Book Awards, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Exciting News! RITA Finalists

Colour us thrilled!  The RITA Finalists this year have included two Medical Romances, and no less than four Medical Romance authors.

Warmest congratulations to Amy Andrews (who is a double finalist!!), Scarlet Wilson, Avril Tremayne and Marion Lennox.  We’ve asked authors to say a few words, and included details of their books.

Medical Romance

Amy Andrews – ‘A Christmas Miracle’

I’m super thrilled to be a RITA double finalist. It’s been my dream and goal to one day final in this prestigious award and I can’t believe when it finally happened (I’ve been entering for 12 years!) two of my books finalled! I’ve been floating since I got the email and expect to float all the way to Denver. At least it will save me an airfare 🙂

I’m extra excited to see 2 medicals final in the awards. If one of them wins it’ll be the first medical ever to have won the RITA so fingers crossed for both Scarlet and I!

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Her knight in shining leathers!

Trinity Walker has learned the hard way to stand on her own two feet for her sick son Oscar. But, when ex–army surgeon Reid Hamilton walks into her life and offers her a job and a home, she can’t refuse!

He might ruffle her feathers, but Trinity can’t help falling for this knight in motorbike leathers. Reid never expected this little family to bring such sparkle into his cynical life, but now he’ll do whatever it takes to give Trinity the love she deserves this Christmas!

 

 

 

Scarlet Wilson – ‘The Doctor and The Princess’

Getting the call about the Rita was a little unusual.  I knew it was Rita call day and I’d emailed a few friends that morning to wish them luck.  I still work full time and was just about to start chairing at meeting at 2pm when my phone rang.  My first surprise was that I had a signal – the place where the meeting is held is notorious for no cell phone coverage.  The next surprise was the New York flashing up on my screen.  Since I don’t know anyone who stays there my stomach gave a little flip and I just smiled at my colleagues and said, “Sorry, I have to get this.”  So, they all listened while I got my Rita call from Damon Suede.  I’ve been nominated before but what makes it so special this time is that it’s one of my medical books that is a finalist.  We all adore our line, but it isn’t as popular in the US, so I’m delighted that five RWA members have read it, and thought it worthy to final.  I’m even happier to have Amy Andrews waving the medical flag beside me.  Go Medicals!  Who knows, my next med might be set in Denver!!

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Her very own Mr Darcy.

As a rule, Gabrielle Cartier prefers the title ‘Dr’ to ‘Princess’. And when sexy surgeon Sullivan Darcy joins her humanitarian mission in the jungle, she’s desperate to explore their chemistry. Until sudden news of her brother’s abdication means Gabrielle must return home to rule!

Sullivan longs to offer Gabrielle the support she needs but the pain of loss haunts him. Yet she stirs long-dormant feelings in him, feelings that give him the courage to confront his demons…and the determination to win his princess!

 

 

 

Other Titles by Medical Romance Authors

Avril Tremayne – ‘The Dating Game’

What chaos there was a the house the morning I found out I was a finalist in the RITAs.  I’d missed a call at five o’clock in the morning (I am not an early riser believe me) and I was checking my emails at a more dignified nine o’clock-is when I saw the news.  Screaming ensued, right at the time a delivery man was at the door handing something over to my husband and I’m sure he wondered if I was being held captive upstairs and tortured.  And there was thereafter much rejoicing – in fact, there still is!

What makes it especially exciting for me with The Dating Game (Long Contemporary Romance) is that it’s my favourite story.  I was so ecstatic with it when it was finished (and that is never, ever the case for me) the wait to see if it would be published was excruciating.  I told my editor it was the best thing I’d written, but I know we’re not always the best judges of our work, so to have this honour in company with so many brilliant authors makes me feel I do know what I’m doing after all.

The Dating Game_FINALYou need to learn the rules fast!

Sarah’s brother Adam has been educating her best friend Lane in the arts of the Kama Sutra for weeks, all in the pursuit of Lane’s real target, David Bennet. So when Sarah finds herself alone with David at an exhibition, weeping over her own terrible dating history, they strike up a conversation. A budding artist, he wants to paint her, so she agrees in return for a guarantee that he’ll find her a relationship that can last more than three weeks (her rather dismal personal best).

She reassures herself that she isn’t betraying Lane. After all, Sarah wants marriage and 2.4 kids, and David has made it more than clear he will never want that. Plus he’s going to sleep with Lane any day now. Isn’t he?

 

 

Amy Andrews – ‘Troy’

Troy-300dpi (1)Cocky, young Aussie bull rider Troy Jensen has been busted down to the pro-circuit. He needs wins and points to get him back into the big league and a shot at being crowned champ but an injury forces him off the circuit and into the arms of the woman fate keeps putting in his path.

The first time local Doc Joss Garrity meets Troy, she’s brandishing a lug wrench. The second time, he’s dragging her delinquent teen son home. The third time, he’s in her ER. How he ends up convalescing at her house she’s not quite sure. But it does make it hard to ignore him and their simmering attraction.

As Troy gets to know Joss, he starts to see a life after bull riding for the first time. But can Joss risk her heart on another man who may not come home one day?

 

Marion Lennox – ‘The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby’

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The maid, the billionaire…and the baby

Hotel maid Sunny Raye only went to Max Grayland’s hotel suite to clean—and found herself calming a tiny abandoned baby! With just days until Christmas, the gorgeous but bewildered billionaire demands Sunny help him care for Phoebe over the holidays. She agrees—only if they spend Christmas with her family!

Max is totally out of his comfort zone, but warmhearted Sunny is a revelation. And Max finds he wants more than a nanny for Phoebe—he wants Sunny to lighten his life forever.

 

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Book Awards, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Conference Roundup! with Amy Andrews

The Romance Writer’s of Australia annual conference was on a couple of weeks ago. It’s an intense few days of networking (I had a half dozen different business/industry related appointments) and craft and catching up. Which means a lot of talking and laughing and, yes, the odd trip to the bar or two – but who can resist a rooftop bar?

And then, at the awards gala on Saturday night, for two of Harl’s medical authors, this happened…

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In fact Avril went on to win another Ruby award for the overall best romance of the year so she ended up with two gorgeous iceberg statues!

 

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Neither of the awards were for medical romances (although mine does have quite a bit of medical stuff in it…) but we always celebrate our own here and both Avril and I are still proud medical authors no matter what other kind of books we also write.  If you’re curious about the books, they’re both available online and if you’re in the UK you can actually buy the paperback version of Numbered through Amazon UK now!

 

The best part was that Numbered was co-authored by my sister so we got to share the accolade and the spotlight together. I didn’t think anything could make us closer which goes to show you can get to 47 and still be clueless  🙂

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yes….we look nothing alike….

And, for your viewing pleasure, I spotted some other med authors over the weekend!

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Fiona Lowe (L), Fiona McArthur(R)
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The lovely Susanne Hampton and I dressed up in our “Bring Out The Animal in You” cocktail party garb!
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Marion Lennox at the award’s gala after receiving her life time achievement honour.

And last but not least – the two Ruby girls!!! Avril has the most sassy haircut now which I really love. She rocks the short and sexy 🙂

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And that’s it. I am utterly exhausted but so very grateful that this is my life and I get to share it with all you guys. Until next year…..

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Kitchen Duties – Take Them Away Please

I take quite a bit of time planning the living spaces of the main characters in my novels – the layout, the décor, the colour schemes – even though I don’t go into great detail about any of that in my books. All I usually end up doing is giving a tiny glimpse of their living space, as an adjunct to all the other things in the story that point to their personalities.

I’ve had hero architects living in converted churches (my favourite of all the abodes I’ve created, and you can get a little look at the type of place on my Pinterest page for The Millionaire’s Proposition), over-the-top romantic bedrooms, rackety terrace houses, glamorous penthouse apartments, and stunning desert villas.

IMG_0674But one thing I’ve realised recently is that there’s one particular room where my heroines spend almost no time – the kitchen. My heroes are a different story, and can usually whip up a cordon bleu meal in their state-of-the-art kitchen out of almost nothing  (and if they can’t, they’ll know exactly where to take my heroines for a bang-up meal). I suspect this recurrent scenario has something to do with my own kitchen-avoidance and my desire to have all things food brought to me, not by me!

Sitting here typing intermittently as I watch television, I’m reminded of my kitchen apathy by my husband’s constant turning on and off of the kitchen tap behind me – because every time he turns on the blasted thing, I can’t hear a thing. And he does it, I swear, just when the detective du jour is either about to uncover a vital clue or actually name the murderer, which I subsequently miss. And I suspect this recurrent scenario is directly related to my own kitchen-avoidance and my husband’s desire to make me suffer for his having to bring all things food to me.

So, folks, I’m declaring right here right now that I detest that ubiquitous design feature of just about every home that goes on the market these days in Sydney: the open plan living space.

Check out this video – I am not convinced. At. All!

I feel a little bit weird saying this, because when the Hon and I happened to land a private viewing of our current house before the previous owners had even decided to sell it, I fell in love with everything about it on the spot. I loved the flowing room plan that encompassed the entrance, living room, kitchen and dining area in the one grand space – a space that screamed ‘party waiting to happen’. I even recall travelling to America shortly after that viewing and telling two friends over there that if my husband hadn’t made an offer on the house by the time I got back, I was going to divorce him.

Luckily, he had made an offer – and the rest, as they say, is history.

P1010305And it really is history, because after 12 years’ living in my dream home, I find myself thinking fondly of our previous, less modish house, with its closed off kitchen, where you could have all kinds of crap on the counters with no visitors any the wiser; when you had to make a conscious choice to go to the fridge in search of a snack instead of having it basically at your fingertips; where, faucet-free, you could hear Hercule Poirot name the murderer.

First world problem, I know. But in my next book, I’m pretty sure the kitchen of the day is going to be very distant from the television – a little like my Medical romance, From Fling to Forever, where for a good portion of the story, I had a whole Georgian-era London townhouse at my disposal, with a tucked away kitchen! Some quite special scenes occurred in that kitchen…

Fling cover medWhat started as a fling…could lead to forever.

When fate conspires repeatedly to throw together kindhearted nurse Ella Reynolds and deliciously sexy documentary filmmaker Aaron James, it’s not long before this unlikely couple finally gives in to their irresistible chemistry. Their hearts might be locked away, but what does it matter when it’s only a fling…? 

Spending time and saving lives together is bound to break down barriers. Yet with so much heartbreak and loss to overcome, can their fling ever lead to forever?

Please connect with me via my website or via Facebook and Twitter.

 

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

A Waft of Scent, Dark and Dangerous

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

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Some of my Murano glass perfume bottles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to my third reason for this blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please come and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy Valentine’s Day! (includes a giveaway)

One of our favourite days of the year is coming soon!  And to celebrate Valentine’s day, we have books to give away!

Amy Andrews, Amy Ruttan, Annie O’Neil, Annie Claydon, Avril Tremayne, Emily Forbes, Fiona Lowe, Jennifer Taylor, Kate Hardy, Louisa George, Lynne Marshall, Robin Gianna, Scarlet Wilson, Sue MacKay, Susan Carlisle, Susanne Hampton and Tina Beckett will each be sending a book to one of our lucky winners.  All you need to do to be included in the draw, is to leave a comment in reply to this post before Sunday 14th February.  We’ll be posting again on Sunday morning, with a list of winners, so please do call back then to see whether you’ve won!

We’d love to hear your Valentine’s Day stories, or your thoughts about what makes the perfect Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps you’d like to try our Valentine’s Quiz, and let us know how you did.  Or maybe you’d just like to send us a wave from your corner of the world.

And just for fun, we’ve put together a Valentine’s Quiz.  We’ve selected some of our most romantic covers, and have blanked out the titles and author names.  Can you guess which cover belongs to which writer?  We’ve made it a little easier by giving a list of eight possible answers underneath each cover.  How many do you recognise?  

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

10 Questions to Get To The End

Romance writers get to play with plenty of fabulous words – for example, ‘I love you’, ‘I want you’, ‘You hurt me’, ‘Marry me’ and ‘I’m pregnant’, in all their various permutations. But the two words that fill me with a joyful satisfaction like no other are: ‘The End’.

The joyful satisfaction, however, is all about knowing exactly when you can let yourself type those two beautiful words. I’m actually quite superstitious about it, and can’t seem to whack them down just because the first draft is finished.

That’s because the frustrating truth is that my first draft never – as in never! – bears much resemblance to the version I ultimately send off to my editor. (Check out the examples I’ve included here of the start of my latest book, Escaping Mr Right – first draft, final draft!)

QUOTE 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUOTE 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between the first draft and the final draft comes a lot of re-reading and rewriting, cutting and polishing, checking it for ‘impact’ and playing with words – which I know I’m not alone in doing ad nauseam. Even when I insist I’m on my last read, if I do anything more than change an occasional word or neaten up some punctuation, I can’t not read the manuscript all the way through again, just to make sure it all still hangs together.

I’m waxing lyrical about this just now because a week ago, I did in fact type ‘The End’ on my ninth story. And it seems to me that I’ve been announcing ‘final read’ on this one for the longest time, only to give it one more go.

P1010080So I wanted to share with you the 10 point checklist I use as I strive to reach The End.

The Checklist

  1. Is the story itself sound – is there not only a solid tale to tell, but one where a lot happens?
  2. Does the order of the scenes and the way the chapters flow allow the story to unfold naturally, with a little mystery sprinkled here and there to keep the reading experience exciting?
  3. Is the right character driving the story forward in each scene, and is it clear whose head we’re in?
  4. Are all the love words, all the fighting words, the sad and happy and sexy words, fresh and real, and does every single word mean something, even if it’s a character simply saying ‘Um…’?
  5. Has the story made me want to laugh, and cry, and throw something in frustration?
  6. Have I kept any repetition of distinctive words, action and dialogue to the bare minimum?
  7. Has all the extraneous description, the boring minutiae, the dull dialogue and gratuitous sex been excised?
  8. Have I caught all the spelling and punctuation mistakes? (This is an impossible quest, but at least I have to believe I’ve picked them all up)
  9. Have I started changing things, only to change them back to the way they were?
  10. Am I contemplating turning my romance into a crime novel and murdering my hero and heroine?

It’s not until I get to #9 and #10 that I know I’m really ready to get my hands off and send my manuscript out into the world to try its luck. And even if it doesn’t end up getting lucky out there, at least I can be proud of the fact that when I finally typed ‘The End’ and ushered it on its journey, it was wearing clean underwear and its best clothes, and was sporting a full face of make-up and a fabulous hairdo.

Meanwhile I’m in the lucky position of having my seventh book, Escaping Mr Right, out right now. And boy, oh boy, did I pore over this one – I had to, because I fell for the hero like a ton of bricks and wanted him to have the best story ever!

I’d love  to know if there are any triggers for you, as either a reader or a writer, that make you wonder if a particular book could do with a little extra cooking time…

Sometimes Mr Right is Mr Wrong, and Mr Wrong is definitely Mr Right . . .

Television reporter Chloe Masters is a woman of cool control . . . except when Casanova rugby league player Nick Savage is around. Then cool control goes out the window. Her boyfriend, Marcus, is everything she ever wanted – but it’s getting harder to deny her body’s reaction to Nick . . .
Escaping Mr Right hi res cover (669x1024)Nick Savage has been head-over-heels since he first laid eyes on Chloe – just a moment too late to stop her connecting with his team mate, Marcus. But when the goalposts shift and he and Chloe are thrown together on a week away, Nick dares her to get physical in whatever way she wants – with a kiss, a punch or anything in between. And if Chloe claims to feel nothing, he’ll leave her alone for good.

How can Chloe say no to a week of  mindless passion with the man she hasn’t been able to get out of her head?

Trouble is, a lot can go wrong (or right) in a week . . .                

Please feel free to check out my website, and connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Brand Power – Helping You Buy Better

I am a great believer in brand power – that unique promise that differentiates one product from another.

Each Harlequin series has its own ‘brand’. Medicals are intense and uplifting and…well, medical. Harlequin Presents are what you turn to for a passionate escape to a glamorous setting. Blaze stories are hot and steamy.

It’s all about letting readers know what they’re going to get – no nasty surprises!

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darkly sexy / trust me, I’m a doctor / fresh & flirty

But each Harlequin author also has a brand that layers over the top of the series promise – a unique voice and distinctive style that makes reading one author’s books a different experience from reading any other author’s.

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Quirky shoe designer heroine, celebrity chef hero, planning a same sex wedding celebration – doesn’t get much more sexy, funny, modern, urban than that!

As a reader, I am voracious and eclectic and I love to dabble in all things romantic.

But as a writer, I have a particular brand positioning: sexy, funny, modern, urban. That brand dictates that even when I am dealing with very serious issues – grief, betrayal, tropical diseases, neglected children, drug abuse, sexual harassment, media intrusion, sibling rivalry, to name just a few – the angst is never so soul destroying that my characters can’t stride into the world laughing as they grab it by the throat.

I’ve written across three sub-genres – Medical, Romantic Comedy, and New Adult – and I may well add a few more before I put down the quill. I’ve got a few romantic suspense ideas twirling in my head, for example, and I adore the idea of writing an historical romance. But whatever type of story I’m working on, and whatever the trope, sexy, funny, modern, urban is the way I’m going to tell it.

  • Want a saga? I’m not your girl. I prefer diving into the story of one couple in as tight a time frame as possible – a week or a month or a year, rather than a couple of generations.
  • Something rural? I’m city through and through, so the only time you’re likely to see me in a country setting is with a fish out of water trope.
  • Sweet romance? Not me – I like to know exactly what the hero and heroine are doing in the bedroom and why it’s important to them.
  • A three volume epic?  Er…no. I’m generally worn out by my characters by the end of one book, and am anxious to find some new ones to throw into the world.

    Wanting Mr Wrong hi res cover (669x1024) (3)
    Movie star hero, anti-paparazzi heroine, a tight group of city-dwelling friends talking about pheromones.

I’m never offended when someone decides I’m not their cup of tea. I read all my reviews, even the 1-stars, and whenever I get some flack about the issues I cover or the way I write about them, I always take a moment to reflect on what I could do better. Most of the time, however, it simply means those particular readers just don’t like my brand – and that’s okay.

On the flip side, I sure get a kick out of it when someone tells me I’ve given them a few happy hours. It’s a wonderful thing to know that my sexy, funny, modern, urban stories are right for some of the many diverse readers out there.

So, readers and writers, what’s your ‘brand’? And how much do you stray from it when you’re writing a book or choosing one to read?

I’m looking forward to diving into a new Medical story next year, but meanwhile, I’m featuring a little try before you buy opportunity. I have a short story in an anthology that is out now and it’s FREE! My story, When Jack Met Evie, is a prequel to my book Wanting Mr Wrong, so if you’ve never read my stuff, it’s a painless why to give me a try.

The Day We Met - Cover Image (669x1024)WHEN JACK MET EVIE he found his usual movie star charm wasn’t enough to catch her attention. In fact, she seemed to be actively avoiding him . . . He’s heard Evie has a fatal fear of paparazzi, but that doesn’t mean he should ignore his heart, does it?

And please feel free to connect with me via my website, Facebook, and Twitter.