enough under the circumstances.

“Why me?”

Now she could hear curiosity warring with his outrage, and it made her embarrassment deepen, if that were at all possible.

“I don’t know for sure,” she replied, trying to be honest. “I think it was because you’d just arrived, and I’d worked with you in the OR for the first time, so your name just popped into my head.”

Zach shook his head slowly, still giving her a suspicious glare.

“And now—?”

“Now Mom’s coming to visit, and I can’t let her know I lied.”

His nostrils flared slightly, as he drew in a harsh breath. “Just tell her it didn’t work out, and we’re not friendly anymore. Wouldn’t that solve the problem?”

“No!” Yikes, now she was barking at him. She had to get a grip. “It would make it worse—for me anyway—because then the whole cycle would start again.”

His gaze made her feel like a recalcitrant child, and now her entire body flushed hot. Looking around, she spied a small gazebo farther along the beach and gestured toward it.

“Can we sit down and talk about it?” Yeah, she was pleading, but although it felt weird, she was willing to do whatever it took to get Zach on board with her plan, no matter how crazy it was.

He didn’t reply for such a long interval she was absolutely sure he was going to tell her to get lost, but finally he nodded and waved his hand in the direction of the hut.

“After you.”

“Thank you,” she said, as they started walking that way. “I really appreciate it.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” he said in that cool, cutting tone. “I haven’t agreed to anything.”

“You agreed to at least hear me out,” she pointed out, perhaps more sharply than she should, all things considered.

That earned her a stern, sidelong glance, but he was gracious enough to say, “That’s fair.”

By the time they sat across from each other at the shaded table, she was struggling with what she was going to say. It had sounded, if not sensible, at least reasonable when she’d rehearsed it all in her head, but now all that she’d planned to say fled in the face of that interrogatory gaze.

“Well?” he said, not breaking eye contact. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

She was suddenly catapulted back in time to the principal’s office, where she was supposed to explain how one of her many escapades had gone awry—and the sensations were still the same.

Embarrassment.

Shame.

But also, the unmistakable high of an adventure unfolding.

The last made her smile, and Zach’s scowl grew even more ferocious.


Cover reveal, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Musings on Spring, and a cover reveal

It’s officially spring here in the Western hemisphere, but I’m not feeling it. I hate to admit it, but at this time of year I actually miss living in Canada. Just to be clear, I often miss Canada but usually for very different reasons, which usually include the family and friends I’m away from. Especially now, after a year of separation and at what I hope is the tail end of the lockdown.

No, Canadian weather isn’t something I usually miss, now that I’m living in Florida. Any of my Canadian friends will tell you that I don’t like winter. Ice on the ground? Snow blowing sideways? Days and days of grey skies and then, when the sun comes out it means the temperature drops? Ah, no thank you.

Sometimes, even when it’s supposedly spring in Ontario, that includes the occasional snow flurry, along with very cold rain. Often spring seems like just winter’s younger, just as ugly brother. Here it’s 84 degrees, while in London, Ontario, where I used to live, it’s about 48 degrees, at the time of writing. Now, I prefer warm over cold, usually, but the reality is that spring in Central Florida actually often feels more like summer come early.

One of the things I enjoyed in Canada was the visual evidence of spring slowly but surely coming into its own. Red buds on the trees, showing the first tentative evidence of leaves bursting forth. Little green sprouts courageously pushing through winter’s grime, reaching for the sun.

Then, suddenly, front gardens showing hints of color, as the bulbs begin to bloom. Tiny little wild flowers, which some gardeners may consider weeds but I love, peeping through the grass. And then the glory of the cherry and crabapple trees in full glorious blossom outside the office I worked at.

Once cameras on phones became a thing (yes, my sweet summer children, once upon a time this wasn’t even conceivable LOL!) I loved taking pictures of these signs, and my heart was happy. It was a tangible way to know another snowstorm was unlikely, and I’d turn my face up to the sun (when it was around) sort of like a flower myself, yearning for new beginnings.

Please don’t think that where I live now doesn’t have its own particular beauty, and signs of spring. I still take pictures of tiny flowers and some not so tiny ones, but now it doesn’t quite have the same meaning. Before it was a transition from a season I disliked to one that held the promise of really warm weather on the way. Now it’s Florida ramping up to become ever-so-slightly unbearable, unless you’re in a boat, on the water, slathered in sunscreen.

Yeah, now I’m left asking myself, “What on earth are you complaining about? Boating season is around the corner…”

Now, for the promised cover reveal!

Here is my M&B UK cover for Island Fling with the Surgeon, which will it the shelves in August. I love it! This book takes readers back to my fictional island of St. Eustace (not the be confused with the very real island of Sint Eustatius, in the Dutch Leeward Islands), first introduced in Best Friend to Doctor Right. Here’s the blurb:

Make-believe?

Or more than she bargained for?

When Dr. Genevieve Broussard convinces nurse Zach Lewin to enter a fake relationship to help keep her meddling mom off her back, she’s confident there’s no danger of it turning into anything more. Her first priority has to be her surgical career, and both Gen and Zach are still reeling from recent betrayals. But as the summer heat in the Caribbean loosens inhibitions, their fake “affair” is at risk of becoming all too real…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

March New Releases

March is finally here! And with March we have a batch of new releases, including a very special final one. Meredith Webber is retiring from writing and her final medical romance is being published this month.

Congratulations Meredith on your retirement and thank you for so many years of amazing stories.

A Wedding for the Single Dad by Meredith Webber

Will the GP and the vet…

…say “I do”?

Crashing an ultralight, in the middle of the bush, was not part of the plan for vet Campbell. Neither was being rescued by local GP Lauren! The pull Campbell feels to Lauren is unrivaled…and, as they get to know each other under the starlit Australian sky, he finds himself wanting more. But with a bruised heart and a daughter to think of, love can’t be in the cards, can it?

Falling Again for the Animal Whisperer by Becky Wicks

Is unlocking past secrets…

The key to their future?

After inheriting half a Dorset veterinary practice, single mom Jodie is dismayed to discover Cole Crawford is her new partner. The renowned vet and animal behaviorist ended their intense love affair twelve years ago. Cole is determined to prove he’s changed, but Jodie has to protect her heart—and her little girl—from further heartbreak. Only, walking away from their practice would be nothing compared to walking away from their reignited chemistry!

Greek Island Fling to Forever by Annie Claydon

Their journey started in Greece…

Will it end with forever?

Single dad Dr. Benjamin hasn’t forgotten the woman whose life he once saved. And compelled by the knowledge that, while he couldn’t save his wife, Dr. Arianna is alive and well, Ben travels to a Greek island to see her. He never imagined the sense of homecoming he’d see reflected in Arianna’s eyes, or that their enduring connection would make a fling irresistible. So is a future together impossible…?

Night Shifts with the Miami Doc by Ann McIntosh

From fast-paced hospital days…

To slow, sultry nights!

Dr. Regina Montgomery’s temporary job in Miami is a chance to refocus on her goal of becoming chief of medicine. But she’s unprepared for her former resident, Dr. Mateo Herrera, to be working in the same hospital. When Mateo makes it clear he wants her…the term night shift takes on a whole new meaning! But Mateo’s family needs him, and Regina has fought long and hard for her career back in California…

Rescuing the Paramedic’s Heart by Emily Forbes

Bondi Beach Medics (Book 1)

You can’t heal a heart…

…by keeping your distance

Paramedic Poppy is back in Sydney. Her first stop? Bondi Beach’s surf and sand! There’s just the small matter of bumping into the bay’s newest elite lifeguard—Ryder Evans, her first love, who was forced to move away…taking a piece of Poppy’s heart with him. If she wants him back, she must be bold enough to let gorgeous Ryder show her what she’s been missing.

Reunited with Her Daredevil Doc by Susan Carlisle

An old flame…

…a new beginning?

Dana Warren almost doesn’t recognize the man Dr. Travis Russell has become. He’s far from the carefree guy she once spent an unforgettable summer with years ago as they trained to save lives and fight wildfires. Now an experienced smoke jumper, Dana must take the guarded doc through stunning but dangerous wilderness to reach a vulnerable patient—and take care not to lose her own scarred heart along the way…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Soothing Sunday series

Ever get asked to do something that absolutely fills you with terror? You know, like give a speech to a huge crowd, or display something you made, or do an off-the-cuff presentation? Well, if you have, and are anything like me, it fills you with dread, give you that old butterflies-in-the belly sensation, maybe even robs you of sleep at night.

Yeah, that’s my life this week, since the lovely editors at Harlequin asked me to take part in the Soothing Sunday Series, where I get to do a live Facebook video, reading an excerpt of my upcoming release, Night Shifts with the Miami Doc.

LIVE.

My first thought when I saw the email was, ‘Soothing??? For whom?’

Obviously not for me! I haven’t been this keyed up since… I can’t even remember when.

Did I mention it’s live?

And that I have a face for radio, and a voice for a silent film?

Not to mention a Covid afro that refuses to be tamed?

Now that last one, I have to admit I’m rather enjoying. Since nothing is locked down here in Florida, and (of course) we have no snow, I know I could get a haircut if I really wanted to, but these wild curls of mine seem to suit these crazy times.

However, having taken part in a number of Zoom meetings and video calls over the last year, I know my hair, which is very fine and going gray, doesn’t really translate well in that medium. The gray bits sort of disappear, so I look as though a toddler got at me with a pair of pruning shears.

Still not getting it cut, though.

Of course, too, there are the technical aspects of it, which I’m not familiar with, and am sure I’ll mess up, including setting up the scheduled video. Nothing like being technically challenged in this brave new world of ours to make one feel, well, incompetent.

In the end, I hope I can bring it off without embarrassing myself, and if your free at noon on February 21st, 2021, I hope you’ll join me, so I’m not speaking into the void, mournfully wondering, “Is anyone out there?”

And now you know why I can’t get any sleep.

My crazy, rather paranoid imagination just won’t let me!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories, The Writing Life

Onward, to a Brighter Future

If last year were a pinecone…

Happy New Year, All!

I’m honored to have this very first blog spot of 2021 to talk about a subject dear to my heart. After the year just gone, (It That Shall Not Be Named, Which Will Live On In Infamy) I’m hoping for a fresh start, and progress toward a better world for us all, including within publishing. I’m hoping readers and writers alike will find this blog interesting, and informative, and something to consider as we move into this bright, (hopefully) shiny New Year.

Over the last decade or so, there’s been a sea-change coming in the publishing sphere, and not everyone has been comfortable with it, or able to understand why it was even necessary. I personally think it started with the advent of small presses and self-publishing. During that time, a number of authors began to get noticed in a way they hadn’t been able to before. Many had abandoned the hope of getting traditionally published because they’d tried, repeatedly, and been rejected, repeatedly.

In some cases, those rebuffs came not because they were poor, sub-standard writers, but because their characters didn’t conform to what was then deemed acceptable, or marketable.

Those authors were writing about characters the gatekeepers in traditional publishing had little to no interest in. Worse, they were putting those characters in situations deemed the milieu of white, Cis-het people, yet often they were neither of these things. Those authors were writing characters who were LGBTQ+, black, Asian, and every other race, creed, color, and nationality. They were writing all types of stories imaginable. Those tales were often raw, and real, and questioning of a society that seemed inclined toward ignoring the realities of lives outside the “norm.”

“Norm,” of course, being relative and subjective; a truth that is oft glossed over, and minimized when it is convenient.

Since then, I’m happy to say, things have improved in the way of diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there’s still a struggle ahead. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t have to be a concerted effort to attract diverse stories and authors, but we would all be judged, equally, on the quality of our work. And all good stories, no matter where they’re set, or who the characters are, would have an equal chance of publication.

We’re not there yet, but it’s heartening to see the initiatives and training being offered in the hopes of getting us, as an industry, to that point. It takes effort, and courage, to affect change. Clarity about, and understanding of situations and people that perhaps are alien to us has to be sought, and taken on board. Recognition of the barriers people have faced, and often still face, is imperative, as is the determination to break them down.

At Harlequin/Mills & Boon’s new Write for Harlequin website, they’ve added an entire section geared toward Diverse Voices, and I’m hoping it attracts the attention of authors from around the world. Category romance may sometimes seem to be the unwanted stepchild of the publishing world, but it’s wildly popular, and always in need of fresh, new voices.

On the website can be found lists of initiatives and outreach programs, including mentorships and scholarships, geared toward diverse writers. By reaching out to underrepresented groups, Harlequin has shown they’ve seen, and understood, the impediments many authors have historically faced, and are making the necessary changes to address the imbalance.

With the success of those initiatives, I hope to have a much widened pool of amazing authors to read. New voices, showing us life as we’ve never seen it before.

I want to be swept away to places I’ve never experienced, see them from an insider’s perspective, and learn more about this wondrous, amazing world we inhabit.

Meet new characters, with a range of issues brought about by family traditions, misunderstandings, driving desires, and many other delicious problems, but with twists only that author, with their particular knowledge and world-view, could write.

I want my mind blown, and expanded, by those new stories.

That’s why I read: to be transported, educated, and entertained by stories outside of my own personal knowledge. To lose myself in new places, and characters, and cultures.

To learn tolerance and understanding through being exposed to life as others live it, not just be mired in my own small world.

To me, that’s the magic of books, and I want to be enchanted by all this world has to offer.

Please visit the Write For Harlequin website, and encourage others who want to be published to do so, no matter where they come from, what they look like, or the personal barriers they face.

After all, while I, and other like-minded readers, still actively long for diversity, ‘inclusion’ means everyone.

There is more than enough success to go around, when we clear the way for all authors.

Christmas Flowers from my Hubby, which lasted all through the season!
Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Year of ‘Hurry up and Wait,’ then Hurry!

A little slice of holiday cheer, to make my Zoom background more festive!

This blog post is terribly late going up for a reason that sounds frankly ludicrous in 2020: I got busy and didn’t get it written!

In a year where we’ve spent the majority of our time at home, twiddling our thumbs, that sounds nothing more than a lame excuse, but it’s true. I rarely write blog posts more than a few days ahead, for the simple reason that I like to post about something current, when I can. Last week found me rushing to finish a crochet project for a Zoom party on Sunday. Then my husband needed my help with a project on Monday and Tuesday, which took us away from home until late yesterday evening. It was only when I, exhausted, was falling into bed last night that I recalled the notice that had popped up on my phone in the afternoon.

“Okay, I’ll get it done FIRST THING IN THE MORNING,” I thought.

As they say in Canada (and apparently parts of the US Mid-West), “Yeah, no.”

This has really been a roller-coaster year, so why did I think it would end any differently?

We’re hunkered down, in a partially festive house (the tree is up, and there’s one little section of the buffet, visible behind me during Zoom calls, decorated), for the the duration of 2020, which seems appropriate and is necessary to protect the ones we love. Much as I’d like to travel south to spend the season with our families, it really isn’t the time to give in to impulses like that. Not when we can finally be hopeful that the end of the pandemic may be in sight, and can tentatively begin to dream of all the things we’ll once more be able to safely do. Travel to see those we’ve been so painfully separated from. Gather in person to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, life, death, and everything in-between.

Hug each other, as though never to let go…

So, my wish for you all is for a safe, peaceful, and healthy end to 2020, wherever you may be, and for the ability to hug, unrestrained, in 2021.

And, since this post is so late, here’s a peek at the cover of my next book, being released in March 2021, Night Shifts with the Miami Doc. Looking back, it feels as though I finished it two years ago, because time has had little or no meaning this year; stretching and warping in strange and mysterious ways. So, here’s another wish for us all: that in 2021 we find ourselves once more in the space/time continuum we’re used to, but still retaining all the lessons we’ve learned in 2020. Like how important it is for us to love one another, no matter how hard it sometimes becomes.

I love this cover, most of all because the model looks so much like a good friend that every time I see it, it makes me smile!