Monthly Archives: April 2012

The winner of a book by Sherry Foley is . . .

Sherry Foley

The Kiss-and-Thrill ladies had a blast hosting author Sherry Foley this week. Her debut novel, SWITCHED IN DEATH sounds creepy good!

Now . . . drum roll please . . . the commenter who has won a copy of SWITCHED IN DEATH is . . . Sarah Elle Emm (April 24, 2012 at 11:02am)!  Congratulations!

To redeem your free book – please email your snail mail address to contact@kissandthrill.com (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days. And you must provide a US or Canadian address to qualify or another winner will be chosen.

Thank you all so much for commenting! We hope you will bookmark KissAndThrill and visit often or better yet, subscribe!

What’s next you ask?

Tuesday, May 1st, Kiss and Thrill’s Lena Diaz welcomes author PATRICIA ROSEMOOR. Many of you know her as a Harlequin Intrigue author, but Patricia is going to reveal a brand-new exciting project she did all on her own. Join us Tuesday to learn about SKIN! You won’t be disappointed.

Dreams Really DO Come True

   Sherry Foley  Chapter One

It was always another day, another dead body—until that body was someone you knew.

Detective Seth Banning paused at the bedroom doorway of the rundown duplex, his gaze fixed on the dead woman lying on the floor. He swallowed while his brain absorbed the shock. He squeezed his eyes shut and then opened them again.

She was still there. He would know that profile anywhere. Sheila Peterson. A woman he never expected to lay eyes on again alive, much less find dead. (Excerpt from SWITCHED IN DEATH by Sherry Foley)

I met Sherry Foley in the most unusual way…

     A few years ago my Northwest Houston Romance Chapter was hosting their annual Lone Star Conference, and like most chapters, this would be where we’d announce the winners of our Lone Star Writing Contest.

     I happened to be the Romantic Suspense coordinator that year, so only I knew a writer from Kansas City, named Sherry Foley, had won 1st Place.   Amazingly enough, she and a friend decided to travel all the way to Houston to attend our one day conference, their first writing conference ever!  I made sure they were invited to the Friday night pre-conference reception; a great casual way to meet the agents and editors we’d flown in for Saturday pitches.

      All during the Friday reception I kept asking fellow members, “Have you seen someone named Sherry Foley?” And finally an acquaintance of hers said, “Oh, their plane was delayed because of bad weather. She should be here soon.”

     Well, I never saw her that night and the next morning during registration I noticed she still hadn’t checked in!  Eventually I saw two travel-weary women slip into the conference and finally met Sherry and her friend, Liz. Here is their ghastly travel tale in Sherry’s own words:

     “We were supposed to fly from Kansas City to Houston on a straight flight. That flight was canceled and we had to get another flight out, which connected.  But then we had a five hour wait in Kansas City so we landed too late to catch the connecting flight.  

     We finally arrived in Houston…Hobby Airport, the WRONG airport. We rented a car and drove an hour north to the other airport to collect our bags (they had been tagged for this airport.) Of course our suitcases were nowhere in sight! Because of the late hour Baggage Claims was closed.

     So we drove straight to the hotel (still in our dress clothes for the Friday cocktail reception) to find we were locked out of the lobby.  Now it was after midnight. FYI, we were supposed to land in Houston at 2:30pm! 

     We buzzed the front desk, called the front desk from our cell phones…FINALLY the guy came to unlock the door and let us in.   We went straight to our room and crashed.  At the crack of dawn we got up, hurried back to the airport to get our luggage, got cleaned up and hurried to the meeting–we’d missed half the morning. Oh yeah, and as we tried to just sneak in unobtrusively, the only remaining seats were in the front row. How embarrassing!”

  You could tell they were both in REALLY bad moods and were trying to get beyond the catastrophes and get into the spirit of the conference. And anyone who’s experienced even half of these complications knows that’s hard! (Personally, I’d have thrown up my hands at the canceled flight and gone back home!)

     But they couldn’t have been more gracious, and eventually joked about the day-and-a-half it took to get to Houston for a one day conference. By this time I literally had to avoid her because I wanted to blurt out, “But you’ve won our contest!” just to turn the day around for her.

     Finally it was Lone Star Contest Awards time. I announced the 3rd place & 2nd place names and saw Sherry’s eyebrows knit in confusion. Then I said  “…and the 1st Place winner for Romantic Suspense is SHERRY FOLEY!”

   I kid you not- her eyes were as round as saucers and she looked at me like this had to be an evil trick to add to the horror she’d lived through that weekend.  (Turns out this was the very first contest she’d ever entered!) But then she smiled, and I honestly have never seen a smile quite like that. After moving mountains to get to Houston she stood to a thundering, whistling crowd and received her due as a Writer Extraordinaire.

   I present to you: my friend and debut author, Sherry Foley.

  Thanks for being here. I’m so thrilled we can showcase Switched in Death today! (Dear Blog Reader: It’s a chilling, fast paced novel with such a jaw dropping twist at the end it’ll leave you absolutely stunned. No joke.)

  Sherry, who are your favorite authors?

     Shannon K. Butcher, Linda Howard, Tami Hoag, Carla Neggers…the list is endless. 

When did you start writing romantic suspense?

     On my birthday, eight years ago and my book came out on my birthday this year.  How cool is that?!

How did you know this is what you wanted to do for a career?

     Always an avid reader, I thought it would be wonderful to grow up, be a writer, and give back to others.

     I placed first in a writing contest in high school and it made such an impact on me. 

     I won my scholarship to college in acting and I landed some great parts, but I didn’t party and I was told if I was ever going to make it I was going to need to change that.  It was a confusing time.  I didn’t want to be an English major and teach or go into Journalism.  I just wanted to write, but didn’t know what genre.  

     I decided to drop out of drama and of course, I lost my scholarship.  Along the way, I married the man I fell in love with in 7th grade and from there we were busy with life and having a family.  Still, the dream was never very far away.

Detective Seth Banning searches for one of the most heinous serial killers of all time. Seth is desperate to find the sadistic murderer who takes his female victims two at a time, and switches their heads. Elaina von Hagan is on the run from the drug trafficking father she has exposed. As she and Seth begin a relationship, she becomes a target for the serial killer’s deranged ritual. The stakes have never been higher for Seth as Elaina is taken, and the stage is set for a gruesome showdown between good and evil. 

-SWITCHED IN DEATH

What do you bring to this (fabulously chilling) serial killer story that makes it different than others out there? 

     The early 60’s was a time when everyone had two parents and divorce was still a whispered word. I was an oddity being raised by my grandmother, a woman who delighted in dressing me from eras past. She had other…serious issues, but she made sure my bruises were always in unseen places. Poked fun of by my peers, miserable at “home”, I escaped between the pages of books and pretended I was someone else.

     My fictional life was full of fun and laughter. Safe. The serial killer in SWITCHED IN DEATH was bullied by peers too, but never found an outlet.  Bottled rage can do some heinous things when unleashed….

    Wow! That was nakedly honest, and my heart goes out to you, Sherry. I know you’ve worked hard on getting your work noticed in this crazy industry. This story is a multiple contest finalist and winner and you have pitched and queried it for years. So tell us how you got “discovered”. 

     A year ago, I decided I was ready to try and seek publication, well, that and my mentor threatened me.  (laughs)  I sent out query letters, received a few rejections, and then saw an article from Winter Goose Publication that drew me. 

Available now!

     I sent them my query letter, synopsis and first three chapters. Something told me they were going to ask for a full. They did.  I had this feeling that they would want me to sign.  They did and I didn’t hesitate, which was odd, because they were a new start-up publishing company and I am so not a risk taker.

     I still had a total peace about it. I signed. Within the next few weeks I had two agents want to rep me and I had to inform them I’d already signed. I was amazed at how I wasn’t upset but felt  I’d done the right thing.  I’ve not regretted my decision for a moment. 

 What’s in your writing future?   (I know the answer, but tell everyone else!)

     A CAPTIVE HEART will be released in November.  It’s the first of three in the Heart Series. And I’m currently working on a detective series. 

  Name a book you’ve read that changed your life.

     HEARTBREAKER by Linda Howard. I wanted to write characters like that and have readers emotionally connect with them. 

What’s your writing habit? (How long each day? Are you a plotter/pantster? And is there a secret magic pill that I can take and become published too?)

     I write full-time now.  I start out traveling across the social media sites and spend a little time in each area.  I try to write 4,000 words a day or more.

     I’m a total pantster.  I think up the start to a story and then create characters I think can handle the storyline. I follow them around and take notes.  They always surprise me what they come up with. 

   The Switched in Death plot is pretty creepy–(yeah, I know, I’ve mentioned that before!) What scares YOU?

      The thought of being buried alive terrifies me. My grandmother told me a story of when her mother was young and working the cemetery bell ringing shift.

     They would always tie a string on the finger of the “dead” to have in case the person woke up.  

     One did on her shift.  They got the man out alive. That story haunts me to this day. 

  Eeew! (Just wait until you read the May 8th blog featuring Amanda Stevens, aka: The Graveyard Queen!)

  Let’s end on a light note! What food can’t you say no to?

   A good pot of chili.

 
“Sherry Foley has always had a wild imagination which she has used to craft inspired pieces of fiction that often border on the disturbing. While her creative mind races forward, she keeps her feet planted in Missouri with her husband and three teenage children.”
 -Winter Goose Publishing
 

SWITCHED IN DEATH is available now at Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/78lv7r5

Please visit Sherry at www.SherryFoley.com

Facebook:  http://tinyurl.com/7kkxj8w

Goodreads

Leave a question or comment for Sherry Foley and be eligible to receive a copy of her e-book, Switched in Death! One winner will be announced Thursday, April 28th.

Winner of the Laura Griffin April giveaway

Congratulations to Cris, winner of a $10 Starbucks gift card from author Laura Griffin!

Send your preferred email address to: contact @ kissandthrill . com.

Everyone, join us Tuesday when Sarah Andre interviews Sherry Foley, debut author of Switched in Death, and be sure to comment for a chance to win an e-copy of the book.

Have a great weekend!

Getting Twisted with Laura Griffin

We’ve already established that I had a less than auspicious beginning with New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin, but that didn’t stop her from joining us again for the release of her latest Tracers book Twisted, out today.

Read on to learn more secrets about this talented author who always delivers page-turning suspense interwoven with a compelling love story that sizzles. She dishes about Twisted, the Tracers series, her world travels, her best work environment, and what’s coming next.

She’s even offering a $10 Starbucks gift card for one lucky commenter, so ask that burning question. You might get an answer and a latte!

GH: Tell us about Twisted.
LG: I wanted to write a story about a rookie detective working her first big case. Allison Doyle is a tough, no-nonsense cop who messes up sometimes because she lacks experience. But she’s got a lot of heart and she cares passionately about her job.

GH:  I’m excited to read Allison’s story after meeting her in Snapped. Was there a specific catalyst for this story?
LG: Allison’s character was inspired by some of the law enforcement officers I’ve met over the years. I’m really in awe of the women who go out and do police work every day, and I think researching and writing Allison was my chance to understand better what it’s like for them.

The mystery plot was inspired in part by the research I’ve done on criminal profiling. You read about some very dark cases, and the book’s villain is definitely “twisted,” like the title. But I wanted there to be some lightness to the story, too, and that’s where Allison comes in. Her relationship with FBI profiler Mark Wolfe adds another dimension. It’s a mystery, but also a love story.

GH: You’ve made your career in fiction writing romantic suspense. Are there any other genres/subgenres you’d like to try some day?

LG: I love to read (and write) anything with a mystery element to it. Right now I’m really enjoying romantic suspense, but I’ll see where the muse takes me!

GH: You live in Austin now, but like me you’ve moved around some. Do you have a favorite place, or one that was a particularly interesting experience?

LG: Living in Asia was a fascinating experience. I remember this one adventure with some friends in the Philippines. After spending hours and hours traveling by car and jeepney, and then hiking through the wilderness, we arrived at the rice terraces–which are these ancient rice farms carved out of the mountainside. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful corner of the world that I never even knew existed.

GH: Okay, you have all my adventures beat hands down! And I had to look up what a jeepney is… Did any of your characters in the Tracers series surprise you? In what way?

LG: The Tracers characters are always surprising me! They have such different personalities.

For readers new to the series, the Tracers are an elite group of forensic scientists who get called in to help investigators solve their toughest cases. I’ve met such a variety of people while doing research, and when I started the series I really wanted the Tracers characters to come to life. I didn’t want them to be just a bunch of people in lab coats. Each person brings his or her own passions and biases and life experiences to the story.

GH: What type of writing environment do you like? Home/away? Quiet/loud?

LG: Loud works fine for me. I can work in an airport, a coffee shop, a train station. Quiet works, too. The thing that doesn’t work for me is television. If some zany reality show is on, I get sucked in.

GH: Me too! That’s why I don’t work downstairs when the kids are home. So, what are you working on next?

LG: I’m thrilled to say there will be more Tracers books! After Twisted this spring, we have Scorched in the fall, featuring Kelsey and Gage. And I’m working on book seven now, which will be out in 2013.

It’s been a fun series to write. People always ask me if you can pick it up in the middle, or if you have to start from the beginning. You can pick it up anywhere. Each book focuses on a different romantic couple and has a stand-alone mystery plot, so you can jump right in.

GH: I’m so glad there will be more Tracers books! Good thing I got gift cards for my birthday…

Thanks so much to Laura for being with us today. Remember to leave a comment below for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks gift card!

New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is the author of ten novels and has won numerous awards, including a RITA Award for Whisper of Warning. Find Laura on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor or visit www.lauragriffin.com.

Thanks so much!

Writing for this blog is a real pleasure.

Tuesday, it was even more of a thrill for me — and for a thriller writer, that’s saying a whole lot.  Along with 81 comments, between Tuesday and Wednesday we had 480 hits, a lot of fun, and we had people tune in from all over the world.

That included 16 hits from Hungary alone!  We also had people stop by from Canada (7), Saudi Arabia (3), Australia (3), Lebanon, Cambodia, Turkey, the UAE, Peru, Italy, Taiwan (4), Germany (6), Namibia, India, and Norway.  Of course, that wasn’t even our biggest post, but who can compete with a class action lawsuit against Joan Swan for keeping people up at night reading her books (638 hits over two days)?  Since we started less than five months ago, we have been visited by viewers from 76 different countries!

All I can say is WOW.

Coming up with content takes a lot of time and planing on the part of all of us here at Kiss and Thrill.  We have meetings to plan what kind of content we will offer, endless emails about who is doing what.  Our knees shake when we approach some of the heavy hitters in our industry — sometimes we’re just as star struck as the rest of the world, even when we know the people we interview.  We put together questions, hope for interesting answers, insert art and links, and then hope and pray that someone somewhere will tune in, read it, and like it.

We have no budget or advertisers; our only pay is the enjoyment of our readers.  Like all writers, we struggle with the fact that friends and family often take our efforts for granted and don’t always follow us as closely as we’d like.  Often, they have little comprehension of what it is we do, how hard we work at it, or even why we’d want to.  They do not understand why we get up in the middle of the night and give up sleep, or time with our families, or dinners with friends, to sit in a room by ourselves and type endlessly into a computer.  So, we really depend upon you to support our need to be heard, to tell us merely by stopping by, that what we have to say is important enough for someone to want to read.

(c)2011 Diana Belchase

We are much like actresses upon the stage, with our success measured in hits instead of ticket sales, and our self-worth tied to the comments you leave us — the only applause we writers will ever know.  And each time one of you decides to subscribe, it’s better than a standing ovation.

So thank you for all of that.  For tuning in and letting us know we’re not writing for the dark empty void, but for real flesh and blood people.  Thank you for being the greatest audience we could have hoped for this early in our blogging career.

To paraphrase Sally Fields: You like us.  You really like us.

I am humbled and grateful.

Hugs,

Diana Belchase

XO XO

Now for our winner!

I’d like to thank James Grady again for joining us this week!

Now . . . drum roll please . . . the commenter who has won a copy of MAD DOGS  is . . . Debbie Pakaluk!  Congratulations!

James Grady

To redeem your free book – please email your snail mail address to contact@kissandthrill.com (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days. And you mustprovide a US or Canadian address to qualify or another winner will be chosen.

Thank you all so much for commenting! We hope you will bookmark KissAndThrill.com and visit often, or better yet, subscribe!

Next up on Tuesday, April 17th, Kiss and Thrill’s Gwen Hernandez welcomes best selling author, Laura Griffin, on the day she releases her new book, Twisted.


Sexy Movies, Sexy Men, and Sexy Writing: Three Days of the Condor, Robert Redford, and James Grady

Robert Redford (left) is always a spectacular way to start a blog, with the also spectacular James Grady on the right.

Today we’re priviledged to have with us legendary James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor which became the iconic Robert Redford movie, Three Days of the Condor.  James has won literary prizes around the globe, including France’s Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in 2001, Italy’s Raymond Chandler Award in 2003, and Japan’s Baka-Misu Literary Award in 2008.

James doesn’t merely talk, he lights up the room, exudes a charge that amplifies and builds, reaching into the dark corners of the audience, until everyone is astonished by his fingertip information and unique perspective.  No matter your political opinions, he has the ability to dredge up facts, turn your mind around, and get people motivated. 

James Grady and Diana Belchase

It is that same energy that pervades his books.  He takes the most implausible of facts – for instance, crazies in a secret CIA asylum, let loose on society (Mad Dogs), and not only suspends disbelief, but transports the reader to a roller coaster of an adventure that doesn’t let go until the very last word. 

James wil be giving one lucky reader who leaves a comment a copy of his book, Mad Dogs, so make sure you hit that comment button or you won’t be in the running!

Please help me welcome, James Grady.

Diana:  You hit the best seller list the first time out of the gate with Six Days of the Condor .  How did success impact on you as a young writer?  If you had to do it all over again and could choose, would you want success at such an early stage or would it have been better a little later on?  Did you understand what an incredible, lotto-winning miracle, that kind of success was at that time?

James:  Condor swept me up like the tornado in The Wizard Of Oz.  Living in a  Montana shack, I knew how incredibly lucky I was.  My major fear was that I would blow or betray my luck.  Condor gave me a chance to do what I always wanted – write and publish fiction – plus I didn’t want to be some kind of footnote burn-out jerk.  After Condor, I worked as a U.S. Senate aide and a muckraking reporter making far less than my fiction work because I wanted to use my life to do more, learn more.  I lived like a blue jeaned grad student, worked as hard and as fast as I could, 12 hour days.  I think success so early let me grow into being the kind of writer who – I hope – has earned it.  Of course, now I’d love another tornado like that one!

Sydney Pollack, James Grady, and the late producer, Stanley Schneider in a rare photo, discussing the script on the set of 3 Days of the Condor.

Diana:  As a journalist who has focused on the intelligence community for much of your life, how do you feel about the average spy novel?  What kinds of things drive you nutty when you read them?

James:  Most modern spy novels are better than most modern spy movies that are often actually “cop” or “superhero” cinemas.  I’m not a fan of “grand conspiracy” spy novels. What makes spy novels hard to write is that at their heart, they are novels about politics and personal integrity.  We’re lucky to have a bunch of “spy novelists” out there who get that, but what drives me nutty is the spy novel where nothing “real” or moral feels at stake or where the characters seem to be in a video game.

Diana:  Condor was a quiet novel — by that I mean it was about an man battling the system with little more than his brain, and winning.  Many books and films these days have more things that go boom than intelligent thought.  Even Mad Dogs, while very smart, is much more action packed — which is also a direct result of the characters.  Do you think the quiet novel is a lost art?  How do you balance the need for intelligent writing and the market’s need for action?

James:  Great question!  I think publishers “push” authors to make their books BIG and BOOMING in the mistaken belief that that’s what readers want.  Readers want great stories, believable characters and novels that say something, mean something, matter.  Yes, we want thrills, but we want them to make us feel something more than the drive to turn pages.  It’s like the difference between a guttural SHOUT and a great kiss:  readers love, remember and seek out a great kiss.  And such stories pay:  Graham Greene wrote dozens of “quiet” novels that are still selling today.

Diana:  Who is your favorite author?  Who are you reading right now?  Do you find you read more in or out of your genre when selecting fiction?

James:  I can never narrow it down to one favorite author, though I think Bruce Springsteen is The Great American Author of my hit high school 49 – 37 years ago generation.  As for authors who create words to be readRay Bradbury, John Burdett, James Cain, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Sally Denton, Emily Dickinson, Conan Doyle, William Faulkner, Graham Greene, Dashiell Hammett, Elizabeth Hand, Steve Hunter, Craig Johnson, John Le Carre, Harper Lee, Dennis Lehane, John Dos Passos, Maile Meloy (who’s probably the Great American Author of her younger than moi generation), Bobbie Ann MasonDavid Mitchell, George Pelecanos, S. J. Rozan, John Steinbeck, Rex Stout, Jess Walter, Robert Ward, E.B. White, Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  I could drop 47 other names in that alphabetic row.  Right now I’m reading Nathan Englander and Joe Lansdale.  I make it a point not to read the kind of book I’m writing, and while I love what critics call “thrillers” or “crime novels,” I’ve been happily seduced by everything from chick lit to fantasy.  There are just so many great authors out there, and so little time.

Diana:  Mad Dogs takes place in a secret CIA insane asylum, which sounds perfectly reasonable and practical on the page as you describe it.  Is there really such a place in real life?  What other kinds of black sites exist that the public knows little about?

James:  spent years as an investigative reporter chasing whispers that the CIA had a secret insane asylum.  I never found it, so I let the notion flower as fiction.  There are black sites for SIGINT (signals intelligence that targets communications), as well as training sites and way off the books operations not on any federal register.

Diana:  Will they have to kill you if you tell us?  Or now that you’ve told us? How do you balance the fine line between being interesting and not divulging something you may know but that might cause problems for the intelligence community?  Is there such a line?  Do you think Americans should know everything in freedom of the press, or should journalists restrict themselves and under what circumstances?

James:  I’m cautious about what I divulge.  I have a problem with wholesale or frivolous dumping of secrets.  That’s one reason the people who work in our shadows trust me.  There is a line – sometimes fine, sometimes fuzzy, sometimes undeniable – between the rights our Constitution gives writers for freedom of the press and doing damage for no good to our country.  We need to know the why’s and what’s of our government .  We may not need to know the how’s.  There are two questions every writer must ask her or himself when they cover government or even personal secrets:  Who does reporting this hurt?  Who does reporting this help?  When the FBI is trying to stop the Mafia from heroin smuggling, election rigging and prostituting children while the CIA is using the Mafia to assassinate a foreign leader like Castro (happened!), we have both a right and a need to know.  We need to know what our public servants are doing for our democracy to work.

Diana:  Your new book is on Arab Spring.  Can you tell us a little about it and when it will be out?

James:  While I’m calling it an “Arab Spring” novel, 2/3 of the story takes place in Washington, D.C., with the rest in a blended imaginary “Arab” country.  But the story is actually about our new streets of politics everywhere and how a man and a woman risk everything to fight for their personal as well as political integrity. I think of it as a blend of Condor and Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana.  Sarcasm, suspense, glimpses behind the scenes in D.C. and spy worlds, and a love story unlike any I’ve ever written.  The working title I had is too close to another author’s thriller that just came out – something I bet many people can relate to — so I’m “opening my heart” to whatever title will come from my manuscript.  I’m about halfway done, have shown it to no one, so there’s no pub date yet.  When I get one, I promise to let you know.

Diana:  You have a pretty spectacular family.  Tell us about them.  James can’t stop gushing about them, another one of his endearing traits.

James:  I am in awe of my family.  My wife Bonnie Goldstein, now a blogger for The Washington Post’s “She The People,” has been an internet journalist, a national ABC TV producer, a U.S. Senate Aide, a Private Eye, a coat check girl, a model, and a never went to college hippie who managed a tough bar in Mexico.  My daughter Rachel Grady is an Academy Award nominated documentary director/producer who tackles issues like struggling kids, poverty, our crashing American dream, women’s rights.  My son Nathan Gradyhas published two articles in national venues and is defining himself on the way to being 24.  Rachel’s not yet two years old son Desmond

James as a kid

says “Yeah!” all the time and never stops laughing.   So far, they still let me come to family dinners.

Diana:  The love story in Condor was very poignant.  Why couldn’t your hero and heroine have their happily ever after?  Do you think you might have written it differently today?

James:  Another good question.  I struggled with this.  Didn’t think it was believable for amateur Condor to score a complete “win” against the professionals hunting him, plus I wanted to make the readers feel the real costs of that world.  So he had to lose the girl.

I try to create a story that feels authentic to smart and deserving readers.  And actually, when I got a handle on my sorrow and anger after 9/11, I wrote a novella “re-imagining” how I’d “do” Condor in these times – “condor.net” (click here to read!) — with the roles of women changed and deepened.

Diana:  See I didn’t even know that!  James is always ahead of the curve.  Thanks so much for stopping by today, James, please visit us again soon.

James will be giving a copy of his book Mad Dogsto one lucky commenter below.  So don’t forget to hit the comment button and leave one.  Mad Dogs is a book you don’t want to miss.  Come back on Thursday to see if you’ve won!

The winner of SAVING HOPE is . . .

The Kiss-and-Thrill ladies would like to thank Liese Sherwood-Fabre again for joining us this week! She was a delight, and we wish her the best with her debut novel, SAVING HOPE.

Now . . . drum roll please . . . the commenter who has won a copy of SAVING HOPE is . . . Diane Ginther!  Congratulations!

To redeem your free book – please email your snail mail address to contact@kissandthrill.com (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days. And you must provide a US or Canadian address to qualify or another winner will be chosen.

Thank you all so much for commenting! We hope you will bookmark KissAndThrill and visit often or better yet, subscribe!

What’s next you ask?

Tuesday, April 10th, Kiss and Thrill’s Diana Belchase welcomes James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor which became the iconic Robert Redford movie, Three Days of the Condor.  

James Grady and Diana Belchase

James will be giving a copy of his book Mad Dogs to one lucky commenter.

Liese Sherwood-Fabre

Please give a warm Kiss and Thrill welcome to debut author Liese Sherwood-Fabre!

Liese is originally from Texas but is a world traveler. She has lived in or visited Washington, D.C., Honduras, Mexico, and even Russia. She draws on that wealth of experience with other cultures and places to inject a unique, exotic flavor into her stories. After traveling the globe, she eventually settled down in her home state of Texas. You can visit her in cyber-space at her website.

Liese was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions, and she’s also giving away one copy of her debut release – SAVING HOPE – to one lucky commenter. SAVING HOPE is available for pre-order now, and releases on May 4, 2012.

Lena: Liese, thank you so much for joining us today on Kiss and Thrill. First order of business, how do you pronounce your first name? Lee-suh? Or Lease? Or some other variation?

Liese: The first. It’s a German spelling. Think “Liesel”—the oldest Von Trapp family child.

Lena: Your first book, SAVING HOPE, comes out on May 4th. Congratulations! What made you choose that title?

Liese: The story is about a Russian microbiologist whose daughter, Nadezhda—Hope–has a heart condition. It is about her struggle to save her daughter.

Lena: The cover copy for SAVING HOPE says the heroine is a micro-biologist who lives in Russia. What made you choose a heroine with that type of background? And why Russia? Does the entire book take place there or does it move around Europe or North America as well?

Liese: I worked and lived in Russia for five years (from 1994-1999). While working there, I read an article by Richard Preston in the March 9, 1998 New Yorker–“Annals of Warfare: The Bioweaponeers.” In it, he describes Iran’s recruitment of unemployed scientists from the former Soviet Union’s weapons laboratories—both biological and nuclear. My first thought was “why would someone accept such a job offer?” I gave my main character no job, a sick child, and friends with underworld connections—and Saving Hope was born.

It’s a different story in that it takes place in Russia with Russian characters (with the exception of one character).

Lena: (Readers, the gorgeous pictures in this post are pictures of places Liese visited in Russia. Enjoy!) Your story idea has a Robin Cook feel to me. Would you classify your novel as a medical thriller? What comparable authors might you compare it to?

Liese: It’s more along the lines of Martin Cruz Smith (Red Square; Gorky Park) only the law enforcement character (the FSB agent) is the second main character. It is definitely  Alexandra’s (the microbiologist) story.

Lena: What are some of your favorite books?

Liese: It’s easier for me to let you know what I’m currently reading:  First Love Cookie Club by Lori Wilde and Diane Kelly’s Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure.

Lena: Do you write in more than one genre?

Liese: I consider myself a woman’s fiction writer in the broadest sense. I enjoy writing about strong women who are able to overcome major obstacles. I have published several short stories. One appeared in Woman’s World (a straight romance) and another in an anthology for Girl’s Life (middle grade).

Lena: You have an awesome quote on your website for SAVING HOPE by Steve Berry. OH. MY. GOSH. That is so awesome! I would die for a quote like that. Care to share how you met Steve and garnered that quote? Or is it a state secret?

Liese: I was flabbergasted as well! I had heard him speak at the RWA National conference last year in New York and had read his Romanov Prophecy novel. When I started thinking about who I might ask for a quote, I decided to shoot big and go for someone who would appreciate a novel set in Russia, so I contacted him. His one request was that I  join the International Thriller Writers’ organization, which I did.

Lena: What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to mention)

Liese: I am working on a second thriller. This one is set in Mexico and is loosely based on the Lori Berenson case. In mine, a young woman is arrested by the Mexican army and charged with terrorism—only in this case, the woman is the daughter of a U.S. Senator.

Lena: Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?

Liese: I’ve been very fortunate to receive several, but I guess I’m most proud of a short story, “Stranger in the Village,” I wrote that won first-place in The Briar Cliff Review. It was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and my novel Heads Up, St. Anthony finaled in the 2008 Golden Heart.

Lena: What do you do for fun (besides write)?

Liese: I work full-time and have a family, so squeezing in writing time doesn’t leave much for other activities. I do enjoy movies, traveling, and reading.

Lena: Favorite romance ever?

Liese: Gosh, that’s hard. I would have to say Gone with the Wind. At its most basic, it’s the story of a woman in love with two men and can’t make up her mind which one she truly loves (Margaret Mitchell’s words, not mine).

Lena: Using only three words, describe the kinds of stories you write.

Liese: Women gaining power

Lena: Would you rather take a cruise or go white-water rafting?

Liese: I’ve been on a cruise and we had to cancel the one white-water rafting trip we arranged because of a family emergency, so I’ll pick the white-water rafting (as long as the water’s not too cold.)

Lena: Describe your perfect fictional hero.

Liese: Smart, funny, sensitive, and a killer bod.

Lena: We know that Kiss and Thrill is your favorite blog (ahem). Are there some go-to blogs you love to read that you want to recommend? 

Liese: I’m a member of a group of writers called “The Plotting Princesses.” The group formed as a way to help work on each others’ plots and other writing issues. You can check them out at http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com/

Lena: What would your heroine in SAVING HOPE carry in her purse?

Liese: She’s a mom, so all the “mom things”—tissues, pen, paper, little candies.

Lena: Your hero from SAVING HOPE is sitting in a bar. A robber walks in and points his gun at the bartender, demanding all his cash. What does your hero do?

Liese: He’s in law enforcement, so he’d wait until the robber isn’t looking and pull out his service weapon and take the sucker down.

Lena: You’re  Neo (Keanu Reeves) in THE MATRIX. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) offers you the red pill or the blue pill. Which one do you take?

Liese: I’d go with the red because I wouldn’t like the idea of something else being in control of me. As hard as life is for those “awake,” the experience is real.

Lena: What would you do if Dirty Harry said, “Go ahead, make my day?”

Liese: Drop to the floor and wish to blend in with the carpet.

Thanks so much for being so gracious about answering all these questions, Liese. The Kiss and Thrill ladies wish you much success on your debut.

And now it’s Liese’s turn to ask the readers some questions.

Liese: Kiss and thrill, or Thrill and Kiss? Which is more important to you–the suspense/mystery/thriller aspect -or- the romance?

Comment on Liese’s blog post and you will automatically be entered in a drawing. One lucky US or Canadian commenter will win a free copy of SAVING HOPE. Drawing will take place Thursday morning.

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