Oct 25 - Kristina O'Grady, Debutantes Don't Date, Regency Time Travel Romance

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I have to be honest here and say that I have never had a near death experience nor has anyone that I know. Of course, I have read about it in the newspapers, heard it on TV etc.  I am not into re-incarnation, and can’t say I have ever met any re-incarnated person. Well, not that I know of.

I am a believer that when your number is up, your number is up. Well sort of.
The nearest I can come to this topic is to tell you the experience of my father. During the 2nd World War he escaped death several times. Who knows whether it was luck or perhaps he had a guardian angel.

 My father was serving in Malaya in 1941. He climbed up a really high tree as the look-out for his platoon. A Japanese plane suddenly appeared and dropped a bomb. The tree was hit and Dad fell to the ground. He should have died but didn’t. Instead he injured his spine and the doctors at the Casualty Clearing Station thought he must have broken his back, but he was evacuated to the military hospital in Singapore and rather than have a broken back it was discovered that bone had been chipped off his spine.

His next lucky escape came a few days before Singapore surrendered to the Japanese. The hospital was bombed, the roof was blown off and Dad was blown out of his bed and the soldier in the next bed was killed.

A couple of days before Singapore surrendered to the Japanese, Dad and a few other wounded escaped Singapore in a small boat. As they sailed out of the harbour a Japanese bomber flew down low, and they thought they were going to be blown out of the water, but the plane flew off and left them alone.

Then, they sailed around for about 3 weeks, not knowing where they were, but as luck would have it, a passing hospital ship picked them up and took them to Colombo, and they eventually made it home to Australia.

In my novel, Daring Masquerade, which is set during the 1st World War, and is one of three novels, in a Special Edition to mark the centenary of this terrible conflict, the heroine Harry, has a dreadful nightmare. She sees her husband, Ross, lying in the mud on the French battlefields. At the same time, Ross who in fact has been seriously wounded, believes he is going to die, and there is no use fighting the inevitable. He feels himself go out of his body, then he hears Harry calling to him, telling him not to die and leave her all alone. She beseeches him to fight to survive. He realizes that if he dies out there in no-man’s land, his body might never be found and Harry would grieve and mourn him for years, even as she hoped that by some miracle he might survive. He can’t do this to her, so with a superhuman effort he gets to his knees and crawls back to his comrades.


Special Centenary Edition containing three novels depicting the tragedy and triumph of three different women during the 1st world War.


A hundred years ago, from the far flung corners of the British Empire, young men rushed to fight for Mother England. They left their wives and sweethearts behind. Many of these brave women waited in vain for their men folk to return. How did they cope with the loss and heartache? Could they ever hope to find happiness with another man? Three full novels, each telling a brave young woman’s story of triumph over tragedy and adversity. Allison’s War, Daring Masquerade and Lauren’s Dilemma.
 Available in print and E-book format.




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Measuring Success

by M.L. Buchman

Measuring success as a writer is a splendid, squirrely, ever-changing target. It is almost as curious a journey as trying to find the end of the book that you're writing--elusive, exciting, and when you get to the end, you are thrilled at what you've achieved...and then you look up and realize it is part one of a series and more lies ahead!

Signing my first contract in 1995 for a book that released in 1997 was a heck of a big moment. That was a huge success, even though it was with a small press that would soon be out of business, I got to hold my first two novels before it did collapsed.

My first contract with a major publisher in 2010 was pretty darned amazing, marker on the path to success, even if it was 2 years from contract to the release of The Night is Mine.

Then there was a cold February night, still before the release of The Night is Mine. I had been out of work for over a year courtesy of the recession. We had just moved to another city for a job that I had finally landed and were flat broke. That night we received the first money from the first book of my contemporary romance series, "Angelo's Hearth."

Where Dreams Are Born sold 20 copies in its first month. The check was for $53, for the whole month! For the first time in a year I was able to take my wife out to dinner, we even had a beer with the meal! It is still one of the great markers of success in my career, sitting in a quiet pub with a burger and a brew and playing cribbage. Who knew that "success" could have such a simple moment to measure it. (There was enough left over for a nice lunch a week or so later! Major success!)

That "Angelo's Hearth" is now a completed 5-book series and my #2 most successful series after "The Night Stalkers" is a constant joy. (Though, as that series is complete, I expect that "Firehawks" will take over with the December 2nd release of #2, Full Blaze [now available for pre-order...hint, hint.])

In 2013, after yet another ridiculous experience with corporate America, my wife and I decided to make the jump to full-time writing. I still work the same insane hours that I worked for corporate, BUT I'm working for me and spending half of every day in some cheery fantasy-land of writing. I am a much happier and healthier person than I was two years ago, despite the long hours.

Why? Because I'm doing something I love. I came late to writing in my mid-thirties, but I have never found anything to be anywhere close to being so much fun.

Curiously, success keeps sneaking along and nudging you on the shoulder to say, "Hey, remember me?" It came along and gave me a nudge and wink just last week. Our local chain Fred Meyer store out here on an obscure section of the Oregon Coast has a little book section. There, on a seriously rain-soaked night, I received a jazzy little reminder that success is not only the big things, it can also be the little ones. And if we watch for them and revel in them, they can bring a surprising amount of joy.

So, here is me, feeling all goofy and floating about five feet off the ground, when I spotted this:
The first four books of my "Night Stalkers" series, all in a bunch. Not even in the tiny romance section just a single rack wide in this store, but in the across-all-genres "Popular Authors" section! Whee! My t-shirt, by pure chance that day, says: "I live in my own little world, but it's okay. They know me here." It's a cheerily successful little world and I take those success, big and small whenever I can find them.

So, what little (or big) successes do you have to celebrate?!
M. L. Buchman has over 30 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A little bit too dead

It's Halloween this month, so naturally we're talking about DEATH! Eek!! Eenie, meanie, chili beanie, raise that zombie from the grave… or close your eyes, let go and reach for the light.

As an author of paranormal stories, you'd think I'd be all over the near death experience.

And I am. Sort of. I'm the first to admit I don't think the whole 'bright light at the end of the tunnel' thing means anything. I'm not a religious person. When I die, I'm not convinced I'm actually going anywhere. Most likely, I'll just… stop.

Then again, if the near-death thing happened to me, maybe I'd change my tune. There's a character in a Stephen King novel (I think it's Thinner) who says, "The definition of an a**hole is guy who doesn't believe what he's seeing." If I ever see that bright light? You can bet your fur I'll be running towards it.

Likewise, if one dark night, I get jumped in a greasy alley by a hungry bloodsucker and resurrected into a razor-fanged soldier for the hordes of the ravenous undead, you'd think I wouldn't be strutting around afterwards saying, "You know that whole vampire thing? Bollocks. Life after death? It's rubbish. Trust me."

Because denial only goes so far when it's actually happened to you.

Same with zombies. If civilization crashes to a halt, The Walking Dead style, I've got no illusions that I'll be among the survivors. With my luck? I'll probably be among the first to change into a rotting corpse who shambles around groaning and lusting for the flavor of warm living flesh. Urrrrrgh… and then, the joke will be firmly on me. No foolish nay-sayers will be able to claim the afterlife isn't real then, eh?

But until that happens, folks? Death is death, and—just like taxes and Justin Bieber—there ain't no escaping it. And if you do get a second chance? It's probably a scam.

My horror romance, Demon Chained, is about a dead guy named Tam. A murdered guy, in fact, who was a bad dude in life, so he got dragged straight to hell. Only he did a deal with a certain childish demon prince—yeah, alarm bells—so he could return, to walk the earth and avenge his own murder.

Nice plan, eh? Only Tam forgot to specify that he should come back alive. And blam! Back he goes into that body of his, the one with the bullet hole and the imminent decomposition problem. Cheers, Tam. Enjoy your day. He's about to learn the hard way that being dead – specifically, being undead, stuck halfway between life and whatever comes after – isn't all it’s cracked up to be.

Especially when he meets the girl of his dreams. Oyy. For a guy who used to have all the right moves? Talk about a body image problem.

But hey, romance is all about inner beauty, right? It's not what's outside, but what’s inside that counts. Tam's problem isn't being undead; it's his angry, vengeful heart. And if love can heal those wounds? Fixing a few physical ones should be a piece of cake.

So yeah. Halloween. Horror romance. Get some sweet un-death into you :) and if you should see that tunnel with the bright light shining down? Well, y'know. Why not?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Seizing the Day When Death Comes Near

I have never personally had a near-death experience. Knock on wood. However, I have lost loved
ones and watched those I care for deeply draw close to death in one way or another. Recently, a family member received a potentially devastating medical diagnosis. While I hoped and prayed and agonized for a positive prognosis for him, I admit that I considered mortality in a way I hadn't just days before hearing of his condition.

Generally, like most of us, I suspect, I don't pass my days contemplating the end of my life, nor how many days of existence I might have left. I am usually too busy to even accomplish everything on my daily To Do list, let alone contemplate my mortality. But at certain moments in my life, death has drawn near. Near enough that its presence made me stop and pause. Stop and consider when my life might end. Stop and think about how I want to spend the rest of my days. 

"Live everyday as if it's your last" is a fine adage, but it's difficult to do each and everyday. Perhaps it's a financially necessary day job that prevents us from...climbing Mount Kilimanjaro—or whatever else our life's goals may be. And perhaps the aphorism does't simply mean we should quit a job that feels like drudgery and spend the rest of our days in Tuscany (though that sounds pretty good). Maybe it means we should view each day as precious, whatever we do with it. And, too, that we should pair down our lengthy life's To Do lists or bucket lists to the items that truly have significant, essential meaning to us. 

My family member is going to be just fine. After a quickly scheduled surgery by a talented surgeon, he's on the mend. In fact, he's already back at home with his family and enjoying life with as much verve and passion as he did before his diagnosis. And, according to him, a new portion of gratitude. For me, worrying about him and considering life and death, weighing my life up to this point and wondering how long my cord extends, made me realize there are a few things that matter to me a great deal, and a lot that, in the end, will matter very little. 

Family and friends are at the top of my list, but so too is my writing. After years of stops and starts, I finally got serious about my writing within the last two years. At the start of 2014, I published my first novella, Scandalous Wager. On November 1st, I will publish my third installment in my Whitechapel Wagers historical romance series. I am thrilled to finally be finishing my stories, publishing, and growing as a writer. Because when I consider what I want to accomplish in the rest of my days, writing is high on my list. Moments like the recent experience of hearing of a loved one's potentially serious medical diagnosis reminded me how precious everyday is, and how important it is to "seize the day."

Is writing on your list? Is there something you truly want to accomplish or pursue but have been putting it off for someday? 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seeking Treasure

by Lorraine Beaumont, New Adult Time Travel Romance Author

Treasure is such a solitary word and yet it has the ability to send your mind racing off on a journey through time and have your heart chasing right after it.

For the heroine’s in my books, it is no different. In Forgotten Time, my debut new adult time travel novel, Katherine Jamison is a young woman temping at a high end auction house, and when she “borrows” an ancient amulet to wear to a costume ball, she inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events that result in her waking up in Victorian England betrothed to an arrogant self-centered earl.

Normally when you hear the word treasure, it will incite visions of chests of gold, swashbuckling pirates who look like, maybe, probably, definitely…Johnny Depp.

When in reality treasure does not always come in the form of gold and it is not always accompanied by pirates, no matter how good looking they are. Instead, it is merely something found of great value.

While researching these items for my books, I uncovered many different stories about real treasures that were found by everyday people, like you and me.

And who doesn’t love a good treasure story? I know I do.

Take for instance the story of a man who walked into a flea market one day and bought a small oil painting for $50 and found out it was by a listed artist worth $1 million dollars.

Or the story about a man who went to a Pennsylvania flea market and bought a dismal painting for $4
dollars because he liked the gilded ornate frame and found out he is now the possessor of a first printing of the Declaration of Independence, which is expected to bring $800,000 to $1 million dollars at auction.

And last but not least….at a New York tag sale, someone bought a ceramic bowl for $3 dollars and it sold at the famed auction house Sotheby’s, for $2.23 million.

To the auction world however, these items of great value are not called treasure but instead “Finds.” They come in many different mediums, shapes and sizes, which in the third book in the Ravenhurst Series, Time to Remember, my heroine Raven Tremaine discovers while cataloguing the contents of Ravenhurst estate,  a castle with a few thousand feet of additions that dates back to King Arthur’s realm. She has a few good “cheats” up her sleeve as well that will enable just about anyone to be able to discern whether they have stumbled upon a true “Find.”

So the next time you pass a flea market or happen by a tag sale or auction, why not stop, take a look around and maybe just maybe you will “Find” a treasure for your very own.

I’ll keep my *fingers crossed* for you.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my little “Finds.”

Happy Hunting and as always, I’m sending out a big THANK YOU for reading.

Lorraine Beaumont is an international bestselling author. She writes books with an ensemble cast of characters, with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. She writes the kind of books she enjoys reading and can only hope that you will enjoy them as well.
There is not much more she enjoys than interacting with her readers, so if you happen upon a “Find” of your own and want to share, she would love to hear about it.  Who knows, she may even be able to tell you what it is worth.

The fifth book in the Ravenhurst series, Now and Forever will be available soon.


 Connect with Lorraine online anytime

Friday, October 17, 2014

Close Enough

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. I guess writing a bit of paranormal should make me familiar with death and what might happen after. Personally, I've never had a 'real' near death experience, for which I'm grateful. There are a lot of things I've researched as an author--sometimes terrible things--and there are times I've even tested things out myself like holding my breath for as long as possible (I was researching drowning). But I've had one experience that, at the time, felt as close to death as I ever want to get.

In February 2008 I was heavily pregnant with little monster number three, and suffering from a nasty cold that had kept me in bed for a week. I'd already seen my doctor about the chronic earache accompanying the cold that stopped me from sleeping, and been curtly informed that she couldn't give me anything because I was pregnant. So I'd stuck with whatever pathetic remedies I could take--paracetamol for the pain, fluids, and a few drops of an aromatherapy breathe-easy type medication dripped onto tissue. I was all blocked up, coughing, feverish, struggling to breathe and thoroughly miserable.

Then one evening it got worse. I felt I was really fighting to breathe, and every passing moment the feeling intensified. I tried shouting for my husband, but I'd lost my voice and trying to shout only made me even more breathless. It got to the point I felt I couldn't breathe at all.

I crawled out of bed and onto the landing. By now, all I could think was that I was going to die, and so would my poor baby. And rather than scared, my overriding emotion was anger. Fury, even. If the anthropomorphic representation of Death (as portrayed by Sir Terry Pratchett in the Discworld novels) had turned up at that moment, he'd have got the beating of his life...er, death. I can't remember being so angry in my life before. And that's my predominant memory of the event. I can remember hearing the panic in my husband's voice as he called an ambulance, and I remember feeling momentarily sorry for him having to deal with it (a terribly British attitude, I think). Apparently I went a lovely shade of purple.

By the time the ambulance arrived, my breathing had settled down but I was very shaky after the whole experience. The paramedics gave me oxygen and recommended I go to hospital. I wasn't going to say no (although I have to say the night spent there was almost as hellish as my near death experience, between constant checks, needles, monitors, a chronic snorer and another patient moaning and talking in his sleep). Less than 24 hours later I was sent home with antibiotics for a chest infection and a memory I'll never forget. And that's as close to a near death experience as I ever want to get... *plans on immortality*

Perhaps that's why death and resurrection are a common theme in my stories, even though I don't personally believe in reincarnation or any kind of after life. And yet they're often in my writing. Funny how my stories don't reflect my beliefs in those things. In my newest release, my hero has lost the love of his life, and makes a risky attempt to summon back her soul during All Hallows' Eve, when spirits are most likely to be abroad and loved ones come home. I'm glad I hadn't gone far enough to need any magic to bring me back. But how would you feel about being brought back from the dead, especially if you'd been gone a year?

Hallow's Eve, paranormal romance short


Twelve months ago, Hal’s world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He’s waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he’s learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Live Like You Were Dying

For you non country fans, that’s a song by stud-muffin Tim McGraw. It’s one of my favorites  because it’s not just a song, it’s a story…as most country songs are.

Anyway, this month we’re talking “near-death experiences”….apropos for the month of October as Halloween is just around the corner, and although most people associate the holiday with dressing up in costume and going door to door begging for sweets, it’s actually the start of a Mexican holiday called Dia de los Muertos….Day of the Dead.  Sounds spooky huh? But really the day is really about coming together to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. 

I’ve been surrounded by death most of my life---giving a whole new meaning to our theme--near death experiences.  I’ve lost a lot of family over the years, starting when I was seven with the death of my grandmother who was barely in her sixties. In fact, in the span of six years I’d lost both grandparents and parents followed later by the loss of several beloved aunts and uncles (all on  my mother’s side and at very young ages). Recently I said goodbye to my cousin, Thomas, who passed away after a lengthy illness. He was only nine years older than me.

As hard as these losses have been, I have to say, accepting these deaths has given me a somewhat new perspective on life.  When someone is ill or has a health crisis, I tend to mentally prepare myself for their passing; accepting the inevitability so the heartache is easier to bear.  In fact, I tend to speak of my own death to my children, to give them time to get used to the idea of not having me in their lives forever.  Morbid I know.   But, death is a part of life. We may be able to prolong it, but we can’t stop it from ending.  And, if you believe in reincarnation like I do, you’ll come back to a new life in another day and time. 

Wow, I hope this blog didn’t bum you out. Haha

So, I’ll end with this. If you’re looking for some fun, spooky and romantic reading this Halloween season, my novel Dark Obsession (which was just given a 9.1 scoring by the Readers Crown at RomCon) is on sale at Amazon. 
And if you really like the ‘edge of your seat’ paranormal thrillers, check out my good friend Robert Gregory Browne’s books….The Innocent Ones (previously titled Down Among the Dead Men) being my favorite!!