Heather Ashby’s Never Forget: A Suzanne Brockmann Recommendation

I am so excited to welcome back one of my favorite Golden Heart sisters Heather Ashby. Today we’re talking about her newest release  Never Forget and the most amazing author endorsement ever!!!

“A must-read for fans of military romantic suspense. This book is part of a series, but it stands very much alone. If you enjoy my Troubleshooters, Heather’s definitely an author to check out! Amazing book, amazing author, amazing series.”

                                                                                             – Suzanne Brockmann

NeverForget

HA: Thanks for inviting me today, Sharon. It’s always exciting to visit “Kiss and Thrill.” I’m thrilled to share Book #3 in my “Love in the Fleet” series with your readers.

 Never Forget

 With 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel melted into her bow, what if there are more souls aboard the USS New York than the sailors and Marines stationed there? And what if those souls can help the troops defeat al-Qaeda this time?

When Royal Navy officer Gwyn Pritchard reports for exchange duty aboard USS New York, she’s the only one who sees 9/11 spirits roaming the decks. The daughter of a famous Welsh psychic, Gwyn learns the spirits must complete a mission in order to pass to the other side.

The sole survivor of an IED blast in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor has his own issues. But when he discovers that the British officer sees ghosts aboard their ship, he becomes her confidant—and lover.

Passions rise to fever pitch when New York rushes to liberate British and American hostages in North Africa before al-Qaeda’s deadline. Can the spirits gather the right intelligence to help the Marines save the prisoners? Can Gwyn help the ghosts move on to the light? And can Adam and Gwyn find the love they’ve searched the world over for?

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SW: For my first question I just have to ask, “How did you get Suzanne Brockmann to give you a cover quote?”

HA: I asked Suzanne in person when she presented at our chapter meeting, so I had the opportunity to see her jaw drop when I told her about the USS New York and the 9/11 spirits on board. (Yes, there really IS 7.5 tons of WTC steel in the New York’s bow.) However, since Suzanne is well-known for supporting the troops, I’m sure the deciding factor was that I donate half my royalties to Fisher House Foundation in thanksgiving for my son’s safe return from war. BTW, getting her quote and endorsement on Facebook was a dream come true. It was her Troubleshooters books that got me through my son’s deployments (along with vast amounts of prayer and chardonnay!) And while reading her books, I was inspired to try my hand at military romance.

SW: You are so brave. I don’t know if I would have the courage to ask. When you first came up with the idea of the ghosts aboard USS New York, did you have any concerns or worries?

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HA: I sat on the idea for several weeks, questioning if it was okay to write about them. My concern was for the 9/11 families. Then it came to me that if I didn’t write this story, somebody else would, and I wanted to ensure it was written with the respect it deserved. I am a Navy veteran, Marine Corps daughter, Navy wife, and mother of an Iraq and Afghanistan combat Army vet. I felt I was qualified—and with the victims’ families always foremost in my mind—I jumped in with both feet and wrote straight from the heart.

I realized that if I could give the spirits a voice and empower them with some control over the ship, the crisis, and their destiny, it would allow them to move from victim to victor. Just so you know, I worked on this book for two years and I still get goose bumps. Thus far my favorite reader review is this one on Facebook: “As a member of a 9/11 family, this book is truly inspiring. I’m filled with gratitude for this very special remembrance of my son.”

SW: What a wonderful review! How many people did you share your premise with while you were writing this? Or did you keep it to yourself?

HA: I shared with very few, highly-trusted individuals. For me to keep a secret like this for two years was a big deal, but I felt the story was too special to allow it to be stolen and sensationalized.

SW: How did you come up with your heroine? Why Welsh and the Royal Navy? She’s fascinating and so different from other heroines.

HA: Several years ago my husband and I entertained Royal Navy officers from the HMS Ocean. One delightful Sub-Left-tenant, suggested I write a romance about a Naval officer exchange program between the U.S. and the U.K., which meant two love story threads. In Never Forget, the love story on the British ship, HMS Atlantic, is the link to the first two books in “Love in the Fleet.” The other thread is detailed above in the blurb. Then I needed a reason why only Gwyn could see the spirits, and thought of a country that might have “faeries,” so I made her Welsh. She grew up with a mum who dabbled in “all kinds of woo-woo stuff,” so Gwyn rebelled by becoming a Royal Naval engineer, a profession which uses science and logic. She is therefore mortified when she reports for duty aboard New York and sees ghosts—meaning she has inherited the family “gift.”

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SW: Why were the prisoners in North Africa? Was there any significance in that choice? (It seems so eerily appropriate now)

HA: I chose North Africa because I needed both the American and British ships (with both sets of lovers) to be close enough to rush to the crisis. The USS New York would be on a routine Med cruise and the HMS Atlantic could race from Plymouth, England to join her in trying to free British and American hostages. My USMC advisor and I decided Tangiers was the perfect spot for the crisis because it was the espionage crossroads of the world in the 1940s and 1950s which plays into the story.

SW: Did you have any surprises while writing this book?

HA: The spirits were a total surprise. My stories are “homeported” at Naval Station Mayport, FL. In 2012 I learned that Mayport would be receiving three amphibious assault ships in 2014, so I decided to write about an amphib. While researching the new ships, I read about the World Trade Center steel melted into the bow of USS New York. I literally flew out of my chair, hands to open mouth with “OMG!OMG!OMG!” screaming in my brain!

Next I surprised myself by making one of the two heroes a Marine. I knew nothing about Marines and could just as easily have made him a Naval officer. But something spoke to me. My late father was a WWII Marine. He had some sad issues from his childhood and I decided to work them out through Adam Connor, my Marine hero. Then I was led to a fabulous newly-retired Marine, Christopher Bergeron, who was interested in helping. He said, “I spent my career writing amphibious assault training scenarios and never got to use half of them. I know exactly how to go into your fictional consulate and free those hostages!” Like I could turn THAT down! The fact that Chris doubled as the cover art photographer was beyond awesome!

There are several surprises in the crisis – which is a series of black moments. One scared the living daylights out of me! My brain kept saying, “Play it safe. This is too risky. You can’t do this.” But my ADHD gut said, “Go for it! This is the kind of thing that makes for blockbuster books and movies.” I figured if it was too risky, my editor would slap me on the wrist and make me revise. But she loved it! (It scared her too J)

Although Chris is new to writing fiction, he added in a few surprises that literally had me screaming out “OMG! I didn’t know that!” At first he just gave me Marine Corps “sand,” general information that I could turn into “sand castles.” But his confidence has gone through the roof as he realizes what a brilliant and creative writer he is (my words, not his J) We are exploring the very real possibility of co-authoring book four, Unforgettable.

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SW: Speaking of your covers, Heather, I see they’ve changed. Can you shed a little light on that.

HA: I changed publishers over the summer and am now working with the amazing Teresa Medeiros at Amber House Books. Since it was imperative that this book have a respectful cover, we decided to go with military uniforms for the entire series. My hero son agreed to pose for the covers and Chris shot the photos. My retired Navy husband meticulously researched the ribbons and devices (A.K.A. “fruit salad”) to ensure that the uniforms reflected the age and experience of the hero in each book. It was a true family affair; even my daughter helped out. She suggested a key spy character – “The Lynx” – right before Never Forget went to press.

I feel like I’ve come full circle, Sharon. At 9:04 on 9/11, I knew my son would be going to war. It was one of the most frightening realizations I’ve ever had. I’ve been blessed to have him return safe and whole from combat. Now he helps out as we publish “Love in the Fleet” and donate to causes that support families who have not fared as well as ours in the War on Terror.

Now I’d like to leave a question with your readers: What were you doing when you learned of 9/11 and what was your initial reaction?

 

SW: One lucky commenter will win a copy of Never Forget by Heather Ashby!

HA: Thanks for inviting me today, Sharon. It’s always a pleasure to interact with your readers.

SW: You’re so welcome, Heather. It’s always a pleasure to have you here.

USSNYHeather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. She now writes military romance novels in the series, “Love in the Fleet.” Her debut novel, Forgive & Forget was voted “Best of 2013” by Suspense Magazine. Forget Me Not is currently a finalist in the Military Writers Society of America’s annual contest. She publishes with Amber House Books, who released Never Forget on September 9th. Heather lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her husband and two rescue cats.

You can find Heather at: www.heatherashby.comwww.heatherashby.com/Books.htmlhttp://amzn.to/1lFC9Ua, Twitter: @HAshbyAuthor, and www.facebook.com/HeatherAshbyAuthor?ref=

All photos courtesy of Heather Ashby.

Winner Announcement: And the winner of ALL GOOD DEEDS by Stacy Greena as well as ALL GOOD DEEDS swag  is JB Schroeder. Congratulations JB! Please use our contact page to claim your prize and let us know if you prefer an e-book or print on release day. Please include your email and snail mail addy.

 

 

COULD YOU BE A KILLER?

Today we welcome back multi-published author, Stacy Green. And since I’m in the chaotic stage of unpacking hundreds of boxes after moving from Houston to FL last week, I asked Stacy to come up with something intriguing that captures the tone of her newest release: ALL GOOD DEEDS. Take it away, Stacy!

StacyFall1pressCOULD YOU BE A KILLER?

This question planted the seed for my newest character Lucy Kendall, a former CPS worker turned private investigator and vigilante killer of sex offenders.

The criminal mind is a fascinating place and oftentimes a mystery for investigators. Bundy, Gacy, Lucas–the worst of the worst–are almost easy to understand. They just aren’t wired right. Add a dose of lousy nurturing, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

But what about the outliers? The people who are good by society’s standards and then one day just snap? Did they have it in them all along? Do we all possess that shadow side that lurks, waiting for something to turn us bad?

I think any one of us are capable of killing someone–or at least doing serious bodily injury–if the circumstances are right.

Some of these are pretty straightforward: someone hurting our kid, our pets, our career. People have snapped over less.

But what about something that isn’t personal? Something that doesn’t directly affect you but is a sore on society? What would make you risk your freedom, and how would you do it?

Lucy Kendall snaps when a child killer walks free. But she doesn’t lash out in a clumsy, unorganized way. She thinks things through, figuring out the best method to do her work AND keep herself out of jail. And even as she figures out the most efficient way for her to end someone’s life, she doesn’t believe she’s a killer.

Her targets are men who have destroyed kids lives and will do it again. Lucy believes with her whole heart sex offenders can’t be cured, and her actions take care of a problem the justice system and society simply can’t–or won’t.

I believe that most if not all of us possess what Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called the Shadow Side.

The shadow exists as part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts and shortcomings…These latent dispositions are present in all of us, Jung believed, although people sometimes deny this element of their own psyche and instead project it onto others. SOURCE

This theory was a major influence on developing Lucy Kendall. Although there is tragedy in her past, she is a normal member of society. But her shadow side has seeped through her veneer until it now rules her choices and ultimately, her life.

She’ll have to come to terms with being a killer, her real motives, and answer the ultimate question: now that she has fully engaged her shadow side, is she even capable of not killing?

Does her choice of victim make her exempt? If she’s caught, is she a hero or a villain?

Or does her methodology make her just as evil as the famous serial killers we have such a fascination with?

I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I do know that as I get older, I realize more and more that life is not black and white. Our systems are flawed and need changing, but whether or not there are any good alternatives remains to be seen.

I think any one of us could become a Lucy Kendall if the circumstances are right, and I will further argue that instead of moral code, it’s fear of punishment that keeps most of society in check. Score one for the penal system.

What about you, thriller readers and writers? Is life black and white? Should there be exemptions? And what would it take for you to administer Lucy Kendall Justice? Comment for a chance to win a copy of my new release, ALL GOOD DEEDS!

ALL GOOD DEEDS by Stacy GreenAllGoodDeedsEbook

Lucy Kendall lived her life in a strange mixture of carefully calculated moves and impulse decisions. Cracking the skull of the man who molested her sister and attacking her was impulse. Spending half her teenage years drinking and acting out were calculated cries for attention from her narcissistic mother followed by impulsive rages at her lack of concern.

The decade spent working in Child Protective Services before becoming a private investigator taught her two truths. One, CPS failed miserably in protecting children. Two, Lucy was more than willing to do it for them, meting out her brand of dark justice in spite of her own fear of death. But Lucy’s crusade is compromised when a self-proclaimed sociopath offers to help—and leaves her no choice but to accept it.

When eight-year old Kailey Richardson is abducted, it sets off a chain of events linked to Justin Beckett, a suspect in a life-changing case in Lucy’s past. The path she’s chosen since dealing with Beckett has been dark and terrifying—but she has no idea just how deep she will go or where the twisted road will take her.

She’s about to find out.

About the Author

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

Thanks for being our guest today, Stacy! You raise some interesting points and questions. Readers: For more information on Stacy Green here are her links.

Website: www.stacygreen.net

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Stacy Green, Author

Twitter @StacyGreen26

Winner Announcement: And the winner of ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS KISS by Manda Collins is Patti Straight. Congratulations Patti! Please use our contact page to claim your prize and let us know if you prefer an e-book or print on release day. Please include your email and snail mail addy (if you want print). 

 

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

A Night With the Monks & Louise Penny

Louise Penny is one of the most lovely people around. As elegant as her writing, she sat down and told me the funniest stories about her research behind her Agatha Award winning novel, The Beautiful Mystery. Whether it’s how 9/11 influenced her into creating the perfect Canadian village, or what it was like spending a night with the monks, I promise you’ll laugh as much as I did.

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In addition to The Beautiful MysteryLouise has come out with two more books.  I know you’ll love How the Light Gets In (read an excerpt), and The Long Way Home.

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Congratulations to Kim K. who won the signed copy of Cathy Perkins’ FOR LOVE OR MONEY. Please contact us with your snail mail address within 10 days to claim your prize.

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

Cathy-Perkins-author-photo-copy-e1399137052864-300x200

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.

 

Guarded_cover

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. :)

MaryBehre_GuardedSigning_Aug2_2014

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

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