Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Somebody’s watching me!

Well, I knew that already.  One of the things that I was told when I first ventured onto the internet, back in the old days of dial-up connections, was that you’re never alone.  It went against all of the things I’d learned about the world up until then – you can be sitting behind locked doors and closed curtains, and yet what you do is still out there somewhere.

And that’s something which has hit the news recently.  I’ve been getting emails and notifications about internet privacy, following reports concerning the collection and use of internet data.  And the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation means that come May 25th, those of us in Europe will not only have the right to know what kind of information is collected, but also to see a copy of the actual data.

So – I’m not going to comment on individual cases 🙂  But I welcome an increased accountability for the way information that’s collected from the internet is used.  And I welcome accountability over what people do on the internet – bullying, revenge porn, and intrusion on privacy are real and devastating problems, which affect people of all ages, many of them young.  We must protect them.

But on the other hand, the internet is full of places we love to go.  (I hope that this is one of them!).  Safe places, where we can meet new friends, who we might not otherwise get to know.  See things that we might not otherwise get to see.  I used to teach a weekly class on internet use at a care home for the elderly, and it provided a window on the world.  Ladies who’d been unable to ‘hit the shops’ for years, were suddenly able to take their time browsing the season’s new fashions again.

I guess, like almost everything that’s driven by human nature, the internet has its good and bad sides.  And like any relatively new phenomena, we’re learning.  How to be safe.  What’s appropriate.  How to be polite.  What we need to protect ourselves and others from.  For me, these are important issues that need to be thought about – but they don’t mean that I’ll be switching off my broadband any time soon.  Despite all its problems, the capacity for human interaction that the internet provides us with, is immensely valuable to me.

And – here comes my ‘romance writer’ point of view 🙂  We’ve heard about ‘profiling’ and that’s a term I’d always applied to the kind of thing that the FBI did with criminals.  But it seems that the practise has been extended to the innocent internet user.  I happen to think that we’re all a lot more than that, though.  I write about characters who, at first glance, shouldn’t be together but who are ultimately completely right for each other.  There’s something wonderful about the human spirit, which defies any attempt to pin it down.  We all might fall into a number of demographic groups, but those groups don’t define us.  Like the characters in a romance, we all have the capacity to think for ourselves and break out of the boxes we find ourselves in.

Finally – let’s bring the discussion home.  Like many sites on the internet, this blog carries ads from time to time.  I don’t see what those ads are because I have an account that allows me to post on this site, but I know they’re there.  It’s the price we pay – we get to run our blog for free and the cost of that is borne by the advertising.  I do see ads on other sites, and I view them as something that’s necessary to cover their costs.  I can’t help wondering at times why anyone ever thought that the targeted ads I see might apply to me – but then maybe that’s my point.  ‘The machine’ might be doing its level best to define me, but so far it doesn’t appear to be doing all that well 🙂

What do you think?  As you’re here then, like me, you obviously haven’t deserted the internet in disgust.  What makes you stay?

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Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Heritage Lost

I rely on the internet for information. A lot. More than I should. That was brought home to me when I opened a cabinet door I rarely use and saw a familiar sight: my mom’s handwriting peeking out of an old wooden recipe box.

I pulled the box down and opened the lid, and I was swept away on a wave of nostalgia. My mom has been gone for almost sixteen years and yet seeing her handwriting was so…her. I recognized it immediately. And it made me think. Have I done that for my children? Will they be able to one day look at something like a recipe and see the essence of who I was? recipes

I don’t know. And that makes me sad. If I want to find a recipe nowadays, my first instinct isn’t to go to that treasured box. Instead, I go online and try to find the best of the best of that recipe. How many positive reviews has it gotten? What hints do the reviewers give for making the recipe even better?

And once I’ve made that recipe, I’d be hard-pressed to be able to find it again. How have I come to this point and why? Maybe because I think it’s faster. But what about future generations of my family? Am I losing something in the process?

It could be that it’s time for me to slow down and leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that my children can find their way back to me. Don’t they deserve the same bits and pieces like the ones my mom left me?

I think they do. So I’m going to start thinking a little more about the way I do things. And hopefully one day, my kids will find a treasured recipe or a journal or a photo album that contains my handwriting.

Do you have a special way of passing something down to your kids or relatives? I would love to hear it. Or maybe there’s a special recipe you’d like to share. This is the perfect place! I’m taking notes.

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.

imag0883imag0800

 

 

 

 

 

 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, New Releases

December Releases

Six more Christmas book babies for medical romance fans! Showcasing the difference between the US and the Australian covers this month!

 

Playboy on her Christmas List by Carol Marinelli

Making her Christmas dream come true…

Paramedic Holly Jacobs knows that her night of scorching passion with Dr. Daniel Chandler meant more than just lust. And she’ll fix the hospital staff’s Secret Santa to prove it!

Playboy doc Daniel has sworn off love—but he can’t resist Holly! And by the time they get snowed in at a B and B on Christmas Eve, Daniel finds himself wondering if the connection he’s feeling for Holly is for life, not just for Christmas!

 

Christmas with the Single Dad by Louisa Heaton

A family for Christmas!

Veterinary surgeon Sydney Harper has avoided the festive season since she experienced a heartbreaking loss. But this year the gorgeous new doctor in town tempts her to step out of the darkness and into the Christmas lights!

Nathan Jones’s little girl, Anna, is everything to him, since his life-changing diagnosis left them alone in the world. Yet spending time with Sydney makes Nathan long to mend their broken hearts and to welcome her into his family—not just for Christmas, but forever!

 

The Doctor’s Sleigh Bell Proposal by Susan Carlisle

His surprise Christmas promise

Dr. Ellen Cox goes to South America to break the shackles of her confined life. But she never imagined replacing them with bonds of desire for her new hotshot boss—Chance Freeman!

Guarded Chance, although sorely tempted, tries to keep Ellen at a distance—and when the dangers of their jobs are ramped up, he sends her home to safety. Then he realizes his mistake and heads for snowy New York, determined to win Ellen with a very special Christmas proposal!

 

White Christmas for the Single Mom by Susanne Hampton

Temptation under the mistletoe

Specialist Juliet Turner flies halfway across the world to England with her young daughter, Bea, to perform lifesaving in utero surgery. But her first white Christmas is complicated by the feelings awakened by ob-gyn Dr. Charlie Warren!

Juliet has protected her heart for years, but she soon finds there’s so much more to this closed-off widower than meets the eye. Perhaps it’s time for them both to let go of the past, surrender to their burning chemistry and make this a Christmas to remember!

 

A Royal Baby for Christmas by Scarlet Wilson

A gift for the man who has everything…

A brief, electrifying fling—that was all Sienna McDonald and Sebastian Falco, Crown Prince of Montanari, agreed to. But on her return to Teddy’s, neonatal surgeon Sienna learns she’s brought back more than just memories…

Sienna wants to keep her unborn baby out of the limelight, so Sebastian’s sudden reappearance throws her perfectly ordered world into chaos. She does her best to stay away from the devastatingly charming royal, but Sebastian is determined to claim his family with a forever diamond this Christmas!

 

The Army Doc’s Baby Bombshell by Sue MacKay

From one night…to baby surprise!

Surviving a bomb blast together led to an explosive night of passion between army docs Cooper Daniels and Sophie Ingram. But the next day Cooper shipped out, leaving Sophie with a lasting reminder of their desire!

Cooper hasn’t been able to forget Sophie, but commitment isn’t an option for this lone wolf. So when the army throws them back together, her baby secret stuns him! The captain will give anything to protect his new family…but can he offer Sophie his heart?

 

 

 

 

Excerpts

Excerpt – Swept Away by the Seductive Stranger by Amy Andrews

sweptawaybythesedstrangercover

When that guy on the train turns out to be your boss! 

Nurse Felicity Mitchell’s train journey of a lifetime is even more unforgettable when she meets Callum Hollingsworth. Neither is looking for temptation, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing one hot, wild night! 

Except when they disembark, they learn that what happened on the train won’t stay on the train. Because the gorgeous stranger is Flick’s new boss…and it’s increasingly difficult to keep their chemistry under control and leave it at just one night!

 

I hope you all enjoy the following excerpt. Just to set it up – Callum is accompanying Felicity on home visits for the first time in an effort to get to know the community better. Its not something a city surgeon is used to….

 

What followed was an intense five hours. Callum saw the gamut of small town life all in one afternoon as Saint Felicity ministered to her flock. It wasn’t the most efficient system he’d ever seen. Too much chatter and drinking of tea and eating of cake or whatever piece of homemade cooking was presented to them for his liking but it appeared to be the ritual and with Felicity’s advice ringing in his ears there was no way he was declining. He’d never eaten so well in his life.

He was going to have to do some serious working out when he got back to Sydney.

He followed Felicity’s lead after earning her glare when he’d declined something at their second stop. It just wasn’t done, apparently. And she was right, the patients were leery of him to start with so if eating food that was offered at all their dozen stops helped with the warming up process then when in Rome…

That all changed when they got to their last call – Meryl’s house. She didn’t appear to have a last name or require any kind of formal address as Felicity’s other patient’s had.

Just Meryl, apparently.

Her house was a small cottage with a deep bull-nosed veranda. Dream catchers and wind chimes of all types and sizes hung from the guttering. The pungent spice of incense prickled Callum’s nose and a small shrine with a Buddha and a variety of candles and flowers was set up in one corner of the living room.

Meryl took to him right away. She was sitting in a big stuffed recliner and was possibly the wrinkliest person Callum had ever met. But there was a strength and agility to her movement that made him think she was probably younger than she appeared.

He stuck out his hand when Felicity introduced them. Her hand was soft but her grip was firm as she pulled him nearer, forcing him to lean in closer.

“Cal,” she murmured, immediately shortening his name in a husky voice that sounded like the product of a pack a day habit. She looked straight into his eyes, taking her time to study him. “You have an unhappy aura,” she finally declared releasing his hand.

Callum glanced at Felicity for an interpretation. In case there was one other than the obvious – Meryl was a little nutty. She shot him the most faux innocent eyebrow raise he’d ever seen in her life. He should have known that someone who lived in a house guarded by dream catchers was going to be a little…alternate.

“Meryl reads auras,” she said a small smile playing on her mouth.

That little knowing smile drew attention to her mouth and it was just about the damn sexiest thing he’d ever seen. All week he’d been trying not to think about that mouth and where she’d put it on his body. Her attitude towards him had helped. But now she was finally pulling the stick out of her butt it was impossible not to go there again.

Impossible not to want to familiarise himself with it again and kiss the smile right off that sexy mouth.

“Hmmm, it’s looking a little happier now,” Meryl mused.

Callum blinked at the running commentary on the state of his aura pulling his gaze from Felicity’s. He gave himself a mental shake. The last thing he wanted Meryl proclaiming was his aura’s massive hard on.

“Sit down here, Cal,” Meryl said, patting an old vinyl chair beside her.

Callum would rather sit outside in the car but there was no way he could get out of this without looking rude. The normal rules of doctoring just didn’t apply in the community, certainly not in a house that could have belonged in Oz.

He glanced at Felicity, she was obviously finding the situation highly amusing.

“What colours Felicity aura?” he asked, turning to give all his attention to Meryl. Thankfully, Felicity was on his right so he could see her smile slowly deflating.

Although he was sure she had no cause to worry. The saintly Felicity’s aura was no doubt rainbow-esque and probably smelled like strawberries and candy canes.

“It’ll be the same as usual,” Meryl said flicking her gaze to Felicity. Callum was inordinately pleased when the older woman frowned a little. “Or maybe not…It’s usually so balanced but it does look a little…ruffled today.”

Callum smiled as the tables were turned and Felicity frowned and pressed a hand to her belly. Meryl’s gaze cut back to him and he pressed his lips together so she couldn’t see him gloating although there was something all seeing about Meryl that couldn’t be easily dismissed.

Her eyes narrowed speculatively. “You’re staying at Luci’s place, right?”

Callum nodded feeling on solid ground with standard questioning. “Yes. And she’s staying at my place in Sydney.”

“And how long are you staying in Vickers Hill for?”

“I’m here for eight weeks.”

“No.” Meryl shook her head slowly as her gaze darted all around his head before peering into his eyes. It was more thorough than any of the dozens of specialists with their fancy high-powered microscopes had ever managed.

Frankly, it put an itch up his spine.

“You’ll be here for much longer than that.”

Callum broke the eye contact with difficulty. No. He was going back to Sydney. To his harbour-side apartment and his job that started in the New Year. Vickers Hill was just a pit stop. A place for some clear air.

He glanced at Felicity who wasn’t looking so sure of herself now either. She appeared ready to deny it if he didn’t.

“I can assure you,” Callum said, dredging up his most positive smile for Meryl. It wasn’t one he’d used a lot these last two years and it didn’t feel right on his face. “I’m only here short term.”

Meryl just smiled and patted his hand. “You’ll see. It’s okay,” she assured. “It’ll work out. You were meant to come here. It’s your destiny. It’s in your aura.”

Callum didn’t know what to say to that. Clearly Meryl wasn’t about to change her mind and what did it matter what some crazy old lady on an incense high who read auras said?

He was in charge of his destiny.

“Right, well.” Felicity clapped her hands together. “Let’s get your blood pressure checked, Meryl.”

Callum vacated the seat grateful to her for rescuing him from any more talk of auras and destinies and staying in Vickers hill.

He could have kissed her.

He really could have kissed her.

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Is technology killing romance?

Last week a friend and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant we both love. Set on the banks of a beautiful river, it’s the perfect setting for a romantic meal. In the summer you can sit out on the terrace and watch the swans swimming past but, this being the north west of England in March, we opted to sit inside.

We were fortunate enough to get the last table near the windows and ordered a pre-dinner drink. Once it came and I’d had a first delicious sip I started to look around and take stock of the other diners. I was not being nosy, you understand, just doing what all writers do. Finding lovely settings for our stories is part of the fun of writing and although I have used this restaurant before, I am not averse to using it – and the people who go there – again,

To my right was a young couple in their late twenties – perfect! I watched them carefully out of the corner of my eye, not wanting to intrude but hoping to get a glimpse into what made their relationship special. A snippet of conversation would have been wonderful but they didn’t say a word to one another. They were far too busy to chat. The young lady had brought along her iPad and was swishing through the screens at a rate of knots while the young man was surfing the net on his smart phone. They never made eye contact, didn’t even manage a smile for one another, so I gave up, convinced they were the exception.

I glanced to my left, at another couple, slightly older. They were both chatting on their phones, oblivious to their companion. In fact of the dozen or so tables being used that night there was only one couple who were enjoying each other’s company. They were in their seventies and the lady, beautifully dressed and made up, was flirting outrageously, delicately running her foot up her companion’s leg! I felt like going across and giving her a high-five only it would have spoiled the moment – and the mood!–for both of them.

I would love to think that this was a one-off, but it wasn’t. Far too often I see couples chatting animatedly on their phones and ignoring each other. Is technology killing romance? I think it’s harming it, certainly, or at least the way people use it is causing a great deal of damage, but what do you think? Would you take your iPad to dinner? Would you use it? I’d love to hear your views.