Eustress: Help Carey Celebrate JUDGMENT’S Release

Hi Friends!

popping champagne corkI hope you are all having a wonderful fall! This is a special day for me, and I love celebrating it with you. I’m definitely eustressing today. Have you guys heard this term? I first learned about eustress way back when, in graduate school, but to simplify I’ll just use this definition from Wikipedia –which is right on the money:

“Eustress occurs when the gap between what one has and what one wants is slightly pushed, but not overwhelmed. The goal is not too far out of reach but is still slightly more than one can handle. This fosters challenge and motivation since the goal is in sight. The function of challenge is to motivate a person toward improvement and a goal.”

So Eustress, while uncomfortable, is really a positive thing. The source of my “good stress” today is the release of JUDGMENT, the first book in my Cassidy and Spenser Thrillers series, but more about that later.

ConfessionhiresFirst, I want to thank you all for helping to make CONFESSION a bestseller. I’ve loved being part of Harper Collins/Witness Impulse’s first year. And because of readers like you, CONFESSION spent six weeks in the top 100 Nook Books over at Barnes and Noble (reaching a best rank of #12 in the overall Nook store) as well as appearing on the Amazon bestseller lists in both Suspense and Romantic Suspense.

So I truly want to thank you, and I have a special gift for one lucky commenter. I wish I could give the gift to each one of you. But I’ll have to settle for one randomly drawn commenter.

And now for more on Judgment. I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be doing a new series featuring forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caity Cassidy and FBI profiler, Special Agent Atticus “Spense” Spenser for Witness Impulse.

The first book in the Cassidy & Spenser Thriller series, Judgment, releases today. Here’s the blurb:

 If these two rivals can’t work together…

Dr. Caitlin Cassidy is on a mission to protect the innocent. Fifteen years ago, she witnessed her father’s execution for a crime she’s convinced he didn’t commit. Now she works as a forensic psychiatrist to make sure that other innocents don’t meet the same fate.

Special Agent Atticus Spenser is hell bent on locking the guilty away. A brilliant FBI profiler, Spense loves, a good puzzle…especially when the solution takes a psychopath off the streets. But his nemesis, the enigmatically vexing Caity Cassidy, is one puzzle he’s never been able to solve.

…One of them is going to die.

When a young coed falls prey to a sexually sadistic killer, Caity and Spense are called in by opposing sides. But before the case can go to trial, the accused man is murdered in a brutal attack and Caity is critically wounded. Now Caity and Spense must put aside their differences and work together to uncover the truth—because the Man in the Maze is coming back for round two.

Thanks again for celebrating with me!

 

What kind of eustress have you experienced? Remember eustress is a positive challenge that pushes your limits and expands your horizons. One randomly selected commenter will win a one hour massage at Massage Envy or a local day spa if Massage Envy is not available in your area. This contest is restricted to commenters in the continental United States. Good luck, everyone! And thanks again!

 

Carey

 

Hometown Heroes Fun Facts

Originally posted on Rachel Grant:

HH_front_coverHometown Heroes: Hotter Ever After (A Pets for Vets Charity Bundle) can now be purchased at AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo!

If you are on the fence about purchasing the bundle, I’ve compiled some statistics to aid your decision making.

Cost  $1.99
Authors  17
Books  16
Pages in Word  4,118
Words  1,129,245
Characters (no spaces)  5,050,663
Characters (with spaces)  6,139,211
Paragraphs  43,297
Chapters  353
Happy Endings  16
If this were offered in print, estimated number of pages:  3,226
Number of Tweets it would take to tweet the entire set:  43,852
Reader cost per book:  $0.124
Reader cost per chapter:  $0.006
Reader cost per word:  0.0000018
% of net royalties going to Pets for Vets:  100

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What do you get if you buy HOMETOWN HEROES?

A LITTLE HARMLESS SEX by USA Today author Melissa Schroeder–When Anna falls for her best friend Max, it might…

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The Hometown Heroes Authors Take the Inside the Actors Studio Quiz

PetsforVetsLogoToday is the release day for Hometown Heroes: Hotter Ever After! This bundle includes SIXTEEN complete novels–some never before published–by SEVENTEEN fabulous authors (one book was co-written), with all the proceeds going tPets for Vets, an organization that matches shelter animals with military veterans.

16 books for only $1.99 with all net proceeds going to Pets for Vets!

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They’re all hometown heroes, guys from small towns who’ve made a name for themselves, big or small, who’ve withstood the odds and risen to the challenge, who are heroes in their own right.

A LITTLE HARMLESS SEX by Melissa Schroeder
CHANGE THE GAME by Lucy Monroe 
WILD RIDE by Nancy Warren
HEARTBREAK ON A STICK by Sabrina York
MADRONA SUNSET by Jami Davenport
BRACE FOR IMPACT by Allie K. Adams
HONORABLE SACRIFICE by Destiny Blaine
SHE’S WORTH IT ALL by Cathryn Cade
DECEIVING DANTE by Kate Davies
ROCK, RATTLE AND ROLL by Cari Quinn and Taryn Elliott
GRAVE DANGER by Rachel Grant
TURNING THIRTY-TWELVE by Sandy James
HIS ONLY DESIRE by Adrianne Lee  
EVEN HEROES CRY by Hildie McQueen 
THE VIXEN & THE VET by Katy Regnery
TROUBLE WITH A COWBOY by Sandy Sullivan

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Once again, to learn more about the Hometown Heroes authors, I donned my James Lipton beard and put them in the Inside the Actors Studio hot seat.

What is your favorite word?

Lucy: Hugs! Allie: Any Allie’ism (words I blend together to create a new word). Currently, everything is fantabulous-o! This is as close as I get speaking Spamish (that means an attempt at Spanish but failing miserably—much like Spam is for meat)
Sabrina: Kerfuffle. It just sounds…tasty! Rachel: Schadenfreude
Jami: Win Adrianne: WINNER!!!
Destiny: Extraordinary Kate: Pleasure
Cathryn: Yes

What is your least favorite word?

Lucy: Slurs Allie: Can’t
Sabrina: The “C” word for lady parts Rachel: Fart
Jami: Lose Adrianne: Sexism
Destiny: Never Kate: Greasy
Cathryn: Can’t

What turns you on?

Lucy: Lovingkindness.  I’ve been known to get very amorous when my husband cleans the kitchen. Allie: Chillaxin on the couch with the hubs. I also have a thing for sexy shoulders.
Sabrina: Bacon. Yesssss. Simply bacon. Rachel: Captain America
Jami: A hot athlete Adrianne: Besides sexy men? True Friendship
Destiny: An intelligent man who knows how to work his swagger without coming across as arrogant Kate: Dinner on the table and no housework to finish
Cathryn: My husband’s shaving cologne

What turns you off?

Lucy: Meanness Allie: Being an arrogant asshat. If he’s a jack wagon, even his shoulders can’t save him.
Sabrina: Bullies. Can’t stand them Rachel: Smoking
Jami: People texting and driving Adrianne: Meanness
Destiny: A belligerent drunk who thinks he’s cute Kate: Dirty laundry (or housework in general)
Cathryn: Feeling fat

What sound or noise do you love?

Lucy: Babies giggling Allie: That swooshing sound my Mac makes when I send a manuscript off to the editor.
Sabrina: The oboe. Haunting. I also love the cello. Rachel: My children’s laughter
Jami: Wind in the trees Adrianne: My cats purring
Destiny: Ocean tides Kate: Laughter
Cathryn: Zach Brown’s voice singing

What sound or noise do you hate?

Lucy: Fists hitting flesh. I hate abuse and have opened my house to more than one woman or teen at risk. Allie: The sound of a low, ominous growl behind you when you’re out hunting right after you’ve spotted fresh cougar tracks (yes, that really happened)
Sabrina: The nasal whine of a mosquito hovering around me, plotting to suck my blood. I wish no harm to any creature on earth…except mosquitoes. They can all die a heinous miserable death. Rachel: Traffic
Jami: Traffic Adrianne: Tinnitus
Destiny: The sound of a circular saw in use Kate: Any heavy equipment that squeals/whines
Cathryn: Whining… doesn’t matter who

What is your favorite curse word?

Lucy: Bollocks Allie: Fartnarker. That’s totally a word and fits any situation. It’s not even an Allie’ism.
Sabrina: Blurg (I channel Tina Fey in 30 Rock sometimes). I am also partial to “frick.” Rachel: Fuck
Jami: Shit Adrianne: The F word
Destiny: I take the 5th Kate: Douchecanoe
Cathryn: Hmmm, can’t say it here

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Lucy: Psychologist Allie: I want to write full time. Currently I have a Stinkin’ Day Job. If I could write full time, I’d be fartnarkin’ fantabulous-o!
Sabrina: Glassblower. Sigh…I dabbled with glass at one time and loved it. So beautiful. Rachel: CIA Case Officer or superhero
Jami: Interior designer or bartender Adrianne: A singer, but the world would cringe.
Destiny: Stripping. Just kidding. Psychologist Kate: Actor (I was in the drama program in college and always regret not sticking with it)
Cathryn: Chris Hemsworth’s movie set hair stylist

What profession would you not like to do?

Lucy: Sewer management Allie: Pretty much anything on Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs” show
Sabrina: Housecleaner. Exhibit A: My house Rachel: Wearing a hot dog costume and passing out flyers.
Jami: Cook Adrianne: Toll Booth money taker
Destiny: Retail salesperson Kate: Septic Tank cleaner
Cathryn: Middle school teacher (been there)

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Lucy: Well done. :) Allie: Take a left at the first cloud. You’re mom and dad are there waiting for you.
Sabrina: O Myself, Sabrina. I loved your books! Rachel: I’ve decided to make an exception for you.
Jami: Welcome, my child! Adrianne: Kim’s been waiting for you.
Destiny: For a minute there, I wasn’t sure you’d make it but it sure is good to see you. Now let’s dust off those wings and find your halo. Kate: Welcome!
Cathryn: Whew! You made it!

GIVEAWAY

Because all proceeds go to charity, this week’s giveaway is a little different. The first TEN eligible commenters win a digital copy of HOMETOWN HEROES, gifted from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks. I will notify you in the comments if you are a winner and prizes will be awarded upon receipt of winner’s email address and choice of vendor (winners will be asked to provide that information via email, using the CONTACT US page).

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The winner of a digital copy of Never Forget by Heather Ashby is…

Ellen Lindseth

Ellen, to claim your prize, please use the CONTACT US page within ten days.

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.

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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.

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