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A Day in the Life of.....
Once Kathleen Bittner Roth realized making a living was not the same as making a life, she blazed her own trail by founding a successful well-being center, walking on fire, and marrying in a castle in Scotland. She has somehow managed to live in six U.S. states and several foreign countries.
Currently residing in Budapest, Hungary, she still keeps one foot planted in the U.S. Kathleen considers writing Victorian romance a wonderful venue for creating characters faced with difficult choices, and who are forced to draw on their strength of spirit in order to overcome adversity and find unending love. A member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen has been a regular guest on radio, television, and on various writing blogs.
You can find Kathleen on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or visit her website at: www.kathleenbittnerroth.com.
Before I tell you about my day, perhaps I should share a little something about how I ended up living in not one, but two post-communist countries.
Hans, my late husband, was German. We met in Texas, married in a private castle in Scotland, and then moved to New York. Four years later, he wanted to return to Europe. Having vacationed as a child in Croatia when it was Yugoslavia, and under the dictatorship of Marsal Tito, he thought living along the Adriatic would be an ideal lifestyle for us. So off we went, settling in stunning Opatija, a spa town Emperor Franz Josef had built up in the 1800’s for his lovely wife, Empress Elizabeth.
We lived that idyllic life for four years, swimming in the crystal clear waters, climbing the Emerald green mountain that met the sea, dining on fresh-caught fish in outdoor restaurants. But then, my wonderful, athletic, too-young-to-die husband suddenly took ill. We rushed him to a specialized hospital in Budapest where he passed away five weeks later. Due to obligations in Croatia, I was not free to return to the U.S. I was devastated. Every morning, I would leave my apartment (during the coldest winter in recent history) and walk the streets alone. Soon, the beauty of Budapest took hold of me, and the fog in my head began to slowly lift. Three months later, as a way of working through my grief, I started writing a Victorian era romance. I dedicated it to Hans. Not only did writing A Duke’s Wicked Kiss help me heal, it became a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest®. It wasn’t long before I had a contract in my hands (the book is due for release August 26th). I now have a total of five books under contract, including The Seduction of Sarah Marks, all set to release one after the other.
I ended up falling in love with this incredible city, with the culture, and with the lovely Hungarians. I joined a women’s group of expats who all speak English. Not only did I survive, I thrived. Now, I find it hard to leave this enchanting city, so here, I remain. Most of my week goes something like this:
Because of the time difference between here and the U.S., immediately upon awakening, I check my email and social media to see what went on while I slept. Then, I take a walk. I live on the Pest side of Budapest (Buda is separated from Pest by the Danube). I live a block from City Park. What a magical place! There’s a fairy tale castle nestled amongst tall trees, a lovely little lake filled with ducks, restaurants, a zoo, the famous Szechenyi Baths, and in the winter, an ice palace with a huge skating rink. Heading home, I walk along streets lined with grand old villas built during the wealthy Austro-Hungarian Empire era. By now, my left brain is thoroughly disengaged, and whatever story I am working on flows through my mind like a movie.
Returning to my flat, I write until noon. I either eat lunch at home or meet up with a friend in one of the city’s wonderful restaurants. Budapest is loaded with outdoor restaurants, so that’s where you’ll find me in summer. Home by 2 p.m., I meditate—unless it’s Thursday when I meet up with friends in one of the awesome coffee houses for some lively conversation. I particularly like the New York Café. Its over-the-top baroque interior makes me feel like I’m in a palace. This café is where poets and artists gathered before the Nazis invaded. Michael Korda, who wrote the movie, Casablanca, was one of those creative patrons who escaped to America. The story of Casablanca is based on what went on at the New York Café!
Four p.m. will find me back home and writing until 7 p.m. when I stop for dinner. If I’m at home, I’ll watch a movie or my favorite series (I’m currently hooked on Suits). I then check emails and often Skype a family member or friend, maybe write a little more, and then off to bed for my nightly reading. I live alone, but I am never lonely. The two words are so entirely different.
Losing my husband in a strange country where the language is considered the second most difficult in the world, put me through a rugged series of testing everything I stood for. But instead of feeling sorry for myself, I applied myself. I am content. In fact, life feels pretty darn good. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to write and live my life as I so choose.
As for The Seduction of Sarah Marks, I dreamed the entire story one night in its entirety. Little did I know that it would become my debut as an author. I hope you enjoy it.
The Seduction of Sarah Marks:
He may be her savior . . . or what she fears most
After a blow to her head, Sarah Marks awakens in a strange bed with a strange man and no memory of how she got there. Her handsome bedmate, Lord Eastleigh, tells her she’s suffering from amnesia and the best course of action is to travel home with him until she recovers her memory.
Lord Eastleigh has his own reasons for helping Sarah and keeping her close. Reasons he cannot tell her. As they struggle to restore her memory, their undeniable, inadvisable attraction grows – until Sarah finally remembers the one thing that could keep them apart forever.
Seduction can take many forms. Here’s a little excerpt where a fun one takes place:
Sarah watched Eastleigh pick up a jar of cherries, and with the tip of the knife, remove the beeswax off the top. He set the blade down, his actions slow and deliberate.
Not bothering with a spoon or fork, he dipped his fingers straight into the jar, lifted out one of the dark cherries, and gave it a little shake. He was going to feed her, and she wouldn’t stop him. Didn’t think she could. She didn’t want to.
“You have the most beautiful, kissable mouth I have ever seen.” His eyes darkened, and he leaned closer. “Now open.”
Heart pounding, she complied. Her eyelids drifted nearly shut as he slid the syrupy morsel past her lips. A drop of liquid pooled at the corner of her mouth. Before she could do anything about it, he swept up the juice with his thumb, and then licked the tip. “That should have been my tongue taking care of removing such sweetness.”
A ribbon of heat unfurled in her belly. Oh, Lord! Her eyes shot wide, and she stood so fast the chair fell back with a clatter. She gulped, swallowing the cherry whole.
“What?” He examined his stained thumb and licked it again. He looked at her with a sultry grin. “Do you have any idea how long I have wanted to kiss you?”