Diana Belchase’s Triple Play–Three Daphne Nominations!

Festive and colorful fireworks display

Unassisted triple plays are rare in baseball—only 15 players can claim the accomplishment. In the romance writers’ world, unassisted triple plays are just as elusive. Today, I am proud to announce that K&T’s Diana Belchase has achieved an unassisted triple play—three nominations for the prestigious Daphne Award for excellence in mystery and suspense.

The Daphne Award, named after Daphne DuMaurier who wrote the iconic book Rebecca (“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”), is for published and unpublished authors of romantic and mainstream suspense, mystery, and thrillers. The unpublished division finalists were announced this week. Diana was nominated for:

Historical Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Diana Belchase for At Midnight

Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Diana Belchase for His Brother’s Child

Mainstream Mystery/Suspense
Diana Belchase for By the Skin of Her Teeth

Not only is Diana a talented writer across multiple genres, she is also a skilled storyteller across multimedia. In addition to her fiction writing, Diana produces author interviews on her YouTube channel, writes a regular current affairs column for Montgomery County Media, blogs at DianaBelchase.com and Waterworld Mermaidsand is producing an upcoming cable TV show featuring author interviews.

Since I can’t share excerpts from Diana’s nominated stories, I thought I’d share three of my favorite Diana Belchase interviews that show how special she is and what a wonderful sense of fun she has.

Celebrating Earth Day with Shannon Baker: Aliens, Polygamists, and Hopi, Oh My!

To Sir with Love, An Evening with ER Braithwaite

Congratulations to Diana and all the Daphne finalists! The winners will be announced in July in New York City. We have our fingers crossed for another unassisted triple play by the super talented Diana Belchase!

Diana Belchase

P. A. DePaul’s Shadow of Doubt . . . Pure Action & Romance!

Today, I am so excited to introduce P. A. DePaul, an amazing romantic suspense author who Julie Ann Walker calls “A bold new voice in romantic suspense”.  P. A.’s first book, Exchange of Fire, has one of the best RS covers I’ve ever seen. So I was thrilled to see her recent release, Shadow of Doubtthe second in her SBG military romantic suspense series, has an even better one. And those fabulous covers contain action-packed love stories that remind me of the classic Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series and Roxanne St. Clair’s Bullet Catchers series.

So let’s get started with a short blurb about Shadow of Doubt:

When her secretly filmed tryst shows up on the internet, Michelle Alger goes on the run. She has no choice. Not only was her one-night stand the son of a US senator, but he’s been murdered—and she’s the number one suspect. With both the senator and an avenging drug lord on her trail, her life is in danger. There’s only man she can trust. He saved her once, but will he still be her hero six years later?

Captain Jeremy Malone and the rest of Delta Squad have the senator’s order: find the mystery woman who killed my son. But to Jeremy, she’s no mystery. Six years ago his team of Green Berets rescued her from the torturous clutches of a Colombian cartel, and he’s never forgotten her. His personal and covert mission: find Michelle before anyone else. When he and Michelle do meet again, the sparks are explosive and consuming. They’re also dangerous as hell.

Because with each new bit of evidence, Jeremy suspects that Michelle’s innocence may be a ruse—a beautiful trap set by a woman who has even more secrets yet to bare.

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SW: Welcome, P. A., to Kiss and Thrill!

PD: Hello Kiss and Thrill! I’m so excited to be here today. Thank you for having me!

One of the questions I’m asked a lot is about who inspired me to start writing. I usually blink stupidly at the poor individual while my mind is rapidly imagining every book I’ve ever read. Then panic sets in because I’m such a bookoholic, I know I’m forgetting as many as I’m remembering. Sidebar: I’ve always loved to read since the moment I could sound out the words on the page. Family trips to the library were my favorite and I always took the maximum amount of books out. So from that perspective the simple answer is: Everyone I’ve ever read inspired me. Some authors completely captivated me, sweeping me away into the worlds they created, while others made me slam the book down and think why would the author have the character do X instead of Y.

The real question I think for me to answer is: Which author jolted me so hard, my mind became consumed with “I can do this”? That answer is: J.R. Ward. She wrote a compendium to her Black Dagger Brotherhood series and within those pages was a chapter encouraging anyone with the desire, thought, wish, whatever to just go for it, even if the person never sends it anywhere. I read that chapter before bed and woke up the next morning with an idea for a book. And so began my writing career.

My first completed novel never actually saw the light of day sadly. That story still carries a very special place in my heart and I’m hoping someday the world will want to read about a twenty-one year old boy who dies in a robbery gone wrong and finds out there is an entire world he’s never known existed, and a war raging between heaven and hell…and he’s one of the keys to victory.

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I will admit it took me four years (and many manuscript versions, re-writes, and new drafts…not to mention tears, frustrations, and wondering why I thought I could do this) before I sold my first book to a small press publisher. Guardian Redeemed is a paranormal romance about angels, demons, and the humans caught in between. Perversely, in the hurry-and-wait world of publishing, it only took six months before I sold my Romantic Suspense SBG series to Penguin in their Berkeley InterMix line. In this series, SweetBriar Group—or SBG as the operatives like to call it—is a corporation the rest of the world believes is an environmental company, but is really a front for a privately funded clandestine agency. Delta Squad is one of SBG’s Black Ops teams. It’s made up of men and women who have their ups and downs, good days and bad days like the rest of us. They laugh, fight, cry, and squabble but in the end, they are a fully functioning, extremely cohesive group who are closer than family. They’ve learned to rely on each other to the point they’re considered the best of the best.

Now I want to take a moment and pay forward the advice that meant so much to me. If you ever had an inkling, an idea, a crazy thought that maybe, just maybe, you have a story to tell…do it. You never know what you can accomplish until you try. There are so many excellent online courses through powerhouses such as Writer’s Digest and/or writing associations such as Romance Writers of America (RWA), you can learn everything you need to know to start. As J.R. Ward said (and I’m paraphrasing) even if you never present your book to a publisher, at least you have a novel you’d like to read.

SW: And in case you’re still not convinced to give this series a try, here are a few quotes that might change your mind.

Praise for Shadow of Doubt

“Nonstop action and heart-melting romance on every page! P.A. DePaul is a bold new voice in romantic suspense.”— Julie Ann Walker, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

Praise for Exchange of Fire

“If you enjoy military action, suspense, steamy romance, and a little danger, this is the series for you.” —Library Journal

“A pulse-pounding thrill ride from start to finish that will leave you clamoring for more.”—Elle Kennedy, author of the Killer Instincts series

“A dynamic tale…fast-paced and riveting, with surprises at every turn of the plot.”—Fresh Fiction

“This book was everything I love about romantic suspense.”—Smitten with Reading

SW: Thank you, P. A., for spending the day with us and we wish you tons of success with your SBG series!

Now P.A wants to hear from you! Have questions about writing? Want to know something about the SBG series? Just want to say hello? Awesome. Please comment so we can chat!! And there are a few prizes for lucky commenters. P. A. is offering one e-copy of Shadow of Doubt, a very cool SBG T-shirt, and various SBG swag!

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PA DePaul Author Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.A. DePaul is a multi-genre romance author including paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. She originally hails from Carroll County and Baltimore County, Maryland, but also lived in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia. She currently resides in a beautiful community just outside Philadelphia. Shadow of Doubt, is the second novel in the SBG series. You can find the first: Exchange of Fire, at all major E-Retailers. You can also learn more about her at www.padepaul.com, www.facebook.com/padepaul, https://twitter.com/PADePaul, http://www.pinterest.com/padepaul, http://www.goodreads.com/PADePaul, and https://www.tsu.co/PADePaul.

 And the winner of Sarah Andre’s $20.00 Amazon gift card is Patti Straight! 

The Nine-Year-Long Rollercoaster Ride

Over here at Kiss and Thrill, it’s no secret that we loooove romantic suspense. We began this blog in 2011 specifically to share other authors, books and plots with you. Back then, only three of our members were under contract. Now, due to the myriad of publishing options, we’re all carving out a path that’s right for us. And after nine years of writing, I too will achieve that coveted title: published author. My debut, LOCKED, LOADED and LYING will be available on JUNE 16th!

Most authors will tell you: the whole writing-publishing experience is like a rollercoaster ride. The highs are true adrenalin rushes, the kind where you throw your arms in the air and shriek until you’re hoarse. Could be over winning writing awards or having a literary agent call and gush for twenty minutes about your novel before offering to represent you. There’s no other job or achievement (for me) that surpasses the thrill of creating characters and conflict, and sharing ‘my baby’ with the world. 

Along with the rush of those highs come the lows, which are just as powerful. Harsh judge comments on a contest entry, reading all those agent/editor rejections sure do emulate the G-forces of a rollercoaster. As in: it sucks the breath right out of you, leaves you stunned and glued in place (usually a fetal position on the floor.)

Nine-whole-years of crazy ups and downs, folks. :)snowy river

But the rollercoaster has click-clacked back to the loading platform, I’ve gotten off, and am shakily standing in line for a whole new ride. When I had absolutely NO topic for today’s blog, Sharon Wray suggested I write about the ‘standing in line’ part. The transition between signing a contract and actually selling a book on Amazon, B&N, etc.

It began with a phone call from my agent. “Entangled Publishing just sent over a contract for your book.” (See rollercoaster high symptoms above.) Then came months of pins and needles waiting while she negotiated my terms, and I suffered the torture of keeping this secret to myself. Which, of course, I didn’t. ;)

When I finally did sign the contract, oh boy, did I blurt the news! Unfortunately, the editor who’d loved my story, and initially sent over the contract to work with me was no longer there, so I was assigned to another editor. Yikes! I’d heard horror stories of writers changing editors and the new one did not like the plot, the voice or the writing.

Youth Olympic Games 2012Wasted energy! My new editor, Anya Kagan, was insightful, patient and saw the big picture–whereas I obsessed on a word or scene level. It became a team effort to spit-shine that manuscript. There were 1st edits (major revisions that instantly drew the reader’s sympathy to my hero’s plight, and upped the stakes he faced.) I returned those in a month and within 10 days 2nd edits were in my Inbox. Less changes, but a suggestion to delete an entire chapter that ‘explained’ my heroine, and wasn’t very interesting. Why not feed snippets of her secrets within the first 100 pages? Brilliant!cabin

3rd edits consisted of changing one sentence. (Yay me!) Then on to Copy Edits, where another editor, who specializes in fact-checking, read through the story and made suggestions. Could my hero (a US Olympic Alpine Skier) have competed in the 2006 Torino games? (Sure that was a long time ago, but Torino is also a major subplot. And don’t forget, I’d written the story back then!) Turns out, Bode Miller competed there, and he’s already competed this year, with a DNF (did not finish.) Case closed, I got to keep the Torino Olympics in the book. Whew!

Hooded man hiding gun behind his backOff the story went to be formatted into a book, and then we were Proofreading the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC.) Any changes here meant catching spelling errors, a word that was supposed to be italicized, etc., not to revise. I seriously had to reign in my inner editor (who’s still criticizing each paragraph, even after all these years!) By this time, if you’ve kept count, I’d reread this entire novel 5 times in 3 months. So to proofread it that slowly and with such care, made me honest-to-God hate the plot, the characters, every $@&# word on every page, and OMG-why did I ever think I could write?!  :) I hear that’s normal…

Next was creating my dedication and acknowledgements pages. After nine years I had a lot of people to acknowledge, because in the publishing industry it DOES take a village! Thanking all these people who’d done so much for me, in a page the whole world could read, warmed my heart. AND it was one more step toward authenticity…what a rush! Interestingly, I put much more time into it than I expected. I wanted to get the words absolutely right, the tone perfect. ASPEN road sign

I have one more step to look forward to: seeing what the Entangled graphic artist creates for a cover, which will happen in early May. Once I have the cover I can decorate my Facebook and Twitter pages, set up an Amazon Author page , update my website and invest in ‘swag.’ (Fun giveaways.)

You’ll notice I didn’t tell you much about LOCKED, LOADED and LYING. Why? Because there’s plenty of time and many blogs where my cover, official back-cover blurb, and plot points will be broadcast.

Love coupleFor now I leave you with 2 clues 1) these pictures are all broad hints: An heiress is murdered in Aspen and all evidence points to her boyfriend, my insanely hot hero, Lock Roane. He was too drunk to remember anything that night, but given his past history of blackout violence, it’s not a big leap for him to believe he did kill her.

On the eve of his felony murder trial he saves the life of a young woman in a blizzard, not knowing she’s his biggest media nemesis. And when Jordan Sinclair regains consciousness she will lie through her teeth to keep it that way (you’ll find out why.) As she recuperates she gets to know the personality he doesn’t show the camera and begins falling for him, but her tangled lies hamper their growing attraction. And sizzling sexual tension wreaks havoc in their frantic attempts to uncover the grisly events of what exactly happened on that fateful night.

And 2) “An impressive debut! This book has everything readers crave: believable, endearing characters, an intriguing conflict and plenty of heart. Don’t miss LOCKED, LOADED & LYING.” Brenda Novak

So that’s my standing-in-line story. Off to buckle up for the next ride!

WHAT WERE YOU DOING NINE YEARS AGO? COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD! WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED NEXT TUESDAY.

 The winner of a $10 gift card and e-copy of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP  goes to Julie Oest!

Blessed Are Those Who Weep

Giveaway alert: a Nook or Kindle copy of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP and a Starbucks card are up for grabs.

Today I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderful friend and fellow Witness author, Kristi Belcamino, to the blog. Kristi has a fascinating and heart-wrenching story to tell you, so I’ll let her do most of the talking, but I just have to say a few words about her new release BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP.

This story grabs you by the throat from the beginning and never lets go. The heroine, Gabriella Giovanni, leads you through a maze of compelling characters and twisting events until you arrive at an ending that will leave you breathless. But it’s not the heart-pounding ending you’ll read for. It’s Gabriella herself. A heroine who’s brilliant yet vulnerable, brave yet all too human. Pick it up today, then kick back with a glass of red wine, a hanky, and a do not disturb sign.

Here’s the blurb:

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni stumbles onto a horrific crime scene with only one survivor—a baby girl found crawling between the dead bodies of her family members. Reeling from the slaughter, Gabriella clings to the infant. When Social Services pries the little girl from her arms, the enormity of the tragedy hits home. Diving deep into a case that brings her buried past to the forefront, Gabriella is determined to hunt down the killer who left this helpless baby an orphan.

But one by one the clues all lead to a dead end, and Gabriella’s obsession with finding justice pulls her into a dark, tortuous spiral that is set to destroy everything she loves …

The Story That Did Me In

By Kristi Belcamino

I’ll never forget the story that did me in.

The one that slayed me and changed my career path entirely. The one that ultimately led me to quit my job as a newspaper reporter.

It was about the perfect family destroyed — shattered — by tragedy.

As a crime reporter, I had been blithely cruising through other people’s tragedies for years. I was moved and haunted by many of the stories I covered — some which caused me to drink and smoke too much — but I was still able to do my job and more importantly, I still loved doing my job.

My two close friends at the paper were just like me. We thought nothing of talking about “floaters” and “decomps” and those words were sprinkled into our ever day conversation.

Not much rattled us. Dead body? No problem.

In fact, I’ll never forget how excited I was one day to get a new copy of a homicide investigator’s manual in the mail. It was chock full of graphic photos of various modes and manners of death, including close-range gunshot wounds to the face and explosions and people crushed to death. Not pretty.

But that didn’t stop my friend C and I from taking the book to a Chinese restaurant and flipping through it over lunch.

C also had seen more autopsies at our county morgue than probably any reporter in the history of our newspaper. She was soft-spoken, drop-dead gorgeous, and fearless.

I only saw one autopsy. A guy about my age who overdosed. I can recognize the smell of a dead body to this day.

C and I were regular visitors at the morgue and I soon got a reputation at the newspaper. Every time an intern started, the editors would tell me to take them to the morgue that first week.

I wonder how many interns were traumatized by the experience? I took one young woman on a day when a young man who died in a motorcycle crash was on the slab as we walked into the room. The first thing we saw was the giant chunk of his skull that was missing at the top of his head.

But none of that bothered me. Not really.

Then I gave birth.

The flood of hormones transformed me into another person. Suddenly, everything I reported on was much too close to home.

All the evil that I had kept at arm’s length seemed to follow me home at night.

I would immerse myself in the seediest, darkest part of life and then come home to the very definition of innocence in my baby. I was having a hard time reconciling these two worlds, but then it got worse.

Right before Christmas, a mother in a wealthy suburb and her two children, who I think were less than a year apart, were walking on a beautiful fall day to get ice cream. They were on a parkway, where a wide sidewalk was separated from the road by a patch of grass.

The kids were either in front of or behind the mother when a suspected drunk driver went careening off the road and plowed into the kids, killing them both.

Not long after, the parents invited the press to talk to them in their luxurious home in a rich subdivision. I sat with other reporters in their living room and looked around at the beautiful couple in their beautiful home.

The mother, who I had imagined would be curled up in the fetal position with dirty hair and slobber on her wrinkled clothes, looked more put together than I ever had in my entire life.

She was gorgeous. Her husband was gorgeous. Without knowing their story and looking at them in their fancy home, you would think they had everything.

And yet, they had nothing. Not anymore. Some drunken fool had taken away their life.

The million dollar house was empty and hollow, haunted by memories of children playing and laughing.

Later, my editors asked me to do a story about what this couple’s Christmas was like. I refused. Or rather, I simply kept forgetting to do it.

I couldn’t force myself to call them. I knew what their Christmas was going to be like. Or at least I suspected. It was going to be a hellish nightmare, just like the rest of their days were right now.

So, I suppose it could have been any story that fall — any tragedy that struck me to the core — but that was the story that did me in. Suddenly as a mother, I couldn’t dip into and out of other people’s tragedies anymore. I just couldn’t do it.

I had always cared about my job and cared about the victims of tragedies and tried to do them justice in the best way I could, but I couldn’t do it anymore. When I became a mother, the emotions struck too sharp and too deep for me to continue doing my job properly.

I quit my job a few months later.

But I am forever changed by my former life as a reporter. I have seen things that help me put everything into perspective.

Luckily most of the people I know live very sheltered lives. When they complain — and cry — about trivial things, I try to understand. II tell myself they don’t know. They don’t understand.

They don’t know how lucky they are. They have a little bubble around their lives. They feel invincible. And maybe it is necessary to feel that way to go on day to day.

But I know something different. I know that bubble doesn’t protect them from tragedy. Tragedy is not picky. It is not discerning. It has a laissez-faire attitude in who it strikes. There is no rhyme or reason.

That’s one thing I know.

I’ve sat in too many living rooms of people who know the same thing.

This knowledge may seem like a burden to some. And in fact, up-close knowledge of that as a crime reporter was more than I could handle as a new mother.

But with hindsight, I realize this knowledge is not a burden, but a gift.

It is a gift because it reminds me to pick my battles, put minor setbacks in perspective and to never, ever take one moment of this precious life for granted.

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and crime reporter who also bakes a tasty biscotti.

As a reporter, she’s flown over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, and attended barbecues at the morgue. Her first novel was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer.

During her decade covering crime in California, Belcamino wrote and reported about many high-profile cases including the Laci Peterson murder and Chandra Levy’s disappearance. And because of her police sources, she was one of the first reporters in the country to learn that the passengers on Flight 93 had fought back on 9/11. She has appeared on Inside Edition and local cable television shows. Her work has appeared in such prominent publications as the Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and Chicago Tribune. She now works part-time for the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a police reporter.

Connect with Kristi on her website, facebook, or twitterprofilecowboy2

Readers leave a comment or question for Kristi. One lucky person will win an e-copy of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP and a $10 Starbucks card. Good luck!

 

 

A KaT Fight Ensues over Laura K. Curtis

In the 3-1/2 years since Kiss and Thrill launched, the 9 of us who banded together to create the blog have become family—we exchange emails about business, craft, and plotting. We cheer each other on and talk about our families, our struggles, and our successes. I’d be a wreck without my KaT sisters. But our deep and supportive bond only goes so far when one of the KaTs invites an author I adore to the blog. Then it’s time to bring out the claws…

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It wasn’t pretty, but I won. But then, I’m not afraid to fight dirty, while Carey and Manda are too nice to resort to blackmail and bribery.

What did I win? The chance to put Laura K. Curtis in the Inside the Actors Studio hot seat!

I devoured Laura’s debut novel, TWISTED, and just neglected my family for the weekend (and a holiday one at that) because I couldn’t put down her latest release, ECHOES.

ECHOES has everything I love in romantic suspense–a hot, hard-edged, former military hero, and a smart, strong, determined heroine who must work together to unravel a complicated, intense mystery. The romance is sexy and fun and moves at a pace that is true to the characters and situation.

ECHOES is set on St. Martin/Sint Maarten, an island I visited for an archaeological project many years ago, which made the book that much more fun for me to read, but you don’t have to have visited the French West Indies to enjoy the lush setting.

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Set of signs from Marigot, the French capital of St. Martin. Photo by Laura K. Curtis

It is my absolute joy to be the one who introduces our Kiss and Thrill readers to Laura by subjecting her to the Inside the Actors Studio Questionnaire:

What is your favorite word? Sussurant.

What is your least favorite word? Moist.

What turns you on? Intelligence combined with humor.

What turns you off? Prejudice of any kind.

What sound or noise do you love? The sound of waves on the beach.

What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of an animal in pain.

What is your favorite curse word? Fuck in all its glorious forms.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’ve had a number of professions over the years, from teacher, to bartender, to record saleswoman, to glass bead maker. I loved them all for different reasons. I’m not sure what else I’d like to do for a career. There are a number of hobbies I wish I had time to pursue, but not for careers. I guess if I had a chance to go to culinary school, I’d like to be a professional baker.

What profession would you not like to do? Sanitation worker. I have a touch of OCD and that would really not work for me.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Fuck.” Or, if I can’t have that, “Here, go play with all the dogs you’ve had over the years.”

I laughed out loud at the last answer. We share an affinity for the same curse word, and I think I want to steal Laura’s response if I’m ever subjected to the quiz again.

Thank you so much, Laura, for joining us today!

Echoes

Who is she?

A single photo of herself as an infant on a beach, taken before the date on her birth certificate, throws everything Calliope Pearson knows about herself into question. Hoping to find answers, she takes advantage of her job as a travel writer to make a reservation at the Caribbean island resort in the picture.

Resort security chief Mac Brody distrusts Callie on sight. After all, she looks exactly like his deceitful missing wife, Nikki, who owns half the resort. But when Nikki’s found dead, Mac’s facing murder charges, and he’s sure that Callie must hold the key to proving his innocence.

The deeper Callie and Mac dive into the mystery of her past, the more bodies surface. And they’ll have to learn to trust each other, or become victims of a dark danger neither could’ve imagined….

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

LauraKCurtis-websizeLaura K. Curtis has always done everything backwards. As a child, she was extremely serious, so now that she’s chronologically an adult, she feels perfectly justified in acting the fool. She started teaching at age fifteen, then decided to go back to school herself at thirty. And she wrote her first book in first grade. It was released in (notebook) paperback to rave reviews and she’s been trying to achieve the same level of acclaim ever since. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and a pack of wild Irish Terriers, which has taught her how easily love can coexist with the desire to kill.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

A Good Rake Is Hard to Find? Not Today!

Here at Kiss and Thrill,  we love nothing better than a celebration,  and today we’re celebrating the release of the first book in my new Lords of Anarchy series: A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND.

Good Rake is Hard To Find

 

A DANGEROUS GAME

Heartbroken by the loss of her brother, Miss Leonora Craven vows to uncover the truth about his “accident,” which seems to have been anything but. Jonathan Craven was involved with the Lords of Anarchy, a notorious driving club, and Leonora can’t help but suspect foul play. But the only way she can infiltrate their reckless inner circle is to enlist the help of Jonny’s closest ally, Lord Frederick Lisle. If only he didn’t also happen to be the man who broke Leonora’s heart…

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE
Frederick isn’t surprised to find gorgeous, headstrong Leonora playing detective, but he knows that the Lords of Anarchy mean business–and he has no choice but to protect her. A sham engagement to Leonora will allow Frederick to bring her into the club and along for the ride. But it isn’t long before pretending to be lovers leads to very real passion. With everything to lose, is their tempestuous affair worth the risk?

Kindle – amzn.to/1CUiE0n
Nook – bit.ly/1KeGgNm
iBooks – bit.ly/1CIfts1
Kobo – bit.ly/1CUjcmU

A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND is a story about reunited lovers, one of the most popular tropes in Romancelandia. Do you think they have a place in Romantic Suspense as well as other sub-genres of romance? What are some of your favorite romance tropes?  I’ll give one commenter a copy of A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND! 

SHARON WRAY AND THE GOLDEN HEART!

Something awesome happened yesterday, March 26th!

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K&T author Sharon Wray was nominated for her seventh and eighth Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. SEVEN AND EIGHT! Sharon has been a romantic suspense finalist every year since 2010. EVERY YEAR! An amazing and well-deserved accomplishment. And we couldn’t be prouder!

The Golden Heart is the gold standard of excellence for unpublished manuscripts in the romance genre. It means that your colleagues—other romance writers—have judged your manuscript to be one of the best of the best in unpublished romance fiction.

Golden Heart Pin

Sharon now has eight of these Golden Heart pins!

Being nominated is a heady, pulse-pounding, exciting experience. But the best part is meeting your fellow nominees. And that’s why I consider myself so lucky to have been nominated for the Golden Heart in 2011 because that’s when I first met Sharon.

After eight Golden Heart nominations, it goes without saying that Sharon is an extremely talented writer. But that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Spend a little time with Sharon and you will soon discover that all that writing talent resides in a person who is as generous and thoughtful and kind as she is talented.

Sharon Wray

Sharon Wray

Congratulations, Sharon! We will be cheering you on at the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City this summer when the winners are announced!

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How do you top a North Korean Firing Squad?

IE-frontCover-Final-r2-72dpiThere is an ailment that afflicts some authors, popularly known as “Second Book Syndrome” in which an author struggles to write the next book after publication of their first novel (sometimes it strikes after a novel is viewed as a critical and/or financial success). I didn’t face this syndrome in the typical manner—it hit me as I began writing my 4th novel. At the time, none of my books were published, so there was no measure of success to trigger it, just my own neuroses.

For me, the syndrome surfaced because I’d just completed Body of Evidence and whenever I sat down to write, the vicious little voice in my head would say, “How do you top a book that starts with a North Korean firing squad?” And I couldn’t let go of the idea that I had to top it. In my head, the 3rd Evidence Series novel had to be more dynamic than the last.

But still, in spite of these doubts, I wrote. I finished the first draft, and I liked it. There were parts I even loved. But I knew it needed work, so I set it aside and started another book, which I planned to make the 4th book in the series. But still, that fear lingered even as I finished the first draft of the next book.

Then I had an idea for a novella that would tie the first 2 Evidence books to the 2 unpublished manuscripts, creating a stronger link across the series. That novella (which ended up being a short novel) is the 3rd book in the Evidence Series, Withholding Evidence.

Writing Withholding is what finally cured me of Second Book Syndrome, because I approached the work differently. Instead of trying to top a firing squad, I aimed for a funny and sexy opening to set the tone for that particular book. While some books require firing squads, others require a cocky half-naked SEAL confronting a curious historian, or a heroine on a quest for justice finding an injured former Army Ranger deep in the Alaskan wilderness.

With this clarity, I finally returned to that book I’d drafted while struggling with the Syndrome. I went to Alaska to research the setting, and started from scratch with the story, so the doubts that hampered me wouldn’t find their way into the new draft. In an instant, the vision of Isabel hiking through woods and finding Alec came to me, and I knew I had my opening. Does it top the firing squad? I have no idea, but that no longer matters to me. What matters is I was eager to find out what happens next, which is all we can ask from any first scene.

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Incriminating Evidence released today, and after reading about my struggle with the Syndrome, you can probably imagine my joy when one of the first reviews opened with: “I absolutely loved this book. It is the fourth book in this series, and in my opinion, it is the best.”

You can read on for an excerpt of Incriminating, or visit an online vendor to download a longer sample.

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This evening (Tues, March 24th) from 7 – 10 p.m. EDT, my critique partner, Darcy Burke, and I are having a party to celebrate the release of Incriminating Evidence and Darcy’s fabulous book, Yours to Hold, on Facebook. Stop by to chat with our great lineup of guest authors and enter giveaways to win lots of fun prizes (including several items that play a role in Incriminating Evidence)!

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 Incriminating Evidence Excerpt:

There was only one solution. Well, two. Either give him her blanket, or share it with him. The smart thing would be to share it. They’d both be warm. They’d both get the rest they needed to face the hike to her truck tomorrow.

But sharing a blanket, getting up close and personal with Alec Ravissant, definitely didn’t feel like the right thing. The right thing would be to give him the blanket and get the hell out of the cabin, head back to her truck alone. When she arrived home, she could call Raptor and tell them where they could find their boss.

“If you’re trying to decide if you should give me your blanket,” Alec said softly, “forget it. I won’t take it from you. I can handle a little chill.”

Crap. He was awake, meaning the right thing wasn’t an option. If she tried to leave, he’d follow, and he was in no condition to traipse six miles through the woods. “No, I was debating sharing it with you.”

His mouth curved in a slow smile. “You wanna get close to my body, Jenna?”

Isabel rolled her eyes at his tone even as she stiffened at the fake name. He was going to be so pissed when he found out who she really was. “No, but I don’t want you to die after I worked so hard to save your ungrateful life.” She grabbed the Mylar tent. “It’s not a regular emergency blanket, it’s the tent kind—a long tube. We’ll have to shimmy into it.” Read the rest of this entry

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