E.E. Burke's Best of the West with Kathleen Bittner Roth

Available from Amazon, B&N
and in stores
For today's BEST OF THE WEST, I'm featuring a luscious historical romance set in old New Orleans. JOSETTE, a brand new release from Kathleen Bittner Roth, is Book Three in her series, When Hearts Dare.

Across the oceans, between worlds old and new—two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads. 

Josette LeBlanc left behind her poverty-stricken life in a Louisiana bayou after marrying the wealthiest man in New Orleans. Now a widow living in luxury, Josette should have it all. Nothing could be further from the truth. Polite society's scorn has forced her into a lonely existence. When a wayward niece overwhelms Josette, she grudgingly turns to someone she once adored—the man she believes to be the girl's father.

Wealthy shipping magnate Cameron Andrews possesses everything a man could want, but tragedy shrouded his heart in darkness. He has every intention of escaping a life more suffocating than the sultry heat of the French Quarter. Fate, however, has something else in mind when a precocious young girl storms into his life claiming to be his daughter. Not only is the girl a Cajun raised in the bayou backwaters, she is also the granddaughter of a wicked voodoo priestess.

Like a rose bush filled with prickly thorns, an unwanted attraction blossoms between Josette and Cameron. While denying the passion that sparks between them, their verbal sparring heats their blood as nothing ever has, but treacherous forces are at work. Soon, Josette and Cameron are caught in a tangled web of passion and betrayal that could cost Cameron his life.

Here's a book trailer and excerpt:

   “Monsieur Andrews, welcome to my home.”
    At the smoky, velvet sound, Cameron swung around. Every function in his body—heart, breath, blood—ceased to function.
    She was lovely. 
    More than lovely.
    Tendrils of raven hair framed a face so exquisite, it disarmed him. Her mouth, a soft, dewy pink, as though she’d pressed rose petals to her lips, parted. And those eyes, as dark as Creole coffee, intelligent and assessing, roamed over him and then back to take hold of his. But it was her complexion, as flawless as a newborn’s, and with a soft glow to it that mesmerized him, that made him want to step closer and stroke her skin.

Meet Kathleen

Kathleen Bittner Roth creates evocative stories featuring characters forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love. Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. 

A PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest. 

Contact information:

Twitter: @K_BittnerRoth

E.E.: How is it working with hot guys and sexy women all day?
Kathleen: When I’m writing a story (which is all the time—one after the other) I live with my characters 24/7. I reside in Budapest, Hungary which has one of the finest public transportation systems in the world along with some of the best sidewalk cafes around. Both are perfect venues for people watching. I’ll purposely ride the trams and trolleys around town and hang out at the cafes so I can watch people and pick out strangers 

E.E.: What’s the best birthday (or any holiday) present you ever received? 
Kathleen: Oh, this is easy. I sent a query to Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency early December of 2011, never expecting a quick response, if one at all. She wrote back that week asking for a partial. A few days later, she requested the full. The week before Christmas she emailed wanting to talk about representation. I signed with her agency on Christmas Eve, 201. My best present ever! A DUKE’S WICKED KISS went on to become a Golden Heart finalist and my first publishing contract. 

E.E.: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
Kathleen: The two secondary characters I would most like to invite to dinner would be René and Bastien Thibodeaux, Josette’s hot, bad boy brothers from the bayou. They are wicked, wily, sexy and conniving, but oh, what handsome and enticing rogues. They were so entertaining in JOSETTE that my editor asked me to write their stories. Who would I least like to invite to dinner? Their mother, Odalie. She’s a voodoo priestess with a heart as hard as stone

E.E.: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met? 
Kathleen: My friend, Janos Horvath. In 1944 he was a leader in the Hungarian Student Resistance Movement against the Nazis. He was captured and endured unbelievable torture for nine days. He was to be executed on Christmas Day but the Russian army moved into Budapest on Christmas Eve. As the Russians advanced through the city, Janos managed to escape in all the confusion. After his escape he was elected to the Hungarian Parliament at the age of twenty-four. When the communists began their takeover, he was charged with conspiracy and again tortured and sentenced to four years in prison for being "an enemy of the people". In 1956 he became a political leader of the Hungarian Revolution. After the Soviet army crushed the Revolution, he escaped to the United States to tell the true story of the Revolution to the U.S. Congress and to the United Nations so as to challenge the lies that were being perpetrated by the Soviets. He hoped to seek help for the Hungarian cause and return home within a few weeks but he was not permitted to return until the wall came down many years later. He remained in the United States, earned a PH.D in Economics at Columbia University, and taught at the university level until his retirement in 1997. In January 1998 he returned to Hungary, and was again elected to the Hungarian Parliament. Last year at the age of ninety-two, Janos Horvath retired as the oldest Member of Parliament. A true survivor and hero if I ever met one.

E.E.: What turns you off like nothing else?
Kathleen: Cigarette smoke. I love living in Budapest, the most romantic city I’ve ever spent any time in. Unfortunately, Hungarians are heavy smokers. It’s been outlawed in restaurants so they smoke on the street in droves. Ugh. I’ve lost loved ones due to the awful stuff. If I could rid the world of tobacco, I would.

E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?
Kathleen: I love the sound of running water—a babbling brook, waves lapping on a sandy beach, a water fountain in a park or even a small table top fountain on my desk—they are all soothing. I once read that if a person were to sit on the beach for three days running, the flow of blood in the body would match the rhythm of the waves in the ocean. I lived for four years in Opatija, Croatia, a lovely baroque town along the beautiful Adriatic. My memory of my time spent there is always one of a sense of tranquility because of the lovely scenery and the calming waters.

E.E.: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Kathleen: I start the next one, even if it’s only the first paragraph. I make sure I get something nailed down before I go to bed. Or I’ll fiddle with the title and characters’ names. Once I get those and a bit of a bio on each person, they come alive for me and write the story themselves.

E.E.: Where do you read and how often?
Kathleen: I like reading in bed and I do so every night without fail. Three years ago, I had a freak accident where a metal pipe dropped on my eyes. I endured some scary weeks of not knowing how the surgeries would turn out and having to face the notion of “what if I cannot see?” Fortunately, there is a genius of an eye surgeon here in Budapest who restored my eyesight (when others said it was impossible). I take good care of my eyes now.

I mentioned I live in Budapest. The Hungarian language is considered the second most difficult language in the world to learn, yet I have managed to live here quite contentedly for five years.

My question for the reader: How do you think you’d fare if you were to suddenly find yourself living in a country where you didn’t know anyone and did not speak the language?

Kathleen is giving away a digital copy and a print copy (mailed in the U.S. only) of her new release. Just let a comment and enter the raffle.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Kathleen, you life sounds so glamorous! Living in BUDAPEST and at the beach in Croatia? WOW! I bet you've got some amazing stories. And I bet a lot of them show up in your books. LOVED reading about Janos Horvath!!! How fascinating. New country, all alone and not knowing the language? Hmmm. I have lived in foreign countries, but fortunately had my family with me. I batted my eyes a lot and looked helpless a few times and people were always kind. I know a smile goes a long way. Great to see you here at GLIAS!

    1. I'd like to be shy and say, ah, living here is like anyplace else but IT'S FREAKING NOT! What a romantic city. I also have made friends with women from all over the world whose husbands are either embassy workers, NATO, CEO's of companies, etc. Budapest has broadened by life and outlook. I bat my eyes constantly here...Hungarian is the second most difficult language in the world to learn and I don't have an ear for languages. I have learning "shopping Hungarian." lol

  2. I think I'd be lost. I'm hopeless at languages.
    Getting married in a Scottish castle - wow!

    1. Hi LInda, We hadn't planned on a wedding in a castle, I thought, one could only dream, but when I made one phone call, everything feel into place and it was truly a dream come true (wish I could post our wedding photo here but don't see how. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. It would take time to adjust... I would be intimidated and would worry about everything. I enjoyed reading your answers... thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Colleen. My late husband was German. My first time in Europe was on our honeymoon and I've forgotten how scared I was with all the other languages around me and me only speaking English. My husband spoke 6 languages and German with five dialects so he was in charge. We lived in the U.S. at the time and would travel once a year to Stuttgart to see his family and then we'd rent a car and take off with no destination in mind for three weeks. I got used to Europe, to traveling into foreign places. When he passed away here in Budapest, I ended up staying and fell in love with the city. I find that if I need help, I can almost always spot someone who speaks English...not many do here. All in all, living here alone, traveling back and forth to the U.S. alone has been good for me.

  5. Replies
    1. I find that if you learn a few words and the people know you are trying, they are more than willing to help. Hungarians are friendly. The first words I learn are please and thank you!

  6. Replies
    1. I'll admit, I was intimidated by the world around me the first time I traveled to Europe. I was so glad I was on my honeymoon with a European! Now nothing bothers me. I know I can find what I'm needing or wanting eventually. You'd be able to do the same, I promise. I just had two friends from Texas visit for eight days and they were really scared to tackle this big city. With my writing schedule, I couldn't be with them all the time. By the third day, they were running around the city on their own having a ball!

  7. It was wonderful to "meet" you and I can't wait to read your books! The trailer was fantastic! I traveled to Spain as a 17 year old and we could only speak Spanish to those we met. It's amazing how much body language and facial expressions can convey a message! dblaser(at)windstream(dot)net

    1. Ha! I get so much accomplished with pointing and smiling! My accent is horrible. There is a darling young butcher I go to and he jumps to help me when I walk in the store. I asked him one day if he liked waiting on me and he smiled big and said, "Yes, very much." I asked him if it was because he got to practice his English. He laughed and said, "No, it's because I like to hear you speak Hungarian because you sound so funny." :-)

  8. I am getting ready to take French classes at my college. I see you have been a lot of places. I really want to see Europe.

    1. I lived along the Adriatic in Croatia for four years before moving to Bduapest. I love Eastern Europe. Budapest is a central hopping off place to visit other countries. I just returned from Northern France where I was researching a WWII story I'm writing. It was only a 2 hour flight to Paris and a 2 1/2 hour ride on the high-speed train (328k/hr). It was fun and my research was awesome. Be sure and contact me if you ever come to Budapest (and do yourself a favor and make sure you see Budapest)!

  9. Kathleen, welcome to GLIAS! I loved your interview and the book sounds wonderful. I'm so happy to see more American historical romance hitting the shelves.

    I visited Budapest about six years ago. I could not even get my mouth around the words! I was amazed, though, at how well everyone spoke English. Made me feel like a real underachiever. I wish I'd started younger learning languages.

    Good luck with your new release!

    1. Thank you so much for hosting me! I wish I would've learned languages when I was young but in Minnesota we were only required to take two semesters of something. Not enough. My German niece and nephew (my late husband's side - he was German) start English in the first grade, Latin in the 5th and must have two more languages before graduating! Sadly, Hungarian is a very difficult language. But I love Budapest so here I remain.