Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tell us something about yourself?

Hello and thank you Margaret, for welcoming me!
My name is Grace Elliot.
By day I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. Being a vet is my dream job, but it can be emotionally draining and several years ago I started writing as a form of stress relief. I live near London and I am married with two teenage sons, five cats (we peaked at nine) and a guinea pig.

Is this your first book?

I have written four novels prior to ‘A Dead Man’s Debt,’ but this is the first that I felt ready for the public to read. Writing is a learning curve and with each book I learnt something, improved and moved on. I expect that process will keep going for as long as I keep writing and publishing, especially as some reviewers make very perceptive comments.

What led you to tell this particular story?

The inspiration behind A Dead Man’s Debt sprang from a portrait of the young Emma Hart (who later married Lord Hamilton and became Horatio Nelson’s mistress)
The painting by George Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom, brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. At the time the picture must have been utterly scandalous.
But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)
What a delicious idea for a story!
What if the woman in the portrait wanted to shock? From this idea, Lady Sophia Cadnum, Ranulf’s mother, was born. A woman who hated being a brood mare and resented her children….
What if years later, this same portrait threatened to disgrace her son, forcing Ranulf to do the very thing she resented…and marry out of duty…

Thus the stage was set for the story of blackmail, sacrifice and redeeming love that in ‘A Dead Man’s Debt.’

You’ve written a historical romance. How did you go about researching the period?

I came to writing historical romance through a love of history. I discovered the wonders of history whilst pregnant with my second son. It was a difficult pregnancy and I spent a lot of time resting and reading, and by chance picked up an engrossing book by Margaret George called ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII.’ That this novel was based on fact was a revelation…but how could this be so when the book was so interesting? Out of curiosity I read my first non-fiction history book outside of school, and fell in love with the past. From then I was lost and history books became an addiction…and research from my HR is the best excuse yet to buy more!

How did you find working with your publisher?

I am eternally grateful to Solstice for taking a risk and giving me this chance to become a published author. One of the main benefits that I can see of belonging to Solstice is the network of supportive fellow authors, who are so generous with their advice and experience. I’m not particularly computer literate and with their encouragement I have started a blog (updated twice a week with posts on historical trivia) a website, Tweet (@Grace_Elliot) and am active on Facebook.

What are you working on now?

You can’t beat historical romance for sheer page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ lives up to this.
‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?

Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.

How do you feel that your work as a vet plays into your writing?

Oh, this is a good question!
Writing and being a vet are complimentary occupations. As I said earlier, writing is a release from the sad, raw emotional side of being a vet, (it’s so hard, saying goodbye to patients I’ve known for years.) In my work, each day I meet all sorts of interesting and very different people with all their quirks and peculiarities, and it’s a great way to get inspiration for characters! On occasions I’ve also woven some of my veterinary knowledge into a novel (such as when Lord Ranulf Charing meets Miss Celeste Armitage for the first time….not in a ball room, but in a muddy ditch as he’s helping a cow give birth to a breech calf.)

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten? The worst?

The best writing I ever read was “Write every day, whether you feel like it or not.”
Even when I’m really tired after a hard day, I buckle down and write for a minimum of twenty minutes. If at the end of that time I want to stop then fine (mostly that twenty minutes stretches into two hours) ….but at least I’ve inched my WIP forward.
To be a writer you need to write and even if that twenty minutes work is poor, at least I can go back and edit it later, but you cant edit a blank page!
I don’t think I’ve ever been given bad writing advice….at least nothing that I thought worthy of remembering!

Any favorite authors/books in your genre?

My favorite historical romance authors are Julia Quinn (for her humor) Mary Balogh ( consistently enthralling books) Gaelen Foley (writes great heroes) Lisa Keyplas ( emotional depth) and Stephanie Laurens ( sheer numbers of books.) One of the joys of the internet and eBooks is the number of forums for fellow book addicts, I’m constantly discovering new and promising authors, such as Marissa Patzer (The Blighted Troth) and Rose Gordon (The Intentions of the Earl.)

Where can readers find your book?

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is currently available as an eBook from Amazon, Smashwords, Fictionwise and other eBook retailers. ($2.99 US, 2.14 GBP UK.)



Any last words?

If you have enjoyed this interview, or are interested by ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ then you might enjoy my blog. This is a blend of history, romance and cats! I update twice a week at
I am also on twitter: @grace_elliot and I’d love to hear from you.
Bright blessings,
Grace x

Meet Joe Dadich

Today I have the pleasure of hosting attorney Joe Dadich who blogs about estate planning.

And here’s a plug from me:
Yes, I know, I, too, think I’m immortal — but, folks, you never know when you’re going to go — and when you do, the headache for settling your estate will fall on those near and dear to you: your spouse, your kids, your niece from Saint Loius. Someone will have to find them, and go through the trouble of settling your estate when they are grieving for you, and without a will.

Trust me, this is not what you want to wish on them.

A good friend died unexpectedly some years back, and he didn’t have a will. His four kids, then in their late teens and early 20’s, had to deal with not just burying their father, but with the resulting legal hassle.

So read Joe”s post and take it to heart.

Three Emergency Estate Planning Myths Online Will Company’s, Cable Finance Guru’s DO NOT KNOW about – that will knock your socks off!One of the biggest fallacy’s in the world of media is that there is so much mis-information. Take for instance the show I was watching the other night on a national cable station. They had one of the female finance hosts discussing what busy women should do to protect their kids in the event the parents pass on.
So, out of intrigue I watched to see what the answers were going to be. I was shocked when the first words out of the hosts mouth was flagrantly false!!
Not only have I studied what self-professed financial guru’s believe are in every family’s LEGAL best interest, but I’ve studied the online alleged legal solution providers. And long-time membership company’s that have been around for decades.
As I will share with you here and in the book is a peak into the mis-information and devious nature these outlets attempt to illustrate to you – the consumer and nightly news watcher.
Myth #1: YOUR ESTATE PLAN IS VALID FOR YEARS TO COME AFTER YOU SIGN IT. You should be hearing the Alex Tribek’s Jeopardy buzzer with this one. For the past 18 years I have always advised clients that once you sign a legal document what happens when you want to make changes? With every self-professed legal insider and estate planner they have failed miserably at providing the ability to allow for changes to be made. What do I mean with this?
At all of the conferences I speak at I provide a list of questions you should always ask your legal advisor (and quite frankly any financial advisor) who is attempting to provide you with estate planning advice. Here is the #1 item you should ask. How often can I come back to update my plan AND WITHOUT PAYING FOR THE UPDATES?
What happens why you go into a store that is offering a great deal of $9.99 and then you find out this item is only good for a short period of time or worse they are out of the item and now you are stuck buying another. It’s called a bait-and-switch.
Further, remember what happened when Michael Jackson passed away? He had originally signed a Will back in 2002. Now he had all the money in the world – allegedly. His Mother was contesting who was actually controlling Michael’s finances post-death. It was wildly reported Michael’s disgust with the current financial advisors who were controlling his Estate. The point is, what if this is you? Michael should have changed and/or updated his estate plan to have his new intentions known. What happens when you need to make a change?
They get you in for a certain price. And they don’t tell you how much (or where you can turn) it will cost to update the plan. To solve this problem you need to check out the nation’s first ‘Certificate of Guarantee’™. I have taken all the non-sense out of the mis-information and provided what is actually needed.
Make sure when you are creating your plan you get this in writing.

If you recall the reality tv show – Jon and Kat Plus 8 – the family there was raising 8 kids. Even before the trivial divorce, I was one of the first to write about what would happen should each parent passes away. What we discovered when I was asked to analyze what would happen to their kids we came up with a startling fact.
If you recall the reality tv show – Jon and Kat Plus 8 – the family there was raising 8 kids. Even before the trivial divorce, there were rumors about who would care for the kids if something happened to one of them. I was one of the first to write about what would happen should each parent passes away. What we discovered when I was asked to analyze what would happen to their kids we came up with a startling fact.
Imagine having the worse happen to you and your spouse (if married). So for Jon and Kate, who would raise their kids? Did you know if you only have a Will, and your named guardians are not located there is a chance the state you reside in could place your kids in the foster care system? Or worse, what would happen if you have an uncle or aunt that has alcohol or drug issue? Are these really who you want to raise your kids? A Will in the traditional sense does not address these issues.
To address this you need to make sure you nominate ‘Emergency Guardian/Conservators’ and ‘Temporary Guardian/Conservators’. Along with a clear set of guidelines for any caregiver and/or babysitter.
MYTH #3: 99% of Emergency Estate Plans do not have 24/7 access to their documents.What do you think happens to your emergency estate planning documents after you sign them? Well, if you are one of the lucky 28% that get a plan in place, then you know, that your documents are routinely placed in a safe-deposit box, shoe box under your bed, safe in your home – you get the picture.
Try to envision how would you get access to your most critical documents in a time of need? What would happen if you and a spouse are in a terrible accident on a Friday night? How are you and your loved ones going to get these documents to a hospital?
Further, if a loved one needs to make a critical life-saving decision did you know Probate Courts typically take up to 14 days, if not longer for the proper filings to obtain access to important health care documents.
The solution is a little-known strategy to work with a company that handles 24/7 medical access. This is an important item to discuss with your emergency estate planning attorney.
To recap, a responsible family that is concerned about reducing costs, staying out of probate court, ensuring access to your most important documents, ensuring a State or unwanted family members are not raising your minor kids then keep these simple strategies in mind when preparing your estate.

Joseph is the noted author of ‘Celebrity Estate Plans Gone Bad – Secrets Every Woman Needs to Prevent Emotional and Financial Turmoil when a Spouse Dies’. To contact Joe, email him at to find out how you can get a copy of your very own Free VIP Will.