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…
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.
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!
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….
Laura 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.
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.
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!
Something awesome happened yesterday, March 26th!
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.
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.
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!
There 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.
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.
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)!
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