Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories

How the truth in foreign places inspires fiction in a lockdown

Lockdown might be over in some places, but hasn’t it been a long stretch stuck in our living rooms, unable to go anywhere further than the supermarket?

Thankfully we have books and stories (and puppy dogs – that’s my little Cockapoo fur-baby Ziggy in the photo below. She’s a prized new addition to our household!)

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As well as picking up poop and yelling “please don’t eat that” across the kitchen, I’ve been scribbling away at a new story set in the veterinary world. I’ve been so lost in it that I almost forgot I have another book coming out next month! I’m posting a sneaky excerpt from ENTICED BY HER ISLAND BILLIONAIRE below, to tease you into Mila and Dr Sebastian Becker’s world.

She’s an ex Army doc, working out on a remote Indonesian island, assisting Sebastian in his pioneering scar tissue surgery at his exclusive clinic. The thing is, he’s met her before, hasn’t he? Mila is quite sure he hasn’t. Could he really be remembering her dead twin sister?!

I set this book on an Indonesian island because it’s very close to my heart. I was lucky enough to live and work out in Bali for a couple of years in my mid-30s, writing a travel book called Balilicious, so I got to know and love the land, and the people.

In fact, random places and adventurous strangers from my time as a travel writer/author have inspired a lot of my fiction. My first Mills & Boon medical TEMPTED BY HER HOT-SHOT DOC was set in the Amazon, where the Spanish-speaking locals were some of the most gentle, kind souls I’ve ever met… though I had to leave out the week I spent with a shaman drinking hallucinogenic tree sap (aka ayahuasca).

My second, FROM DOCTOR TO DADDY was inspired by the time I was lucky enough to board a cruise ship for 10 days in Australia. While the book is set in the Caribbean, I was able to draw on my experiences on the ship. The staff were very accommodating, especially the amorous chef who chased me round the ship asking for a kiss one night after too many drinks in the bar, (I managed to escape).

The world is a big, big place full of beauty and stories waiting to be told, even if we chop, twist and edit them sometimes. I experienced so many acts of kindness from strangers on my travels, in all corners of the world. There was also the time I got mugged in a back alley in Bogota and had to bribe getting my phone back by buying a bottle of vodka for the perpetrator, but that’s another story… most people are shining stars of humanity.

Maybe I’ll share a few more tales of how travelling, and people of different origins and cultures have inspired me over the years. (If you’d like?) But for now, please do enjoy this little excerpt set in Indonesia….

 

EXCERPT FROM ENTICED BY HER ISLAND BILLIONAIRE

A rush of air-conditioning blasted Mila’s face as the door swung open to admit Dr Becker. ‘Agung, how’s she doing?’

He was pulling on a coat, arm by long, bulked-up arm, striding towards the bed in black sport’s sandals. He was every bit as striking in a white coat as he was in a wetsuit.

He made to pass her, stopped, placed a hand on her shoulder. ’Thank you for what you just did.’

‘You’re welcome.’ The words came out smoothly, calm like she’d intended, but she didn’t feel calm. The way he was looking at her now had suspicion all over it. He only looked away from her when the anaesthetist entered the room.

‘Put this on,’ he told her now, throwing her a white coat from a hook on the wall. ‘Nurse Viv is with another patient, so I hope you don’t mind staying a bit longer here. I just need you to cut the suit,’ he said, motioning to a pair of scissors on the tray.

Mila snipped carefully at the girl’s wetsuit, and discarded the flimsy material. She was following commands, where she’d usually be giving them but that was OK. She wasn’t a hundred miles from base in Ghazni. No one had been blasted by shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade, there were no wounded soldiers crying out for attention. There was only this one girl, right here, right now.

She put a gentle hand to Gabby’s leg still and soothed her as the meds kicked in.

Agung’s radio made a sound. ‘Excuse me Doctor Becker, Doctor Mila.’ he said. He left the room and instantly the air grew thicker. Sebastian was appraising her again.

’Mila?’ he said in a surprised voice, as soon as it was only the two of them. He stepped towards her.

‘She looks much better,’ she told him, looking up to see his eyes narrow. ‘I think we got to this bite just in time. She just needs to sleep it off now.’

He folded his arms, towering over her. He must have been at least six foot two inches to her five foot three. ’Why Mila? I thought your name was Annabel?’

All the breath left her body.

’I couldn’t remember at first, back there, it was at least six or seven  years ago, right? Before this Clinic, or the MAC existed,’ he said. ‘You were late to our snorkelling party, you’d had too much to drink remember?’ He grinned, laughing at a memory that wasn’t hers.

Tears stung her eyes. She still could have wrestled him to the ground when he reached for her wrists, but his long, tanned fingers ran gently over her scars and she felt bolted to the floor.

He was turning her arms in the harsh overhead light, studying the faint, silvery lines like they were clues to a mystery game. ‘You didn’t have these before,’ he said, frowning. ‘What happened to you?’

She bit her cheeks as the tears threatened to spill over. He’d met Annabel. This must be the same guy her sister had come back talking about, all those years ago. Sebastian. It all made sense now. Doctor Sebastian Becker was Bas. All of this, and she had to work with him?

She had to set him straight, it was unbearable.

‘I’m not… who you think I am,’ she managed. The room felt suddenly way-too-small. She took a step back, pulling her arms away. ’Doctor Becker, I’m Doctor Mila Ricci. I’ve come to work at the MAC for a while and learn your techniques. I would have met you earlier but I missed my transfer, I apologise for the confusion.’

She watched him rake a hand through his hair as she struggled for composure. He paced the room, then stopped. ‘Am I going crazy here? I met you before, didn’t I? Did you change your name?’

‘I’m not Annabel,’ she said through a tight throat. ‘Annabel was my twin sister. She’s dead, Sebastian. She died three years ago. It was her you met, not me.’

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, Travels Around the World

Tune out…Switch On… by Louise George

Tune out…switch on

Do you ever just switch off?

 

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In my last blog post here I told you about the amazing trip I was taking with my husband, which took in 10 countries in 9 weeks. We had a fabulous time; we ate, drank, walked…boy, did we walk! And we switched off.

Lots of people have asked us what the highlight of the adventure was for us and I unequivocally say it was the walk. Also known as The Way or The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, it spans the top of north western Spain. We covered 220kms in 10 consecutive days. Our feet hurt and our legs ached, but we pretty much smiled all the way (although that had a lot to do with how lucky we were with the weather!)

Picture2We met some amazing people, some of whom were walking the full 800kms on their own (although you can’t possibly be alone the whole time; there are far too many people to chat to along the way). On the day we completed our 220kms we were two of about 35 people who finished the walk that day. The numbers rise steadily through the summer to somewhere in the hundreds each day.

At the beginning we decided to document our walk on Facebook so our friends/relatives etc knew we were safe/uninjured etc. and because that’s what we do, right? But as the walk progressed we became less and less inclined to spend our down time in a new village/town searching for a decent WIFI connection (in the middle of rural northern Spain, this was a challenge) and then uploading photos etc…when we could be connecting with people and places we’d never seen before. In person. For real. And so eventually we decided to switch off. Completely.

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It was so lovely to spend time together just walking, chatting and exploring, not checking Facebook, not snapping photos because we thought they’d make an impression on Instagram. Not wondering who had ‘liked’ our posts etc… It was liberating and refreshing to talk to people and look around us in our little bubble; to notice things like how the snow crunched under our feet, how the wind felt on our faces, how free we were, and very lucky, to be able to do this. And it was so good not to know what was happening on the other side of the world/all the crappy things going on. It’s amazing how social media permeates everything we do these days.

Add to this the fact that a couple of weeks later I dropped my phone down a Russian toilet and couldn’t communicate with anyone digitally at all, my tuning out was now not deliberate but forced!! Having no phone was weird, (I use it mainly to take photos anyway)…but it was genuinely interesting to sit at a café or on a train and people watch. Mainly, to see people glued to their devices!! Also, to see people trip up, fall over or bump into others because they were staring down at their screens as they walked!!!

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So now I’m home I’m trying to take weekends off social media. Switching off and breathing, chatting, exploring…is that something you do? Ever had a digital detox? What do you think?

Louisa George is an award winning author of books with humour and heart.
RITA finalist. Allergic to housework. Zumba addict. Visit her website for a complete list of her novels, which includes women’s fiction, contemporary romance and medical romances.
Her most recent medical romance is, Reunited By Their Secret Son  Mills and Boon  Amazon US Amazon UK

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Up & Away!

So, right now while this post is live I’m at the amazing Romancing the Capital conference in Ottawa, Ontario. This is the third year for this conference that’s organized by Canadian author extraordinaire Eve Langlais. I went it’s first year and second year and now onto my third. I love it and I love that it’s close to home.

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Amazing as the conference will be I’m really looking forward to when I come back home. I have a day to recover and pack up my family before we fly to Calgary.

Now, I’ve been to Alberta before, but we drove last time so this is my kids’ first flight. I love the west, but this time after our plane lands we’re driving 17 hrs north to the Northwest Territories! I’m very, very excited. It’s been on my bucket list for years.

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Rapids of the Drowned. Great Slave River. My SIL to be took this pic.

I’ve never been north of 60. I’ve always wanted to go and I’m visiting a very special couple, my brother and his fiancee. They recently got engaged and I have to say my brother’s proposal to his intended was like the stuff of a romance novel. I’m super proud of him.

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Some of the local neighbours they regularly see.

His fiancee took a posting at the local hospital and has been teasing me with amazing pictures of her life in Fort Smith NWT.

Northern lights, buffalo, bears, Great Slave river, Great Slave lake and ice roads (I won’t be seeing ice roads in the summer). However, since she lives just outside of Wood Buffalo National Park and the night sky returns August 10th along with the aurora, I think my kids might finally be able to experience what I’ve only ever been lucky to see once in my life.

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Northern Lights

And Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest dark night preserve.

After a few days there, we’re headed back down to Edmonton to see my husband’s sister and her hubby. Then I get to roam Jasper National Park, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, High River and High Level! Also, for the first time, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.

I’ll be going from top to bottom in Alberta.

And I’m absolutely excited to soak up more great scenery, get inspired for more books and cross some more things off my bucket list.

What’s on your bucket list?

Check out Amy’s latest release here.

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Follow Amy on Twitter.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Stuff Making Me Happy by Amy Andrews

It’s been a while since I’ve done a things making me happy blog and with the whole world sometimes seeming like its on fire, I think its good every now and then to realise its not all doom and gloom. So here goes….

Aussie Bush! The wattle trees are out in my street and I feel like my mum is out there too. They were her favourite trees and I’ll always think of her when I see one.

 

Cover Love! Two new covers for old books – not medicals but I love them so much I just had to boast 🙂 And yes, they are available to buy right now. Just sayin’

 

Plane tickets! We’re off to the UK/Europe in 3 months and I picked up my tickets this weekend! We’re calling in to see our daughter in Ireland and our son in Austria and I’ll be dropping in on the Harlequin offices and even attending a Mills and Boon party. So excited!

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A brand new sparkly website! So fresh and zesty! If you click on the image below it’ll take you straight there!

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Okay – that’s my little list. What’s making you happy?

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

How important is setting?

DSCF1252Of course as readers and writers of medical romance one thing is crucial- it has to have a medical setting. But the variety within that is enormous- from small GP practices to urban hospitals to cruise ships, medical romances have them all. My latest romance, Cinderella of Harley Street, starts on a Mercy Ship somewhere in Africa, moves to Harley Street in London and even takes in Skye. (One of the most beautiful places in Scotland The picture is taken from a house I rented there for a few days and where I imagined my characters staying !)

As you can gather it’s not just the medical setting that’s important to me. I like to the characters in countries I love – Spain, South Africa, Italy, Scotland to name just a few. In fact the idea for my second book, Her Very Special Boss came to me long before I wrote anything, while I was in rural Africa. I had this image of a woman walking down a dusty road, her feet stained with red clay, and feeling a little sorry for herself.At that time I had no idea why she was there but knew it had to have something to do with the hospital where we were working and living at the time. Similarly with Spanish Doctor Pregnant Midwife, I saw my character in a church and knew she was at a low point in her life. When I realised the hero was Spanish I knew they would meet in Spain. I like to make my settings as authentic as possible so I phoned a friend and we went to Andalucia in Spain and I found my church in the beautiful white-roofed village of Rhonda.

Are settings important to you? Do you have a favourite? How many can we list between us that have been used in medical romances?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!!!

Agh! I’m late getting this posted!

Why, you may ask?

Because I’ve been working on a new book and lost track of days….

Which is the topic of my blog post today.

Writing is work.  Yes, writing is also my bliss–although I’ve had to remind myself of that during the last week, but it’s also sacrifice and hours sitting on my butt wrestling my very ADHD attention span into cooperating.  Because you, dear readers, expect the best from us.

(BTW, I would show you a photo of the ocean, but I didn’t bring my download cord with me when I packed, so I can’t get it off my phone.  Just imagine lots of breaking waves and beautiful sand dune sunsets.)

And I honor that expectation as I honor your time and money investment in my stories.

Return of the Rebel SurgeonWhich is why I’m sitting her in a vacation house on the beach, typing away while the world plays outside my door. The story isn’t quite right.  It almost says what it wants to say, but a turn of phrase, a unique perspective, a verb makes all the difference.  As I revise, I am determined to make that  difference, for both of us.

I love my job.  I’m really proud of the work Harlequin/Mills and Boon publishes and I want to always hit that expected level of expertise.

So, here I am, while my husband strolls the beach alone (did I mention this is a group effort to get this book right).

And you know what?  The story is worth the sacrifice.  And so are you.

So, back to making sure the right word creates the right nuance.  Wish me luck!

Click for more info on Return of the Rebel SurgeonOh—-Return of the Rebel Surgeon, my Aug/Sept/Oct release (yes, it has 3 release dates) is now available for Kindle and Nook.  If you want it in paperback, you better hurry and order it straight from Harlequin or Mills and Boon because they don’t keep the paperbacks in stock forever. (Available in the US, UK, AUS and France so far.)

Here’s an excerpt of Return of the Rebel Surgeon to see if it’s your cup of tea.

Connie Cox–who did take a nice long walk along the shore while holding hands with her hubby this morning before I hit the edits.