Guns and Roses: A “Murder She Writes” Anthology

Today, Kiss and Thrill is privileged to have the authors of the MurderSheWrites blog here with an exciting announcement: The MurderSheWrites exclusive e-book anthology Guns and Roses.

According to the MSW team, Guns and Roses is “a collection of ten never-before published short stories and novellas, each penned by a MurderSheWrites blogger, inspired by our mutual love of suspense and romance. Some of them are dark and tense; others are light and wild and might give you a few new laugh lines. Most are loosely connected to existing popular series, yet all stand entirely alone. Many will make you chuckle, one or two might make you cry, and there are a few that will require the use of a fan and cold water.

We are the authors behind the long-running (and, we say humbly and happily) quite popular MurderSheWrites blog. Started in 2005, the MSW blog has always enjoyed a large and lively audience of readers, writers, and publishing industry experts.

All of us are primarily, but not exclusively, writers of romance and suspense, enjoying a wide spectrum along both those popular bands. Among us, we have over 150 published novels, numerous appearances on the New York Times Bestseller lists, dozens of industry awards, and, yeah, more than twenty kids. Thanks to amazing and palpable synergy, we are also close friends who love, respect, admire, and depend upon one another.

So, it was through the marvel of that synergy that the anthology Murder She Writes Presents: Guns and Roses was born.”

Sharon: I have so many questions, but since our readers can’t wait to hear more about Guns and Roses, I’ll keep them short. First, who came up with the idea for the anthology or was it done through a virtual early morning latte chat?

MSW Team: Allison mentioned it first about a year ago and we were all like, yes!  I believe we had been drinking that day! Then life and deadlines got in the way.  Lori/Lorelei or was it Laura?  One of L’s brought it back up this past fall.  We decided now or never and let’s really push ourselves and shoot for a Valentine’s Day release!  We missed it by a week, but when you read Guns and Roses, you’ll see that the quality is tops and well worth waiting the extra week. We’d just like to mention that Guns and Roses can stand beside anything New York produces and kill it!

Sharon: Who got to pick the fabulous title?

MSW Team: Miss Lori Armstrong aka Lorelei James came up with that killer title.

Sharon: Who did the cover and which author had final say on the design?

MSW Team: Designer Kim Killion did an amazing job! We all had the final say.  LoL. I can still remember the ten of us voicing ten different thoughts and opinions.  Oh, the flurry of emails that ensued.  Luckily, we had a very patient designer, and in the end, Kim came through.  One thing all of us agree on is:  We LOVE the cover!

Sharon: How did you decide the order of the stories? Alphabetical? Age of oldest child or pet? Cup size?

MSW Team: We did the cup size thing first but there was some boob envy getting in the way. But for the most part, Allison came up with good reasons for the order. Then we ran it by our editor, Charlotte Herscher for some advice on the matter. She liked what was suggested and we ran with it. We start off with Rocki’s wonderful Bullet Catchers and wrap up with the indomitable Bobbie Faye, with all kinds of goodness in between!

Sharon: Did you have an outside editor read through Guns and Roses before publishing?

MSW Team: Absolutely. We’re pros, but not perfect; we hired one of the best in the business, Charlotte Herscher. She did an amazing job! Our copy editor, Debi Murray was quick and efficient, and our proofreader and formatter Amy Eye has the eagle eye for details. She was amazing. And ever so patient. Ever ever so patient. We heart her.

Sharon: How long did Guns and Roses take you all from first concept to upload?

MSW Team: Roughly three months. And the work involved was Herculean. But put ten amazing brains attached to ten driven writers, and we made it look easy. It was a lot of work. But a happy chore, executed with passion and friendship. We’re all still friends!

Sharon: How will you measure the success of Guns and Roses?

MSW Team: The first and most important benchmark is we’re all still talking to each other!  Secondly, we learned a lot through the process, so next time it will be a breeze!  But at the end of the day, sales will play the biggest part in the equation. While we know we produced a unique quality product, we need people to buy it so we’ll want to do it again. And so far the sales look good.

Sharon: Thanks so much. Now on to the good stuff. All the sexy and exciting details about Guns and Roses!


“Dead Flowers”

PI Julie Collins trails cheating lovers, which leads to questions about her relationship with Tony Martinez.


“Above Reproach”

Sex crimes detective Selena Black puts her career and life at risk to prove that high-profile attorney Greg Keller is the brutal River City Rapist before he strikes again.


“The Housewife Assassin’s Bloody Valentine”

CIA contract assassin Donna Stone’s idea of Valentine’s Day?A couple’s massage with her mission’s leader Jack Craig—not breaking out of a Mexican prison, then stopping a massacre by an international terrorist cell.


“Bobbie Faye’s Whacked Out, No Good, Really Sucky, Hot Mess of a Wedding”

Bobbie Faye Sumrall, Cajun Contraband Days Queen, gun expert, and ultimate professional in being in the wrong place at the wrong time, absolutely, positively does not want to go through with the wedding that Trevor’s forcing her to agree to, but she soon finds out she has more important things to worry about—like surviving the plot to make her disappear when she’s set up as a fall guy for the theft of a priceless religious icon.


“Blood and Roses”

When insurance investigator Anastasia Miller sets out to retrieve the rose-hued pink diamonds stolen in a recent heist, she finds herself working alongside former flame, deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Monroe—the man she loved enough to leave behind.



Alone on an icy road at nightfall, Holly Henriksen puts her trust in a charming stranger and soon discovers he is keeping a dangerous secret.


“King of Hearts,” a Rough Riders short story

Deputy Cam McKay deals with a murder/suicide case on Valentine’s Day.


“A Punishing Night”

While investigating the stabbing death of a student at his own alma mater, Detective Joe Bashir confronts painful memories and makes an intriguing new acquaintance.


“Pick Your Poison,” A Bullet Catcher Novella

When Bullet Catcher Benjamin Youngblood sets out to track and trap an assassin, he’s forced to trust a sexy flower farmer who could be as dangerous as her homegrown poison.


“Rebel Rose”

For Detective Cash Cantrell, hunting down a University serial killer is as routine as strapping on his gun each morning. Until he comes face to face with meddlesome coed, Rebel Yell Culpepper. He doesn’t know if he should arrest her or kiss her, but one thing Cash knows for sure, Rebel is key to finding the murderer, and the killer knows it too…

Thank you for sharing the Guns and Roses‘ success story today. We wish all of the MurderSheWrites authors the best of luck. And for our readers, if you leave a comment you will be eligible to win a FREE copy of Guns and Roses! Check back tomorrow to find out who won.


About Sharon Wray

Sharon is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and is the author of the Amazon bestselling Deadly Force romantic suspense series.

Posted on March 1, 2012, in Author Interview, book recommendations, Guest blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Rocki thank you so much for being here today on our blog. This is the best-looking anthology I’ve seen in a long time. Great cover, great authors, and some awesome story concepts. I just downloaded my copy to my Kindle Fire where it totally pretties-up my cyber-bookshelf. Looking forward to reading it. I’m amazed it only took three months to pull the anthology together, but more amazed that you are all still friends after what had to be some frantic, frazzling months! Best of luck to all of you. I expect to see this on all the lists very soon! Will you and your fellow authors be signing this at the literacy signing in Anaheim California this July?

  2. Congratulatulations on the book, Rocki, I can’t wait to get it!

  3. Thank you SO MUCH for having us here today! Must clear something up: the responses were a group effort, and not just mine! Like everything about this anthology, we’ve done this project as a TEAM. The only thing individual about it are our own stories…but the decisions on the cover, the order of the story, even the promotion has been as a “whole” — that’s been the most fun. The synergy of the Murder She Writes authors has been remarkable and I think it shows in a really cohesive and rich anthology. Yes, we are most definitely still friends, thankfully!

    I do think some of the MSW team will be in Anaheim, but the book is currently e-only, so I don’t think anyone will be signing.

    I know all of us will be popping in to comment today, so please ask us anything! xo

  4. The anthology sounds great, ladies! Can’t wait to read. Thanks for stopping by today.

  5. I cannot wait to read this book! Lots of my favorite authors in it!

  6. Cindy Overton

    This was a dream read for me. I have read and follow 7 of the 10 authors for years. Loved every story in the book. Seeing now that Allison first brought this idea up I wonder if she had that idea for her book just dying to get out. There were so many differences in it from her normal books – first person – that ending (yes that ending is still lingering in my mind 🙂 ) And Josie Brown – where did you come up with that shark scene – LOVED IT..

    Loved seeing some favorites too – Cam from RR, Lucy and Jack from Bullet. There wasnt a story I didnt like in this book …

    • Hi Cindy! Okay, little known secret about ABOVE REPROACH … I originally wrote it to submit blind for a project with MWA. But it was over 10K words. So I cut and cut and wrote it in 6K words, but it lost a little something. I submitted and didn’t get into the MWA anthology. So I put it aside, then when we decided to write this with MSW, I pulled it out and fleshed it out, adding to every scene, and adding additional scenes. It doesn’t have enough for a full-length book, and I lost depth for a really short story, but the nice thing about digital anthologies is that stories can be as long as necessary. “Above Reproach” is 16K words, which is much too long for most short story anthologies and too short for most novella projects.

      • I for one am glad you finally got to share this story. And I hope you all are able to write another anthology.

    • A dream read!! What a lovely quote. Thanks, Cindy! xo

  7. I love the titles of all the stories! I didn’t even have to read the blurbs to decide to press the buy button on my kindle! The anthology looks like a great read!

    Are you thinking about publishing single title projects for Murder She Writes Press? Or just anthologies?

    • I don’t know if we have enough time to write single title projects, but I know we’ve talked about another anthology! 🙂

    • Thank you, Krista! We all have (thankfully!) packed schedules with contracts, but I know from the success of GUNS AND ROSES we’ll be talking about doing another antho at least. It killed us that our MSW sister Debra Webb wasn’t able to participate in this book…so we HAVE to do one that includes one of her amazing stories! xo

  8. I’m about halfway done reading this anthology and so proud of the other authors! Thanks for hosting us today at K&T!

  9. Thanks, K & T, for these wonderful questions about GUNS AND ROSES. They had us thinking,…and smiling.

    The process for participating was worth it, because this anthology was a wonderful way to introduce readers to new characters — and to get them to remember why they love some of our already established heroines, too.

  10. I loved being part of this project and feel so honored to be MurderSheWrites-er! I am going to be in Anaheim. Last year I got to meet some of our regular followers at RWA, and I am hoping that will happen again this year. Please say hi if you see me wandering around. (I’m the very clumsy one. Last year a fan came up to say hi to me and I literally tripped on NOTHING when I turned around. That’s me – master of the first impression… 🙂

  11. Good morning, Ladies! K&T thank you for having us today. So glad to hear you enjoyed GUNS AND ROSES or as we call it GAR. 🙂 I have read all of the stories too and could not be prouder to be a part of this amazing read.

    I’ll be at RWA Anahiem this year. Can’t wait!

  12. I like that the stories in the anthology are as varied as the authors who contributed. The mix of dark, light and fun stories means I won’t know what to expect. It sounds like you each learned something about the process and I hope there will be more Murder She Writes anthologies forthcoming.

    • Oh, we learned so much! Not only about the process (and there was scads to learn), but about how easy it turned out to be to work on something this complex as a group. I have to say I’m so thrilled to be a part of this group–they were just absolutely awesome to work with. That is so rare in group projects. 😀

    • I agree! I hope this is the first of many anthologies–I’ve always loved the seasonal ones myself. Especially the Chrismas ones. Can you imagine a Christmas MSW collection? I bet it would awesome.

  13. Thanks for having us today! We’ve had so much fun with this anthology and hope our readers will love it.

    Yes, I’ll be in Anaheim, too! I love the literacy signing–always followed by a fun time in the hotel bar. See everyone there!

  14. Thanks to all of the MSW authors for joining us today! We are excited to feature this anthology. Thank you Sharon, for asking such great questions! Still laughing about boob-envy…

    I’m off to click the buy button!

  15. Wow, I have to add, at $3.82 on Amazon, this is a screaming deal. Now I’m off to Twitter to spread the word…

  16. I love the MSW blog, ladies, so I’m thrilled to hit the “buy” button on my kindle. Anthologies like these are the reason I finally gave in and started using an ereader, and now I can’t imagine not having one. And during an especially busy week (or month) it’s really nice to sit before bed and start a story that you know you can finish and still manage a few hours of sleep.

    Of course, you all do suspense so well….right before bed might not be the smartest time to read… 🙂

    Have you all had experience with writing “short” before?

    Great interview, Sharon! 🙂

    • Hi Gillian!

      RE: writing short. I wrote my first short story for the KILLER YEAR anthology, and I hated every minute. It was the hardest thing in the world–writing short is NOT easy! But I’ve learned to look at a premise I’m interested in and consider it for a shorter format, and that helps. Some ideas, like Above Reproach, just wouldn’t have worked as a full-novella or book. I’ve written 3 novellas (between 25-40K words) and Above Reproach is my 6th short story. I hope to write more (and am working on a long novella now.)

    • Gillian, thanks so much! And ironically, I started off writing short (MFA) — we mainly did short stories, but even then, mine always sort of grew and grew. Then came screenwriting for a few years, and then (thankfully) to novels, where I could really stretch. It was strange going back to shorts when I wrote A Failure to Communicate (a Bobbie Faye short that takes place between books 2 and 3) and then another story accepted in this summer’s new Thriller III anthology–I *loved* the tight restrictions of short stories and the gratification! I had forgotten how satisfying a short story could be, so I was champing at the bit to get to do one here.

    • Hello beautiful Duchess! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the anthology. Are you going to Anaheim? I just signed up and would love to see you1

  17. I can’t wait to read this anthology! Some of my favourite authors have stories in it and I’m looking very much forward to reading the stories of the new-to-me authors.
    Do you think there might be a second anthology at some time?

  18. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one! What an amazing list of authors; authors I really enjoy reading.

  19. Whoa! So exciting to have the MSW ladies with us today! I am ducking in from the office 😦 and have to make this brief, but I want to leave myself time to get to Amazon and click and buy! It’s going to be a Guns and Roses weekend! (I’m also excited that there is a mix of funny and dark!)
    Thanks again, so much, for being here!

  20. What an amazing project to be apart of. Two names stuck out to me, so I’ll have make a purchase. Toni McGee Causey I met in a workshop a year back, very easy to talk to. And my Editor and formatter, Amy Eye. Every time I read my book, I fall in love all over again. She’s amazing.
    Congratulations ladies.

    Mary W/A Cora Blu

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