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 Writing Life

WAITING…

WaitingWaiting has always been the most difficult part about writing for me. It begins early in the process: Waiting for critique partners to read your pages; for contest entry results; for responses from agents after you’ve risked sending your baby out into the world.

Fifteen years ago, when I first started this crazy journey, agents would actually send rejection letters, most often form letters, but occasionally one would be written especially for the author, making a suggestion or two about how to improve on the manuscript. This was a rejection worth waiting for. These days, most agencies don’t even bother to respond. The new normal seems to be – no news means no. How rude, right?iStock_000077653867_Double.jpg

Harlequin is one of the only publishers willing to take un-agented manuscripts, which is great, but the wait time can feel endless! Waiting for “the call” doesn’t seem to compute with authors because no one ever suspects that call, do they? It always seems to take folks completely by surprise. And such a sweet surprise it is.

The call!jpeg.jpg

Even after getting published “waiting” remains a huge part of the process. Waiting for the editorial revision letter, then waiting for the reaction to your post revision manuscript. If the book is accepted there is more waiting to do – for the copy edits, for the publication date, then, for the cover, the author copies of the book, release day! After that, the scariest waiting period of all comes – waiting for reactions and reviews for the book. Inevitably, a silent unease sets in as the waiting begins for the offer of another book contract.

Never a day goes by without some form of waiting.Woman in business suit looks on the hand of the clock close up

Why am I lamenting about waiting, you ask? Because I am deep in the process of waiting for word on a proposal for a trilogy for another line at Harlequin. After over 17,000 words in the form of the first three chapters, and another 11,000 in three thorough synopses for all of the books, I’ve yet to make the hurdle of getting past my own editor. Once that is done I will wait for the thoughts/comments/rejection (?) from the senior editor of the other line.

So these days, waiting is first and foremost on my mind. Thankfully, I have another contracted Medical Romance to concentrate on, but it is hard to move forward with my subconscious pulling me back to the waiting game for that other proposal.

At least I don’t have to wait for the gorgeous cover for my next book. Isn’t she a beaut? This is book #6 in the Hollywood Hills Clinic continuity that I was lucky to take part in.

HIS PREGNANT SLEEPING BEAUTY will be out in June (though currently available for pre-order!)

9780373011148

512HRpHFjwL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Here’s the blurb:

Rescuing the runaway

When paramedic Joseph Matthews rescues a vulnerable pregnant woman left in a coma, he vows to be there for his sleeping beauty. Even though, after his ex-wife’s betrayal, everything about innocent Carey Spencer evokes bittersweet memories…mixed with unexpected desire.

As Joseph helps gorgeous Carey recover and build a safe new future for her unborn baby, can he gather his courage to give them the happy-ever-after they deserve?

PLEASE DON’T KEEP ME WAITING: LEAVE A COMMENT ABOUT SOMETHING YOU’VE HAD TO WAIT FOR AND DON’T LEAVE OUT THE PART ABOUT HOW HARD IT WAS. OR, JUST SAY HI. WE LOVE IT WHEN BLOG READERS CHECK IN TO LET US KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE.

Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

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.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Colour Me Happy

I love experimenting with hair colour.

It might have been different if I’d been born with honey blonde hair, or midnight black, or rich chestnut, or flame red – then I would have been a very happy naturalist.

But being born with what I call medium-grade rat – not too light, not too dark, not too interesting, not too anything other than indistinct – I’ve felt no compunction to stick with the colour I was born with. And I have to say, the urge to whack on a scalp full of dye and see what happens, purely because my own colour is not so fabulous, is something I’ve come to appreciate. Put simply: change is fun.

Over the years, I’ve been through most of the traditional colours – variegated browns, every red from burgundy to copper to strawberry, a smorgasbord of blonde from gold to platinum, and the darkest shade of chocolate through to blue black. I’ve done two-tone, highlights, lowlights, permanents and semis, flirted with deep purple rinses and had a few pinkish moments.

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Me as a relatively recent platinum blonde

In fact, there was a period of my life where I went through so many colour changes, my work colleagues joked I must have been in the witness protection program! When I look back at photos of myself from those days, I’m torn between laughing and wincing. But the truth is, I regret not one thing.

Which is probably why I enjoy plotting my characters’ hair. Fair or dark? Naturally, or by choice? Short or long? Straight, wavy, curly? Neat or tangled? Do they spend time worrying about their hair, or dash a comb through it and go? Fiddle with it or leave it alone once it’s done? Like or loathe going to the hairdresser?

Just answering those questions, I already have an idea about my characters. And in the interests of full disclosure, I’m going to answer those questions about myself:

  • Naturally dark
  • Fair by choice
  • Depends on the month but currently collar-length
  • Wavy
  • Tangled
  • Fiddler extraordinaire
  • Like the hairdresser, but it’s about the ends result, not the experience

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    Current hair!

At the moment, I’m sporting a mid-range bob in red gold (I think it’s a reaction to writing a few too many redheaded heroines, and perhaps a little obsession with Demelza Poldark). I am, however, already thinking ahead to early 2016 when I’m contemplating going pixie blonde (think Mia Farrow in the 1960s).

Is it a coincidence that the heroine I’m currently writing sports a baby blonde pixie cut? Hmm, I’m starting to see a pattern.

I’d love to hear if you’re a naturalist or an experimenter. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with one of my most recent redheaded heroines…

Cover USHe suggested a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement…

It was going to be:

  • Two nights a week
  • Strictly confidential
  • One month only…

It might have been his proposition, but lawyer Kate Cleary is so buttoned up she whips out a contract for them both to sign! Seeing her in her high heels and stockings, all Scott Knight can do is sign and quickly move on to the implementation stage!

 Kate couldn’t be more jaded about relationships. After all, she’s in the business of ending marriages! Millionaire architect Scott might be seriously sexy, but he’s also a complicated enigma—one she’s quickly becoming determined to solve…even if that means breaking the terms of her own watertight contract…

I hope you’ll check out my website, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

What are you thankful for?

thanksgiving2by Susan Carlisle

It is Thanksgiving time in my part of the world. It’s a time of leaves turning and falling, there’s a fire in the fireplace, and most people are thinking about what to serve on Thanksgiving Day. For us it is an important day because we celebrate the survival of the first settlement in the new land that would become the USA. These brave forefathers are called pilgrims. Over 200 years ago these people had a lot to be thankful for and so do I.

Things I’m thankful for:

My family, mother, husband, children, grandchildren, and extended family

The country I live in

The fact I have a roof over my head and food on the tablethanksgiving

My health

My friends

The fact I can choose what I do

My heritage

That I can write stories

That I don’t have to walk to the store which is three miles away

These are just a few things I’m thankful for. What are you thankfully for?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

My “Fast” Call Story

Hello everybody! (And from this I always hear “Hi, Dr. Nick!”).

It’s so awesome to be posting here for the first time. Well, actually I was introduced in April with the other new Medical Author Amalie Berlin, but this is my real first time actually posting and exposing you to my crazy.

Okay, not totally crazy. Just a touch.

It’s awesome because I’ve been lurking here since I started actively writing for medicals, which was the 2010 Fast Track. Seeing how I didn’t sell until 2013, it’s kind of ironic that it was my fast track submission Safe in His Hands which sold in January 2013, but I can safely say that it wasn’t ready until then.

My call story was a long, HARD journey. The path to publication with Harlequin was NOT an easy one, but I’m glad for it because it made me work for what I wanted.

In 2010 I entered the fast track with Safe in His Hands, which had the terrible title of City Surgeon, Wilderness Doctor. I kind of still cringe when I read it with that title. I love, love, love the one Harlequin gave me.

I entered one chapter and synopsis and then Tessa Shapcott asked to see the partial, but she gave me some ideas to keep in mind going forward.

I sent in the partial in November of 2010 and I waited.

July 2011 Lucy Gilmour asked for the full at a really, really, REALLY bad point in my life. You see, one of my best friend’s died. Suddenly. He was my youngest son’s godfather, he was married to my other best friend (who is more like a sister) and she had a two-year old son (like my youngest) and was 16 weeks pregnant with their second son (my godson).

He had routine knee surgery that went smoothly. The nurse spoke with him and within the moment of her turning to the next bed he threw a clot and passed away. There was nothing they could do and tragically his life was over. To say we were all devastated in an understatement.

The request for the full came two days after his death. I couldn’t even contemplate it. Couldn’t even think. For a while, I wasn’t sure I could, but then I remembered my conversations with Chris and how life is too short, too precious to not take a chance to achieve your dream. My dream was become a Harlequin author. If I didn’t do it I know he would be kicking my BUTT.

I poured EVERYTHING I had left emotionally into writing the full and sent it to Lucy in December 2011.

And then I waited, but only until March 2012 when I got an email from then editorial assistant Caroline Kirkpatrick.

Caroline worked with me from March until August on turning my Beta hero into a dishy Alpha. I was ready to kill my hero. One moment he was emasculated, the next he was a jerk. I even admitted that to Caroline in a phone conversation how much I hated the jerk version of him. Actually I referred to him, at the time, as a douche and she laughed. There’s nothing douchey about him any more though!

Also during this time I went on a 10,000 km (that’s round trip) across country for my sister-in-law’s wedding in Alberta. I was in the midst of planning and a wee bit stressed.

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Above is me and my youngest at the wedding rehearsal, June 29, 2013 in Camrose, Alberta. Far, far from home.

I edited on the road. It was nuts, but I wanted in at Harlequin and I would just be thinking about it the whole month we were gone anyways.

August Caroline called to tell me she was leaving. *SOB* I was so worried that the next editor would HATE it, hate my voice and me. I was assigned Suzanne Clarke in October 2012. She tore into what I had, told me in a list what to change and that she wanted it in the new year. I worked like a fiend, I mean, I’d come this far. I was scared out of my gourd, tired of working on the story, ready to tear my hair out, but I did it. What was the point of giving up now?

The worst that could happen was she’d say no. You don’t know unless you try, eh?

I sent it off early January 2013 and prepared myself to wait.

January 25, 2013 I woke up on a bitter cold day at 6 a.m. and decided to check my email. Usually, I don’t do this. I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. I’m more like a zombie in the mornings, “Need brainzzzzz.”

There was an email in my inbox from Suzanne. My heart dropped into my stomach, probably farther.

This is it, she HATES it.

Instead she asked me when it would be a good time to call.

I freaked out. My husband couldn’t figure out why the heck I was so perky for 6 a.m. on a day it was minus 30 out and the fact I still had to take the kids to school in this nasty winter weather. Usually I’m calling for brains (see above), but I was excited because I knew something good was going to happen. She wanted to call. I didn’t read and obsess over all those call stories for nothing! (Tina Joyce Beckett, I read yours a billion times! LOL)

I set up a time for her to call me at 9:00 a.m. EST which is like 2:00 p.m. her time. At 9:15 a.m. the phone rang and Suzanne offered me a two book deal.

I tried not to sound like too much of a goon, but I was a dancing all over the room as she went over stuff with me. The next day I hosted a crazy Star Wars birthday party for my middle guy who was turning 7.

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The only birthday party where I wasn’t crazy exhausted after dealing with six 7-year-old boys, probably because I was on an adrenaline high from the previous day.

Anyways, I digress.

It was a long road to hoe, but it was worth it. It was what I wanted, more than anything and what made it even sweeter was the blood, sweat and tears I put in to it. I hope I showed my three kids ( 1 girl and 2 boys) that you can achieve your dreams.

So if there’s anything other lurkers can take away from my call story is (and yes I’m quoting Galaxy Quest here) “Never give up, never surrender.”

Give it your all. Capture your dreams.

And thanks for letting me ramble here today.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Hot Docs!, The Writing Life

Foreign Covers are the Tops! by Lynne Marshall

I have to admit that I get more excited about receiving copies of my foreign book covers than I do about my actual books sometimes.  Odd, right?  I can’t explain it, but there is something about seeing my stories translated into other languages—going out to stores in other countries—that sends me over the moon.

I guess that makes me feel like I’ve got fingers around the globe without leaving my office computer chair.  I don’t have a clue if the foreign editors have done my books justice with their translations or not, but the thing that strikes me the most is the fact they found something about my story they felt was worth sharing.  Wow.  This is the blessing above all blessings in the writer’s world.  Not to sound like the actress Sally Fields at the Academy Awards when she won best actress for Norma Jean, but – they must like my story, really like my story to go to the trouble of translating it into French, Finnish, Italian, Polish, etc.  It’s funny, but sometimes the only way I can identify my foreign editions is when I see the character’s names in the back cover blurb.Scan0004

Recently I receive two beautiful book covers of foreign releases.  This first one is for the Finnish Laakariromaani line. It is a story near and dear to my heart, but the topic is such a delicate one—a young woman gives up a child for adoption in her teens, only to confront the real father thirteen years later—that I feared it wouldn’t go over well with a lot of readers.  The original title was, Temporary Doctor, Surprise Father, and it came out in 2009.  (I’m also lucky enough to share this “Tupla” book with Joanna Neil.  >waves to Joanna<

This book never made it to the North American audience, and I keep hoping it will find a way across the pond in e-book form at least.

The Finnish editor re-titled this book:  Erikoismies.  The Google translator calls it:   Special Male, which I think is cute and that is exactly the kind of guy Beck Braxton is.

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The second gorgeous book cover is the French version of my debut Harlequin Special Edition – original title – Courting His Favorite Nurse – the new title for the Passions line is: Soupirs interdits.  Translations: (which really stumps me) Sighs Prohibited.

 

Most recently, I discovered this Australian (or is it the New Zealand version?  Do they have separate covers too?) book cover for my soon-to-be-released book #7 in the NYC Angels continuity – Making the Surgeon Smile.  What do you think about my silver fox?  (Amy Andrews, any thoughts?)

9781743551783

 

 

If you or anyone you know can speak Finnish, French, Italian or Danish, I have a book for you!  Leave a comment – that’s all you have to do.  I’ll choose a name and you send a book in whichever language you or your friend speaks.

 

For the rest of you – Do too many book covers confuse or delight you?

I’m thrilled to say that Making the Surgeon Smile has gone live on the Mills&Boon website, and is also available for preorder at Amazon.com.

All the best, Lynne www.lynnemarshall.com 71Df2-EMNfL__SL1500_978-0-263-89896-5

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

New York City Angels Continuity

By Susan Carlisle

Today I’m doing to do a little horn tooting and tell ya’ll about the NYC Angels Medical continuity that is out now.  I think you will want to read them all.

Facebook_Cover_NYC-Angels

An eight book Harlequin Mills and Boon Medical Romance continuity

The Angel Mendez Children’s Hospital (aka NYC Angels) set in New York City

***Available in March, April, May and June 2013

Looking out over Central Park, NY Children’s Hospital is famed throughout the US for its talented staff and its welcoming, supportive environment – with everyone dedicated to making hospital visits as fun as possible, their little patients often don’t want to leave! And in the city that never sleeps these life-saving docs also find the time for some sizzling after-hours romance too…

NYC Angels Children’s doctors who work hard and love even harder…

Lynne Marshall's bookNYC angels two

NYC ANGELS one

 

 

NYC Angels 3

Authors include: Carol Maninelli, Janice Lynn, Laura Iding, Wendy S. Marcus, Lynne Marshall and Alison Roberts, and me.

My own book in the continuity is out this month.

The Wallflower’s Secret Wallflowers Secret 2

Some secrets are best shared…
Since making the ultimate emotional sacrifice for her
sister, counselor Lucy Edwards has kept her feelings
buried and her heart on lockdown. Enter neurosurgeon
Ryan O’Doherty, complete with piercing blue eyes and
roguish charm. Working with him on an emotive case
brings all of Lucy’s painful memories to the surface…
and even closer to Ryan. Lucy’s finally tempted to let
someone in—but will their fragile relationship survive
her most difficult revelation?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Hot Docs!, Pets, Quirky Stories

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie + Giveaway

Cartoon mouse baker.By Lynne Marshall

The other day I took my puppy to the pet store where he’d gone through obedience training to buy more food.  We ran into his trainer, and it was like a puppy love reunion.  Milo!  Dustin said, bending down for some puppy lovin’.  Milo’s tail wagged like it might fly off his bottom.  Before we left, Dustin gave Milo a cookie—a dog cookie that looked like a real cookie to me, like an Oreo with cream filling but pink outer cookie wafers instead of chocolate.  Dustin promised it was indeed for dogs, that it had peanut butter filling and practically zero sugar.

I wondered why a dog needed a cookie when they had biscuits, but maybe I’m old school.  It’s part of my aversion to anthropomorphism of our pets.  Though our beloved pets have distinct personalities, they are not human.  But I digress…bigstock-Let-S-See-What-Aisle-Is-It-On--920167

The way Milo went after that cookie, I had to smile and enjoy it along with him.  No, I didn’t try it, but Dustin swore he’d eaten one to see how it tasted.

A side note:  We have discovered that Milo loves small bits of apple, carrot, and cantaloupe.  I’d rather reward him with stuff like that, but I’m not one to be rude and refuse a gift obviously given with affection for my dog.

I let Milo have about half of the cookie and put the other half in a plastic bag on the counter for another treat time.

Flash forward to eight o’clock that night.  I took Milo out back for a potty break and left the sliding door on our patio open.  Later, while my husband and I were watching TV, we heard some scurrying.  Bill followed the sound into the kitchen and discovered mouse droppings on our counter and a mouse hiding behind our microwave.

EEEEK a mouse!  I cannot participate in such events and covered my eyes. Lalalalala.

The mouse—let’s call him Merlin—had his disappearing act down to perfection, and as we cleaned our counters with disinfectant I noticed that Merlin had eaten through the plastic bag with Milo’s future treat, and had gotten the top wafer of the cookie halfway across our counter before dropping it on the windowsill once the chase was on.

Hmm, for a dog cookie that wasn’t supposed to be sugary, it sure got the attention of a backyard mouse in record time.

At the time of writing this blog post, the ongoing saga of man versus mouse continues.  Droppings, droppings everywhere, but ne’er a mouse to find.

*update at publishing date:  Husband – 1:Merlin – RIP.

The moral of this story is – Never leave the back sliding door open when peeing your dog at night, especially when you’ve left dog cookies on the counter.

How about you, do you give your dog treats that look like human cookies?  Do you have any fun mice stories to share?41ZG+0yBhmL__SS500_

I’d like to give a copy of Dr. Tall, Dark…and Dangerous? My last Medical Romance, and which recently received the Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award, to one commenter.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Hot Docs!, Quirky Stories

Too Good Looking for His Own Good!

By Lynne Marshall

Have you ever seen a truly gorgeous man in person and up close?  It is a rare treat.  We see pictures of great looking movie stars and athletes, but how often do we see them in real life?  Sure, we may spot a pretty face in a crowd, but having an ongoing encounter is a whole different ballgame.

I have two memories of being around guys who were so good looking I could barely function.  I’m serious!  Of course I was much much younger then, but man oh man was it humiliating.

One was a patient.  I worked in a clinic at the time, and he needed to come in regularly.  I won’t go into why as that is private medical information.  Since I was the original nurse to intake him, he always remembered me.  At first, I was simply struck by how gorgeous he was and I functioned fine, but as time went by and I saw more and more of him (yes, I admit to daydreaming about him. A lot!) I started falling apart whenever he showed up.  It got to the point where I had to ask other nurses to give him his treatment because I wasn’t sure I could function properly around him.  Honestly, it was so embarrassing, but the man was that handsome!

The other time was when a whole lot of construction was going on at work and the place was crawling with men.  Loud, gregarious, some obnoxious, men.  There was always so much noise going on I couldn’t help but look inside the room they were working on when I passed.  That’s what got me in trouble.  This one time, by chance, my eyes connected with the most incredibly beautiful eyes I’d ever seen.  They were bright blue and surrounded by thick black lashes.  As my personal camera pulled back I noticed a face to match those eyes, and a head of thick dark brown to the point of almost being black, hair.  Fireworks imploded in my chest.  I looked away immediately, but darn if every single time I tried to sneak a look at that particular construction worker, I got caught by him!  I mean, who could resist such eye candy!  For the rest of my life I will remember one particular staring contest we had. It made my knees go weak.  Darn, it was humiliating to be susceptible to something as superficial as a gorgeous face.

There.  I’ve admitted it.  I’m superficial when it comes to beautiful men. No way could I be around them all the time.  I’d be useless.

How about you?  Ever worked or had to interact with a truly, classically gorgeous man?

Do tell!

Lynne Marshall’s current Harlequin Medical Romance is appropriately titled:

Dr. Tall, Dark…and Dangerous?  How’s this for a handsome face?

Until next time,

Lynne Marshall