In A Heartbeat Release Day!!!!

Today’s the day!  I’m releasing a newly acquired “old” release, IN A HEARTBEAT.

InaHeartbeat_NookA few months ago, I shared some of the challenges in updating this story from its 1990s origins, but I thought I’d tell you how this book actually came about.

When I first started writing, I wrote a book I called The Flame of the Dragon. Don’t bother looking for it.  The manuscript is still gathering dust bunnies under my bed – but who knows?  One day I’ll drag that one out. It was a romantic suspense – woman in jeopardy book that once finished, finaled in RWA’s 1998 Golden Heart Contest   (along with Nancy Northcott’s book, I might add).  This was my first manuscript!  I was stunned.  I was also so naive that I thought being a finalist meant publishers would be banging on my door wanting to buy this book. (Pardon me while I roll around on the floor beset with laughter).  I’d even heard that publishers rarely offered a contract for one book so I’d better have another Romantic Suspense ready to go.

This caused considerable anxiety as I was so sure a contract must be in the works.  Then one morning, I MontelWilliamshappened to see a Montel Williams’s talk show.  He was interviewing a cardiologist who, in the course of the interview, mentioned that he’d transplanted hearts and later learned that the recipient of the heart had some of the memories of the heart’s donor.  Doesn’t that make a shiver run up your spine?  It did mine!  So I devised this story.

Transplanted hearts can hold memories. They can give voice to the dead. And they can hold the key to identifying a serial killer.
Assigned to do an audit for an old client may finally give Certified Public Accountant Angela Blake what she really wants: independence from a family that’s been overprotective for far too long. Her recent heart transplant has given her a new lease on life and she’s ready to live. The demanding new CEO of Hayden Industries may be distractingly sexy, but Angela’s audit reveals troubling hints of deception. What is he hiding?
Hank Renard never wanted to be CEO of Hayden Industries, but his parents’ impending financial ruin gave him no choice. If he doesn’t reverse the flow of red ink, he’ll lose the lucrative incentives offered. The clumsy, adorable auditor with the face of an angel only adds to his problems.
A series of troubling accidents point to a dangerous truth: someone wants Angela Blake dead. With her job, her heart and her life in peril, will Angela survive to discover a long-awaited love, or will her new life end before it’s barely begun?

So I started writing away with fervor. I have to tell you, when I was doing that recent update, I was surprised to discover a pretty good plot.  I had decided to “write what I know” so this story involved a woman CPA (me) who lived in Westerville, Ohio (me) and had uncovered fraud in the workplace (as I have done).  I was about half way through the story Pulsewhen my critique partner returned my manuscript (these were the days when stories were shared on paper – no internet) with a copy of a book review of a book named “Pulse” from her local paper.  Pulse is a story about a male CPA who has received a heart transplant and suddenly has memories of his heart’s donor.  Oh My God!  Even though I’d never read this book, I could see the similarities.  How was this possible?  Could it simply be a coincidence?

Well…yes.  All a writer needs is the basic inspiration in whatever form it takes.  Perhaps Edna Buchanan heard the same tv interview with a cardiologist as I had, or had even talked to the guy.  I was an incredibly slow writer at that time especially as this was only my second complete manuscript.  Stephen King once said that inspiration for stories are buried in the ground all around us, all a writer has to do is dig it up.  Apparently Edna and I saw inspiration with the same information.  However, my story is a complete Romance with a love story and a happily-ever-after ending.  Pulse isn’t a romance at all.  Still, the coincidence is striking.

Have you ever experienced a strange or funny coincidence?  Tell me about it. I’m happy to give away two digital copies of In A Heartbeat to someone leaving a comment.

In a Heartbeat is currently available on Amazon, and ibooks.





  • Amy Conley says:

    Years ago I met a girl online and we became very close friends. But the weirdest part was the more we shared about ourselves and our lives, the more we found we had in common. An example is both sets of our parents met while teaching dancing at an Arthur Murray dance studio. Over the years we find more and more things we have in common, so we’ve started numbering them in a random order. She’ll make a comment about something and I’ll reply, “number 1768th thing we have in common”. Or vice versa, There is one thing we don’t have in common though…she drinks cokes and I’m a die-hard Pepsi drinker!

    • Hi Amy!

      That is amazing! And she’s not related to you somehow? I hadn’t realized teaching dancing was such a such a romance haven. In fact, I can’t think of a single romance where the heroine was a dance instructor. But it makes sense because dancing itself is so romantic. Crazy. I know a person is a “doppleganger” if they look like you. I wonder if there’s a term for someone if they share so many related things but aren’t related?

      • Amy Conley says:

        A dance instructor, who knew? And guess who’s dad could not teach her to dance?
        and yes it’s very strange that we have sold me different things in common I teller overtime that she is a doppelganger as me on the other side of the world.I’m going to leave this this is voice to text.LMAO

        • LOL – that is one interesting text 🙂 . I always wondered how accurate voice to text would be. My thought is that it would take a lot of time to correct it, but if you can get everything trained, maybe it would save time.

  • Helen says:

    Woohoo Donna

    Happy release day I am looking forward to reading this one I do love a good romantic suspense

    I know there have been lots of times over the years that I have felt that this thing has happened before it is such a weird feeling and then there is the butterflies in the tummy sometimes and a feeling that something is going to happen and it does with no explanation.

    Have Fun

    • Hi Helen –

      I hope you enjoy it. I know it looks sort of wierd being the only suspense up there. It truly is a stand alone. I never planned it to be part of a series and now I don’t really write suspense. After I finish up my backlog, I might have to redo that first suspense for release, just to give this one some company 🙂 .

      Sounds like you have a bit of “the sight.” I tend to get those butterflies and think something is going to happen, yet it never does. In fact, I once convinced myself the best way to make something NOT happen was to imagine it all the way through with feeling and emotion – and then it would never materialize. 🙂 Crazy.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Donna, I guess that crazy bird didn’t like my comment since it is now completely gone!

    • Amy Conley says:

      I swear to you when I typed this about the crazy bird, I couldn’t see my comment.

    • LOL Amy –

      Not so crazy. Ever since we were hacked, the posts of many of our friends and even banditas go into moderation. The first thing I do when I check comments is release any comment in moderation before I come to the site to answer emails. So it’s very possible you couldn’t see your earlier emails. Wish there was something we could do to fix that. grrrrr…..

  • Hi Donna, it was lovely spending time with you again last week at RWA / SAN DIEGO. I thank you again for arranging for my award ceremony ticket. It is so much more fun going with someone I know and like! I had a great time.

    I’m looking forward to this new version of your book and I hope it gets the attention that it deserves.

    • Hi Flora –

      As always, the pleasure was mine. Hey, remember that sequence in the “show” where they had all the historical ladies hold up signs, but we couldn’t see what they said? Susan Gee Heino, the one with the green feather in her hair said her sign said “Make Almacks Great Again!” 🙂 That was a hoot! I swear – one of these days- I hope to be a finalist for the RITAs. I just want the little lady pin 🙂

      • Flora says:

        That really is a hoot, Donna. I showed your blog to George and he asked me what Almaks is! LOL. I have to go back and look at the live stream because I did miss a lot.
        Oh, regarding paranormal occurances, I’ve had several during my life. The first was when I was 20 and had to be hospitalized for a severe respiratory infection complicated be asthma. I heard them calling a code blue because I had stopped breathing. I could feel myself floating away and saw the doctors working on me, but my point of view was looking down at them working on me in the bed! I saw the cardiac monitor start to flat line, then one of the MD’s gave me an enormous thump on the chest and I was back in my body again and the monitor was beeping normally. For a long time I was afraid to say anything about it; when I finally told my mom (she had been in the room when it happened,) she hugged me to her and we both cried. The doctors had told her that I had actually died for a few seconds. That was a true out of body experience and I still remember it vividly all these years later. I have other stories, but I’ll save them for another day.

        • OMG Flora!!!

          That is incredible. Now, you must read IN A HEARTBEAT. Hope it doesn’t freak you out.

          But you aren’t alone in that experience. I did research on this for my book. THere’s much science doesn’t know/understand about death. Heck, there’s much they don’t understand about life, either 🙂

          Funny about George. Wish I knew what the other signs said.

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    Congratulations on the re-release Donna! I know I have experienced weird coincidences because I have said many times “what are the odds?” However, I can’t think up any specific examples right now. My mind is kind of sluggish this morning. 😉

    I hope you have a great release day!

    • Hi Heather!

      Thank you for the release day wishes. My mind is still sluggish from the flight back from San Diego on Sunday and then trying to catch up on everything that had piled up while I was gone.

      BTW – I’m going to be at a book expo in Akron this Saturday. I’m hoping they have a good turnout. If you’re around I hope you can stop by.
      It’s at the Holiday Inn – Akron West, 4073 Medina Rd. 44433 from 9 to 5. I’ll have lots of peacock feathers 🙂

      • Heathercm2001 says:

        I wish I could make it! I have to be home because I have a foster dog getting dropped off. He’s going to be staying here for a few days while his foster mom is away. I forgot the expo was this weekend.

        • Heather –

          No problem. You’re a saint for caring for a foster dog for a couple of days. I believe dogs, cats, and horses are as much our responsibility as children. All you have to do is look at their eyes and you can feel their capacity for love and for pain. Glad you’re helping with this transition.

  • Deb Meredith says:

    Hi Donna! Congrats on release day! Can’t wait to get my copy!
    As far as coincidences, one the strangest I have encountered was when my Dad was in the hospital. The gentleman in the bed next to his was super nice. They chatted a lot. The more they talked to each other, the more in common they found. They had lived close together, knew several of the same people, believe they had even worked at the same place but at different times. The gentleman had several children. One daughter was Debbie Meredith, just like me, My dad’s name was Ralph Eugene. His roommate had a son named Ralph, one named Eugene. All in all it was just eerie how things were so close, yet so different. I was even able to have lunch with his daughter Debbie and one of the boys. All in all, a very neat event.

    • Hi Deb!

      Let me add to your list of coincidences. My father’s name is Ralph Eugene. 🙂 Ralph is such an unusual name these days – as is Eugene. I remember one of my brothers planned to give his son my father’s middle name out of respect for him. My father said, “why would you want to do that to a poor child? Give him a normal name.” 🙂 Sounds like your dad and Amy up above that “experience snatcher” thing going 🙂

      Thanks for the book love!

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I named my youngest daughter Mary Katherine Oxier when she was born in the 70’s. When she was in her teens she was in church youth group with a young man, Damon Richardson. They become very good friends. Damon’s mom had passed away when he was 12 in a car accident. I only ever knew her as Kathy. Damon got married to my daughter’s best friend (my daughter was in their wedding), had a child, and eventually got divorced. After the divorce, Damon and Mary, still friends, began talking on the phone, then started going to movies or eating out together. It took Damon awhile to propose because he was worried about their friendship. He didn’t want to ruin what they had. He finally proposed, they got married, and settled down. It wasn’t until later they both realized that my daughter was now Mary Katherine Richardson . . . same name as Damon’s deceased mom. Her name was Mary Katherine Richardson although she went by Kathy and reverted back to her maiden name after she divorced Damon’s dad! What are the chances your mother and now your wife, have the exact same name?

    • It’s not exact, but it’s close…my Mom’s name was Helen Lutz. My brother married a woman named Helen, who then became Helen Lutz. They lived in different states and we called my mother “Mom” and my sister-in-law “Helen.” So it wasn’t a problem. However, there was another Helen Lutz in the community next to alls. SHe was as active in community organization as my mom. Sometimes that led to problems.

      My youngest sister is Mary Lutz. My other brother married a woman named Mary who became Mary Lutz. Now the two are as different as different can be – but they’re both on my cell phone. I’ve caught myself starting to call my sister-in-law when I really wanted to call my sister.
      Life is funny sometimes :).

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Woohooo! Donna I’m so thrilled to see this book come out! Love the cover and very excited to read your updated version!
    As many times as we’ve talked about this, i don’t think I’d ever heard how you came to write this story. That was fun to hear!

    • Hi Cassondra!

      Hope you’re loving this weather!

      Yeah, I’m still sort of freaked out by that cardiologist’s interview. But it must have freaked out others as well. LOL – Do you remember when writers were told to select two movies that were somewhat indicative of the book’s plot? I selected “Return to Me,” a David Duchovny movie about falling in love with a heart transplant recipient who had received his wife’s heart and “From Hell” a movie about the famous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. But somehow “Return to me from Hell” didn’t quite encapsulate my fun, but (hopefully) edge-of-the-seat suspense.

  • Donna, comgratulations! I’m glad this story is entering the world and am off to get my copy!

    What a cool story. It’s a perfect example of how two writers can take the same premise and turn out very different stories.

    I was talking to a new friend at GRW years ago and learned she nor only knew but had dated a friend of mine from college.

    • Hi Nancy!

      LOL – That is so funny! Obviously, it hadn’t gone further than dating (I assume) but that’s interesting. I don’t think I can name a single person that has dated someone I know – except in college when my roommate started dating the guy she knew I was crushing on. Awkward.

      I’m glad to get In A Heartbeat out there because it really is a good story but I do harbor fears that my regulars will think I’m changing genres – which I’m not. But the story is now out and I can move to the next thing. 🙂

  • Jane says:

    Congrats on the release, Donna.

  • Will order In a Heartbeat today. Sounds like a fabulous story!

  • Flora says:

    Me again, Donna. I keep forgetting to congratulate you on your new release. It sounds wonderful; I can’t wait to read it. I hope this is the one that brings you that lovely golden lady.
    On forgetting things, I am not a good picture taker. I won’t even use the term photographer; that’s how bad I am. Even so I’m sorry l didn’t get a picture of us all dolled up for the RITA’s. Believe it or not, I didn’t take a single picture of any of the other authors we got to see either! I guess because my photos come out so badly I just put it out of my mind. Next time I’m going to hang my phone or camera from my wrist!

    • Thanks Flora –

      Unfortunately the new release won’t be eligible for the RITAs because it was published originally by Samhain back in 2006. I fixed it up so it’s a better story now, but It’s not eligible as it’s my backlist.

      I’m terrible at remembering to take photos, as well. Yes, we should have poised and put George to work. 🙂