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!
Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

October New Releases

Happy October! We have some brand new releases to enjoy, whether your summer is on its way in, or you’re heading into fall and want to curl up.

The Icelandic Doc’s Baby Surprise by Louisa Heaton

Their passionate fling…
Has given them a gift to last a lifetime!

When pediatrician Merry Bell turns up at his hospital in Iceland, Dr. Kristjan Gunnarsson’s quiet Christmas is shaken up. After a hot fling together in Hawaii, they both agreed to walk away. But now Merry has brought him life-changing news—she’s pregnant! Commitmentphobic Kristjan will not waver from his responsibility, but is his bruised heart ready for a family?

Tempted by the Heart Surgeon by Lucy Ryder

A dance floor rescue…
…a reunion they’ll never forget!

Boston socialite Samantha Jefferies leaps when offered a job with a charitable foundation in California. It’s the escape she needs after her broken engagement. But the new role reunites her with a man she never expected to see again—cardiothoracic surgeon Adam Knight. He once saved her with an earth-shattering kiss, but now she must find a way to resist her insatiable desire for this far too delectable doctor…

Second Chance with His Army Doc by Charlotte Hawkes

From first love…
To forever?

Fourteen years ago, teenage Kane Wheeler disappeared from Mattie Brigham’s life without a word of explanation. While nothing has filled the void left by Kane, Mattie has forged a successful life as an army doc. When they’re unexpectedly reunited in the line of duty, their attraction is still as fierce as ever. And Kane’s determined to convince Mattie they can still have a happy-ever-after above all!

Reunited on the Front Line

Book 1: Second Chance with His Army Doc

Book 2: Reawakened by Her Army Major

Reawakened by Her Army Major by Charlotte Hawkes

Could their one night together…
Change everything?

When playboy army major Hayden Brigham meets innocent nurse Bridget Gardiner in a nightclub, the chemistry between them is impossible to ignore! But when they must then work together in a hostile and challenging environment, it means keeping their focus on the job! Being under fire only brings them closer…but is Bridget ready to accept that their relationship could survive beyond their mission?

Reunited on the Front Line

Book 1: Second Chance with His Army Doc

Book 2: Reawakened by Her Army Major

One Night to Forever Family by Meredith Webber

The baby she always hoped for…
The family she never expected!

Dr. Sam Reilly can’t believe it. She’s standing face-to-face with Andy Wilkie, her late husband’s best friend—and her new boss! Sam cut ties with Andy years ago. But for their patients’ sake, they must learn to work together. They just didn’t expect to learn that, maybe, they might want to be more than just colleagues! A temptation that leads to one baby bombshell…

Christmas with Her Lost-and-Found Lover by Ann McIntosh

He’s walked back into her life—
After half a lifetime…

It’s been years since Rohan Khan promised Dr. Elise van Hagen that he would be back for Christmas. But he never returned and Elise raised their son alone. So when the veterinarian reappears during a rescue in snowy Banff, Elise can’t believe her eyes! But Rohan has no memory of their past. Can these long-ago lovers make up for all the Christmases they have missed?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories

All Travelers, Together

A small taste of Jamaica: Bamboo Avenue, St. Elizabeth

I’d like to tell you an immigrant story—not my own, which is pretty banal, but a far more interesting one.

My husband’s grand-uncle left Jamaica, bound for Britain, to sign up with the RAF in 1942. He served as a morse code operator, and also flew in reconnaissance missions during the war. Wanting to study medicine, he applied for and was accepted to Glasgow University, but the RAF refused to de-mob him, and by the time he was released from duty he’d lost his place.

Moving to Glasgow anyway, he met his eventual wife—a white Scotswoman—but faced the disapproval of both her parents and even the pastor of the church they started attending together.

After they married, and were looking at properties to purchase, he would see a listing for a house he thought might be suitable, and go to look at it. Over and over, when he went to look at the houses, he was told they suddenly were no longer for sale. His estate agent finally told him not to go, but to send his wife instead, and that was how they eventually managed to purchase a home.

While he still intended to study medicine, he had to work to support his family and save up to be able to go back to school. When a minister told him there was a dearth of Religious Education teachers, and there were grants available for that course of study, he decided to become a teacher instead.

Graduating as a mature student, he started his successful teaching career, eventually becoming the first black headteacher in Scotland.

I share Mr. Carl Vaughan’s story, not just because it is one of success against the odds, and in the face of intense opposition, but as a way to say, there are as many immigrant stories as there are immigrants.

Some leave their homeland in search of a better life, new horizons, or advancements unavailable in their home country. Others, like Mr. Vaughan and later the Windrush Generation, seek to serve. In 1796, Jamaican Maroons were deported to Nova Scotia, Canada, as part of a treaty with the British. They didn’t stay long, and were relocated to Sierra Leone thereafter. Men and women from Jamaica helped build the Panama Canal.

We Yaardies (Jamaicans) are pretty much everywhere! My ex-mother-in-law even tells the story of being on Malta and finding a Jamaican waiter in the Chinese restaurant where they stopped to have lunch.

My story is far more prosaic than any of the above.

I guess you could call me a double immigrant, really. Just over seventeen years ago, I left Jamaica and traveled to Canada and then, four years ago, I took a leap of faith and moved to Florida.

Neither move was easy. Both had to be carefully considered. But, in both cases, I think the right decision was made, considering the particular time of my life.

Thankfully, I was old enough, and had travelled enough, to know there was no ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ awaiting me in North America. I’d find no streets paved with gold. Instead, I expected that hard work and a willingness to fit in—without losing my innate Jamaican character—would carry me through.

Yet, even so braced and determined, there was no way to anticipate the myriad little ways that being an ‘outsider’ would hinder, annoy, and on occasion anger me.

But remember what I said in my last piece about if ‘yuh want good, yuh nose haffi run‘ (success often comes at a painful price, which has to be paid)? Well, here’s another Jamaicanism for you—When trouble tek yuh, pickney shut fit yuh (When trouble takes you, a child’s shirt will fit you; meaning, if things are hard, you make do with whatever you have to get through it.)

And that’s what I did.

But I did it with the conscious decision not to change the way I spoke, or to lose sight of my roots. Sometimes I think I’m even more in tune with my Jamaican origins since I left the island. There’s something about being far from home, living in places where hardly anyone understands the way I grew up, my idioms, or outlook, that has somehow solidified my very Jamaican-ness.

It’s a lonely feeling, leaving your country. Being apart from the places and people that helped shape and mold you, and supported you through your life. Physical distance from the familiar also sometimes leads to emotional distance from friends and family too.

Jamaicans might say, Yuh gone too far from yuh navel-string (You’ve gone too far away from your umbilical cord,) harking back to the tradition of burying a baby’s umbilical cord and planting a tree with it, signifying a connection to the land that can never be severed. No matter who you have around you, the separation from the place of your heart changes you—sometimes for good, sometimes for ill.

Because I didn’t know or understand some of the things happening around me, I became more cautious. When people laughed at me for my ignorance of things they took for granted because they grew up with them, I learned to hold my temper. Being unable to get a job in my field, and take whatever I could get, made me humble. Having people assume things about me once they heard my accent made me stronger—and I figured out how to get my own back with a smile.

Of everything I’ve been up until this point in life, I can’t help thinking that being an immigrant has had one of the biggest impacts on my life.

It permeates every facet of who I am now, and I see things through its filter.

When I write, it’s almost always about people searching for belonging; for home. It can be emotional home, or a sense of family, or just someone who wants to learn about them and, in understanding, love them unconditionally.

This is a direct result of feeling adrift, different, misunderstood, underestimated. Of sometimes feeling inadequate, often homesick, and imbued with a heart-and-soul deep yearning for times gone, or friends missed.

I’ve learned to use all these feelings and emotions when I write, seasoning my books not just with Jamaican spice, but also the salt left by tears of separation and longing.

And this journey hasn’t been all bad—not at all! I’ve made great friends along the way, who appreciate my alternate views, or ‘outsider’ insights. My family of the heart has grown, and enriched me with their acceptance and love.

There are days when I think I’d like to be able to live in even more places, just for the wonderful experience of broadening my understanding of the world even more.

The life of an immigrant isn’t for the faint of heart, but there are rewards—both tangible and intangible—both for those who move to new places, and those already there.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories

Looking Back to Craft the Future

Family of Ernest and Alice Delvaille. From left: Lawrence, Alice, Halford, Ruby, Gerald, Ernest, Leslie, and Edna.

This rather Victorian-looking pair are my paternal great-grandparents, and the serious and dapper young man seated at the left is my grandfather. I had a very special relationship with my Grandpa, who came to live with us the year I was born, after Granny—his wife—died. He was the first person I remember reading to me every day, and through those early interactions I developed both my insatiable reading habit, and the curiosity that’s a huge part of my character.

Judging by the ages of the children, I estimate this picture was taken circa 1907. My great-grandfather Ernest, an accountant, and Great-grandma Alice, Post Mistress for the district, married in 1888. Nothing unusual at all, right?

Although the picture was taken in the hills of St. Elizabeth parish, in Jamaica, from the clothing it could have been taken almost anywhere in the world European folk lived.

Yet, here’s something to consider:

The family in this picture is, at most, one generation removed from being slaves.

Ernest’s grandmother, Mary Gittoes, was a slave. His mother, Maria Miles Tomlinson, was born prior to Emancipation, and prior to her parents’ 1836 marriage, so conceivably was born into slavery too.

This isn’t something spoken about much, in families like mine. Older generations were determined to attain “respectability” and distance themselves from those types of roots. They were more focused on the European side of their lineage, ignoring all traces of any other. For as long as I could remember, my father swore his surname was French, his ancestors Huguenots fleeing persecution, and refused to entertain the suggestion that it was actually Jewish.

Even in a country with the motto “Out of Many, One People,” where many, if not most people are of mixed heritage, the vestiges of prejudice still lingered.

This is a legacy I had to break free of, and that shapes much of my outlook on the world. I have a very difficult time with racism, and colorism, and caste/class/social prejudice, because I’m not only a genetic melting pot myself, but the descendant of both enslaved Africans and European slave owners. Descendant of Low Country Jews, and Eastern European Jews, with a sprinkling of other genes to boot.

For me, that diverse blood is a source of great pride.

I was also privileged to grow up at a time when my country was learning how to throw off the bonds of colonialism, even as many of its citizens were mourning the loss of the “motherland’s” rule. While others might disagree, I think of myself as lucky to have experienced those turbulent times, when Jamaica was trying to find herself; trying to figure out who and what she was. There was a concerted push toward equality for all, and I like to think I learned the lessons of the time.

Everyone is worthy—of life, education, opportunity, and advancement.

Worthy of love.

When I started writing romance, there was room for werewolves and vampires, aliens and shape-shifters, even ghosts, but seemingly little for people like me, or my family. Yet, through travelling, I learned that while my appearance, experiences, and background may differ from those of the people I met, there were definite similarities too. Cultures, settings, professions, and appearances may be diverse, but the problems, joys, loves, dislikes, the pain and losses we experience make us more alike than different.

We’re all individuals, with our discrete backgrounds, hang-up, and desires, but there is always something we can share, and understand.

The commonality of humanity.

But, in the beginning, I wrote what the market seemed able to accept because, above all else, I wanted to be published and was trying to be realistic. After a while, I found solace in writing paranormal and fantasy romances, because I could people them with anyone I liked. I also found that readers of M/M romances were more accepting of diversity in race and culture, and had some small success writing those too.

I didn’t think there would be a place for me in mainstream publishing if I wrote the characters I wanted to. That was a painful realization, but in Jamaica there’s a saying: ‘If yuh want good, yuh nose haffi run’ (basically, if you want to succeed, you have to deal with any attendant pain) and I yearned for success. The type of success where family members, on hearing I had a contract for publication from an e-publisher, wouldn’t say, “Oh, soon you’ll be a real author!”

Honestly, when I heard that Harlequin was looking for diversity in their Medical line, I wasn’t sure if they meant it or not, but decided to try my hand at it anyway. I wanted the chance to write a variety of characters, using my own background, experiences, and observations when crafting some of them. If I could also get a chance to put a little of my own roots into some of the stories, using culture and place to add interest, I wanted in!

I was ecstatic when they accepted my first story, The Nurse’s Pregnancy Miracle. It featured a Jamaican, immigrant heroine—successful and headstrong—living life on her own terms, despite the pressures her family put on her. She’s based on women I know, and love. Strong, determined women, who’ve succeeded beyond, or in spite of, their roots and the expectations of others.

I carry the memories of my early life, and the lessons learned, to this day. They guide me in various ways, reminding me to remain open-minded, curious, and attentive to others. But just as what seems important when we’re fifteen seems inconsequential when we’re thirty, about twenty years ago I underwent a life change that shifted my perceptions again.

But that is a tale for another day.

Another facet of my Origin Story.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Difference in Style and the Lost Fingernail

Fairly early on in the advent of covid-19, my husband’s employer switched over to having their staff work remotely. Immediately Hubby and I, erroneously, thought that meant we’d have some time to get projects done around the house. In our defense, when we first got married he worked from home almost all the time, and there seemed to be quite a bit of time for us to do things together. Since then, however, he’s been given a new position and before the lockdown had been working in the office again.

That’s why I had really no idea just how incredibly busy he had become during the day!

Yet, that didn’t stop him from deciding at least one of the projects we’d talked about was definitely going to get done. Of course, he chose the most labor intensive one on the list. Which is why I now have a fingernail that looks as though I still bite my nails, and am gazing (with some dismay) at the insides of my (messy) kitchen cupboards.

My poor fingie!

In his infinite wisdom, Hubby decided we’re going to refinish those cupboards, and I somewhat reluctantly agreed.

Now, there are a couple of things you need to understand about us.

He’s decisive and a go-getter.

I think everything to death before taking it on and, while I’m not afraid of hard work, I guard my time and energy jealously.

He consistently underestimates the amount of time a project will take, while I subscribe to Murphy’s Law, knowing that if something can go wrong, and mess up the timeline, it will.

We’re both thrifty in our own ways, which should be a plus but, in this case, really isn’t.

We agreed that a kitchen remodel wasn’t necessary, but the horrible old stain job had to go.

I suggested we clean and sand the wood and paint the cupboards, knowing that will be quicker and easier. I also thought it would brighten the room.

He was horrified.

In Hubby’s world, solid wood cupboards should never, ever be painted. He likes dark wood, and that’s what he wanted again.

While I was still pondering all of this, and thinking it’s the kind of job best left for when it gets cooler, and he can take a week off, he suddenly just…started.

Without any kind of preamble, or warning.

He just went outside, came back with a screwdriver, and start taking cupboard doors off.

I. Was. Not. Ready!

At least the division of labor makes some sense—he does the initial stripping and sanding, while the detailed sanding is mine.

However, I didn’t factor in just how bad the previous job had really been, and the effect of the sandpaper on my nails, which are super-soft to begin with. I’m now in danger of having the quick of my index fingernail start to bleed.

And he didn’t factor in how often he’d be interrupted by work, or heat (we’re working in our garage, which doesn’t have AC, and summer in Florida is no joke!), or side projects he deems have to be done right away.

I, however, am left looking at the list of chores I had planned for the week, knowing they won’t get done.

Because now that we’ve started, I want this over with ASAP.

And there’s really no end in sight.

Update: This was written a week ago, in hopes getting one thing off my to-do list would make me feel better, and I’m sorry to report, things haven’t improved much. Cupboard doors are stripped, but the drawers aren’t even out in the garage yet, and the main inside job—the stripping of the actual bases—hasn’t even started!

Work is kicking his butt, and I’m immersed in final edits.

I’ve been waking up early to get outside while it’s not yet a hundred degrees, and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m NOT a morning person.

I’m going to use this blog post to remind myself that sometimes it really is better to pay the professionals to do these big jobs…although I doubt I’ll get Hubby to agree. Handyman sorts never like to hand over the reins to others!

Wish me luck!

If you’re still looking for a tropical summer read, Best Friend to Doctor Right is an island set, friends-to-lovers romance with a cast of characters that’ll make you smile, laugh and maybe even cry, but just a little…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations

Escape with a Medical Romance

Hello!

It’s the Mills & Boon Medical Romance team, here! As the summer season kicks off, and our current reality may mean that we can’t actually escape in person to the beautiful holiday spots around the world, we thought we’d put together our top list of titles which will help to whisk you away to some fabulously exotic locations, as well as treat you to a healthy dose of medical romance too.

 

Gate 999 – Reading For Boarding

Kicking things off, how about some sun, sea and sizzling medical drama in São Paulo? Let Ann McIntosh, Charlotte Hawkes and Tina Beckett whisk you away with their South American trilogy:

A Summer in São Paulo – These medics are leaving their hearts in South America!

Invited to spend the summer in the high-tech, high-stakes world of São Paulo’s premiere teaching hospital, Hospital Universitário Paulista, it’s the chance for three visiting medical professionals to shake off their everyday routine – and embrace the vivacity of South America!

While they’re certainly turning up the heat during the long working days, the warm days and sultry nights are the perfect setting for romance… And none of them can resist the call of passion in paradise!

Awakened by Her Brooding Brazilian by Ann McIntosh – May 2020

Falling for the Single Dad Surgeon by Charlotte Hawkes – May 2020

One Hot Night with Dr. Cardoza by Tina Beckett – June 2020

 

Final Boarding…

Sometimes, a change is as good as a vacation, and so why not mix things up this summer with help from Kate Hardy and Scarlet Wilson’s fabulous life swap duet?

Changing Shifts – Swapping lives, finding love!

In London, widowed pediatrician Georgie is struggling with everyone’s sympathy when no one knows her husband was having an affair.

In Edinburgh, pediatrician Clara’s dreams of having a family lie in tatters as her ex parades his new love around.

Through a job swap website, Georgie and Clara impulsively swap cities and hospitals to escape their real lives and embark on new adventures! But when they arrive at their new destinations, both women find the last thing either wants or expects – romance!

Read Georgie’s story in Fling with Her Hot-Shot Consultant By Kate Hardy and Clara’s story in Family for the Children’s Doc by Scarlet Wilson. July 2020

 

Take Off…!

What a perfect way to escape it all than to travel to far-away Islands and find fresh starts and unexpected romance?

In Pacific Paradise, Second Chance by Susan Carlisle, we travel to the beautiful Pacific island of Saipan, where nurse Macie Beck is shocked to once again come face-to-face with past flame Dr Landon Cochran! Forced to work with each other, memories of the past and the chemistry clearly still strong – keeping things strictly professional soon becomes impossible… could they get their second chance in paradise? August 2020

Becky Wicks whisks us away to the stunning Indonesian island of Gili Indah in Enticed by Her Island Billionaire where Dr Mila Ricci is visiting world-renowned surgeon Sebastian Becker to see his pioneering techniques in person. The celebrity surgeon is not at all what she expected – nor is the immense attraction she feels for him! Could this beautiful part of the world help them both find a fresh start – together? September 2020

 

Other destinations to escape to:

Their Hot Hawaiian Fling by Traci Douglass – May 2020

From Hawaii to Forever by debut author Julie Danvers – June 2020

Best Friend to Doctor Right by Ann McIntosh – July 2020

So, even though many of us won’t be jetting off to far-flung places this year, we hope our selection of whisk-me-away medical romances for us to escape into will prove a fabulous alternative this year! They are all (or will shortly be!) available from www.millsandboon.co.uk

With love,

The Mills & Boon Medical Team