Author Archives: Carey Baldwin

Criminal Profiling: Art, Science or Both?

brainWhen I set out to write my upcoming release, JUDGMENT, I knew I had a lot of research to do, since the male lead is an FBI profiler, and it’s very important to me for my stories to be as authentic as possible. So I read more than a dozen books on profiling and the FBI, attended the writers’ police academy, made myself a pest on the crime-scene writers’ loop, and interviewed my local law enforcement resources. Then, armed with my pre-research, I went straight to the source- the FBI- for fact checking. You may or may not know that the FBI has a bureau of public affairs that provides specific avenues for writers and other artists to help them get their facts straight. Pretty cool, I think.

The real profilers, or more accurately, criminal investigative analysts, are a dedicated and courageous group, comprised of some of the brightest minds in the FBI. Most criminal investigative analysts start out as field agents before moving on to profiling, so they have experience and street smarts that round out their analytic skills.

But contrary to popular belief, profiling didn’t start with the FBI. Many consider New York psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, to have created the first criminal profile. Dr. Brussel astounded the police and public by providing a detailed psychological and forensic portrait of a serial bomber who had been terrorizing New York City. Burrows used deductive reasoning, psychological theory, and crime-scene analysis to come up with a finely tuned description of the culprit. When the Mad Bomber was apprehended, he fit the profile well, reportedly down to the buttoned up double-breasted suit he was wearing. One might speculate that the profile was so accurate, there might have been a little magic mixed into the process.

Which brings me back to the question. Is profiling an art or a science? John Douglas (one of the first FBI criminal profilers) and others have now developed standardized analytic techniques and a classification system, based on both their experiences and on data gathered from the study of serial murderers. But there is no doubt that the scarcity of serial killers available for analysis and the retrospective and subjective nature of the case studies, create major obstacles to verifying the scientific validity of claims made by profilers.

Nevertheless, FBI profilers are highly sought after by law enforcement to assist in their most baffling cases. The proof of their value can be seen in their high success rate. What impresses me most about these intrepid men and women is their willingness to burrow deep into the darkest recesses of the human mind. I find both the profiler and the process fascinating.

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

In JUDGMENT, I hope to convey a glimmer of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a criminal investigative analyst. I loved writing this book, and I hope you’ll enjoy the series. You can read an excerpt of Judgment or sign up for my newsletter at CareyBaldwin.com.

The human brain fascinates me. What fascinates you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Manda Collins upcoming Christmas novella, ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS KISS on release day. Winner’s choice of e-book or print.Once-Upon-A-Christmas-Kiss

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!

Winner!

Sharon Wray couldn't get her hamster out of its cage, but she sent along this wonderful photo of her dog Donut.  Don't you just want to hug him?

Sharon Wray couldn’t get her hamster out of its cage, but she sent along this wonderful photo of her dog Donut. Don’t you just want to hug him?

Thanks for all your fun comments! The winner of our If Dogs Could Talk blog is Marsha West. Congratulations, Marsha! Please contact me here with your preferred email addy for the Starbucks Gift card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming up this Tuesday: Krista Hall’s spotlight on  Julia Keller’s Bell Elkins mystery series.Krista 2012

 

If Dogs Could Talk

If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one~Andy Rooney

Lena Diaz’s adorable dog Sparky

Maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be extra fun if dogs could talk!

Remember Andy Rooney and that delightful acerbic wit of his? I sure do. And I miss his brief, straight to the point rants on the television show 60 Minutes. His segments were fun, and I think a precursor of Jerry Seinfeld’s What’s up with that? routines.

So today in honor of Andy Rooney or Jerry Seinfeld or both, I have a What’s up with that? blog for you.

First the disclaimer: Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. Maybe you can explain it to me, because I feel confident that right here among us are readers who do it.

What is it? You ask. Well, this it. I scratch my head whenever I hear someone say: I really did not enjoy this book, but once I start a book I have to finish it.

Erm. I don’t get it.

Rosie 7

Krista’s adorable dog, Rosie

I realize there are some good reasons to finish books you don’t like. For example, your mother wrote it and dedicated it to you (Shannon I’m talking to you). Your critique partner wrote it (my critique partners only write awesome books, but I’m just sayin’ in case yours doesn’t). You agreed to judge it in a contest. You are a book blogger or agreed to provide a review. Your teacher assigned it, and there’s a quiz tomorrow. I’m not talking about these situations.

I’m talking about someone who feels they must finish a book because they bought it or started it, or just because they can’t quit anything.

Now I’ve sat through a few movies I didn’t like, but that was because I was with someone else, and I didn’t want to make them miss out on something they were enjoying. But I have never finished a book I didn’t like without a good reason. The world is littered with books I’ve begun but didn’t finish, and I don’t feel one iota of guilt.

 

So here’s my question: What kind of reader are you? Are you a wall-banger like me, who tosses the book at the first sign of trouble? Or do you finish a book no matter what? If you do, please tell us why. Ten dollar Starbucks card to one lucky commenter.

Debra Webb’s Winner!

vicious-dwdotcomThanks so much to the awesome Debra Webb for joining us this week! The lucky winner of  Debra’s Faces of Evil tote bag and a copy of Vicious is….Michelle Larson!

Michelle, please contact us here with your snail mail and email address to claim your prize. 

Next up: The lovely Diana Belchase and one of her trademark video interviews. She’ll put Ellen Byerrum in the hot seat and discuss fashion, murder and lifetime movies.  Don’t miss this one!eb_website_november_28_2013001023

Debra Webb and The Faces of Evil

debra webbToday I’m thrilled to welcome USA Today Best Selling author Debra Webb. We’ve got a fascinating interview followed by a giveaway for you, but first I’d like to turn my spotlight on Vicious, the latest in Debra’s Faces of Evil series. I LOVED Vicious! So often we talk about a book that you just can’t put down, but in reality, those books are hard to find. Vicious grabbed me from the first page and I found myself putting off many other things, like say…eating and bathing…because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. This story weaves a fascinating, dark tale involving a very strange definition of art. Find out what’s really on this serial killer’s canvas in Vicious. Here’s the official blurb below, followed by the interview I promised you.

Serial killer Eric Spears is far from done. He has chosen his next victim and Deputy Chief Jess Harris knows it’s only a matter of time until he comes for her.

The murders are vicious, the killer relentless. Has Birmingham’s major crimes team run into its most baffling and deadly case yet?

Carey: Debra first, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s such an honor to have you with us. Your Faces of Evil series is an amazing journey for readers. What inspired the series?

Debra: Thank you! It’s great to be here! The Faces of Evil was inspired by a study I watched several years ago about the scale of evil by Dr. Michael Stone. I was so enthralled. I couldn’t get the concept out of my mind. I decided to write a series where the same heroine solves cases that climb the scale of evil! I started with Obsession and Vicious is the most recent release. Vile is coming in March, Heinous in July and Depraved in December!

Carey: You have two protagonists who appear throughout the series, Jess Harris and Dan Burnett.  Please tell us what makes these two tick.

Debra: Jess and Dan have a long history. They were high school sweethearts with big dreams who went off to college together. But not all dreams come true and four years later Dan returned to Birmingham while Jess went on to become a celebrated profiler with the FBI. (You can read interviews with both Jess and Dan at Faces of Evil) Her return to Birmingham, along with an obsessed serial killer determined to haunt her, has turned both Jess and Dan’s lives upside down. No matter, the fact that they have always loved each other continues to triumph. I’ve really enjoyed watching their relationship evolve over the past seven books.

Carey: Is there something you can tell us about Jess that she’d never want Dan to learn, and vice versa?

Debra: We’ve been through some of that in the first six books! Jess is very independent and determined. I think she wouldn’t want Dan to know how much it really bothers her that his mother dislikes her. She doesn’t like anyone to see her weaknesses. Dan is the epitome of a good guy. But he has a few secrets of his own. A couple of those secrets are about to start haunting him and he would rather not have Jess learn about them.

Carey: Okay, you’ve got me determined to find out what Dan’s secrets are! I can’t wait to find out. Which of the Faces of Evil series was the most difficult book for you to write and why?

Debra: Ruthless, definitely. A serial killer known as the Man in the Moon abducted and murdered many, many children before he was caught. The abductions took place in the past so I didn’t have to put any of that on the page, which made it a little easier. I cried all the way through the scene where the remains were found. It was a very emotional story for me.

Carey: I can imagine how difficult that must’ve been. Sometimes the most powerful subjects are the hardest to write (and read) about. What’s up next for you?

Debra: I’m working on a follow up book to BONE DEEP. The story was so well-received, I decided to write BONE COLD which revolves around Special Agent Tom Cuddahy, a secondary character from BONE DEEP. Don’t miss my Faces of Evil short story in the My Evil Valentine thriller collection available now!

Carey: Has anyone ever given you a great piece of advice? What was it?

Debra: As long as you love what you do it will show in the work.

Carey: Your passion for storytelling certainly comes through in your books, so I’d say that was good advice. I’m sure many authors have inspired and supported you along the way. Can you tell us about one of them?

Debra: There are so very many! How about I name a few instead of one.

Vicki Hinze for her undying determination and sage words.

Peggy Webb for her incredible insights into life and invaluable friendship.

CJ Lyons, Cindy Gerard, Toni Magee Causey and Allison Brennan for being the best cheerleaders!

Regan Black for always having my back.

Kathy Carmichael and Rita Herron for always being happy to just listen.

Carey: A wonderful list! Ready for the lightning round? It’s easy- just name your favorite:

Fast Food Joint - Sonic

Vacation Spot – Anywhere in New England

Television Show – Rehab Addict

Song on your iPod (what’s the most played?) – Make a Memory by Bon Jovi

Valentine’s Day Gift - Roses

What’s the last book you read on your e-reader? Down and Dead in Dixie by Vicki Hinze

Carey: Ha! Debra, believe it or not Make a Memory by Bon Jovi is the second most played song on my iPod!

Connect with Debra: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Mailing List.

Readers do you have a question or comment for Debra? She’s giving away a Faces of Evil tote bag and a copy of Vicious to one lucky commenter. Fire away and good luck!

Winner of Tennessee Takedown

I’d like to thank Lena Diaz again for being a good sport and answering all our questions in between sneezes! It was a blast to interview her. And thanks to all our readers and commenters for a fun discussion of dark heroes.81aLrChZQqL._SL1500_

The winner of a signed copy of Tennessee Takedown is: Sherry Gladden. Sherry please email us here with your snail mail address to claim your autographed print copy of Tennessee Takedown! 

What’s up next?

Lovely Diana Belchase interviews also lovely Manda Collins. Manda’s Why-Earls-Fall-In-Love-by-Manda-Collins300x490newest release Why Earls Fall in Love releases Jan. 28th. She’ll be right here to share the release day excitement with us. And Psst: Guess who got her first ever review from Publishers Weekly! Manda! And it was awesome. Among other things, PW said that Why Earls Fall in Love is “sparkling” and “delicious”! Not too shabby for a first timer, eh? Check it out here: Publishers Weekly review.

Kiss and Thrill Takedown

Lena DiazToday it’s my very great pleasure to take down…I mean interview…Kiss and Thrill’s very own Lena Diaz. Lena is a master story-teller whose stories will rev your heart and melt it at the same time. If you haven’t tried one of her books what are you waiting for? Her latest release, TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN is one of my personal favorites. The story opens with an electrifying office shooting and then never lets up. It’s a thrill a minute coupled with a luscious love story. I adored TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN. Please don’t miss it! (Print release is Jan 21st! Ebook release is Feb 1st!) And now for the interview. Don’t forget there’ll be a giveaway for commenters. More on that later, but now here’s Lena:

Carey: What’s your favorite way to kill a character?

Lena: My favorite method is whatever works but doesn’t leave many clues for the police. Wait, CHARACTER? Sorry, Um. Okay, I admit I’m quite the fan of a good gunfight. There’s just something sexy about the hero diving to avoid a bullet and doing that mid-air maneuver where he twists around and returns fire before he even hits the ground. (shiver) I’ve also used poison, knives, even fire. And in one of the stories I’m writing right now the hero is very dark with a tortured past. His weapon of choice? His hands.

Carey: Shivering back! Let’s talk hunks- who would you want to play Dillon in Tennessee Takedown, the movie? And who for Ashley?

Lena: A younger version of Jeffrey Dean Morgan would be the PERFECT Dillon. (swoon) He’s the actor who played Denny in Grey’s Anatomy. I love his physique–solid, without being a body-builder type. And he has that sexy stubble I love so much, with a voice that could melt butter and eyes that invite you to try him on for size. LOVE him. And since I’m on a Grey’s Anatomy thread here, Chyler Leigh (Lexie Grey) would be a great foil for Dillon. She’s smart, funny, and has that all-American girl-next-door appeal.

Fun Fact Alert regarding TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN: The fictional town of Destiny, Tennessee is one county over from fellow Intrigue author Paula Graves’s fictional town of Bitterwood. And the hero even mentions the Bitterwood sheriff in my book.

Carey: What’s your secret ingredient for an unputdownable book?

Lena: I wish I knew! If I did, I’d bottle it and sell it and make a blasted fortune! I do think the hero is the most important part of a love story, so I put a lot of work into making my heroes smart, funny, sexy and super-alpha. And when it comes to plotting my stories, I constantly ask myself what would most likely make sense to happen next at the end of a scene–and try to do something else. I like to be surprised when I read, so that’s what I try to give my readers.

Carey: Oh I love that twist of the scene! You’re so good at it. Do you prefer writing an action scene or a love scene…and why :-)?

Lena: Action, action, action! Action scenes are just plain fun because they show off some of the best qualities in an alpha male. They add tension and drama and get the heart racing. Love scenes can (and should) get the heart racing too. But, honestly, they are so incredibly difficult for me to write. I agonize over them, for many reasons. Mainly, they are an important turning point in any love story and have to occur at the right moment(s) to ratchet up the tension and change the conflict. I also don’t want to write anything “crass” that would turn off my readers. I want to treat this important part of a relationship with the dignity and respect it deserves, while drawing out every ounce of emotion that I can. It’s never easy, but when it works, it can elevate the story to an entirely new level.

Carey: I love both your love scenes and your action scenes. Guess that explains why! Can you tell us about the Deadly Game series and give us a sneak peek at Take the Key and Lock Her Up?

Lena: The Deadly Game series has that name because the titles of all the books are twisted versions of real childhood games (He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not; Simon Says Die; Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead; Take the Key and Lock Her Up.) Each story focuses on bringing down a serial killer, and the heroes are all Buchanan brothers, except for Logan who is a best friend of one of the brothers.

“Take the Key” comes out this July and features Devlin, known as “Devil” to his brothers. Whereas the other Buchanan men come from law-enforcement types of backgrounds, Devlin has a dark, secret past that, well, let’s just say he avoids police every chance he gets. He’s a super tortured hero who walks a tightrope between his devil-may-care side he shows his family and the darkness that truly lurks in his soul. He’s definitely a reluctant hero, drawn into helping solve some abductions where women are imprisoned for years before ultimately being killed. This book goes back to my roots with the first book in the series in that it’s much more serious and darker than the other two books. Crossing my fingers my readers will love it as much as I do. Redeeming a seemingly unredeemable hero was a really difficult challenge but so worth it in the end.

Carey: I’m hopping with anticipation, Lena. And for good reason! Please tell us about your upcoming series with Avon.

Lena: I’m so thrilled to have sold a three book print series to Avon! The first book probably won’t be out until late 2015, and I can’t really share much about the series yet. But I will say that I sold it based on the tagline “The Bourne Identity meets The Firm.” And I can tell you that this series is a natural spin-off from Take the Key and Lock Her Up. Devlin’s past is integral to the basis for the entire series. He plays an important cameo role in the first book. And readers shouldn’t be surprised if other Buchanan men show up in these books as well!

Time for Lightning Round questions: 

Name your favorites:

Fast food restaurant - Outback! Love their green beans.

TV show - Law and Order SVU

Christmas gift you received this year - My son graduated from college! Best present ever.

Place to vacation - Gatlinburg, Tennessee. LOVE the Smoky Mountains.

Book of all time – I’ll let you choose one or your top three - Straight suspense-Coffin Dancer by Jeffrey Deaver. Romance-too many to name! Two classics I adore are Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard.

Song on your ipod (go to most played and spill the actual song you’ve listened to most)  - Merry Go ‘Round by Kacey Musgraves.

Carey: Lena thanks for being such a good sport! And now I have to check out Kacey Musgraves. She’s new to me.

Lena: Thank you so much for hosting me, Carey!

Readers, for a chance to win TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN please leave a comment. Lena says: What I’d love to know from the readers is this: How dark is too dark for a romantic suspense? Do you enjoy stories where the hero is almost an anti-hero and has to be redeemed by the heroine? Examples of favorite dark heroes or stories would be awesome!  

You can find Lena on the web here: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Join her mailing list.

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