Monday, May 5, 2014

Aloha to M.L. Buchman and PURE HEAT

with M.L. Buchman

I’m a big fan of Napoleon Hill who said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.”

Twenty-one years ago I lost everything to an unscrupulous business partner. I lost my business, most of my reputation, my desire to work in the career I’d been climbing for over a decade, and the house I’d spent every spare minute and dime fixing up for a family I never had time to find because I was working hundred hour weeks. That was a pretty grand failure.

I was so lost and overwhelmed that my solution, which somehow made perfect sense at the time, was to sell off my car and most of my other belongings, climb on a bicycle, and head out on a round-the-world bicycle trip. Over the previous years I’d done a lot of riding and a bit of touring, so this wasn’t totally out of the blue, but it was pretty close. I ultimately spent eighteen months on the road, almost all of it solo. I rode eleven thousand miles, climbed enough hills to total the height of the International Space Station’s orbit, and crossed through fifteen countries and over thirty languages.

Whatever country I was in and no matter for how long, I tried to learn something of the language and customs. Whether it was two months such as Japan, Australia, Indonesia, India, or Greece (where I was trapped a third month by a very late spring pounding the rest of Europe), or a matter of days in those European countries that seemed to disappear beneath my tires almost as soon as I entered them, I learned what I could.

The lessons were manifold. I met wonderful people and saw wonderful places. Shadows of this occur in all of my writing in the oddest places. I biked over the rugged hills of West Timor, Indonesia—which will appear in Firehawks #2 Full Blaze releasing next in December. I also ate Barramundi and had a beer at the bar in that book and met people who have some parts of my experience of them populating that book.

But before I rode on those hard paths, I first rode down the west coast of the U.S. for six weeks from Seattle to San Diego. I had hiked a fair amount as a kid, but for those weeks, and the sixteen months to follow, I lived outdoors. I started with a small tent and cookstove. By the time I was done, I had just a bivvy back (basically a waterproof sheath for a sleeping bag).

In those six weeks I rode through the Washington and Oregon forests, I camped among the California redwoods and fell in love with the rugged beauty of such wilderness. It is that love of these woods that I have tried to capture in Pure Heat.

Now for the equal or greater benefit. I now live on the Oregon Coast that I came to love during that bicycle trip. I looked in my journal a few days ago because I couldn’t remember which campgrounds I had stayed at along the this stretch. As I write this, exactly twenty-one years ago I was camped in a state park. It had drenched rain for the first three weeks of my trip and I had covered five-hundred long, cold miles. According to that entry, I rode through three separate hailstroms on that brutal day and upon reaching camp I refused to leave my tent for two nights and a day except to make a meal on my campstove in the rain.

This morning, as almost every morning, my wife and I looked out our window that overlooks that exact state park without knowing that was where I had laid so confused and lost twenty-one years ago. My kid step-kid is graduating college soon. I’m a full-time writer, and Pure Heat is my twenty-fifth novel and seventeenth romance. I’m left to wonder what I will learn from this present adventure that I’ll be writing about twenty-one years from now.

Thanks for being part of the journey,

ML Buchman

Mahalo, ML, for sharing this unique experience with us!   ML Buchman is celebrating the release of PURE HEAT, Book 1 in the new series of FIREHAWKS:

The elite fire experts of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can’t penetrate. Carly Thomas could read burn patterns before she knew the alphabet. A third-generation forest fire specialist who lost both her father and her fiancé to the flames, she’s learned to live life like she fights fires: with emotions shut down. Former smokejumper Steve “Merks” Mercer can no longer fight fires up close and personal, but he can still use his intimate knowledge of wildland burns as a spotter and drone specialist. Assigned to copilot a Firehawk with Carly, they take to the skies to battle the worst wildfire in decades and discover a terrorist threat hidden deep in the Oregon wilderness−but it’s the heat between them that really sizzles.
Pure Heat received STARRED reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist!

M.L. Buchman’s romances have been named in Booklist’s Top 10 of the year and NPR’s Top 5 of the year. He has also published science fiction and fantasy under the name Matthew Lieber Buchman. He is happiest, no matter how cliché it may seem, when walking on the beach holding hands with the mother of his awesome kid… or when he’s writing. In addition to his career as a corporate project manager, he has rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living full-time as a writer, living on the Oregon Coast. You can keep up with his writing at

Lava erupts into fire ...

Sourcebooks is giving away one copy of PURE HEAT to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Are you a bike rider - casual or serious?  I am just a casual rider ... and I found a few paths to travel around the historic Patuxent River.   Of course, I miss my bike ride across the Hickam side of Pearl Harbor (link).

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, May 10, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 11.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Scouts at the Hilo Fire Station on the Big Island


  1. LOVE the sound of this new series.

    About the bike riding: As a kid, I rode the Middle School and High School for many years. It was almost a rite of passage. As soon as the weather allowed, we were on our bikes. Hordes of us, by the side of the road, going miles from our village to the city. Of course, that was Germany, thirty years ago and there were bike paths. No one thought much of us riding our bikes that far every day.

    Today I occasionally jump on the bike for some casual riding. There are just not enough bike paths or safe sidewalks. Bike riding or walking isn't really encouraged by city planners.


  2. I haven't ridden a bike in years - it's pretty hilly where I live. If I ever moved to a flatter area I might take it up again - maybe one of those big tricycles?

  3. Please don't enter me in the giveaway as I already have this title in my TBR mountain and I am looking forward to reading it! I have never really learned to ride a bicycle and I suspect my knees wouldn't really be happy if I took up the habit at this late date. My, ML is both an inspiration and an intimidating person to read about...what a wealth of experience to draw wonder his stories are so deliciously full of intrepid and resourceful characters! I wish him great success on the new series, I am sure it will be just as exciting to read as his Night Stalkers stories.

  4. I never learned to ride. We lived on a hill and my parents wouldn't allow it. I'd look pretty silly with training wheels at my age lol.

  5. It's been a while since I rode a push bike. Way too many hills where we live now.

  6. I loved riding bikes as a kid but do not have one now.

  7. I haven't ridden a bike since I was a kid. However, my husband rides his bike for 10 miles, every morning that he is home.

  8. No, I'm not a bike rider although I do have a new bike (25 years old) hanging in the garage.

  9. I'm not a bike rider now, but I used to ride all over when I was a kid. We lived in a very rural area, so it was easy and safe to do then. Mr. Buchman sure has lived an interesting life!

  10. I rode my bike everywhere in junior high and high, because that way I got to avoid all of the school bus dynamics. This makes sense until you learn that I grew up in a couple hours north of New York city and I rode year round. Then I commuted through Seattle traffic into the heart of downtown, I used to race the express bus (always waving at it near my house and again 6 miles later as I blew by in the heart of the city). All that madness aside, I don't ride much now, but Junior (yes, my bike has a name and yes, he answers to it) still hangs on my wall just waiting for the next adventure.

  11. I'm too short, and haven't found a bike that fits comfortably, so I'm gonna have to say no :) But I remember as a kid loving. Congrats to ML on the new release!

  12. Used to bike a lot, was transport during college, and many rides/trails after. Haven't ridden for years now, but still own one, maybe someday!

  13. I thought I'd do a ton of biking when I inherited a stepkid. Not so much. She was more of an artist-nerd than a cyclist-hiker. I doubt if we rode together more than a few dozen times over the years. I did bike commute in Portland for a few years, but it was mostly on the MAX train (which lets you take a bike aboard) with a couple miles at either end, hardly worth counting. Where we live now, I walk to almost everything and my office (in the corner of the bedroom), well, it's hardly worth getting on the bike to commute there. :)

  14. I have not had a bike in many years. I used to bike a lot when I was a kid and really enjoyed it. Maybe I should look into getting a bike and start riding again.

  15. I haven't ridden a bike in years but my husband enjoys riding around the area.