Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

The Army Doc’s Secret Princess

 

The Army Doc's Secret Princess, UK Aug 2020 large Emily Forbes

Could her royal fling…

…last a lifetime?

Princess Viktoria made a promise: do her duty and marry a duke. But she wants one final adventure first! So she welcomes the freedom that working incognito at the Legion’s Games gives her. There’s only one tall, dark and brooding problem – surgeon and medical team leader Campbell Hamilton. Because the delicious-yet-damaged army doc leaves Viktoria wondering if the adventure she really wants is forever with the man she’s falling for…

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

Two years ago

Campbell’s headphones blocked out most of the engine noise, but he could still hear a faint rhythmic thump-thump as the chopper blades beat the air and he could feel the vibrations as they shuddered through his body. After almost six months he thought he’d be used to the overwhelming assault on his senses—the smell of fumes and dust, the incessant noise, the constant jarring and jolting—but he had yet to get used to the tension. He was always on edge when he was in flight, despite knowing that one of the Australian Army’s best pilots was in control of the aircraft, and he was looking forward to getting back on the ground.

Cam kept his eyes cast down, focusing on his patient. He kept up a one-sided conversation despite the fact that his patient was heavily sedated, and the engine noise would make conversation almost impossible even if he were conscious. He gave him a rundown of his situation—only the positives though. His IV line was running smoothly and his vital signs had stabilised, he told him. He avoided the specifics of his injuries. The soldier was badly wounded, but he didn’t need to be reminded of that. He’d live, at this stage that was the important information, but he’d be getting sent home for a while. Home to Australia. Where he’d have a chance to recover physically, if not mentally.

Cam knew the soldiers would always be haunted by their experiences fighting a war on the other side of the world. Some would cope better than others. He knew he’d have scars too. Mental, not physical. This war wasn’t what he’d anticipated or expected.

Gemma had warned him, but how did you warn someone who had grown up in rural Australia? A land of dust and dirt but safe enough. Hot, and at times desolate, but it had been a different sort of barren. A different sort of danger.

Apart from the snakes and some angry rams or falling off a motorbike or a horse, Cam hadn’t really had anything to worry about. Now, every day was a battle. Here, there was always a chance of getting hit by a bullet, being on the wrong side of an IED, being wounded or killed by enemy fire or even by a civilian on a suicide mission. Life here was stressful.

His job as a medical specialist with the Australian Army meant he was responsible for lives in a country where lives were not highly regarded. Lives here were seen as disposable, which went against everything he believed in and made his job difficult and, at times, impossible. He still had access to First World medical facilities but, more often than not, he was trying to save lives in the middle of a dustbowl, trying to do his best while war raged around him. Gemma had tried to explain it to him but, until he’d seen it with his own eyes, until he’d lived through the experiences she had told him about, he knew he hadn’t understood.

He glanced towards the cockpit to where Gemma sat in the pilot’s seat. As if she had felt his gaze, his fiancée turned and looked back at him and smiled.

Cam was looking forward to getting back to base. He was looking forward to dinner with Gemma, even if it was just in the mess tent. He could pretend for a moment that they were a normal couple, looking forward to making a life together, planning a family. He needed that idea of his future—it was what kept him going on tough days. Gemma was the bright spot in his world. He loved his job but, if he was asked, he’d have to admit he preferred to do his job in the sterile environment of an Australian medical facility. He didn’t mind dust and dirt, he was country born and bred after all, but practising medicine in these conditions was challenging, often unpleasant and definitely not fun.

But no one was interested in his opinion and if he wanted to be with Gemma, this was where she was.

He wondered if he had any chance of convincing her to quit the army and return to Australia. She loved flying but it would be years before she would achieve flight instructor status with the army. Years before she wouldn’t have to fly combat missions. Perhaps she could work privately instead.

He wondered when it would be safe to have that discussion. Would it ever? Could he ask her to give up something she loved? How would he feel if she started to tell him how to live his life or run his career?

He knew he wouldn’t be happy.

He blew her a kiss just as a bright light burst in his peripheral vision.

The chopper lurched as Gemma’s head whipped around and even through the headphones Cam could hear the sound of tearing metal.

The chopper shuddered and he could see Gemma and her co-pilot fighting to keep control as the bird started to spin.

It took him a few seconds to work out what had happened. It felt like an eternity.

They’d been hit.

There was a second explosion, the burst of light so intense that Cam closed his eyes against the glare.

He could feel the chopper spinning wildly. He opened his eyes and saw the ground rushing towards them as the machine fell from the sky.

Black smoke filled the cabin, making Cam’s eyes water. He couldn’t see Gemma. He couldn’t see anything. He lost all sense of space and time.

He threw himself over his patient as the helicopter plummeted. He knew it was a ridiculous gesture. He wasn’t going to be able to protect him. He wasn’t going to be able to save him. The situation was completely out of his control.

There was nothing he could do.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

Present day

Campbell’s leg ached and he fought hard against the urge to stand up. The meeting had been long and he was beginning to get restless. He’d never been good at sitting still and these days it was almost impossible. He needed to stand and stretch; prolonged periods of sitting disagreed with him. Irritated his mind and his body. If he sat still his leg complained and his mind wandered. He needed to be moving, he needed to be busy. He wanted to keep his mind occupied. He didn’t want time to dwell. Too much time to think had proven to be difficult.

He stretched his right leg out under the boardroom table as he tried to ease the cramp in his hip. He needed to get in the pool. Swim a few laps. He would prefer to swim a few laps in the ocean, but he knew from experience that he’d fare better in a warm pool. The heated water would ease his aching muscles. It had been two years since the chopper crash and he didn’t need ice baths any more.

It had been twenty-four months since the incident, but he was still adjusting to his new life.

A life as a solitary man.

He brought his attention back to the meeting as Douglas began to wrap it up.

Thank goodness it was almost over. Cam hoped no one had any additional items for discussion. He looked around the table at the ten other men and women, trying to gauge if any of them looked like they had something on their mind. He’d had enough experience with meetings, ward rounds as well as military discussion groups, to know that there was always one person who seemed to delight in dragging meetings on for far too long but today, for once, it appeared as though everyone was just as eager to escape as he was.

He stood up the minute Douglas officially closed the meeting. He stretched, knowing that if he didn’t take a moment to ease the stiffness in his back and leg his limp would be far more pronounced, and he preferred not to draw attention to himself.

He was used to being noticed but he didn’t want to be noticed for the wrong reasons. He knew that was ironic and he’d never say it out loud, not when he was surrounded by so many others with far more severe disabilities and injuries than he had, but he knew that perception was a very personal thing.

‘You okay?’ Doug was beside him.

Cam knew Doug would have noticed his attempt at surreptitious stretching. Doug was one of his closest friends in the service and had been a good support to him during his rehabilitation and recovery phase. His family and friends had helped get him through the past year. He felt he owed it to them to pull through, although there had been times when it had seemed like too much effort, but he was having better days now.

‘I didn’t think it was possible to have this many meetings.’ Cam had made no secret of the fact that he liked to be busy and when he’d agreed to be on this committee he’d imagined that he’d be doing something practical like overseeing the medical facilities and programme for the games, not sitting around talking.

‘We’re almost done,’ Doug said, making an effort to appease him. He knew full well Cam’s opinion about meetings. ‘The Games start next week.’

The countdown was on until the Legion’s Games began, when hundreds of injured veterans from twenty countries around the world would descend on Sydney to compete in a dozen different events across ten days. The Games were the brainchild of Prince Alfred, an army captain himself, and the Games Committee was responsible for the event but, as the host nation, the Australian defence force was heavily involved. It was a massive exercise and the logistics of the Games fell to the Australians, which was how Cam found himself involved.

‘Not much longer and your suffering will all be over,’ Doug added with a smile.

Cam doubted that. Sure, he’d have fewer meetings to attend but his current life was still so far removed from what he’d thought it was going to be; he wasn’t sure that his suffering was ever going to be over.

He’d hoped the Games would be a good distraction, a way to mark the passing of time. He’d expected to be consulted over the details of the medical facilities, but somehow, he’d found himself dragged along to every damn meeting in existence. He tried to be positive. He’d put his hand up for this project after all, but he’d put his hand up for any work that had been offered to him over the past year. Exhaustion was the only way he could get even a half-decent night’s sleep. A few hours when he could shut out the horrors of everything he’d experienced during his tour of duty in the Middle East.

‘Before you go, can I have a word with you about tomorrow’s schedule?’ Doug asked.

‘Don’t tell me there are more meetings—I’m consulting tomorrow and I know my list is pretty full.’

‘I know you’re out at the rehab centre tomorrow; that’s why I need to speak to you. I have a favour to ask. The Prince’s social media manager has arrived in Sydney ahead of the Prince and has asked for a tour of the facilities.’

‘Which facilities?’

‘All of them. But I thought we could start with the old barracks first.’

One of the old inner-city army bases had been repurposed as a rehabilitation facility when the site had needed updating. The active units had been reassigned to a new purpose-built base in the outer suburbs of Sydney and the old base had been upgraded and was now home to the medical facilities, including doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, exercise physiologists, a purpose-built gym and pool for the injured and returned soldiers, along with outdoor sporting facilities. The repurposed base was going to serve as the venue for the majority of the events in the Legion’s Games.

‘You’re out there tomorrow,’ Doug continued. ‘Can they go out there with you?’

‘You want me to babysit the Prince’s—what did you call them—social media manager?’

Doug nodded and sweetened the deal. ‘If you can do me this small favour, I promise I won’t drag you into any meetings for the rest of the week.’

Cam sighed and ran his hand through his thick, dark hair. A day out of the boardroom was preferable to another day of meetings. Even playing tour guide to a stranger would have to be better than that. ‘All right,’ he agreed.

‘Okay, I’ll send you the details,’ Doug said as he took out his phone and tapped away. ‘Can you collect her from her hotel at o-nine hundred hours?’

‘Her?’ he asked as his phone pinged with the incoming email. Prince Alfred had a military background and Cam had, incorrectly it seemed, assumed his social media manager would be a man.

Cam had met the Prince once while he’d been deployed in the Middle East. Once, in the days before the incident. In the days before his life went down the toilet.

‘Yes—’ Doug grinned ‘—see if you can dredge up some of your old charm. Be nice.’

Cam looked at the email on his screen and noted her name, along with the hotel address, with a raised eyebrow. Apparently, Viktoria von Grasburg was staying in one of Sydney’s five-star hotels on the Harbour. He wondered who was paying for that.

‘Sure,’ he said as he sighed and stuck his phone back in his pocket, before massaging his hip subconsciously.

 

*

Viktoria had woken up well before sunrise, unsure whether to blame her excitement or her body clock which still hadn’t adjusted to the Australian time zone. She was on the other side of the world and about to start her first day ‘on the job’. A job that had nothing to do with her being a royal, a princess. Nothing to do with cutting ribbons, shaking hands or making speeches.

She was working for her cousin, the Prince, but no one in Australia actually knew who she was. No one here knew she was a princess. As far as the organisers of the Legion’s Games were concerned she was just running the Prince’s social media campaign.

Freddie had told her no one would be bothered anyway but she hadn’t believed him. She was about to find out.

‘There’s a Dr Campbell Hamilton here to escort you,’ her assistant informed her as she handed over a small bag. ‘I’ve put your phone, a credit card, a make-up purse and your sunglasses in there. Your schedule is on your phone.’

Viktoria took a deep breath to calm her nerves, suddenly realising this was it. She was doing this. Going off to work like a regular person, out into the world.

She took the lift down to Reception. She stepped out, wondering how she would know who to look for, before realising the reception staff would advise her. She looked to the front desk and her attention was caught by a man in army uniform standing near the concierge.

‘Miss von Grasburg?’ he addressed her, and she was momentarily flummoxed. She wasn’t used to being addressed so casually. There was no Your Highness or even ma’am.

No, this was what she wanted, she reminded herself. He knew all he needed to know. She smiled to herself and swallowed her surprise.

She was Miss von Grasburg.

‘Please, call me Viktoria,’ she said as she nodded and held out her hand to shake his.

‘Campbell Hamilton.’

He was tall, over six feet, with thick dark hair which was a little longer than she thought would meet standard army regulations. He looked lean and muscular, fit without being too bulky. He had wide blue-grey eyes and a dimpled chin. He was clean-shaven with a full mouth and she could see a small scar running through his bottom lip. He was handsome. Very handsome.

She wasn’t sure who she had been expecting but she had never imagined this.

His handshake was firm, his skin cool, but she wasn’t prepared for the heat that spread from his fingertips into her hand and up her arm. She managed to maintain her composure even while her skin tingled and flared under his touch.

She waited for him to say it was a pleasure to meet her, but he didn’t. Was that something people only said to be polite?

‘I understand you want to see the Games facilities?’ he said as he released her hand.

She nodded. The power of speech had deserted her momentarily. Dr Campbell Hamilton was tall, dark and handsome and made her feel strangely nervous.

She had an odd sensation that this man was the reason she was here. That he was what she’d come for. She had an overpowering sense that he was going to play an important role in her days here. Or was she just getting caught up in the excitement of the day ahead?

*

‘My car is out the front,’ he said as he turned and began walking towards the exit. He was quite abrupt, and Viktoria was a little thrown. While she had the sense that he was important, that there was some sort of connection between them, he didn’t appear to share her thoughts. She got the impression she had annoyed him. He seemed to wish he was somewhere else. Doing something else. Her bubble of enthusiasm deflated slightly but, refusing to be completely crushed, she followed him outside.

He was standing beside a white SUV, holding the door open for her.

She hesitated.

‘Is there a problem?’ he asked when she made no move to climb in.

Viktoria looked down the driveway and saw Hendrik pulling to a stop.

‘I arranged for Hendrik to drive us,’ she said.

‘Who?’

She gestured towards the black luxury SUV that was now stationary behind Campbell’s car. ‘Hendrik. My driver.’

‘You have a driver?’

‘Oui.’

‘No one said anything about a driver. This is my car. I will be driving.’

Viktoria made a split decision. She didn’t want to irritate him further and she wanted to live like a normal person. She’d let him drive. That would be safe enough, surely? After all, he was a government employee. ‘Do you have some identification?’ she asked.

‘Identification?’ He was frowning.

‘Oui. If you can show Hendrik some identification to verify yourself, I will give him the day off and let you drive me.’ She knew Hendrik wouldn’t be happy, but she’d deal with him later.

‘You’ll let me drive you?’

His tone was frosty, but Viktoria nodded even as she wished they could begin this conversation again. They were not getting off to a great start.

 

*

Cam bit back a sigh and resisted the urge to run his hand through his hair in frustration. He should have taken the meetings. This was going to be a nightmare. They already seemed to be at cross purposes, working off different briefs. He couldn’t care less if she came with him or not, but he had gone out of his way to collect her this morning and he didn’t appreciate finding out that it hadn’t been necessary. He could have easily met her at the barracks and sorted out her credentials and visitor’s clearance then. But he knew he had to be polite. This woman worked for the Prince. It wouldn’t do to get her offside. He suspected she was going to be demanding. She probably had every right to be, but he wished he wasn’t going to be the one who had to meet her demands.

And then she smiled at him.

The photo provided for her clearance documents hadn’t done her justice. It had been a flattering photo—she’d looked attractive—but he’d been mistaken. She wasn’t just pretty; she was absolutely stunning.

Her smile was like the sun coming out and it burnt through the fog that had surrounded his psyche for the past two years. As the fog lifted, he felt as if he could see clearly for the first time in months…and what he saw made him catch his breath.

 

***

 

The Army Doc's Secret Princess, USA Aug 2020 Emily Forbes

The Army Doc’s Secret Princess is available here

and also

Mills&Boon Aus,

Mills&Boon UK

Harlequin USA

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Unexpected Journeys

Like a lot of us, I was looking forward to doing some traveling this spring and summer. And while I’m disappointed that most of my plans have had to be canceled, I know it’s for the best. So earlier this week when I found myself a little down, I started going through old pictures from trips I’ve taken in the past. I enjoyed reliving the trips to Disney I’ve taken with my family, trips to New Orleans with my best friend and other trips such as the one to Times Square in New York last year where I got to sign my debut medical with Harlequin Mills and Boon, From Midwife to Mommy.

But I also realized there are many more trips I’ve taken over the years. The first one I remember was when one of my teachers read the book The Secret Garden to my class and I was carried away to the Yorkshire moors. Since then I’ve been on trips to Middle Earth with elves and hobbits, trips to other planets, and even trips back in time where I’ve fallen in love with handsome Vikings. I’ve visited cowboy ranches, beaches on deserted islands, and castles in Europe. And while I might never have left my home while I took these trips, because of some great authors I’ve been able to have some experiences that I never would have been able to have any other way.

So if you’re like me and are feeling a little down about canceled plans this year, go through those pictures or pick up a new book and enjoy the journey.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Pets

Bit of a milestone by Kate Hardy

Kate HardySo my last few blog posts have been about my run for cancer research. I kind of hope you’d like to hear the last one in that – I did it! Sunday May 12. It was hot, some of the route was on a camber (so I walked that bit – otherwise there would have been a trip and a wrecked ankle), and I hate running outside. (I hate running, full stop. But outside is much worse than the gym.) 10k – or six miles – is a very, very long way. But, clad in my T-shirt and hat and tutu (!), and with my tech sorted out so I actually had music (I could NOT have done it without that), I did it. Took me 89 minutes (I have short legs so I’m slow), but I did it. And I raised £1325, so a massive thank you to everyone who sponsored me. But the big takehome? I was listening to Coldplay’s Up&Up as I crossed the finishing line, in fact to the very last words of the song. And they were very, very appropriate: NEVER GIVE UP.

image

So even if something feels like a challenge (and, as I’m not a runner, a 10k run was a huge challenge for me), don’t give up. Believe in yourself and keep trying.

As well as that, I’ve been busy with other things – learning ballet! I’ve rather fallen in love with ballet, and my local theatre sent me an email after Swan Lake asking me if I wanted to join their adult beginners’ class. Absolutely! I’m not sure if it’s the gorgeous music, or the fact I have to concentrate on the teacher’s instructions, but after class I feel totally chilled out. (And then there’s the obligatory coffee and scone with my classmates afterwards…)

imageI’ve also been working hard, and I’ve reached another writing milestone this month with the publication of my my 85th M&B! A Nurse and a Pup to Heal Him does what it says on the tin 😉 It’s about a GP, a nurse and her PAT (pets as therapy) dog, and it’s set in my part of the world; and, although the dog on the cover is gorgoeous, the dog between the covers owes more to this one… 😉

 

 

 

And this picture was taken at the weekend in ‘Great Crowmell’ (aka Wells-next-the-Sea, my mash-up Norfolk seaside village). This is very much our happy place – the beach stretches for miles. The sky looks a bit dramatic, but it was actually a gorgeous afternoon and very warm.

image

Where’s your happy place?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Mysteries of Book Covers

Shuffling through my books the other day, I marveled at the way some of the covers are so different from each other, while others carry some of the same elements. I will admit that I know next to nothing about what goes into the making of a book cover, but I definitely have my favorites.

So it made me curious. What is it about a book cover that grabs your attention? Is it a hunky hero? A hero and heroine gazing into each other’s eyes? A fun and flirty image? Or do you  prefer teacups and doilies with nary a person in sight?

Anyway, I’m going to share a couple of my favorite book covers: one of my Harlequins and one of my indie published books (with special thanks to Fiona Lowe’s uber-talented son for his help with that one).  And then I’d like your input on what draws you to a cover!

First up is a book cover from all the way back in 2013. It’s one of the older style covers, but I truly love the image on it. The hero is just how I envisioned him and the cover reflects the title, to me. book cover 1

Next is one of my indie books. On this cover, I love the way the hero appears to be whispering something in the heroine’s ear. Maybe something naughty? Maybe something nice? book cover 2
So now it’s your turn. What do you like to see on a cover? What don’t you like to see? Or do you never judge a book by its cover? 🙂

Guest Blogs

ONCE A MEDICAL AUTHOR, ALWAYS A MEDICAL AUTHOR by Lynne Marshall

ogg945642LARGE
Padraig Delaney’s pub connected to the family hotel

Greetings to Love is the Best Medicine blog and followers! It is always a treat to stop by and say hello.

We medical authors hang out in a virtual break room and often remind each other that though some of us may have moved to other Harlequin lines or to completely different genres (shout out to Fiona Lowe and Anne Fraser) we will always be considered one of the tribe.

Thank you for that!

I’m especially happy to be here to share this milestone!

25thbookharlequin

I’m fortunate to publish three books over the next few months for the Harlequin Special Edition line in US, which is the new Mills & Boon True Love line in UK. It is still called Cherish in Australia, though. As it just so happens, the hero in the launch book FOREVER A FATHER, is a doctor. Surprised? I’m not. My loyalties to the medical profession will continue until the day I kick the bucket.

Daniel Delaney is a Doctor of Physical Medicine and has opened his own clinic back in his hometown of Sandpiper Beach. That is also where his family runs a quaint hotel. Some say you can never go home again, nor should you! But Daniel doesn’t see it that way. Returning to a family that loves and supports him is very important at this time in his life.

In this book, I get to introduce the entire family, Mom, Dad, brothers Mark and Conor, and including grandda Padraig, a real character, if you know what I mean. Plus three lovely women.IMG_3003 (2)

There are also a couple of medical scenes in the first book, one an emergency on Sandpiper Beach, and another where Daniel must relocate a dislocated shoulder using the Cunningham technique. I loved writing those scenes!

The Delaneys of Sandpiper Beach2
When I saw this logline written for the series, I thought, yeah, they nailed it.

I hope you’ll check out the trilogy to find out how eighty-five-year-old Padraig Delaney is up to his usual mischief and makes a bold promise that each brother will soon find the love of their lives. Where the seriously doubting brothers, one by one, fall in love, and finally might have to admit the old guy isn’t as daft as he seems.

Here is the UK cover and the book blurb

ForeverAFatherUK51Ttym-AGEL

“Will you be my dad?”

Ask me anything but that.

Once upon a time, Dr. Daniel Delaney had it all. But he lost it in the blink of an eye, and he won’t let himself fall again—not even for his dedicated new assistant, Keela O’Mara, and her adorable, lonely little girl, Anna. Resisting a starry-eyed four-year-old is tough enough. Denying her perfect, loving single mom may be more than Daniel can handle…

 

QUESTION FOR READERS: If an author writes a trilogy, do you read them one by one as they come out, or wait until all are released and read them all at once?

Thanks for putting up with me again!
Lynne Marshall
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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Hot Docs!

I wish you a Merry Christmas…

All I Want for Christmas, emilyforbes-72dpi-1500x2000

I love Christmas and I love summer and, in Australia, two of my favourite things combine but I would love to experience a white Christmas. We watch it in the movies and sing about it in our Christmas carols -which is hilarious as Christmas Day Down Under can often be 100°F/ 39°C – while we are drinking chilled Champagne and eating seafood, fresh berries and pavlova (basically a big meringue but better  🙂 )followed by a swim in the pool.

What I would love to know is if anyone in the northern hemisphere dreams of a hot Christmas or is it a southern hemisphere thing?

Wherever you are and however you are celebrating I wish you a very Merry Christmas with love, laughter, friends and family. And if you haven’t finished (or started!) your shopping here are some suggestions gathered from around the globe.

From left to right, top to bottom:

UK, USA, Canada ; Germany; USA & Canada; Sweden

Australia; Italy; France

Italy; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland; France; South Africa.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy and healthy 2018,

Emily xx

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, New Releases, The Writing Life

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well, today isn’t Monday, but as I was writing this blog post, it was. And it was definitely raining. Most of the day, in fact. But, unlike the song, those kinds of days don’t “get me down.” I tend to like the rain. And sleeping to the sound of thunder is just bliss.

What wasn’t so blissful was the cold that went along with the rain, since we’re headed into winter, and the days are getting shorter. But what does make me happy is that I just got my story bible for the continuity I’ll be writing. And it’s a Christmas story. One of my favorite kinds of books to write! Did the editors plan it that way, hoping the festive lights and tinsel would light my muse’s fire? I don’t know, but I think it’s going to work. I’m very excited about the plot I’ve been given, and on Monday, I was busy setting up my chapters in Scrivener (the writing program I use). So, right now, it’s literally a series of twelve chapter headings and an expanse of empty pages. My imagination is running wild with how I can make this story my own.

Monday’s rain just added to my momentum, since I couldn’t get out and do anything. In fact, I drove to a nearby supermarket parking lot to get some peace and quiet, pushed back the seat as far as it would go and listened to the rain while I got my program set up. It was wonderful. Just me, the warmth of the car heater, and my still-to-be-written book.

rainy days and Mondays
The view from my car on a rainy Monday

And I can’t wait to start! I just came off a frenetic writing schedule and finally had time to stop and recharge my batteries. So just like the rain that was washing the thin layer of dust from my car, it cleared the cobwebs from my mind too. I’m ready to write.

I’m in love. With my characters. My story. My life. Even on a rainy, Monday morning!

To add to my joy, I just received the cover for my latest book. I love that too!

How about you? Do you like rainy days?

9781335663344

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, The Writing Life

The Blessings We Love to Curse

red-berries

It’s been a crazy two weeks for me. Joel and I have been on an entertainment binge.    Been to a hockey game,  a Broadway tour of ‘The Book of Mormon,’ the musical ‘Cabaret,’ a Joe Bonamassa concert and a festival of Christmas carols.

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 We have another few things lined up to get us up to Christmas. And tickets to these were so easy to purchase – zip into a website online, pull up a seating chart, plug in the credit card and—voila, ticket on my phone. And when I say phone, I don’t mean the old-fashioned kind like the one that hung on my parents’ kitchen wall, but the one that gives me instant access to the world via the internet, keeps track of my grocery list, wakes me up on time, sends me reminders from my dentist and brings me a delightful good-morning message, every morning, from my sister-in-law who lives 1000 miles away. imag0973_1

Did I say internet? The vehicle that let me have a chat with a friend in India the other day, research the most prominent kind of pine tree in Montana for one of my books, and served as the device for a majority of my Christmas shopping this year? The same vehicle through which I bought a new washer three weeks ago and a brand new car two weeks ago? The place where I pay my bills, check the weather and watch movies, British television and Broadways plays?

It wasn’t that long ago that my husband dragged home this clunker of a computer, one with no internal storage and everything went to large floppy disks. “This is the future,” he told me. I didn’t believe him, but since he’d spent a lot of money on the thing and told me it was mine to use, I used it. Then upgraded, upgraded, upgraded. Got a laptop, a phone with way more capabilities than my first computer, and a tablet which my 4-year-old niece uses to watch her movies.imag0967

                My car is computerized. It has all kinds of neat little gadgets I’ve yet to explore. It syncs with my phone, gives me a rear-view back-up and I’m not sure, but I think it makes coffee. My television is hooked up to a speaker system that’s probably better than the speaker system of any movie theater I went to when I was a kid. And my refrigerator—don’t even get me started on what it can do. Yes, I remember the one that simply froze water and meat, and chilled food. But mine will sing me a lullaby if I let it.

 Yet, we are a discontented society as a whole. Nothing is ever fast enough. Nothing ever has quite the right amount of capabilities. In fact, the online response time on my computer had bogged down to a whopping 5 seconds, and I was pretty darned frustrated by how slow it was. I wanted that pine tree information, and I wanted it NOW! So, I called my internet service provider and complained that their service was too slow, it was wasting my time. They pressed a switch on their end, upped my band width and gave me a 2 second response time. I was so happy. Makes me wonder how happy I would have been in the old days when I’d have gone to the library just to research that one little fact. Back then, I thought it was amazing that so much was available to me in any number of books I could check out and take home. The other day, I thought it was downright awesome that I was given back 3 whole seconds.

This is the time of year when everybody is more mindful of their blessings. Friends, family, pets, good fortune in our lives, health. We do have so many things to be grateful for, and I am. But when I got home from a Christmas tree display (which I’d found online) I got a message from a friend I rarely see because she lives so far away, I turned on my computer to write this blog instead of trying to do it on a typewriter imag0925(because I can’t type on a typewriter) and I sent a lovely picture of a Christmas tree made from books to all the people who follow me on Facebook – a picture taken on my phone. And you know what? These are blessing, too. Maybe not the ones that complete us and make us better as individuals, but the ones that make our lives easier, and quicker and more convenient. I’ll admiimag0923t, I’m the first one to get angry when my computer slows up or my phone has to be rebooted. It’s frustrating when I can’t click right into Acorn and get my fix of ‘Doc Martin’ because something isn’t feeding properly at that precise moment. And heaven forbid I should be delayed from my Broadway streaming when I want to see ‘Les Miserables’ or ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ But last night, when I took a picture of MacKenzie, didn’t have to wait for a day to see it developed, and was able to send it to everyone in my family within minutes, I was grateful for that phone. It allowed me something I wouldn’t have had so very long ago—the chance to share the best moments of my life with the people I love. That’s what this season is about—sharing those moments. And sure, they may take you an extra 3 seconds if your computer is bogged down, but when I look at the tin type of my grandmother from 1889, and consider the amount of time her family had to wait for that photo, and the one minute it took for me to snap MacKenzie’s picture and send it to my aunt 2000 miles away, imag0960_2I know that something we love to curse is really a blessing that enhances our lives every day, in little ways, and in big ones. It’s a beautiful thing.

“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” (Oscar Wilde)

From my family to yours, I hope you have a lovely  holiday season.

And, wishing you health & happiness

Dianne Drake (www.Dianne-Drake.com)

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                                                                     Out February, 2017.

 

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Pets, The Writing Life

Puppies, Puddles and Pant legs

I’m away at a horse show today, but while I’m gone, I’ll share some pictures of our newest addition to the family. A puppy! A cute, uncomplicated, well-mannered little doll. Okay, so none of that is true except for the cute part. You can guess from the title of this blog post that a) we have a puppy, b) she makes puddles in unfortunate places, and c) she has a penchant for grabbing the hem of our jeans and letting herself be dragged along (no matter how many times we tell her that it’s simply unacceptable).

Yesterday I was texting my husband about the puppy’s latest escapades, and he finally texted back: I thought empty nests were supposed to be quiet (we just sent our youngest off to college last year). Hmmm…he had me there. I finally responded: Well that would be true, if we actually left it empty. Score one for me. Or maybe that point goes to the puppy.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite puppy moments:

  1. The day we brought her home from our friends’ house, where she was born. One would never suspect the changes that would soon befall our little household, where only a cat, a chinchilla, and an elderly pug reside.img_0195
  2. . This is our pup’s normal routine: Find stuff. Chew stuff. Make puddles and piles. img_0220
  3. Redecorating the house. Every home needs a dead tree in it, according to Miss Puppy. And yes she can fit through the cat door. For now. She’s only nine weeks old and growing fast!oreos-tree
  4. Getting ready for bed. My favorite time of day. She loves her pillow. And we love that she loves her pillow.oreos-bed

What about you? Any funny pet stories you would like to share? Or training tips that have gotten you through the worst of the worst?

And because I also have a book being released this month, I’ll share my cover. I can’t help but wonder what this sweet scene might look like if our puppy had her way! a-daddy-for-her-daughter

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Hot Docs!

A He-Rose by Any Other Name???

What IS in a name? Especially a hero’s name.

Ever thought you’d fall in love with a George? Would you picture someone reliable, slightly dorky, who had his own set of socket wrenches or a daredevillishly handsome cad?

I would pick the former. But then again…Mr Clooney? Who knew a George could be so sigh inducing?

Or a Hugh (Jackman, Bonneville, Grant) or a Bradley (Cooo-aiiiii-carumba-Cooper) or a Benedict. Benedict? Yup. We seem to have collectively swooned at the magnetic pull and dying-to-be-traced cheekbones of ol’ Bennie Boy Cumberbatch.

So this morning – coming up with the name of my new hero (I landed on Dr. Aidan Tate – Boom chica woo woo!) I went through a list of names with my pal and she tried to convince me Howard was a sexy name. I don’t know. I couldn’t bite. Then again – I returned to the George scenario. To me? Not sexy. George Clooney? Knee weakener. Howard? Eww. I still wasn’t there. But then it hit me – the name is less important than the man. Who is this guy? Could I make Howard sexy? Howard Halt.

Nah.

Howard Wetherly.

Enhhh. Not so much. A but too costume drama.

Howard Stone.

Hmmm. He might be up to something. Howard Stone. Blonde or brunette? Piercing blue eyes or dark as a vat of Ecuadorian chocolate brown? Bolshie Alpha hero or a gentle paediatrician who would really love to settle down with someone who was as passionate about having a family as he was. A Howard Stone who would drop everything to help a mother whose child has been pushed off the top of a slide and a Howard Stone who got the other kid to apologise not by shouting but by getting him to realise the error of his own ways through humour. A Howard Stone who makes a ‘famous’ lasagna and laughs at your jokes. All of ’em. And has one of those Kirk Douglas dents in his chin that keeps teasing you to trace a finger along it.

Okay. I could probably like a Howard.

And a Will, a Tim, a Jack(!!!), a Finn and a Sam. I clearly like my solid, non-wavering, monosyllables. As long as the man who comes with them likes to talk. Okay – the floor is open: what are some of your favourite names and why?

PS – my latest hero to hit the shelves will be Jack Keller – fireman and chocolate milkshake lover. If you read The Surgeon’s Christmas Wish and want to find out what happened to Liesel….this is her story!

Hubba hubba Wah Wah!
Hubba hubba Wah Wah!