How Not to be a Victim: Survival Tips for Women

Thank you Kiss and Thrill for letting me repost this from my other website. I hope that all women out there get the skills to remain safe.

Hugs,

Diana Belchase

 

TOP SECRET WASHINGTON

The theme of this blog is Top Secret Washington because of all the special things I get to do behind the scenes in D.C., but it’s also called this because of my spy series. I love empowered women who can take care of themselves — something I’ve always wanted to be, but don’t always achieve. Part of that takes skills — survival being the dominant skill set we all need, primarily as young women.

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Here are some tips:

  • Don’t walk and talk or text on your cell phone. Pay attention to your surroundings. Same goes for music on earbuds. Don’t get lost in the melody and forget where you are. Paying attention can save your life!
  • Notice if anyone is watching you. Scan the area. Be vigilant.
  • Walk with purpose, carry keys splayed between your fingers as a weapon. Don’t be so overloaded with packages you cannot defend yourself if…

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The Next Jack Reacher Movie – If Not Tom Cruise, Then Who?

NEVER GO BACK! TOM CRUISE AS JACK REACHER! AGAIN!

I’ve read several of the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child in the hopes that I’d love them. After all, his books have received incredible acclaim and there are like a gazillion in the series–which is crack for a reader to have that many books to gobble up. Alas, after reading several, I haven’t quite fallen in love.

Then came Tom Cruise.imdbmoviecover

In 2012, he brought Jack Reacher to the big screen in the movie not so cleverly titled, JACK REACHER. I really enjoyed it, even though I was skeptical going in. After all, the book hero Jack Reacher is a huge guy. Literally. I think he’s six-feet-six or something. And Tom Cruise, well, isn’t. But just like Tom Cruise won me over starring in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, even though his body type was completely different than the Lestat vampire in Anne Rice’s books, it worked. Completely. Of course it didn’t hurt that Brad Pitt was a co-star. But I digress.

Now, Tom cruise is starring in the second Jack Reacher movie, NEVER GO BACK. And I, for one, am looking forward to it. (To see the movie trailer on IMDB, click the picture.)

Yes, Tom Cruise is Scientology-Jump-On-Oprah’s-Couch-Crazy, but he’s also HOT. In my humble opinion. And even though I wouldn’t want to meet him in person, on screen he’s exceptional. There are few actors as good as him, again, in my opinion.

So, are you looking forward to the newest Jack Reacher movie? Or are you a die-hard Lee Child fan and believe that Tom ruins the character of Jack since they are about a foot apart in height? And if not Tom Cruise, then who would you want to see starring in the movies?

Just for fun, I’ll randomly pick a commenter to win a Kindle copy of HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION, my current release (details about the book appear below). I’ll announce the winner in the comments of this post, no later than Tuesday, September 20.


Hostage Negotiation CoverHOSTAGE NEGOTIATION – OUT NOW!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Ibooks | Kobo

Many women went missing outside Mystic Glades. She escaped.

When he took the job, Zack Scott heard about the horrors waiting in the swamp. So when Kaylee Brighton dashed into the road like the devil was on her tail, the new police chief gave her a safe place to recover. Imprisoned for months, Kaylee could lead Zack to her captor. Though Zack swore to protect her, only Kaylee knew the darkness that awaited them if she returned. She couldn’t begin to understand what drove Zack, but she knew the importance of having him by her side. Because it wasn’t enough for Kaylee to have escaped. Now it was time to take back her life.

I hope you’ll give my MARSHLAND JUSTICE mini-series a try. You can see the whole series, and all of my books, highlighted on the BOOKS page of my website.

A Writer / Reader Conference Not to be Missed!

Austin Camacho is incredible. Not only is he former military and the author of ten gripping books, he is also the force behind the C3 Conference. C3 is short for Creatures, Crimes and Creativity — and the event is geared at writers, from those yet to pick up a pen to bestsellers, as well as fans of genre fiction. Whether you love horror, mystery, thriller, science fiction, or fantasy, this con has something for everyone. Loads of international bestselling authors, innovative workshops, and best of all — lunch! Because, I don’t know about you, but I can’t be creative on an empty stomach. Here are the details:

September 30 – October 2, 2016

at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center in Columbia, MD.

For more details, please go to creaturescrimesandcreativity.com

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Author Austin Camacho is director of the C3 Conference

And if that isn’t enough reason for you to register, here is C3 founder, Austin Camacho on the top 10 reasons you should attend. I particularly like #1 all the way at the bottom.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity Con

by Austin Camacho

I want to thank Diana for giving me this opportunity to tell everyone why they want to attend The Creatures, Crimes & Creativity (C3) Con this year. The C3 Con is the Mid-Atlantic’s book lover event of the year. And this year, we have two international bestselling authors as keynote speakers. But that’s only the beginning.

 

We draw readers AND writers of genre fiction: horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy and paranormal authors will gather in Columbia MD, Sep. 30-Oct 2. Before the Con our little community hangs out at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/452670518248659

So let’s count down the top ten reasons for attending the C3 Con:

#10 – FELLOWSHIP: Imagine being surrounded by avid readers and excellent writers for an entire 3-day weekend!

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#9 – REED FARREL COLEMAN: Author of the heralded Moe Prager series and Jesse Stone novels, he’s been called our noir poet laureate. He’ll give a keynote address at dinner and teach a class.

#8 – ALEXANDRA SOKOLOFF: Known for her Huntress/FBI thrillers, her smooth blend of paranormal and crime fiction is some of the most original and unnerving work around. She will give the other dinner keynote talk and offer a one-woman class.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

Today Only!

Fallen-high-resWow. I’m so excited to tell you that Amazon has selected FALLEN as today’s flagship Kindle Daily Deal. The e-book will be on sale for 99 cents. I’m not exactly sure what “flagship” means, but I love the sound of it! It’s giving me the tingles all over. So in case anyone hasn’t had a chance, but would like to try a Cassidy & Spenser novel, this is a good opportunity.

I’ll post a buy link and a blurb for FALLEN below.

But first, in other news, many of you have been asking when my next Cassidy & Spenser is coming out. I thank you so much for your interest and encouragement! I have to admit that for a while, I struggled with book four. At a certain point in a series, it becomes difficult to make a story fresh and fun to tell. For me, that was book four.

Now all that has turned around. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on STOLEN (set to release next Valentine’s Day) and it is coming together in the most amazing way. I really love the story! In fact, it just might be my favorite Cassidy & Spenser to date. It’s a little different from my previous books, in that you’ll be meeting a very strong third character. She’s a victim who turns detective and takes control of her destiny. Cassidy & Spenser reach a big relationship milestone in STOLEN…but that’s all I’m saying about that.

Advance Readers Wanted

Thank you all so much for being faithful friends and readers! Would you like to read my books before they are released to the public? A limited number of advance e-copies of my books are available in exchange for an honest review. If anyone would like to become an advance reader for me, just drop me a line at Carey at CareyBaldwin dot com. You’ll need to be able to read in e-book form and be willing to post a review shortly after release.

FALLEN

A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard. When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet. The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer–a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

The killer has raised the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets–or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins. With time running out, Spenser and Cassidy will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up the next grotesque tourist attraction.

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What Readers Want in Female Protagonists

Jess Lourey and Shannon Baker are thriller and mystery writers who have, between them, published 19 books. When they realized Jess’s thriller, Salem’s Cipher, and Shannon’s mystery, Stripped Bare, were set to launch on the same day, September 6, they joined forces for the Lourey/Baker Double Booked Tour.  Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Today this phenomenal duo are discussing whether female sleuths need to be alpha-heroes for today’s readers or if the old-fashioned, Ms. Marple-type character still works? We hope you readers will chime in and let us know what you think, too! Take it away Shannon:

Jess and Shannon are giving away a copy of Salem’s Cipher and Stripped Bare. For a chance to win tell us your favorite women protagonist or leave a comment.

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Shannon: Thanks, Diana, for letting us drop by. I hear a lot about the “kick-ass” woman detective or sleuth when people talk about women protagonists in crime fiction — and while I’m glad the crime writing world has progressed far beyond the idea of women protagonists only knitting and sipping tea — I’m not sure all women crime fighters need to be tough, gun-toting mamas. So today Jess and I are going to answer the question about our women protagonists—Miss Marple or V.I Warshawski?

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Shannon and Jess

When I started writing about Kate Fox, the star of my new series, I didn’t set out to write a tough crime fighter in the Nebraska Sandhills. In fact, Kate walked right into my life, and like meeting a new friend, I’ve been getting to know who she is. Kate is a person, who happens to be a woman and accidently falls into a new career. One she never expected, or wanted.

For me, writing a character is a lot like raising a child. You give them guidance and discipline, love them and nurture them, and maybe prod them along, but they come out of the womb already loaded with who they are. I can push Kate into situations that test her mettle, but she’s going to react according to who she is, with very little help from me. (I know, writers are crazy, and explaining how would take much longer than we have space for in this blog.)

Diana: I love that Shannon! How would you characterize your heroine, Kate?

Shannon: I don’t think of Kate as kick-ass. She doesn’t go looking for trouble. In fact, she goes to great lengths to avoid it. She’s smack in the middle of eight brothers and sisters, so there’s always some crisis brewing. Her MO is to duck and weave.

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But she doesn’t run from a problem. She might clench her teeth and bow her neck and barrel in reluctantly, but … READ THE REST OF THE POST BY CLICKING HERE

A Series Finale, Saying Goodbye to Mystic Glades

Hostage Negotiation Cover

HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION – Pre-order now for August 23, 2016 (paperback) or September 1, 2016 (eBook).

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Ibooks | Kobo

It’s with mixed feelings that I announce the upcoming end of the MARSHLAND JUSTICE mini-series. On August 23rd, the fourth and final book, HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION, makes its way into the world.  While I’m extremely excited for readers to experience this incredibly emotional story, I’m sad to see my time in the town of Mystic Glades come to an end. It’s been a blast, one of the quirkiest, most unique series that I’ve written. And readers have been equally enthusiastic. The first book, MISSING IN THE GLADES, won the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in mystery and suspense. The second book, ARRESTING DEVELOPMENTS, was a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award. I’m crossing my fingers that the last two books, DEEP COVER DETECTIVE and HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION, will also garner some award recognition.

Here’s a full description of the story in HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION…

Many women went missing outside Mystic Glades. She escaped.

When he took the job, Zack Scott heard about the horrors waiting in the swamp. So when Kaylee Brighton dashed into the road like the devil was on her tail, the new police chief gave her a safe place to recover. Imprisoned for months, Kaylee could lead Zack to her captor. Though Zack swore to protect her, only Kaylee knew the darkness that awaited them if she returned. She couldn’t begin to understand what drove Zack, but she knew the importance of having him by her side. Because it wasn’t enough for Kaylee to have escaped. Now it was time to take back her life.

I hope you’ll give the MARSHLAND JUSTICE mini-series a try, including this last installment, HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION. You can see the whole series, and all of my books, highlighted on the BOOKS page of my website.

Sneak Peek at the African American History Museum!

All about Sharon Wray.

IMG_5582KaT member, Sharon Wray supplied all these photographs…take a look at them…aren’t they SO Sharon Wray?! She’s the most optimistic, genuinely kind and considerate friend/fellow writer I know.

I believe the entire romance writing world knows her because of her eight RWA Golden Heart nominations in six years, because she’s always volunteering for chapter positions or cheering others on through yahoo loop emails, and because of the hundreds of poignant photographs and heartfelt blogs she’s posted over the years.

We were hugely ecstatic but a bit confused when we learned her most important moment in being a writer (getting the coveted book contract offer from a publisher) was communicated in a Publisher’s Weekly announcement. (The rest of us usually type the news in all caps all over social media.) Sharon was in the middle of a hectic summer and getting ready for the RWA national conference, so she hurriedly told the overall story, but promised to tell the nitty-gritty details when she returned. And here she is:

Can you tell us about the moment you realized your publishing dream had just come true?

It was surreal. After I hung up on a Skype call with my agents (Deidre Knight and Kristy Hunter), having accepted Deb Werksman’s offer from Sourcebooks, I sat at my desk shaking. After all these years (11!), I’d actually sold a book. And two more! I couldn’t even call my husband. I was so afraid to say anything to anyone because I was worried someone would  tell me it was all joke.

But now that I have a deadline, I know it’s not only not a joke, it’s a dream come true. I’m so grateful to my agents and editor, and I’m determined not to let them down.

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Explain ‘auction’ for those readers who’ve never heard the term associated with novels.

An auction is when a novel has two or more offers for publication from different publishing houses, and a literary agent negotiates the best deal for his or her author. Negotiations can include (but aren’t limited to) advances, subsidiary rights, marketing plans, release dates, etc. For the author, it’s very exciting and a crash course in all things publishing. Here’s a great article by Rachelle Gardner who explains it much better than I ever could!

What was your family’s reaction after you sold?

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Donut the Dog whose lack of interest keeps Sharon humble.

They were all so excited, including the dog, and they gave me hugs and we all cried. Then we went out to dinner to celebrate! And while at dinner, the kids asked about going to Disney World to really celebrate. Still thinking about that one. :)

When did you you know you wanted to start writing novels?

In 2004, my four-year old twins and I moved to Savannah, GA from Fairfax, VA (temporarily) to take care of my father who was dying of cancer. Taking care of my dad and the twins, while my husband was still in Virginia, was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever had to do. There was little free time and lots of stress involved.

It was during this time that my sister-in-law Kieran Kramer (now a USA Today Bestselling author for St. Martin’s Press) suggested I keep track of everything going on in my journal. Kieran had always been a writer and was actively pursuing a romance writing career. And I’d always admired her talent and perseverance.

During the summer of 2004, I found that writing helped me find a place for all of my emotions and I slowly moved from non-fiction into fiction. I realized that all the stories I’d always had in my head needed an outlet. In 2005, after my dad’s death, I finished my first manuscript, joined RWA, and entered the Golden Heart (and didn’t final!). After that, although I was in the early stages of learning how to write, I was hooked!

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In those 11 years, you’ve done an incredible amount of research and learning writing craft. What “Ah-Ha!” craft resources do you recommend?

There are so many, but here’s a list of my favorites:

Laura Baker & Robin Perini’s Discovery Story Magic 

Laura Baker’s Turning Points (DSM part 2)

Michael Hauge’s Identity to Essence

Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat

Alicia Rasley’s Emotion without Purple Prose

Kathleen Baldwin’s Scene & Sequel

Suzanne Johnson’s Plot Quilting 101

Margie Lawson’s Rhetorical Devices & Empowering Character’s Emotions

Tiffany Lawson Inman’s Madness to Method &  Writing Authentic Choreograph

Back to your contract details! Do you have tentative titles and publication dates?

The Series title is The Deadly Force Series which I love. I honestly don’t know yet about whether or not I can keep my original titles. I also don’t know my publication dates, but I hope to know soon.

Right now the first three books are titled:

When Next We Meet

Hope Craves an Execution

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I thought this saga was planned for 6 novels. Are you cutting the series short or planning on another multiple book deal?

For now I’m writing the first three books in the series for Sourcebooks. Hopefully, if things go well, I’ll be asked to write the next three.

Can you give us the overall story line for the series?

The Deadly Force series is about Colonel Torridan and his group of elite ex-soldiers who operate a self-defense school while seeking the truth behind an operation gone wrong.

These men are devoted to each other, determined to seek the truth instead of justice, and willing to risk their honor, their lives, and their souls to save themselves and the women they love. And, in the process, protect the world.

Do you believe in Serendipity?

Yes. I also believe in God’s timing. And in my case, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I have three books to write in the next two years, but the kids go off to college next summer. I was already worried about how I was going to handle that (I suspect I won’t be handling it well) but now that I have three books coming out, I know I’ll be too busy to cry or feel lonely.

The timing of Sourcebook’s offer isn’t an accident and I’m so grateful that when the twins do go off to school, I’ll have plenty of work to focus on (besides my husband and dog!). I’m also grateful this didn’t happen earlier. I wouldn’t give up the time I’ve spent with my family for anything in the world.

Three Books you’d take to a deserted Island?

JR Ward’s Dark Lover (Paranormal Romance), Stephen King’s The Shining (Horror), and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me (YA)

 Favorite foods you can’t say no to?

Oreos. Perfection in a small, round cookie.

Yummy. :) Do you have any advice for writers still waiting for the call?

Never Pillow

Never stop writing. But Winston Churchill said it best in his October 29, 1941 speech at his childhood school (he almost didn’t graduate).

“. . . never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

This quote–this speech–has never failed me in my darkest moments of self-doubt and worry.

Sharon, I think you know how much we’ve looked forward to celebrating your publishing contract, and how excited the eight of us are for you! Thanks for the pictures, and even formatting this for me, because that’s just the kind of friend you are!! –Sarah

Sharon-Wray

You can find Sharon here at Kiss and Thrill and DON’T miss her own blog www.sharonwray.com (it’s what a blog SHOULD be!)

She also loves to connect with readers on: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

All photographs courtesy of Sharon Wray.

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