A New Kind of Mile High Club with Cathy Perkins

Today I am excited to welcome Cathy Perkins back to Kiss and Thrill! Cathy and I first met when we finaled in the Golden Heart® together in 2008, and our friendship has grown over the years as she’s one of the Northwest Pixie Chicks – a group of amazing authors I go on a writing retreat with every year. The annual Pixie retreat is one of my favorite weekends of the year and Cathy is a big part of what makes the weekend so special.

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Cathy has just released a new romantic suspense, CYPHER and I was among the lucky few who got to read an advance copy. I fired up my eReader as my plane took off in Anchorage, and when the plane neared Seattle I didn’t want to land. It’s that good.

I enjoyed it so much I’m giving it 5 airplanes and adding it to my list of favorite mile-high reads.

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RG: Welcome back, Cathy!

CP: Thanks for having me!

RG: What published author (any genre) turns you into a total fangirl?  Is there a particular book or is this based on their entire body of work?

CP: How much time do you have? So many favorite authors… Whew, narrowing it down to just one (or two ;) )

Bouchercon (a huge reader conference for mystery and suspense people) was a constant fangirl moment for me. Every time I turned around, there was another favorite author! Two that especially stand out are Sophie Littlefield and Suzanne Brockmann. I’d just finished A Bad Day for Sorry and loved that Sophie’s heroine was middle aged and divorced—such a departure from the usual. Sophie was incredibly sweet. Her more recent books are women’s fiction, but she’s still on my auto-buy list.

Does anyone write romantic suspense better than Suzanne Brockmann? Well, obviously everyone here at Kiss and Thrill is fabulous, but I love the Troubleshooters!

Do you remember that Suzanne was the emcee at our 2008 Golden Heart ceremony, Rachel? Cowboy boots with her evening dress.  That seems to sum up her independent streak.

RG: Thanks, from all of us at K&T! And I forgot Suzanne was the emcee—I think I was too petrified to notice.

Have you ever written fan fiction, and if so, what work was it based on?  If you haven’t, is there any book or series you’d be tempted to write fan fiction about?

CP: I understand the concept of fan fiction – readers love the characters and continue with their own adventures for the characters – and can see the appeal. I have so many characters of my own I want to write about, so I don’t see writing fan fiction any time soon.

RG: Facebook or Twitter?

CP: I’m active on both. Twitter is fun for quick updates or call-outs, a chat with someone, and I still find it amusing that Alaska Air follows me.

RG: LOL! I was flying on Alaska when I read your book. Coincidence or kismet? Now that you have a 5 Airplane review, maybe other airlines will join your feed? ;)

CP: Facebook gives me more time and space to interact with friends. My personal “lists” (groups such as authors writing for one of my publishers, our Golden Heart group, South Carolina friends) make it so much easier to stay in touch. The constantly changing algorithms mean I have to work a little harder to reach people, but it’s still the best way I’ve found to share.

RG: Wait, our GH group has a FB list? Next retreat I need remedial Facebook lessons…

What is the strangest weapon you’ve used to kill off a character, either on or off-scene?

CP: We had a discussion about this on the Sisters in Crime loop, and I admit, I felt like a newbie reading ways they’d managed to kill off characters! My contribution to the strangest weapon category must be a punji stick chewed to a lethal point by a beaver.

RG: Love it! Okay, tell us about CYPHER.

CP: CYPHER just released and a fabulous romantic suspense author tagged it, a twisty mystery, a compelling romance. That sums up the story nicely.

RG: [blushing] Thanks! Ahem. I mean… what an apt description!

CP: Without giving away the plot and all the twists, CYPHER started with the premise, What if a hitman killed the wrong person? The “whys” lined up from there—why was the killer sent to murder the heroine? Why wasn’t she home? Why was her friend there and mistaken for her? The characters grew and became three-dimensional as I thought through the implications and how that character would react to events unfolding around him or her.

Cypher is the name of the Wainwright family business, a company Cara’s father built and devoted his life to nurturing. Cara at times refers to it as “the la-la land of Secret Military Stuff.” The company is at the center of the mystery, but its connections and secrets are as hidden as the buildings are from the public. The company provides a tangible symbol of the family relationships and dynamics, which are key components in the story.

Originally I hadn’t planned to have Cara Wainwright and Detective David Morris romantically involved, but I quickly saw the potential for conflict and knew I had to explore that relationship. Each of them had to overcome inherent suspicion and questions about the other’s motive while dealing with this enormous crisis surrounding Cypher and Cara’s family.

RG: Thank you so much for joining us today, Cathy! I’m already counting the days until our next retreat…

CP: Me too! Before I go today, I have a question for your Kiss and Thrill readers – Facebook or Twitter? I’m giving away a signed print copy of FOR LOVE OR MONEY to one commenter.

Okay readers, it’s your turn – tell us which you prefer: Facebook or Twitter! One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of FOR LOVE OR MONEY – another fabulous financial romantic suspense by Cathy! Winner will be announced in next week’s blog.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | G+

Amazon | B&N |Kobo

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A award-winning author Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she’s observed the hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters’ lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, handles the blog and social media for the ITW Debut Authors, and coordinated for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for CYPHER, HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Becoming a writer: Why I write romantic suspense

Circled list item“In 7th grade I wrote a novel. It was horrible, but I’ve always wanted to try again.” That’s a line from a note I created in my early days on Facebook called “25 Random Things About Me.”

Thank goodness I quit “wanting” and tried again!

I’m not sure when I first realized I liked to write, but it happened somewhere between a disastrous report on the parts of the eye in 6th grade and my pre-teen attempt at a novel (a super-short story, actually).

pic of text from my first novel

Text from my first “novel.”

That first manuscript included an orphaned heroine, a cross-country adventure while eluding the police, and a crush on a bad boy who helped her out of trouble.

How it took me so long to figure out that I should write romantic suspense, I’ll never understand.

Maybe it’s because I never considered writing as a career. Other people made a living at it, not people like me. Success as a writer seemed as likely to happen as that singing career I’d once envisioned. The idea of making a living writing is still daunting—and as yet unrealized—but here I am plugging away at the keyboard most days, ever hopeful, because it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

For years, I dabbled in poetry, wrote a slew of technical documentation, and emailed random flashes of story ideas home for safekeeping. When I finally quit working for someone else back in 2008 (wow, time flies!), I knew I needed something to keep my brain engaged and challenged. Something that could satisfy my insatiable desire to learn, my unending curiosity, my hunger for a behind-the-scenes look at professions and scenarios I’ll never (I hope) experience firsthand.

Like reading, but better. It was time to seriously pursue writing.

pic of books on a shelf

Some of the many authors who’ve inspired me.

Fiction was my dream, but I didn’t have any big ideas. Not the kind I thought I wanted to take on. I’d spent most of my adult life reading mysteries, thrillers, and historical adventures. I couldn’t imagine where authors like Sue Grafton, David Baldacci, Ken Follett, Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Joseph Finder, and Khaled Hosseini got their ideas. Talk about intimidating.

It wasn’t until I picked up a couple of old historical romance novels from the “Free” box at the library that I realized there was a genre for the stories in my head. It was an epiphanic (yes, that’s a word), slap-your-head sort of moment. I knew historical wasn’t for me (love to read it, can’t write it), but when I found romantic suspense authors like Suzanne Brockmann, Christina Dodd, JoAnn Ross, Laura Griffin, Roxanne St. Claire, and so many others, I found my home.

I started writing immediately, and haven’t stopped since. Releasing my own romantic suspense (Blind Fury) earlier this year was the culmination of a five-year effort/dream that really goes all the way back to junior high.

What if I hadn’t picked up those free books? Would I have come to romance another way eventually? I hope so. It’s likely. But who knows how much longer it would have taken?

I’m just grateful for the ways of the universe, and happy to have found my niche.

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try (or try again)? What’s holding you back?

Surprise Cover Reveal

I’m so excited to let those of you on the blog get the first peek at my upcoming release, JUDGMENT.  I just love this cover, and I can’t wait to share Caity and Spense’s story with you.  Here’s the blurb too- the book is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble but I think you’ll be the very first to see the blurb, before it’s even posted on retail sites.

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

Carey Baldwin, author of the thrilling novel, Confession, returns with a new story featuring two of her most beloved characters. Fans of dark psychological suspense will devour this riveting story of rivals caught in a killer’s twisted web.

 

When a coed falls prey to a sadistic killer, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy and Special Agent Atticus Spenser are called in to testify—one for the defense, one for the prosecution. With warring approaches on justice, these two rivals have been butting heads for years—both in the courtroom and out. And at first, this case appears to be no different.

 

But when a brutal attack leaves the accused man dead and Caity in critical condition, petty differences take a backseat to saving lives. As the lone survivor, Caity knows too much and the killer—a madman calling himself the Man in the Maze—is coming back for round two. Now, Caity and Spense must join forces to uncover the killer’s identity before Caity’s time—and luck—runs out.

You can preorder JUDGMENT on: Amazon or Barnes and Noble today!

And now for our Mary Behre winner!

Thank you again to Mary Behre for appearing on Kiss and Thrill this week. The winner of a signed print copy of Mary’s newest release, GUARDED, is jdh2690!Guarded_cover Please see our Contact page for information on how to provide your U.S. Or Canadian mailing address to claim your prize. Please provide your email address as well. Congrats!

Mary Behre is GUARDED About Her New Release

 

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Please welcome my wonderful friend, Mary Behre, who is also a very talented paranormal romantic suspense author. Mary is celebrating the release of her second book – GUARDED, as a follow up to her debut, SPIRITED, both published by Berkley.

Congratulations Mary!

Now, pull up a seat and let’s chat!

L:  GUARDED is the second book in your Tidewater series. What ties the series together and will there be more?

M:  The Tidewater series is set in the fictional city of Tidewater Virginia. In Tidewater, there are number of people who possess unique psychic powers. These abilities are often called crifts (cursed gifts).

The first three books feature the three Scott sisters. Spirited focuses on Jules, the ghost-seeing sister. Guarded is centered on Shelley, the telepathic veterinarian who communicates with animals. And Energized (working title) features Hannah, the youngest of the three sisters. Hannah is crifted with the power of psychometry. She can touch a metal object and get a vision about the person who last touched the object.

In every book, there is a mystery to be solved. The Tidewater series has humor, suspense, and a psychic love-connection.

Right now, I’m working on a novella that’s due out in the summer of 2015. Energized (working title) is slated for release fall of 2015.

 

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She’s given up on finding love…

Veterinarian Shelley Morgan has always preferred animals to humans, and not simply because she can communicate with them psychically. Unlike most people she’s known, animals have never broken her heart. But after six months in her new town, some of her favorite four-legged companions begin disappearing from the local zoo. Determined to track down the animals and their thief, the telepathic vet decides to investigate, unknowingly delving into a deadly mystery… 

He’s ready to make her heart go wild…

Although his bear-like physique has been an advantage in the Tidewater Police Department, Dev Jones’s size often intimidates people. Only Shelley has seen past his massive build to the intelligent man inside, but that was years ago. So when she contacts him requesting his help to solve a series of animal kidnappings, he’s eager to reconnect with her. But the thefts escalate to murder and all the evidence points to Shelley as the killer, and Dev faces a devastating choice: forsake his career or risk losing the woman he’s grown to love…

L: You like to mix paranormal elements in your romantic suspense. Has there been anything in your personal life that you draw upon for your stories, especially regarding those paranormal elements?

M: I grew up in Maryland but have lived in Virginia for the past twenty years. Both states are rife with ghost stories. In fact, I was once a tour guide for a haunted campground. So it was only natural to use ghosts in the first story. I’ve met a number of psychics in my life who’ve had a variety of talents. Many had multiple abilities, but I thought it might be interesting to have different characters with specific gifts…crifts that could help solve a mystery.

L:  How long have you been published? Can you share your call story with us?

M: I’ve been published with Berkley for about five months. My first call came in on Election Day. In Virginia, politicians on both sides, call voters all day. After we had three calls in twenty minutes, I had planned not to answer the phone, but when the phone rang again, I decided to tell the eager political supporter to please cease the harassing calls, as every eligible voting member of the household had already performed our civic duty. To my shock it was a call to tell me that I’d just sold to Berkley in a two-book deal. I remember a lot of squealing and texting my critique partner, the rest is kind of a blur.

They say, you’ll never get that excited again. That’s not true in my case. I received a call from my agent just last week. She told me Berkley had offered a contract for my third book and a novella. I squealed again, jumped around, ran to tell my husband and my children. Truthfully, I was just as excited last night as the night I received my first contract offer.

L: What and who do you read for fun?

M: I read a number of authors. In no particular order, J.D. Robb, Beverly Barton, Valerie Bowman, Lena Diaz, Lynsay Sands, Suzanne Brockmann, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Ashlyn Macnamara, and Heather Graham.

L: (blush – Thank you)  Describe your writing process and/or tell us about where you write.

M: My writing process is heavily influenced by the Candace Havens’ Fast Draft Workshop. I write non-stop for fourteen to thirty days until I complete a first draft. Then I go into first revision mode. That usually takes about two weeks. Once that’s complete, I send the book out to my critique partners and beta readers. After that, I make revisions based on the critiques. The last step is to send off my manuscript to my agent and editor.

WorkspaceMaryBehre

And this is my writing cave. What you cannot see is that the desk sits sideways in the family den. I try to write during the day while the children are in school, but in the summertime, I have to be a bit more creative. Let’s just say, I’ve learned to write with headphones on while the children watch Disney XD only a few feet away.

L: I love pics of writing caves! Thanks for sharing. What can we expect from you in the future?

M: Harmonized (working title), a Tidewater novella, is slated for release summer of 2015 and Energized (working title) (A Tidewater Novel #3) is slated for release in the fall of 2015.

L:  What would surprise readers to learn about you?

M: I’m a huge Walking Dead fan. See, zombies really freak me out. How do you kill something that’s already dead, you know? But I started watching the show with my husband in the third season and I’m addicted to it. But I confess when the zombies attack, I still cover my eyes and look away. So don’t count me to save you during the zombie apocalypse. :)

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NOW FOR THE LIGHTNING ROUND…

Favorite color? Purple

Favorite food? Chocolate

Favorite place for vacations? The beach (just about any place on the East Coast)

Cats or dogs? Dogs

Beach or mountains? Um…let me think… :) BEACH!

NCIS or Criminal Minds? NCIS

Twilight or Underworld? Underworld

Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter? Harry Potter

Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate

Roller Coaster or White Water Rafting? White Water Rafting

Fruit or vegetable? Fruit

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek, definitely.

McDreamy or McSteamy? (Grey’s Anatomy!) Rick Castle (sorry, I’ve never watched Grey’s Anatomy.)

L: (gasp) Not sure I can still be your friend if you’ve never watched Grey’s Anatomy, but I will try. (smile) Thanks so much for being here today Mary!

Mary would like to award one lucky commenter a signed print copy of her book, GUARDED (winner must have U.S. or Canadian mailing address). Just answer her question and you’ll be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced at the end of next Tuesday’s post. See the Contact page for how to claim your prize.

What’s the title of the most recent book you’ve read?

Mary’s Website

Winner of TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP!

Thank you for celebrating the release of my newest novel, TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP! On Tuesday I’m posting again so I can celebrate the release of a dear friend of mine, MARY BEHRE (pronounced Merry Berry! I love her name!). Her newest novel, GUARDED, is burning up the Amazon bestseller lists.

And now for this weeks winner! TRISHJ! Please use the Contact page on this website to provide your email address and format preference (Nook or Kindle) and I’ll send you a copy of TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP.

Thank you all again for making my release day so fun! And thank you to my Kiss and Thrill partners in crime. You ladies are awesome!

 

takethekey

Meet the Characters in the Deadly Games Series

K&TNEW
Welcome to the Kiss and Thrill blog! I’m Lena Diaz, author of the Deadly Games Thrillers series. To celebrate the release of my newest novel, Take the Key and Lock Her Up, I thought it would be fun to review the characters in the series (mostly the Buchanan family) and how the books relate to each other. The books are stand alone. You don’t have to read them all to understand each one, but it’s more fun if you do, because you get to enjoy the recurring characters from earlier books and watch them grow and change.
takethekeyBut before I talk characters, here’s the blurb for the newest book, Take the Key and Lock Her Up.

A trained assassin…

A newly minted detective…

A killer who locks his victims away for years…

When their worlds collide, no one is safe, not even the Buchanans.

Detective Emily O’Malley just stumbled upon a killer’s lair—and the remains of a woman he kept locked away for years. But this killer isn’t done yet. More women are missing, and all clues point to Devlin Buchanan—the man who seems to know just a little too much. Emily’s instincts are rarely wrong, and now they’re telling her this sexy, mysterious man is hiding something big …

As a trained assassin for EXIT Inc—a top-secret mercenary group posing as an international tour company—Devlin “Devil” Buchanan isn’t afraid to take justice into his own hands. But when the hot new detective on his trail gets too close to the organization and a contract is placed on her life, Devlin does the only thing he can: he turns rogue agent and kidnaps her to save her life.

With EXIT Inc closing in and passions running hot between them, Emily and Devlin must work together to find the missing women and clear both their names before time runs out … and the key to freedom is thrown away.

Writing Devlin Buchanan as an assassin was a lot of fun and a really difficult challenge. He’s a true bad boy hero, but once you find out why he kills, I hope you’ll come to love him as much as I do, and as much as Emily comes to love him by the end of the story.

Now for a quick sketch of who’s who in the series.

Book #1: He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not

Logan Richards is a Chief of Police in Florida who works to find a serial killer before he can come back and kill the lone surviving victim of his sadistic games, Amanda Stockton.

Pierce Buchanan, an FBI Special Agent from Savannah, Georgia, is a secondary character who helps Logan catch the killer. Madison McKinley, Logan’s sister, is also introduced as a secondary character.

Book #2: Simon Says Die

Pierce Buchanan is back in this book, this time as the hero. His best friend, Logan Richards, is out of the country on his honeymoon with his new bride Amanda. Logan asks Pierce to look after his sister, Madison, because he suspects something is going on, something she’s afraid of but is keeping secret. In the time between books 1 and 2, Pierce and Madison have already dated and split up, for reasons only Madison knows. Pierce is understandably reluctant to have anything to do with her again, but he can’t tell his best friend no. In this story the big question is whether the serial killer, Simon, who is stalking Savannah is also stalking Madison. Or whether Madison is involved in something else altogether.

The entire Buchanan family is introduced in this book. We meet the single-father, Alex, and his five adult sons: Braedon, Pierce, Devlin, and identical twin brothers Matt, and Austin. Pierce’s FBI partner, Tessa James, is also introduced.

Book #3: Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead

Matt Buchanan plays center stage as a private investigator who helps the FBI with a cold case. He works with FBI Special Agent Tessa James on the case, which has more twists and turns than either of them ever expected.

Book #4: Take the Key and Lock Her Up

Devlin “Devil” Buchanan is a reluctant hero in this newest novel, when he saves police detective Emily O’Malley. That starts an entire series of twists and turns and puts the entire Buchanan family at risk.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the Deadly Games Series. Do you have a favorite series you follow? Comment for a chance to win a free digital copy of Take the Key and Lock Her Up. The winner will be announced on Thursday.

Click HERE to access buy links for Take the Key and Lock Her Up.

Or visit my website for more information. www.LenaDiaz.com

Winners…We have Winners!

Thank you so much for coming out to celebrate the release of WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS with me on Tuesday, you guys! This week our winner is: MAUREEN

Just click on the Contact Us link at the top of the page, and send me your snail mail addy, Maureen and I’ll send your book out first thing next week.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! And in the meantime, get yourselves ready because next week, we’re going to be spotlighting our very own Lena Diaz’s latest book TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP! Yay! Can’t wait for this one, folks. Can. Not. Wait!
takethekey

Why Do Lords Lose Their Hearts? Find out today!

GkUw090gCtcqEfaycQ02GU7T2n1MPsu6V7UNdKad_04Good morning all you happy people! Manda here, with the very exciting news that the third book in my Wicked Widows trilogy, WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS, is released into the wild today! Squee, y’all!

This book features the final showdown between Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormond, and the mysterious assailant who has threatened over the course of the trilogy to tell the world just how the brutish Duke of Ormond met his end. In the process, Perdita will 1) Fight Evil, 2) Get Kidnapped, and 3) Fall in Love with Lord Archer Lisle. But not necessarily in that order! I’m thrilled that readers are finally getting the chance to read this story of love between friends, and I can’t wait to hear what you think about the conclusion to the mystery that’s beset our favorite widows over the course of the trilogy!

Here’s the rundown:

THE TRUTH COULD RUIN HER

Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of …

WILL HIS LOVE SAVE HER

The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said “This sweet and sensuous novel has an undercurrent of mystery that will keep readers riveted.” And RT BOOK REVIEWS called it “sweet and chilling”–just what this author of romance mixed with thriller could wish!

My toughest critic, though, is Toast the cat, who (thankfully) gave it four paws up! Here she is after staying up all night. She couldn’t put it down! 20140728_175600

How do you like your romance? I’m guessing since you’re here at K&T, you like it with a side of mystery, but the perfect portion of each can be different for each person. What’s your perfect mix of romance and mystery? What makes you, the reader, lose your heart to a book? I’ll give a copy of WLLTH to one chatty commenter!

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