Tag Archives: England

Last Train Out by DJ FitzSimons ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome DJ FitzSimons with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  Last Train Out...

Fun Fact:

I am British and grew up riding trains everywhere. I have always loved them, so I thought it would be great to centre this story around a train ride. On the older trains, with their separate compartments, it was always creepy being in one late at night….


Cold-blooded killer Terrance Higgs escapes from a mental institution in the English countryside and manages to catch the last train out. The train is strangely empty, except for one passenger who doesn’t want to talk. The night passes slowly, the train never stopping at other stations until Terrance begins to question where they are going.

The comforting rocking motion of the wheels rolling along the tracks lulls Terrance into a dream-filled sleep. The past replays itself while vivid memories dance through his mind.

But as dawn breaks, Terrance realises this is no ordinary train, nor the journey he planned to take. It’s a terrifying destination he never expected. Has the table finally turned? Is the killer now the victim who’ll have to beg for his life?


I like the sticky feel of blood on my fingers. In biology lab at school, I always enjoyed picking apart frogs and dissecting stuff. Anatomy is a beautiful thing. Sometimes, I’d even cut myself, just to watch how my blood sort of oozed out the thin slit in my skin, coagulate and then stop. Cool right? How did Mother Nature, or God, or whoever the fuck made us, design creatures with the ability to stop themselves bleeding with some agent in our chemistry?

            Except if you hit an artery. Now that’s like watching your blood getting pumped out by a little motor. I killed this old lady when I was sixteen. I knocked her out, then when she hit the floor, I nicked the carotid artery in her neck and then just watched it go. It was like a tiny volcano erupting. Her blood came out faster than I thought it would and made a hell of a mess, but it was fascinating.

            That was many years ago, but I can close my eyes and be right there. Funny how the mind is. Today’s Friday the thirteenth. I’m not superstitious, but I like the fact it’s one of those weird dates on the calendar, and I’m going to do something memorable. I’m lying on the hard bunk in my tiny, sterile room. We’re on lock-down for the night as it’s gone seven. Well, I should clarify that everyone else is on lock-down except for me. Any minute now, my door’s getting opened.

About the Author…

DJ FitzSimons is a misplaced Londoner living in the Midwest. This is her second collaboration for a Friday the 13th collection. DJ is currently working on a contemporary thriller set in Oklahoma, and a ‘chiklit’ story set in England. DJ also writes gothic mysteries and a monthly blog under the pen name of Jude Bayton.

Website https://www.judebayton.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/JudeBayton

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/judebaytonauthor/?ref=bookmarks

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/judebayton/

Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/deb-bayton-fitzsimons-b044129/




Filed under New Release

Retribution by DJ FitzSimons … A ‘Friday the 13th Story’

Hello and welcome to the seventh of my posts about a brand new series of 13 suspenseful “Friday the 13th” short stories, each by a different author.

Today, I am happy to share DJ Fitzsimon’s “Retribution” – Now available for pre-order…releasing Nov 13.


This story is set in the town where I went to high school – Surbiton, in the county of Surrey, England. It was fun to write about Guy Fawkes night, a traditional night of fireworks, where children eat jacket potatoes (baked potatoes) and watch the big bonfires burn. I haven’t celebrated it for so long!



Robbie enjoys killing beautiful women, loving nothing more than the excitement of the chase. He’s found his next victim in Petra, a deliciously enticing travel agent. Meticulously setting a trap to lure Petra towards a terrifying destiny, his plans go smoothly as he sends yet another woman to an early grave.

But has he?

Robbie is blindsided when out of nowhere, he sees Petra staring at him from a bridge—a living, breathing woman! How is it possible when he left her lying in her own blood? Returning to the scene of the crime, the psychopathic killer is in for the surprise of his life when he finds her body is missing.

As night descends on Hallow House, Robbie learns that sometimes the hunter can also be the quarry……


I spot her immediately. Hard not to because she’s really good-looking. But not in the brassy ‘come and get me’ way. She’s slender, great figure, and when she walks, her long blonde hair swings across her back like a curtain falling. Our eyes meet several times as we both pick up books and look at them. Then she walks past me again, and, this time, catches me staring. But she doesn’t go all snooty and look away. No—she meets my gaze head on, holds it, and smiles shyly. Wow.

            When she leaves the bookshop, I follow her. Of course, I keep a far enough distance behind her so if she turns, she won’t see me. I just want to know where she’s going. Turns out it isn’t far. There’s a small travel agency on the corner, just down from the post office, and when she goes inside the building, I wait, out of sight, but close enough to see through the large window. She might be a customer. But no, she takes off her pretty blue coat, hangs it on a peg on the back wall and sits down at a desk. Okay. First phase completed. Now I know where to find her.

            I’m late. Harvey, my scumbag manager, gives me the ‘you’re in trouble’ glare as I enter the office. I give him a ‘go fuck yourself’ scowl right back. He’s a sorry excuse for management. But then, most of them are. He hasn’t got the balls to say anything though. Thing is, I’m no beefy tough guy – I’m five ten in my socks, and I don’t pump iron at the gym – I’m a runner. Harvey crossed me once before, and all it took was one look to freeze him. What had he seen in my eyes? That I’m a predator?

Probably—because I am.


DJ FitzSimons is new author to the thriller genre. But now she’s found it, there’s no stopping her! A misplaced Brit living in the Mid-West, she’s a Londoner, always in pursuit of authentic fish and chips. DJ is currently working on a contemporary thriller set in Oklahoma, and also writes gothic mysteries and a monthly blog under the pen name of Jude Bayton.

Contact DJ – author@judebayton.com

Or read about her antics here:

Website: https://www.judebayton.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/judebaytonauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20313628.Jude_Bayton

Twitter: https://twitter.com/judebayton

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/judebayton


Filed under Author Blog Post

#HobbyCareerPassion: Finding Your Roots with Family History by Heidi Wessman Kneale

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Heidi Wessman Kneale…


Finding Your Roots with Family History

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

Family History is one of the biggest hobbies in the world, inspiring millions to learn where they came from. Any famous people in your history? Any amazing stories? You could even be descended from a king.

In my book “For Richer, For Poorer”, Beatrice Nottham has traced her family roots back over a thousand years. Turns out she is descended from Norman nobility, but her roots also come with a family curse…

I can’t claim to have gone back quite that far in my own family history but have been able to trace my line back to French and German nobility and even a Swedish king.

It’s not so much the blue blood flowing in my veins that makes family history so fascinating but the stories of everyday people. Our families did not live boring lives!

A great-great grandmother of mine, Elizabeth Pugsley Hayward, was a Suffragette. She was one of the first women to be elected to a State political office before women were even allowed to vote. This meant she was successfully elected by a hundred percent male vote. She served as a State Representative, then later as a State Senator. She was even introduced the bill to ratify the 19th Amendment to the State Senate, successfully.

There’s a history of strong women in my family, even one who wasn’t a woman.

A 19th Century ancestor of mine was Edwin Pettit, an American Pioneer. When his family emigrated out West, he had to remain behind, as he was apprenticed to a cruel master.

One night, Edwin managed to sneak out and make his way to a pioneer camp. There, everyone conspired to dress Edwin up as a girl, skirts, curls and all. He remained in this disguise for as long as it took until his master, who had come looking had given up.

Not many people can lay claim to a cross-dressing ancestor.

How can you get started in your family history?  Ask your parents, your grandparents, your aunts, uncles and other family members for their stories. Write them down. Get as much information as you can, for once they die, they take their stories with them.

For those who have passed on, you can look them up in Census records, on Family History sites like FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. Many public libraries and family history centres offer free access to Ancestry.com.

Don’t feel discouraged if you’re not able to immediately find records of your family. Every month more and more records are transcribed and made public, even records for families that, until now, have been almost impossible to track and trace. For example, the family histories of many African Americans are coming to light, thanks to the tireless work of historians like Amy Tanner Thiriot and genealogists like Thom Reed.

Knowing your family history can give you a sense of belonging, a sense of place. Join millions of fellow human beings around the world who are learning where they come from.


For Richer, For Poorer is available in ebook format and as an audiobook.




The Deveraux line is famous…for a family curse. The rich must marry the poor or lose their prosperity. Peter Baring is the last of the Deveraux and sinking slowly into poverty. But will marriage to his icy business partner save him?

Beatrice Nottham dreams of leaving Earth for a fresh start. But only married couples are allowed to move off-world. Marrying a man she’s unsure she loves will solve that problem…but at what cost?

When Beatrice visits England to research her branch of the Deveraux family tree, she meets Peter and sparks fly. Both question everything they ever believed would fulfill their dreams. If they dare to be together, will the Curse follow them beyond the stars? The answer to breaking its power could lie in the heart of a crumbling tapestry…if they have the courage to try.


What were the exact conditions of the Curse?

That the richest must marry the poorest? Sure. But other than that? Peter wondered, did Gytha love Phillippe?

She must have, to stay for so long. Or was it love? Did she stay simply so her family could be provided for? If she loved him, would she have cursed him thus? Or was she thinking of her sons? Clearly, she loved them more than anything.

“Peter?” Beatrice’s voice broke into his thoughts.

“Whether or not my marriage to Francie will break the Curse is irrelevant, because last night I decided I’m not going to marry her.” He hung his head. “And forgive me,” he murmured, “I haven’t told her yet.”

He wanted to take Beatrice’s hands, but thought that most improper. He did not know how she was taking this news. She stood as she had through the story of the Curse, one hand wrapped about her waist, the other hand pressed to her lips.

“I don’t love her,” he confessed. “Not one whit. I never did.”

Beatrice closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. “Yet you were going to marry her.”

He shrugged, at a loss for an answer. “I thought she loved me.”

“But you didn’t love her.” Was that disappointment in her voice?

“I liked her,” he hedged.

There was pain in her voice. “But you love the land more? You’d marry her so not only would the prosperity return, but she’d know how to develop the land properly so it’d turn a profit.” She hugged both arms tightly about her. “Or perhaps you love money? Perhaps you see this as the only way of restoring your fortune.”



Heidi Wessman Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute. By day, she wrangles computers as a way of supporting her writing habits. By night she stares at the stars in the sky. Noble blood flows through her veins; she is the daughter of kings and can prove it.





mailing list: http://eepurl.com/c9vM9L


Filed under Author Blog Post, Hobbies...Careers...Passions

Historical research…how much? How little? by Rachel Brimble – New Release: Her One True Love

Please help me welcome Rachel Brimble, who shares her thoughts on Historical research—something I know nothing about. But, I learned a great deal from her post. And be sure to check out her new release…is that a gorgeous cover or what?


I often get asked how much research goes into my Victorian romances and I find this really difficult to answer. As I write romance rather than historical fiction, I focus on the central relationship more than anything––which basically means the emotion. To my mind, the emotions of people during the 1800s would have been more or less the same as today…even if their problems and concerns were entirely different.

My research begins once I have decided on the theme of my book – for Her One True Love, my latest Victorian romance, the central theme is “Journey To Self-Discovery”. So what did this mean as far as research is concerned? Well, first and foremost, I had to decide what it is that will make my hero and heroine discover themselves! For the heroine, I stumbled across an article on England’s Foundling Hospitals and children immediately became her purpose in life.

I was hooked immediately and went on to learn about boarding houses that took in children, either temporarily until their parents could reclaimed them, or until the children were of a working age.

As for the hero, his discovery would come by accompanying the heroine on her journey!

Obviously we are all lucky enough to have access to the World Wide Web nowadays, but I still think it is imperative to read as well as visit places as much as possible. I read plenty of Victorian non-fiction while writing this book as well as visiting No 1 Royal Crescent in Bath (although this is set to the Georgian era, it gave me a nice sense of place), the Bath Fashion Museum and spoke to the Bath Archives Department too. My favorite Victorian research book (and the most helpful!) is The Victorian City by Judith Flanders.

For my next historical book, I am venturing into the Edwardian era for the very first time and I’m having a great time expanding my knowledge! The problem with research is often knowing when to stop. If you enjoy history, the temptation to keep researching rather than getting on with the writing is hard to resist.

Through my reading and visiting, I have become more and more interested in delving backwards as well as forwards. I wouldn’t be surprised if I write a Georgian or even a Tudor series in the future. Watch this space!



She Can’t Forget Him… 

Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…

He Can’t Let Her Go…

Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits—including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?


Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”

She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”

“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”

“No, I do not need your––”

“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”

“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”

“My offer still stands.”

She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”

“You are being stubborn.”

She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”

The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”

The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.

She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”

He held her gaze. “Which is?”

Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”

Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”

“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”

Empathy and passion swirled in her eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.

He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all.

Find it here:

Amazon UK


Barnes and Noble





Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical including Her One True Love.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!






Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers



Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Who wants to play ‘Guess the Martini’ and win prizes????

And the winners are…

First prize: Leah St. James! She guessed each of the martinis correctly: Krysta is drinking an Appletini, Amanda a Blue Hypnotiq, Kathy a Raspberry Flirtini, and me a Lemon Drop…congrats, Leah!

The first three who attempted to guess will receive their choice of any of the MC4 stories. They are: Calisa Rhose, Lynn Crain, and MJ Schiller. Congrats to all!

I’m excited to share some fun stuff about a new series coming soon. BUT, before we get to that, let’s play a game! 

Check out the above photo and see if you can guess what kind of Martini each of us are holding.

The first three commenters to attempt to guess will win their choice of any of the four stories, on Kindle or PDF. (If you’ve already pre-ordered the stories, you can choose any of my books – Find them here: Alicia Dean Books

The first person to guess all four martinis correctly will win: 

  • An ebook copy of all four stories
  • A $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • This lovely exclusive Martini Club 4 Martini glass. (Only those in the United States are eligible for the Martini glass)

MC4 Glass mc4 glass 2

If no one gets all four correct, I will draw a name from all the commenters and that person will win. Doesn’t that sound like a blast??? 

The winner will be drawn and announced here on the blog next Sunday, February 22nd.

(Hint, in case the color doesn’t come through that well in the pic, we each are drinking a martini that matches the color of our covers, although my martini is more yellow, and my cover is more gold 🙂 – For a little extra help, click on this link: http://boulevardsteakhouse.com/ – Choose ‘Martini Lounge’ and then ‘Cocktail List’ and you will see a list of hand-crafted martinis. All of the ones we’re drinking are listed there :))

Now, my friends and I would like to share a little about our Martini Club 4 stories and answer some questions:

*** The four stories are all stand alone, but related and can be purchased separately for 99¢ each through the end of February (available for pre-order now, releasing February 26). Regular price beginning in March will be $2.99 each. Find all four stories here:

Amazon Page for Martini Club 4

Tidbit from Amanda McCabe…

I had a kind of strange inspiration for my heroine—Nancy Drew!  These were my favorite books when I was a kid, I loved how brave and bold she was.  Jessica is a lot like her.

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Rebellious?

The clothes!!!  I spent hours looking at old photos of 1920s fashions, and they are gorgeous.  Beads and feathers, fabulous hats, t-strap shoes—all perfect for our heroines to kick some ass in, of course

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

Fun, and challenging!  I was scared of not doing justice to someone else’s character, of doing something that didn’t fit in with their own vision, but it was wonderful to see the stories dovetail into each other and create a whole new world

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

Well, the cocktails, of course 🙂  I do love a good pomegranate martini!

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I loved Frank Markov’s aunt, the Countess Romanova, and would love to explore her backstory a bit more.  Imperial Russia is such a fascinating time period to me.

What do you love that most people would find odd?

I admit it—I kinda like those terrible, marshmallow-y circus peanuts (though I haven’t eaten one in years)

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?  

Red shoes and purses.  I don’t know why.  I have nothing against the color red in general 🙂 


RebelliousCover2 (1)

Blurb: Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster? 

Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city’s most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger…  


Back again, are you, miss?” the tall bartender said with a grin as Jessica pushed her way between the massed crowds at the bar.  Club 501 had obviously lost none of its popularity in the two nights since she had been there.  “We must be doing something right.”

Jessica laughed and gestured to the room around her, the scads of glittering dancers, the jostling packs clamoring for a drink.  “I’d say you are.  Surely no place in the city could be more popular.”

“That’s because of all the pretty girls that come here.”

“I know!  You have two of my friends working here now.”  She nodded toward Meggie, singing in the spotlight in a purple beaded gown, and Charlotte making her way between the tables in a smart new black silk dress, a tray of drinks balancing in her hands.

“We’ll have you working here next.  I need an apprentice bartender,” he teased.

Jessica laughed.  “Tempting, but I’m afraid I already have a job.”  If you could call it that, with all those endless descriptions of flower arrangements and lace trim on gowns, and Mrs. Mortimer chasing her out of the archives.  “So, what’s your name, bartender?”

“Ira,” he answered.  “Pleased to meet you, miss.”

“Pleased to meet you.”  She glanced at the hidden door behind the bar, barely visible now in the dark paneling and the faint lighting.  Maybe her garden party days would be behind her soon. 


Tidbit from Alicia Dean…

This was my first attempt to write a story in this time period, and I had to do a lot of research, which isn’t my strong suit. Although, I’ll confess, part of my research was done by watching the Tom Hardy movie,  Lawless. While it was set in the thirties, I still felt it had the right ‘feel’  I needed to immerse myself in the twenties. Besides, it was an awesome movie, and Tom Hardy is pretty easy on the eyes, so maybe it was more for pleasure than research…

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Ruined?

I love that my heroine is a hooker. I’ve never written a heroine with that kind of occupation, and it was fun, challenging, and kind of freeing all at the same time.

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

A blast! Especially since it was with women that I love so dearly. It was a little tricky making sure the cross over scenes with other characters didn’t contradict with the other books, but hopefully, we managed.

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life?

Yes, I’m a prostitue. HA! Not really. (Had you going, didn’t I?)  I don’t really think any part of it was taken from real life, other than, as Amanda mentioned, the cocktails. 🙂

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I really like Maud, although she didn’t have much ‘on screen’ time. She is the head housekeeper of the manor from which Eliza flees, and has been like a mother to Eliza since Eliza’s own ‘mum’ passed. Maud encourages Eliza to run in order to escape the advances of the Lord of the manor, even though Maud knows she’ll never see her again.  I like that she sacrifices her own wishes for Eliza’s safety.  (Like Kathy, I wouldn’t want to choose from the other girls in the story, because I couldn’t pick just one!)

What do you love that most people would find odd?  

I love dark, cold, snowy, rainy weather.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?   

I really, really dislike Muppets. I don’t find them the least bit amusing,  and I am baffled at their popularity. It was one thing when kids liked them because, well, they’re puppets. But adults??? And they have their own movies??? Sorry. I just  don’t get the appeal.



She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans… 

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped. 
When Vince Taggart ’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.  

Excerpt: The ballroom was magnificent. Sparkling chandeliers hung from the ceiling like diamonds dripping from the sky. Grecian columns with golden draperies strung between them bordered the entire room. Paul Whiteman’s orchestra was performing on a platform stage set within a rectangular alcove at the western end of the room. Meggie would be joining them soon. What a fabulous opportunity for her. All her dreams were coming true.

Why her, and not me? Why can’t my dreams come true?

She nearly gasped in horror at the unbidden thought. Her cheeks warmed with shame. How could she be envious of Meggie? She deserved every happiness in the world. Just because Eliza had made poor decisions and ruined her life, it didn’t mean she couldn’t be happy for her friends. She blinked back tears. She was happy for her friends. Really, she was.

She clutched a champagne flute in her damp palms, praying she could get through the evening without being forced on a ‘date.’ Across the enormous dance floor, Oscar stood conversing with two men. Please don’t let either of them choose me… 


Tidbit from Kathy L Wheeler…

Harry Dempsey in Reckless started out as a undercover detective out to stop the rumrunners. I ran into several issues. 1) We already had a detective in one story (Runaway), 2) It didn’t make sense for Harry to be out for revenge against a gangster, if he was a copy. It would be his job. It made much more sense as a business owner who’s Pa refused to pay protection money for Harry to be out for revenge. After all, the gangster murdered his family.

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Reckless?

I love Meggie’s loyalty. She dives in head first to help out her friends. But such “reckless’ behavior is bound to get her into trouble. 

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

I think it must depend on your relationship with others. Sort of like singing a duet in karaoke. If one person demands all the attention, it just doesn’t flow. In this particular group, we are good friends (big surprise, when you have martinis in the mix, hahahah) so we are able to be honest without fear of hurt feelings and such. We had at least three retreats! So that was fun. I love working with my MC4 buds!

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

 Hahahaha. Yessssss. Meggie is a singer, and I sing! ‘Nuf said. 

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I love my fellow runaway-ees, of course. But outside of them (because I would not dare choose one over the other), I think I was cracking myself up with Paul Whiteman. He was a big time band leader at the time. So most of the information regarding him in my story is true. I’m just not sure if I conveyed his personality accurately, but it is certainly how I envision him as behaving. He was a very busy man with a 35 piece orchestra and practically discovered George Gershwin (who, incidentally, also makes an appearance). 

What do you love that most people would find odd?

The hustle and bustle of downtown city life. I could totally see myself living in Manhattan, downtown Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, even Denver and Dallas.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?

 I don’t like people who are tooooooo nice. I find them suspicious. And I don’t like “telling” in books. And most of all, I hate it when someone comes along and decides to change Phantom of the Opera to “modernize” it! You know? Like not have the chandelier on the stage during the opening crescendo and rising to the ceiling. The absolute worst!



Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger… 

Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend. 

Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior. 


Fear stopped Meggie’s heart, the breath caught in her throat. Why did she always have to open her mouth at the wrong time?

“Put the gun away, Marco. This here’s Lady Margaret Montley.”

Meggie lifted her chin. “I sing with the Bernie-Edison Orchestra.”

Marco chuckled, the gun never wavering in his hand. “Who’s ta stop me from killing you, cap’n, and makin’ a bit of a profit off yer Lady Margaret Munt…Munt…whatever her name is? Why, I could sell her off and make double what I should’a took ta’night.”

Terrified, Meggie slipped a trembling hand in the pocket of her jacket and wrapped her fingers around the gun Harry slipped to her earlier.

“No one, I venture to say, cap’n. Now, drop yer piece over the side. Real nice an’ slow like.” Harry hesitated and Marco raised the gun.

Fingers shaking uncontrollably, Meggie raised her gun in his direction. “No.” Her voice cracked. She forced an impossible calm. “No,” she said again.

“I said, drop it, cap’n.”

“I’ll shoot. I-I will.” But she feared her trembling endangered Harry’s life. The man whose head rested in her lap stirred. His hand slipped over hers. His finger pressed against hers and squeezed. The gun went off, jolting her whole arm, ringing her ears. She screamed dropping the hot metal and slumped back.


Tidbit from Krysta Scott:

I don’t normally write historical fiction. Setting Runaway in the 1920’s was a bit of a challenge. Discovering how people lived and worked in 1924 was eye opening. Baking scones, which is not easy now, was much more difficult then. The plastic bags that the police use to store evidence today were not in use back then. Nor was it as difficult to immigrate from Europe to the United States. Kind of makes me wonder how people in the future will view our way of living.

What do you like most about your MC4 story?

I really like Lady Charlotte Leighton and her desire to be something more than what society expects of her. In the beginning she looks like a coward but as the story unfolds her courageous nature emerges. Although her job in New York City isn’t what she’d hoped for, she continues to pursue her chosen career. Although she encounters many obstacles on the way, she never loses sight of her desire to be a baker.

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

It was a blast working with Alicia Dean, Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler. Their enthusiasm for this project helped propel me, a novice historical author, forward.  In a story of four friends who travel from England to the US, there is bound to be some overlap between the stories. Those scenes were certainly the most challenging remembering what each character was doing and where they were when the overlap events were taking place. Mostly, it was fun to see how each of these Englishwomen tackled the problem of creating a new life for themselves in New York. For some of the girls it is a lark. For others, the adventure takes a darker turn.

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

Yes. In Runaway, Charlotte wants to be a baker just like my eldest daughter. Both of them are passionate about preparing food. That makes a different for the diner. My eldest and I can make something from the same recipe. Hers always turns out better. She just smiles and shrugs like there’s no reason either item should taste differently. But I assure you they do. I tell everyone you can taste the love. At that, she just rolls her eyes.

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I am quite partial to Slick. He’s always up to no good but I can understand his point of view. Everyone else is luckier than he is. If he had that kind of luck, he’d be better off too. So he wheels and deals trying to make it look like he is more fortunate than he is. Of course, no one is fooled. Kind of feel sorry for the guy.

What do you love that most people would find odd?

I’m crazy about science fiction. When I tell people I’ve been to Star Trek conventions, they look at me a little oddly. They’d never place me as a science fiction geek. I also think Die Hard is the best Christmas movie. Maybe that’s a little strange.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?

I dislike nuts in brownies and cookies. Crunchy and soft things do not go together.



Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed? 

After escaping an arranged marriage, Charli Daniels lands on a new shore. But things go from bad to worse when her fiancé follows her to New York. Now, instead of realizing her dream of opening her own bakery, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his effort to find a murderer is jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect.

When a new threat surfaces, Felix wonders if he is once again on the wrong track. Can Charli convince him of her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?


His eyes narrowed to slits. Funny. She’d never seen him as menacing before last night. Now, no matter what he did, she quivered. “And what did you say?”

“Nothing. I told him I didn’t know anything.” Panic surged at his proximity.

“How’d they find out who the stiff was so fast?”

“I-I don’t know.” She focused on her hands. That was more comfortable than looking into the eyes of a cold-blooded killer.

“They suspect anything?”

Words flew from her mouth in a torrent. “He had an announcement of my engagement. Somehow he found me. What am I going to do?”

“Huh. Dig out those charms you have hiding. There’s plenty a dame like you can use to your advantage.”

The burn of a blush crept across Charlotte’s cheeks. Thank goodness the speakeasy was dimly lit so no one would see her shame.

“Whatever you do.” Slick leaned in closer. “Keep your mouth shut.” He glared down at her, then stumbled away.

Charlotte’s stomach lurched. She’d gotten herself into a pickle with no clear way out. Her legs wobbled. She forced deep breaths. In, out. In, out. Once steadier on her feet, she picked up her tray and darted to the bar. Ira was back, wiping it down. He didn’t scold her. He didn’t say anything at all. His silence unnerved her. Her life had turned upside down. Things would never be normal again.





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