Mission Thailand

Ever wonder where ideas for spy stories come from? Well mine often come from visits to Washington, D.C. embassies. See if you can get a few ideas of your own after reading about my latest covert exploit.

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Living in Washington is wonderful.  The city is a museum, culture is everywhere, and politics often makes sleeping pill prescriptions totally unnecessary.  Sometimes I lose sight of how interesting and different our city is, but events like the one I attended on Friday night shake out complacency.

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Yes, I was a guest at the Royal Thai embassy in Georgetown.  The food was sumptuous, the Ambassador and his staff gracious, and the entertainment divine.  I had such a good time, two days later my cheeks still hurt from smiling so much. Here’s a snippet of the entertainment for you to enjoy.

The cherry on the cake truly was the Thai Masked Dance Khon Troupe from Bangkok.  For over an hour they danced, fought, joked, clowned, and displayed aspects of the Thai heritage.  The men wore brilliant golden costumes, the women dripped dozens of orchids from their hair.  Each movement — practiced over decades — seemed effortless, yet I couldn’t fathom getting my fingers into the artistic backward curving gestures or moving with such precise grace.

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I’d like to thank His Excellency, Ambassador Vijavat Isarabhakdi for his kind generosity during the evening.  He reminded me of my husband’s and my trip to Bangkok a few years ago — and a place and people so lovely, I cannot wait to visit there again.

 

Crimes of Passion/Inside the Actors Studio Interview Winner!

First I want to thank the CRIMES OF PASSION authors for participating in the Inside the Actors Studio quiz! If you didn’t catch the interview, you can read the post here.

Check out CRIMES OF PASSION at: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo

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The winner of CONCRETE EVIDENCE in audio CD is:

QUANTUM

Quantum, to claim your prize, contact us with your mailing address within ten days!

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Crimes of Passion – 6 Romantic Suspense Books for $0.99!

Summer is officially here and like many of our readers, I’m looking to fill up my ereader with sexy, intense, and mysterious stories for vacation reading, which is why I’m extra thrilled to tell our Kiss and Thrill audience about a new 6-book bundle available for a limited time for only $0.99!

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CRIMES OF PASSION, full of heart-pounding, sexy suspense, includes books by four New York Times bestselling authors! I am so honored to have Body of Evidence included with these fantastic titles!

~ Crimes of the Heart Collection ~
CRIMES OF PASSION
Six Romantic Suspense Books

Toni Anderson – Her Sanctuary
Terri Reid – Loose Ends
M A Comley – Past Temptation
Rachel Grant – Body of Evidence
Jennifer Blake – Love and Smoke
Denise Grover Swank – Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes

To learn more about the CRIMES OF PASSION authors, I donned my James Lipton beard and put them in the Inside the Actors Studio hot seat.

What is your favorite word?
Toni: Ethereal
Terri: Pizzazz
M A: Perpendicular
Rachel: Kismet
Jennifer: Serendipity
Denise: Yes

What is your least favorite word?
Toni: Vomit
Terri: Should
M A: Scenario
Rachel: Fart
Jennifer: Skanky
Denise: No

What turns you on?
Toni: Tom Hardy’s smile
Terri: A good mystery
M A: Kindness
Rachel: Wit (six-pack abs don’t hurt either)
Jennifer: Tenderness
Denise: A confident man

What turns you off?
Toni: The list is endless.
Terri: Bad writing
M A: Conceit
Rachel: Fart jokes
Jennifer: Vulgarity
Denise: Negativity

What sound or noise do you love?
Toni: Bird song
Terri: An owl hooting nearby on a dark night
M A: A trickling stream
Rachel: My children’s laughter
Jennifer: Ocean surf
Denise: My children’s laughter

What sound or noise do you hate?
Toni: Bird song at 5 AM
Terri: Arguing
M A: Animals in pain
Rachel: Leaf blowers
Jennifer: NASCAR racing
Denise: Loud squeaks

What is your favorite curse word?
Toni: Fuck
Terri: Crap – just ask Mary O’Reilly
M A: Shit
Rachel: Fuck
Jennifer: Hell
Denise: Frickety-frack (I have little kids. Enough said.)

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Toni: FBI agent :)
Terri: Billionaire – that’s a profession, right?
M A: Vet
Rachel: Covert operative
Jennifer: Artist
Denise: I love being an author. I wouldn’t want to be anything else.

What profession would you not like to do?
Toni: Garbage man – looks like the hardest job in the world in this city.
Terri: Proctologist – ’nuff said.
M A: Slaughterman
Rachel: Any job that involves putrid odors on a daily basis.
Jennifer: Nursing
Denise: Sanitation worker

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Toni: “They’re all waiting for you.” :)
Terri: “Welcome home.”
M A: “Welcome, I’ve had my eye on you for a while. Thanks for going the extra mile to support all the needy animals on Earth.”
Rachel: “I’ve decided to make an exception in your case.”
Jennifer: “Come on in, honey, glad to see you could make it!”
Denise: “You made the world a better place.”

I love both the similarities and differences in our answers! What do you think? Do you have a favorite word? To celebrate the release of CRIMES OF PASSION I’m giving away a copy of CONCRETE EVIDENCE in audiobook (CD format) to one randomly selected commenter.

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BODY OF EVIDENCE (Evidence Series)Rachel Grant

In North Korea retrieving the remains of GIs, archaeologist Mara Garrett is arrested and sentenced to death for spying. Curt Dominick, an ambitious, infuriatingly sexy US attorney mounts a rescue misson that morphs into an explosive chase across the Pacific. Desire clashes with loyalty when the conspiracy they uncover threatens not only their lives but national security.

HER SANCTUARYToni Anderson

Running for her life, ex-FBI agent Elizabeth Ward escapes to the solitude of Montana with a new identity. Nat Sullivan, struggling to keep his ranch from bankruptcy, doesn’t need a beautiful stranger complicating his life. But Elizabeth isn’t what she seems. And when a murderer and rapist track her down, they all discover the power of revenge — and redemption.

TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES (Rose Gardner Mystery – Book 1)Denise Grover Swank

Rose Gardner’s had visions before, but never of herself dead. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered instead, she’s the prime suspect. Rose makes a bucketlist of 28 wishes, targeting neighbor Joe, with secrets of his own, for #15: Do more with a man. Then her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in jail isn’t her biggest worry.

LOOSE ENDS (A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery – Book 1)Terri Reid

Combining her cop experience with a talent to communicate with ghosts, PI Mary O’Reilly’s big challenge is convincing the handsome police chief she’s not nuts. But when the ghost of a woman drowned in a Senator’s swimming pool 24 years ago points to a connection with the cold cases of five missing girls, Mary becomes a target of a serial killer out to tie up all his loose ends.

Love & Smoke_200x300LOVE AND SMOKE (Contemporary Collection)Jennifer Blake

Riva Staulet triumphed over past betrayal to reinvent herself as a woman of wealth and power. Noel has always been a Southern gentleman of rock-solid principle, stalward in his sense of justice. When a ruthless politician from her past resurfaces, Riva must risk utter ruin to prove him a murderer. And as death and disaster loom, Noel must choose to stand with her or against her.

PAST TEMPTATION (Temptation Series)M A Comley

Until now, Nicole’s main focus in life has been running her successful business while raising her daughter, Sammy Jo, single-handedly. Now, Nicole’s ex-boyfriend, Josh, has turned up determined to rekindle the relationship he ran out on. But before they get the chance to pick up where they left off, Nicole’s personal life is put in mortal danger.

Check out CRIMES OF PASSION at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win CONCRETE EVIDENCE in audio CD!

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Winner! We Have a Winner Here!

Thanks so much for sharing your favorite reads with me on Tuesday’s Appreciation Post! Hope you try one of the great suggestions–maybe even Karin Slaughter’s amazing  COP TOWN!

Now, without further ado, the winner of an ARC of my upcoming book WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS is Patti Straight!!! Congratulations, Patti! Email me using the CONTACT US link above with your snail mail address and ill get it out to you ASAP!

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Come back next Tuesday when the always excellent RACHEL GRANT shares some REALLY EXCITING NEWS!!! What can it be??? Like the Go Gos, my lips are sealed!!

 

 

 

Karin Slaughter’s COP TOWN–An Appreciation

Cover, Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

COP TOWN–A fantastic read!

Here at Kiss and Thrill, we don’t do reviews per se. What we do are better called, to my mind, appreciations.

These are the books that strike a chord, that make us wish we’d written them ourselves, that leave us turning the last page with a happy sigh. Karin Slaughter’s latest, COP TOWN, is certainly worthy of all the appreciation I can muster.

Better known for her Grant County and Will Trent series, COP TOWN is a bit of a departure for Slaughter, in that it’s a stand alone novel set in 1975 Atlanta.

When I read her 2012 book, CRIMINAL, which jumped back and forth between the early 1970s and the present, I was sad to see her close that 70s storyline, not because I didn’t want more Will Trent, but because I was equally as drawn to the women breaking barriers as cops in the Atlanta PD forty years ago.

Cover, Criminal by Karin Slaughter

CRIMINAL–70s + Will Trent=Awesome!

Fortunately for me, Karin Slaughter was also eager to revisit the turbulent70s and thank goodness she was. Because COP TOWN is easily the best mystery/thriller I’ve read this year. Following two female patrol cops–one a rookie and the other the sister and niece of cops–COP TOWN explores not only crime and punishment in the era, but also gives a very authentic portrait of life in post-war, post integration, post women’s movement Atlanta. And it’s not a pretty picture.

Kate Murphy, the rookie, is the widow of a Vietnam soldier, who, tired of spending her days weeping, decides to make a change, and that means joining the Atlanta PD. And, as luck would have it, she ends up partnered with Maggie Lawson, whose Uncle Terry and brother Jimmy are both cops too, making Maggie less than thrilled to show newbie Kate the ropes.

What follows is a fast paced, exhilarating, and–yes–sexy tale that kept me turning the pages well into the night. But what will stick with me is the characterization.

I especially appreciated the nuanced portrait of Kate, which was careful not to portray her as a saintly widow, and didn’t hold back when describing the ups and downs of her marriage. One of the things I appreciate most about Slaughter is that she shows love in all it’s messy, complicated, sometimes cruel facets. I also loved watching Kate develop from a scared baby cop into a seasoned veteran in the space of a week. Because her trial was by fire, and darned if she didn’t come through it alive and kicking.

Whether you’re looking for a police procedural with a complex and edge of your seat mystery, or a character driven story about two very strong female characters coming into their own, you can’t go wrong with COP TOWN. The PR materials say it’s a stand alone, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that Karin Slaughter will make this one an ongoing series. There’s a bit of a romance thread in this one and it’s one of the things that didn’t get tied up. But I’ve got my fingers crossed so here’s hoping!

Why not? She granted my wish the last time, right?

What have you read lately that knocked your socks off? I’ll give one lucky commenter an ARC (electronic or print, your choice) of my upcoming WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS which Romantic Times just called, “chilling and sweet”!

2014 Summer Reading List for Teens and Tweens

Wreckless_iBooks-700x1050-2First I want to thank everyone who suggested books for the list. We have an amazing selection of books and authors! My kids will officially be on summer break around noon today and ready to fill their ereaders or hit the library. To that end, I’ve taken all the recommendations and compiled them into one Word document you can download by clicking: K&T 2014 MG & YA Reading List. To make it easy to download samples, embedded in the document are links to each book’s page at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Or you can print the list and bring it with you to the library.

And now for our winner  who gets to choose one of the books my kids recommended:

The winner is…

Sunny!

Front-Cover-FINAL-Maid-of-Secrets_300Sunny, to claim your book please contact me with your preferred format (print or ebook) and your selection from Tuesday’s blog within 10 days.

Join us next week at Kiss and Thrill, when we will be adding to our adult summer reading list with two reviews by Manda Collins.

2014 Middle Grade/Young Adult Summer Reading List

It’s the time of year when I turn to my friend young adult author Amanda Brice and beg her for middle grade and young adult mystery titles that will keep my 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter entertained for the coming months and share those recommendations with our readers. This year, sadly, Amanda is offline due to a sick toddler, so my daughter and son are filling in with their book recommendations. All of us at Kiss and Thrill hope Amanda’s little guy gets better quickly!

As we do each year, I’m asking our readers to chime in with their book recommendations in the comments. Summer is long and my kids are voracious readers, I need books! One lucky commenter will win a print or ebook copy of one of the books recommended by my kids – winner’s choice. On Thursday I’ll post a downloadable list of all the books recommended here and in the blog comments.

Before we get started on our list, here is a mom tip from me: if your son or daughter has an ereader of their own, use the links on this page to send a sample directly to their device. No need to remember titles or guess what they’ll like because they can try them all for free!

Here are my daughter’s book recommendations, in no particular order. (If you check out this list every year, you will see some titles repeated from previous years. These are books she really, really loves.)

1816 Candles
by Amanda Brice

The Selection
by Kiera Cass

City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare

Wreckless
by Bria Quinlan

 

 

The Other Side of the Island
by Allegra Goodman

Enclave
by Ann Aguirre

Defiance
by C.J. Redwine

Goodbye Rebel Blue
by Shelley Coriell

 

 

Bloom
by A.P. Kensey

Maid of Secrets
by Jennifer McGowan

First Light
by Rebecca Stead

Cold Magic
by Kate Elliot

 

 

For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund

Alanna:The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness)
by Tamora Pierce

Heist Society
by Ally Carter

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell

 

 

The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa

Cinder
by Marissa Meyer

Dangerous
by Shannon Hale

I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

 

 

Here are my son’s book recommendations, in no particular order.
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1)
by John A. Flanagan

Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider)
by Anthony Horowitz

 

 

School of Fear
by Gitty Daneshvari

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
by Jeff Kinney

Battle Heroes: Voices from Afghanistan
by Allan Zullo

 

 

When My Name was Keoko
by Linda Sue Park

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Holes
by Louis Sachar

The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

Okay readers, my kids have shared some of their favorites, now it’s your turn! Please post your book recommendations for middle school and high school aged readers. One commenter will win a copy of one of the books my kids recommended, winner’s choice! Check back on Thursday to see if you are our winner.

Thursday Winner!

DeadHeat-1A special thank you to Allison Brennan for hosting our blog on Tuesday. Congratulations to jdh2690! You win a signed copy of either DEAD HEAT (The Lucy Kincaid series) or NOTORIOUS (The first in the Max Revere series.)

Please click on the Contact Us link and let us know where to send you book.notorious-final

 

Thank you to all of the commenters on Tuesday, we appreciate you stopping by and chatting about books and TV shows, what works and what is contrived.

Next Tuesday, June 10th, Rachel will host Amanda Brice, who returns with her 3rd ANNUAL YA SUMMER READING LIST. If you have tweens or tweens, do not miss this!Amanda Brice

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