I first discovered the Titanic nestled among paperback romance novels on a shelf in a small library branch near the sea.
‘A Night to Remember’, that wonderful tome definitive of all things Titanic, had found an unlikely home among princesses and maids. I imagine the Walter Lord book was shelved there by a fussy librarian because of its provocative title, but oh, what a lucky break for me.
I was thirteen and living in a small beach town on the coast. Every day that summer I’d walk to the small library branch and take out as many books as they’d let me. Then I’d walk down to the beach and sit under the boardwalk, listen to the roar of the pounding surf, eat strips and salsa, and read.
Read… read… read.
I read ‘A Night to Remember’ a million times, imaging myself on the ship of dreams wearing an elegant gown and long white gloves, dancing in first class with a handsome gentleman. Then reality would set in and I realized I’d more likely be in steerage since my family came over from Ireland.
The place dreams are made of…
When I was a little girl, I lived with my Irish grandmother for a while and I remember sitting at the big, wooden table with her as she added flour, milk, and herbs to leftover mashed spuds for potato cakes, or wound her blue rosary beads around her gnarled fingers while she spun tales about life in Ireland. Grand times they were, and a lovely thread woven through the quilt of my childhood.
Books were my companions back then and I’d read anywhere, anytime. I read tons of romances, but I’d often end up in the history section of the library looking for more stories about the Titanic. Imagining sneaking into first class and pretending I belonged there. Something I found hard to do growing up since we moved a lot and I was always the ‘new kid’ (I went to fifteen schools before college). I yearned to be among the popular kids at the beach, but somewhere in my heart, I knew the way to better myself was reading and the rest would come later.
Reading was my world.
That became the basis of my heroine, Ava O’Reilly, in THE RUNAWAY GIRL, a girl who wants to better herself by reading books but it’s forbidden to the servants in the grand house in Ireland where she’s in service.
Then when she’s wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet, she escapes.
To the Titanic.
And every tale I’d heard at my grandmother’s knee, every book I’d read, every film about the ship of dreams I’d watched over and over again became the fodder for telling my own story about the Titanic.
Based on my girlhood and love of books.
And the sea.
And yes, romance, too.
And how an Irish girl makes a daring choice on that fateful night when the Titanic hits an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. that changes her life forever…
And mine, too.
Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…
When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.
Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.
As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…
A sweeping historical romance set aboard the Titanic, from the author of Her Lost Love (Christmas Once Again).
Praise for Jina Bacarr:
‘A delightful holiday romance that has all the charm of a classic Christmas movie. Christmas Once Again is perfect for anyone who loves a holiday romance brimming with mistletoe, hope, and what ifs.’ Andie Newton, author of The Girl I Left Behind
‘A breathtaking holiday romance that is sure to stay with you long after reading’
‘A mesmerizing holiday romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet and take you away to another place, another time.’
‘A fabulous book you won’t want to miss’
THE RUNAWAY GIRL e-book, print and audio book:
I’m exhausted. I stayed up till 10 a.m. PDT this morning promoting Christmas Once Again on my pub date. It was a blast. My publisher, my editor were right there with me, along with bloggers and fans.
We tweeted, I facebood’d, created Instagram stories. It was wild.
I have to admit, I was nervous. Will readers embrace a time when life was so different? I’ve poured my heart into this story about a time when there were no cell phones, so social media. Kate’s family (the heroine in my story), has a phone, but back then they had party lines. Everybody on the block shared the same phone line.
Neighbors Facebook’d over the fence while hanging out laundry to dry on the clothesline.
Newspapers were the 24-hour TV channels, coming out with Special Editions when important war news broke.
Soldiers and their girls wrote letters to each other. On paper. Words poured out by a lonely serviceman on an atoll in the Pacific or the cold, damp woods of the Ardennes in France. Girls sealed their letters with a kiss with Victory Red lipstick.
That is what I miss most about that time. Letters. Ink may fade, but the words are more powerful today than ever. There’s something cold and distant about an email. A digital fingerprint with printed words that look the same no matter who types them.
But a letter…now that has the personal signature.
The bold writing…looping letters…your sweetheart’s familiar scrawl that tugs your heart when he signs, ‘All my love.’
The smudge of dirty fingerprints that held a rifle and trudged over the beaches of Normandy to protect our country.
Coffee stains spilled from a tin cup when an enemy sniper surprised a young corporal.
Dried blood smeared on the envelope rushed into the mail pouch at the Red Cross camp by a wounded Marine.
And to the soldier, the most important signature of all: the scent of his sweetheart’s perfume. Every tired bone in his body, every aching muscle melt away. He can’t erase the horrors of war, but the lovely scent that is so distinctly hers takes him back home, if only for a few seconds. But it’s enough for him to keep fighting.
And promise he’ll come home to her.
It’s that world I write about in Christmas Once Again.
A journey you won’t forget.
The autumnal equinox is a celestial event that brings together harvest and celebration, symbolizes magick and transformation, and welcomes a balance of light and darkness. It’s a time when those who honor the changing seasons rest and reflect.
Or reap what they’ve sown.
Once Upon an Enchanted Forest, a collection of adult fantasy romances, features ten novelettes centered around one of the most enchanting preternatural beings of the ages: the witch. With lovers, magical forests, and witchcraft, our stories are sure to warm your nights and your dark little heart.
This anthology also includes a new story from the brilliant Juliet Marillier, author of the Sevenwaters Trilogy and many other historical fantasy novels, including Beautiful, an Audible Exclusive, and her coming release, The Harp of Kings.
Now, sit back and let us tell you a tale. Welcome to The Enchanted Forest.
New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.
As I was finishing the last few pages of upcoming novel, THE DECEPTION, Hawk Maddox and Kate Gallagher’s story, I got an interesting phone call. I’m fortunate to be represented by a literary agency in New York as well as an agency in Hollywood.
Since I love movies, I’ve always wanted to see one of my books made into a feature film. The Hollywood agency phoned about my novel BEYOND REASON. The story is set in Texas, an action adventure that revolves around the rivalry between Carly Drake, who inherits her grandfather’s failing trucking firm, and powerful, multimillionaire Lincoln Cain, her number one competitor.
Worse yet, Carly needs Linc’s help to find the men who are willing to kill to keep her from making Drake Trucking successful again. Big money is involved. And very big danger.
The transaction involving the rights was exciting from beginning to end, with David Haring at TinRes Entertainment making the offer, several agents negotiating the terms, and me thrilled to have a chance to see one of my books made into a film. Most likely, the story will be a made-for-TV movie, but it is also optioned with the possibility of a major motion picture or TV series. I would love to see 6’5” Lincoln Cain on a weekly TV show!
Once the deal was completed, I went back to work on THE DECEPTION, which is being released September 10th. I hope you will watch for it and that you will also keep an eye out for Linc and Carly’s movie. It takes years to complete a film, but I promise to keep you posted on details as they come in.
Till then happy reading and all best wishes, Kat
Martin revs the power from page one of this fast-paced romantic thriller, the second novel in her Maximum Security series (after The Conspiracy). After Kate Gallagher’s runaway younger sister, Chrissy, is murdered, she’s determined to find the killer, no matter what it takes. Bounty hunter Jason “Hawk” Maddox, a former Marine, doesn’t do relationships, but he’s quite willing to dance with Kate and start nudging her toward his bed; then she blurts out that her sister was killed. When Kate hires Hawk’s employer, Maximum Security, to investigate the murder, Martin immediately begins leading her well-drawn characters through a high-octane plot with hair-raising twists and turns, skillfully dragging red herrings everywhere. A subplot about a terrified, trafficked 13-year-old crackles with undeniable energy, as does the hot romance between Kate and Hawk. Even Martin’s most despicable characters (especially pedophile Denny Rayburg) are complex, adding to readers’ emotional investment. Fans of romantic suspense won’t be able to put this book down until the final page is turned, and Martin is likely to recruit thriller readers as well as romance fans with this snappy story. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Sept.)
Jann Ryan is on vacation and while she’s away, we thought we would reprint one of her more popular interviews. Jann says she’ll be back in September with her usual column. Until then enjoy and little Christmas in August.
Kathleen: Our Writing Something Romantic critique group started some years ago with a few writers who belonged to OCC. We wanted a small group to critique our romance writing. Angela Kyle, Carol Persinger, and I were original members. Shortly after we began to meet, we invited Barb DeLong, Val Millette, Jann Ryan, Ottilia Scherschel, and Jill Jaynes to join us. Ever since, we’ve met once a month to critique each other’s manuscripts. We celebrate birthdays and, of course, each others’ successes.
Barb: We decided as a group to write to our strengths and particular genres with a unifying theme of Christmas time for our first anthology. Hopefully the anthology will appeal to a wide audience because of the different genres.
Ottilia: My mother liked to say I was born with a foot in a suitcase. I’ve always loved to travel. Growing up, Hong Kong seemed mysterious, so far away, and its history with the British fascinated me. I sought out movies set there and visited San Francisco’s Chinatown to gawk at all the finery from Hong Kong. When my husband and I were married, he presented me with pearls he had bought in Hong Kong for his future wife while he was in the Navy. Years later, when my brother started doing business in China, I decided I had a reliable source and the time had come to write about that country and its customs.
Not all my novels are romantic suspense. I also write historical fiction, but all my novels have an element of suspense and are set in foreign countries at least in part.
Jill: Haha! More than once, I’m sure! I think most of us wish we could get a little help finding that guy. I definitely settled for a few frogs before my true love finally swept into my life and showed me what I’d been missing all along. In my story, Allie finds out that nothing is as easy as it seems, even with a magical wish in your pocket. But hey, it’s Christmas! I’m pretty sure something good will happen…
Angela: Children’s stories lend themselves particularly well to myth, legend, and symbolism–all things I’ve been fascinated by as long as I can remember. (As does the fantasy genre.) This is probably why I find myself writing (and reading) mostly in those areas, even though I enjoy contemporary, scifi, mystery, historical, romance, and other genres as a reader.
Old tales, religion, psychology, and modern storytelling speak in the languages of archetypes and symbols. We use them to layer depth and glean meaning from our world. That’s why I enjoy writing stories based on myth—these old stories give me worlds in which I can explore the deeper connections that live in us all.
Barb: I knew I wanted to write a paranormal story because I love reading them. I write humorous and absolutely loved Jill Barnett’s Bewitching. I thought whimsical witches and their magic were right up my alley. My work-in-progress is a paranormal romance series called Charmed by a Witch, with the first book being Charm’d.
Kathleen: My genre has always been historical romance. I’ve written several romances set in Montana during the 1880’s, so my familiarity with the setting made for an easy choice. While doing some research on Helena, I came across a photo of a suffragette from Great Falls. She was identified as a librarian and was standing so straight and proud beside the bicycle she rode to work, I felt an instant admiration for her and all the ladies who strove to secure the women’s vote. And so, Paulette Winslow, spinster and librarian, sprang to life in my imagination. My hero came just as easily. I’ve previously written a romance set in Butte, about a wealthy mine owner. This time my hero, Brent McFarland, comes from Butte to Helena to take over the local newspaper.
When Ottilia Scherschel started sixth grade, she learned her fifth language. Her immigrant parents wandered throughout Europe and Latin America, waiting for papers to enter the United States. Today, she lives in Southern California. After a successful career in international communications, she took up writing romantic suspense stories set in foreign climes.
Her first novel DARING THE DRAGON, takes place in China and her second, A KISS TOO LONG, is set in Hungary and Italy. You can read one of her short stories in ROMANCING THE PAGES, an anthology by the Orange County Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. https://writingsomethingromantic.com/
Jill Jaynes began her love affair with romance when she was a teenager growing up in Southern California, spending many a late-night under the covers with a flashlight and good romance novel.
This early addiction stuck, and she discovered one day that telling great stories was even more fun than reading them. Today she writes stories with happy endings her own way- with a dash of magic that means anything can happen.
When she’s not writing, you can find her (still in Southern California) occupied with one of the following activities: a) wine-tasting, hiking or otherwise hanging out with her hot husband, b) walking her two high-maintenance dogs, c) plotting her next story with her writer-daughter or d) working at her day job in her spare time. http://www.jilljaynes.com
Angela Shelley was twenty-two when writing became a passion. She’s been doing it in one form or another ever since. As a technical writer, she published science articles for magazines, grant proposals, software manuals, and online help systems. She won Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for her first and second novels, Ennara and the Fallen Druid and Ennara and the Book of Shadows.
Angela Shelley is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In her spare time, she makes book trailers and volunteers for her writing organizations and twins’ classroom. Visit her at http://www.angelashelley.net.
Barb DeLong, long-time member of the Orange County Chapter/Romance Writers of America, is a member of RWA’s PRO community. She has been writing one thing or another for as long as she can remember. Her stories have won and finalled in several contests, and she published a short story in the Romancing the Pages anthology. Barb is currently working on a humorous paranormal romance series called Charmed by a Witch.
She’s excited to share with you the magic of love, laughter and happily ever after! https://writingsomethingromantic.com/
Kathleen Harrington, multi-published, award-winning author, has touched the hearts of readers across the country and the world with her sparkling tales of high adventure and unending love. Her historical romances have been published in Chinese, Russian, Italian, and German. She lives in Southern California with her American Bulldog, Auron. http://www.kathleenharringtonbooks.com/
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