The View From Cloud 9!

All nine of us are up here and the champagne is overflowing!

Welcome, friends, as we celebrate blog-mate and close friend, Sharon Wray on her debut day. Every Deep Desire is book one in her Deadly Force series and a novel that garnered her one of eight RWA Golden Heart® nominations.

Like most things Sharon undertakes (studying wedding dress design in the couture houses of Paris, a mother of twins, a librarian and astounding photographer) she added her unique flair to the modern day romantic suspense. Every Deep Desire is a sweeping saga of haunted pasts, tortured secrets, epic yearning and a love that transcends all. K&T members thought this blog post should reflect a unique approach as well, so we’ve each participated in the interview. Grab some bubbly and join us!

Need-to-know questions from the great interviewer, James Lipton; “Inside the Actors Studio”:

  1. What is your favorite word?    Grace.
  2. What is your least favorite word?        Hurry.
  3. What turns you on?     Politeness.
  4. What turns you off?    Bad breath.
  5. What sound or noise do you love?      Garden water fountains.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?     Barking dogs.
  7. What is your favorite curse word?       Damn.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?              Home organizer.
  9. What profession would you not like to do?    Anything where I have to drive.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?        “I missed you.”

When did you know you wanted to write novels, and when did you actually begin writing?

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 (my twins were four), I started reading romance novels again to help offset some of the grief. After reading Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dark Prince by Christine Feehan, and Letters to Kelly by Suzanne Brockmann, I decided I wanted to write a novel myself. Except I had no idea how so I joined RWA in March 2, 2004. My debut novel comes out March 6, 2018.

This modern retelling of Romeo and Juliette is fascinating. How did Shakespeare influence you to create your strong heroine?

It was a trip to Verona and a guide took us to see the city’s most famous celebrities: Romeo and Juliet. We went to Juliet’s courtyard and Romeo’s palazzo, and she told us the history of this famous story. A history that included six earlier sources of the love story, including a mention in Dante’s Divine Comedy. But the detail that caught my attention was that she kept calling the story Giulietta and Romeo.

Apparently, in all of the prior source material that Shakespeare used, Juliet was the protagonist. The story belonged to the heroine!

Juliet’s statue in Juliet’s courtyard in Verona, Italy

When I got home, I read translations of all of the source material and studied the literary criticisms. Shakespeare had not only made Juliet the main protagonist, but that it was the first time in all of his works that a woman was the hero of a play. The reason why deserves a blog post all its own, but when you study the text you can see that Juliet is given half of all of Romeo’s sonnets. She makes plans and follows through while the men can’t control their tempers. She even kills herself like a man while Romeo uses poison—a woman’s weapon.

Mailbox where people leave their letters to Juliet in Juliet’s courtyard in Verona, Italy

Up until this time, within my own work, I’d assumed that the men in my Deadly Force series were the protagonists. The men had suffered terribly—violence, combat, POW camps, etc—so why wouldn’t they be the ones who had to change the most? But when I looked at the story emotionally (like I’d studied Romeo and Juliet), I realized that my heroines had the harder journey. They might not have undergone physical suffering, but their emotional journeys came with higher risks. Once I made my heroines the protagonists, the stories came together in a way I’d never expected. And Juliet, in Every Deep Desire, took me on a journey that left my breathless and exhausted. And all of the work to rewrite the books has been worth it.

Do you believe in serendipity? Your career (and how massively busy you are writing, editing and promoting the 3-book deal) is taking off just as your kids headed off for college. Is this the perfect time or do you wish you were well into your publishing career?

While part of me would like to already have ten books on the shelf, the truth is I wouldn’t have been willing to give up the time with my family that that would’ve required. I do think that God’s timing is perfect. Now that my twins are in college, I have the freedom to work, each day, as long as want. For the first time in 18 years, my time is my own and I’m spending almost every waking hour writing or with my husband.

What authors have been your greatest influence? And why?

I know the Bronte sisters are a clichéd choice, but clichés don’t become what they are for no reason. When I was in sixth grade I started Jane Eyre on Thursday morning and finished it on Friday at one a.m. When I woke up at noon on Friday, I started Wuthering Heights and stayed up all night, not finishing it until almost four a.m. Then I crashed. When I woke up later on Saturday, I remember going downstairs and feeling . . . different. I felt awake. I realized that life was much larger, and far more dangerous and exciting, than I’d ever thought possible. And the realization that I, too, might grow up and fall in love filled me such wonder and joy, I could barely breathe.

Tell us a bit about the overall story line for the series.

The Deadly Force series: Where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines redeem Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

The series is about a team of ex-Special Forces soldiers, accused of vicious war crimes, who are desperate to prove their innocence and find their enemies before they attack again. As these men struggle to rebuild their lives and redeem their honor, it’s the women they love who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.

What is the tentative schedule for deadlines and publishing dates?

Every Deep Desire, March 6, 2018 (today!)

One Dark Wish, (book 2) is currently in revision and I hope to finish soon. This book is tentatively scheduled for publication January 2019.

Deadly Force 3, (book 3) is due September 1. (Yikes!!!!) Title and publication dated TBD. I just call this one DF3. (Poor, untitled DF3. LOL.) 

You, of all people, know what patience and perseverance means in this business. Do you have any advice for writers still waiting for ‘the call’?

Two things in particular: I wasted so much time wondering “if” it would ever happen that I wish I could go back and tell myself to worry less and laugh more. If you begin as you wish to proceed, things will work out eventually. Maybe not the way you expected, or in the time frame you wanted, but usually even better than you’d hoped. So write every day as if you’re published. Take classes, learn your craft, and build your network of writing friends. That way, when the time comes, you’re ready.

The second thing is an order from Winston Churchill. And for our purposes, the enemy is our own self doubt:

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

 

All of K&T (except Manda!) at Lena’s booksigning

Sharon, we all wish you an unforgettable debut day and a bestselling series!

 

 

Thanks so much, Sarah, for hosting me today. It’s such an amazing thing to celebrate my debut with my Kiss and Thrill sisters.

He’s taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves

Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.

It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…

 

BUY LINKS: (Please don’t forget to help a debut author out by leaving a review!)

Amazon 

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

 

Carey, Lena, Diana, Sharon, Gwen, Sarah in NYC, 2015

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram Pinterest Goodreads BookBub Amazon Author Page

 

Diana, Rachel and Sharon

Rachel, Diana, Gwen, Sharon and Sarah

Sharon, Gwen, and Sarah before the 2013 GH/RITA Awards in Atlanta.

Wallflower Most Wanted Release Day!

Happy book birthday to Manda Collins! Wallflower Most Wanted is out today!

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE
A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation―and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either…

especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

 

“Witty, sensual historical romance that will captivate readers.”
—Romance Junkies

Running Blind release day

Running Blind (Men of Steele #4) is out today!

A bit of trivia… Did you know that each of the the four Men of Steele books was released while I lived in a different city? This one was by far the most hectic because during edits and launch prep, I was living in a temporary rental, house hunting, and unpacking in a new home. Oh, and my college kids were with us for winter break.

Honestly, I’m a little bit amazed this book launched on time, LOL. But, yay! Kurt and Caitlyn finally get their story. I hope you love it!

Running Blind book cover

Charter pilot Caitlyn Brevard’s sister disappeared while working undercover to expose human traffickers in the Caribbean. Four months later, Caitlyn has finally found her, but to infiltrate the captor’s inner circle and rescue Rose, she must appear at the man’s gala event with a fiancé she concocted to keep his lecherous son at bay. Can she convince Kurt Steele to forgive a past betrayal and play the doting groom-to-be?

Former special operator and wounded warrior Kurt can’t say no to a friend in need, especially not Caitlyn, who he can’t forget, no matter how hard he tries. But playing ardent fiancé to the woman who broke his heart—and still attracts him like no other—might just be more than he can bear. When their mission turns deadly, he and Caitlyn must risk everything to save Rose and get a second chance at a love worth dying for.

Double Trouble!

We’ve got two new books from our gang to tell you about! Rachel and I (Carey here) are very excited to be sharing the new release circuit. And since there’s double the stories to tell you about I’ll skip the small talk. Let’s jump right in! I hope you’ll find something here that goes down easy with your turkey or cookies or holiday spirits!

When a food storage depot in famine-struck South Sudan is torched, American aid worker Brie Stewart flees, only to land in a market where she’s the next item up for auction. Is the attack on the aid facility another assault upon the war-torn fledgling democracy, or has her family set her up as a pawn in their quest for oil rights?

Chief Warrant Officer Sebastian Ford crossed paths with Brie years ago when she was a shill for her family’s company, pushing a pipeline that threatened his tribe’s land. Determined to lead the rescue operation to save her, he won’t let her abduction—or the attraction that flares between them—get in the way of settling their unfinished business.

The Green Beret’s skills are put to the test in the flooded grasslands of South Sudan, where they must battle nature and dangerous factions who are after more than oil. Bastian and Brie put their hearts on the line as they find themselves embroiled in a conflict that extends beyond country and continent. Together they must douse the spark before it reaches the flashpoint and engulfs everything they hold dear.

GET YOUR COPY TODAY:  Amazon  Barnes and Noble  iBooks

Don’t believe everything you see.

Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are in Tahiti enjoying a much-needed break from the FBI when they spot newlyweds taking fun photos on the beach. But as the groom carries his bride deeper into the waves, Spense is positive he sees a flash of terror cross her face. All his instincts scream that this woman is in danger. Yet moments later, it’s the groom who has nearly drowned… and the bride has vanished, leaving a bloody wedding dress floating in her wake.

The authorities aren’t sure who to believe—the groom, who insists his wife tried to murder him… or her twin, who claims her sister must have acted in self-defense. Intrigued, Spense and Caity agree to help investigate. But when they discover that the missing bride is the daughter of a notorious confidence man, they begin to suspect that all is not what it seems. Now they’ll need to separate victim from villain, fact from fiction, truth from lie, to determine if there’s really a killer on the loose… or if it’s all one big con.

GET YOUR COPY TODAY:  Amazon  Barnes and Noble  iBooks

A View of the White House

TOP SECRET WASHINGTON

(c) 2017 Diana Belchase

I’ve been lucky to be invited to the Top of the Hay several times this year. While I’ll be talking more about that in a later post, the most striking thing about this private room on the ninth floor of the Hay Adams Hotel is the view. It directly overlooks the White House in the most remarkable way.

From this bird’s eye perch, we can see from Lafayette Square all the way to the Air Force Memorial in Arlington,Virginia, to the National Harbor in Maryland, to the Potomac beyond. Below, protestors march in front of black iron gates, while couples stroll under the thick canopy of trees, and the dome on St John’s Church, also called the Church of the Presidents, glistens in the dimming light.

Here we are at the moment of dusk, when the sun finally submits to night, and the lights of the…

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Lena Diaz Sweeps 2017 Nominations!

Romantic Suspense author, Lena Diaz lenapichas swept nearly every major published book award this year. This comes as no surprise. The author of more than 18 books, Lena has always been a favorite among judges of great literature, and most of her books have been nominated or been winners.

But this year her nominations are exceptional. Look at this incredible list:

DeepCoverDetectiveDeep Cover Detective is a finalist in the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

NoExitNo Exit is a finalist for the 2017 Holt Medallion award.

HostageNegotiationHostage Negotiation is a finalist in the Romantic Suspense Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice Award.

ArrestingDevelopmentsArresting Developments is a finalist in the Series Action Adventure Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice award.

DeepCoverDetectiveDeep Cover Detective is a finalist in the Series Action Adventure Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice award.

A total of four books up for five national book awards! In the book biz this is something that gives all of us the vapors, as Southern girls like to say. 😉

A former Navy Brat, Lena’s books have authenticity, action, and heat. They have been translated in to German, Turkish, Japanese, and Norwegian and have been sold in many countries including the USA, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, France, Australia, Holland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Mexico, Turkey, and Italy.

More than the awards listed here, and the dozens of awards Lena has won over the years (for a partial list click HERE), is the role she plays in the writing community. She is always there with a supportive word, a can do spirit, and she’ll go out of her way to help everyone, even newcomers. There are few like her and I’m so very proud to know her.

Congratulations to Lena Diaz from everyone here at Kiss and Thrill!

KaT’s Carey Baldwin is a USA Today Bestselling author!!!!


The Kiss and Thrill ladies would like to congratulate our own KaT, CAREY BALDWIN, for hitting the USA Today Bestseller list with her thriller, STOLEN! This is Carey’s first time on the list. We are so proud of her! Congratulations, Carey!!!!!

 

 

 

Who0 Hooo!!!

Yay!!!!

Congrats!

Amazing!!!

 

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | HarperCollins

Is she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

Rita Finalist, Sarah Andre, releases CAPTURING THE QUEEN

Your wait is over! Sarah Andre’s newest release is here. Introducing…

CAPTURING THE QUEEN!

Amazon

Restoration artist Sean Quinn is perfectly content spending his downtime devouring classical literature, while keeping his OCD and fourth-degree black belt under wraps. But when his FBI agent brother coerces him into investigating stolen artifacts, Sean becomes the target of a ruthless smuggling ring that funds terrorists.

Gretch Allen, a beautiful man-magnet, hides a world of hurt under her icy exterior. When Sean rescues her from a stalker, she discovers her co-worker has an alpha-hot fire burning beneath his geeky exterior. As barriers between them begin crumbling, however, she accidentally places herself in much more extremist danger.

Unable to stop the unraveling events from turning deadly, Sean must conjure his inner hero to save his city and capture the heart of the queen.

CONGRATULATIONS, Sarah, from your KaT family! Happy book birthday!

You can learn more about Sarah and her award-winning books here: Sarah Andre

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