Monthly Archives: October 2012

Get Scorched with Laura Griffin

I always look forward to a new Laura Griffin book, and Scorched—of which I received an advance reading copy (yes, you should be jealous)—didn’t disappoint. The main characters, Kelsey and Gage, first met in the novella Unstoppable, which was a sexy, suspenseful read.

In Scorched they get their own full blown story.

Laura always gives us hot, stoic, alpha men, and Gage is no exception. Unlike many of her previous heroes though, he isn’t law enforcement. He’s a Navy SEAL. And in this book, a good portion of the action takes place outside of Texas. But the Delphi center and your favorite Tracers still have a strong presence.

Scorched delivers more of Laura Griffin’s trademark twists and steamy suspense. You won’t want to miss it. Read on to learn more about Laura’s research for the book.

One commenter wins a signed copy of Scorched, so be sure to let us know you stopped by!

Thanks for inviting me back to Kiss & Thrill, Gwen! I am so excited to celebrate this release day with you all.

My favorite part of writing takes place before I type a single word. It’s the beginning part, when I get to know my characters and start envisioning their adventure together.

Scorched was a particular thrill because I had so much fun with the research. To learn about my hero, Gage Brewer, I read up on Navy SEALs and then interviewed a few—and yes, they are just as impressive in person as they are in fiction!

Gage’s love interest is no less fascinating. As a forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center crime lab, Kelsey Quinn studies bones to provide leads for homicide investigators. To learn about Kelsey’s character, I interviewed forensic anthropologists and visited a decomposition research center, otherwise known as a body farm.

Ewww, right?

I was a little wary at first, but it turned out to be fascinating. I enjoyed every minute of it and pestered each person I met with tons of questions.

When Scorched begins, Kelsey and Gage are (literally) worlds apart, with Gage and his SEAL teammates on a daring rescue mission in the Indian Ocean and Kelsey leading a humanitarian dig in the Philippines. At the story’s outset, both are harboring regrets about their failed relationship. But when fate brings them together again through a murder investigation in which Gage is the prime suspect, Kelsey and Gage are forced to reach some sort of truce in order to survive the storm of events coming their way.

Kelsey and Gage’s story has all the elements I love to write—mystery, forensic twists, some fun action scenes. And then there’s the falling-in-love part, which I like best of all. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, check out

Happy reading!

Remember to comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Scorched!

Freaky Friday Ghosts and Giveaways Winners!

Drum roll please! The winner of the multi-book prize from Kiss and Thrill is Dana Mason

The winner of the multi-book prize from Just Romantic Suspense is Janet Kerr




The winners of FIRST DO NO EVIL for kindle or nook are:

Maureen, Cris, Trish J, BN100, Colleen C, Jane, Na, Deb, Kai, 

Mary Preston, Erinf1, DeniseZ

I’ll be contacting winners via email to confirm their prize preferences so please be on the lookout and check your spam folders. Emails will go out by Monday night.

Thank you all for your great comments! 


Gwen Hernandez hosts the fabulous Laura Griffin! Tues, Oct. 30th.





Freaky Friday Ghosts and Giveaways!

(Stop #2 – see JustRomanticSuspense for stop #1)

Since Halloween plays a critical role in the plot of my romantic thriller, FIRST DO NO EVIL, I wanted to do something special to celebrate the holiday.

At first, I thought about re-telling my favorite ghost stories from childhood. But we’ve all heard them before. Then I thought, what if….

What if – I poll my friends and find out if they have had some sort of TRUE paranormal experience. Wouldn’t that be fascinating?

It turns out several of my author friends have had paranormal encounters, and they were willing to share. The stories I have for you today may seem less dramatic than those childhood tales and urban legends…but these stories are TRUE.

I’ve got more stories posted on the other blog I’m doing today over at JustRomanticSuspense so be sure and drop by there to read more true life ghosties!

Samhain author Carey Baldwin (that’s me!): Blue-eyed Brown-eyed Girl

I make no warranties that someone else in my family may not have a different version of this story. Everyone seems to have his own way of telling it. But according to family lore, my grandmother, Bessie Baldwin, was clairvoyant. This much I know is true because I remember: She was a beautiful woman with very unusual eyes. One of her eyes was blue. The other eye was half green and half brown. Like a magical marble.

According to family lore, she frequently knew when trouble was about to befall someone near and dear, or had a premonition before someone passed. Only once, that I know of, did she have a vision that was not directly related to family members.

When I was a little girl, a python escaped from the Ft. Worth zoo. Everyone was hunting the python. Where had it gone? Was it injured? Would someone harm the snake or be harmed by the snake? The whole community became caught up in the human interest story of the lost python. Day after day news reports came in that the python was still missing and feared dead or lost forever. After a few days, my grandmother turned to my grandfather and said, “Call the zoo and tell them the python is curled up in the grasses behind her cage.”

My grandfather did what any sensible person would do- he refused. So my grandmother called the zoo herself. Sure enough, the python was there behind the cage, just as she’d predicted!

Three-time Golden Heart finalist Sharon Wray: Baboo the Friendly Ghost

I grew up in a haunted house with a real imaginary friend- a ghost -named Baboo. Although no one in my family believed me, ever since I was a small child I could sense when Baboo was around. My room had once been an attic, and every night at 3am, his pacing would wake me up. I’d tell him to please stop, and he always did. Eventually I learned to sleep through it. Every once in a while my dad would ask me why I was walking around at night. I’d just shrug and say I couldn’t sleep.

Baboo wasn’t an active ghost who moved things or tormented me, but he did have one habit which used to drive my parents crazy. Baboo liked to turn all the locks in the house. My dad would lock up the house every night, but some mornings all the deadbolts were unlocked. I used to try to tell my parents it was Baboo, but at an early age I realized no one believed me.

This went on for years – since preschool until I went to college.

But one day in middle school I came home early. I had a key just in case my parents weren’t home, and that afternoon I went into the house through the front door. Except every time I turned the key, it would relock.

The key would turn, open, then immediately relock as if someone were on the other side of the door turning the lever. I got so frustrated, I went to the side door. Four times I’d unlock the deadbolt, four times it would relock. Finally, I went to the lower basement door and it opened. As I went in, I heard noises upstairs. I just assumed it was my father who often came home for lunch and I’d missed him walking around the house. So I yelled, “Hi, Dad!” as I went up the basement stairs.

Just as I said that, the door ahead of me slammed shut and locked. I was about to pound on the door when I heard two male voices speaking – and I realized neither one was my father. A moment later, I heard a crash, a few curses, then a door slam.

I stood there shaking, not sure what to do, when the door in front of me suddenly unlocked and opened. I could barely walk, I was so scared. But I also realized that Baboo wouldn’t have opened the door if it wasn’t safe – so I went into the house. A few things were knocked over, some things broken, but the back kitchen door was wide open. Someone had broken in and I’d interrupted. The police found the two men later that night, trying to break into a neighbor’s house. Both men were carrying guns and knives.

Many, many years later my father asked me about that day. He asked me if Baboo had kept me out of the house. I said yes. He nodded and apologized for not believing me. He then admitted that he’d had an incident with Baboo the day before he sold the house, but he wouldn’t tell me what happened. Maybe he still didn’t believe it. My parents moved out of the house nine years ago, and I often wonder if the new family has met Baboo or if he finally found his way home.

Avon Impulse and Harlequin Intrigue Author Lena Diaz: Grandma’s Favorite

Most of my family comes from Kentucky. Since my dad was in the Navy, we traveled a lot, and we were living in Florida when my oldest sister woke up in the middle of the night and saw my grandmother standing at the foot of her bed – my grandmother who lived in Kentucky at the time. My grandmother didn’t say anything, but she smiled sadly and reached out as if to pat my sister, then disappeared. It totally freaked my sister out. She got up and ran into my parents’ room. My mom and dad tried to console her, and then the phone rang to tell my dad that his mom – the grandmother my sister had just seen – had just passed away. My sister was always my grandmother’s favorite grandchild and my sister has always believed that grandma came to her that night in spirit to say goodbye.


Dr. Skylar Novak: Halloween Havoc

Okay this story is not true and it is not a paranormal story, because Sky Novak is the heroine of my romantic thriller, FIRST DO NO EVIL. But it is a great read for Halloween!

FIRST DO NO EVIL opens on a Halloween morning. Halloween is the worst day of the year for Sky, the anniversary of her father’s murder. If you want to know more about Sky’s story, I’ve pasted the blurb below:



One killer is in her blood. The other is in her house.

There’s a killer lurking in Dr. Skylar Novak’s family tree: the gene for breast cancer. That’s why her brilliant brother invented the Bella vaccine. But even if the miracle drug protects her from the cancer that took her mother’s life, it can’t save Sky from the flesh and bone evil stalking her in secret.

When the killer strikes, detective Daniel Benson finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The bold detective manages to save Sky’s life…just in time for her to return the favor. Survival leads to seduction, and Danny risks everything—his career, even his life, to keep Sky safe. But will the buried sins they uncover cost him her heart?

Danny’s strong arms may hold her close, but only Sky can stop the terror that’s coming next…

Warning: Contents include: One heart-melting hero—good luck getting this delicious detective out of your head. One reluctant heroine—wielding a Glock was never on her to-do list. One crazed villain—an entire flock of baa baa black sheep won’t be enough to put you to sleep. And a lifesaving vaccine with one deadly side effect—murder. 

Commenters : We’ve got PRIZES GALORE! So please read carefully.

One grand prize, consisting of the following books, will be awarded to one lucky commenter: FIRST DO NO EVIL by Carey Baldwin, (Nook or Kindle copy); SIMON SAYS DIE, and HE KILLS ME HE KILLS ME NOT by Lena Diaz (winner’s choice of electronic or print), HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE by Manda Collins (winner’s choice of electronic or print copy). Leave a comment here, on Kiss and Thrill, to be eligible to win this grand prize.

But wait, today only, EVERYONE’S A WINNER

Are you the kid who never, ever, won the cakewalk, no matter how many tickets you bought? Well, not on my watch. Today I’m also blogging over at JustRomanticSuspense and everyone who leaves a comment by midnight tonight on this blog, AND my Just Romantic Suspense blog will win an electronic copy of FIRST DO NO EVIL for kindle or nook. Remember, you must comment on both blogs to automatically win FIRST DO NO EVIL.

So tell us please, do you have a favorite Halloween memory?

Our Thursday Winner!


wins an e-copy of Rolynn Anderson’s newest release


Congratulations, Morgan! Just click on the Contact Us page and let us know which address to send it to. A special thank you to everyone who stopped by to share their ‘obituary’.

TOMORROW: In honor of Halloween we are posting a special blog! Join Carey Baldwin and the rest of us as we celebrate “FREAKY FRIDAY GHOSTS AND GIVEAWAYS!

You’ll hear TRUE paranormal encounters from Lena Diaz, Sharon Wray, and Carey Baldwin!

Be prepared to tell your best (real) ghost encounter or your favorite Halloween memory. Lots of prizes!

See ya tomorrow…

Suspense Spiked with Romance: Rolynn Anderson

  1. FADEOUT’S heroine, Jan Solvang, just might be YOUR funeral planner.  What’s one phrase about you she MUST include in your obituary?
  2. (Answer in our comment section for a chance to win an e-copy of FADEOUT, the new romantic suspense novel by Rolynn Anderson!)

Hmm…I guess mine would be: Sarah Andre always felt tremendous joy when a friend achieved the dream of publishing a novel.

And it’s true (although that question was harder than I expected!) For me, the coolest part of being a writer is connecting with others, watching their careers launch and applauding their successes. 

So picture this: Spanking New Writer goes to a conference and lines up to pitch to her first agent. (Translated: uncontrollable trembling, dry mouth, clammy hands, whispering the blurb over and over.) Smiling Writer behind her introduces herself and chats so amiably New Writer almost forgets her anxiety, which ultimately makes for a much better first pitch.

You guessed it! Rolynn Andreson stood behind me at the Desert Rose RWA chapter’s Desert Dreams Conference waaay back in 2006. And we’ve reconnected at that conference every time since. So imagine my thrill this year when she told me she’s now published! It is an absolute pleasure to introduce you to my friend, Rolynn Anderson.

Hi Rolynn, thanks for joining us today! In your debut novel, LAST RESORT how did you come up with a terror plot involving the Winter Olympics (which is plotted out realistically enough to give me the chills!) 

Rumor has it this huge, posh fishing resort in Big Bay, B.C., was once owned by drug lords.  Now it’s owned by London Drugs!  I mean the place HAD to be written about. The other rumor I heard from the locals: CBS was going to house its crew at the big lodge for the Winter Olympics and fly them to Whistler by helicopter.  That never happened…except in my novel.  Don’t you love rumors? 

 Is there another novel in the works involving any of the primary or secondary characters from this story?

Not yet, but I’d love to give Rena another adventure with Nora riding shotgun.

Your newest release FADEOUT: Again…how did you come up with a series surrounding a funeral planner?

My father died of Alheimer’s in 2005.  My sister, brothers and I were planning his funeral in a traditional way until I realized how many young children were attending the memorial.  We dumped old rituals in order to properly honor my father and teach the children gently about death.  The event was so successful, I began thinking about the value of a ‘boutique’ (my term) funeral planner.  Jan Solvang’s story emerged, and of course I had to add suspense and romance to the mix. Jan’s got a fainting disorder called Syncope and she’s inherited a Scottish terrier (Elwood) with some quirks, too.

Who are your favorite RS authors?  Linda Howard, Suzanne Brockman.

SWOON, the second in the funeral planner series, comes out November 15th.  Can you give us a sneak peek?

Jan’s been a boutique funeral planner for over a year, and her dead clients still refuse to rest in peace.  She’s supposed to bury a missing woman and an infamous man, but her research on them disturbs family secrets, unmasks killers and imperils her relationship with Roman. 

Wow! Sounds terrific. (Reader, please note Brenda Novak’s testimonial for Swoon below!)

Rolynn, tell our readers a bit about your fascinating retirement (summer adventures.)

My husband and I spend the four summer months living on our boat (a 46 foot trawler), cruising from Washington State, up the breathtaking Inside Passage, all the way to Alaska and back.  We fish for shrimp, Dungeness Crab, rockfish, salmon and halibut, but mostly we enjoy the beauty of the area and the friends we reconnect with every year.

Do you ever get ideas for a story from those summer months?

Absolutely.  I’ve just finished a double murder mystery called LIE CATCHER that takes place in Petersburg, Alaska.  Liv, the main character, is a “Tlingwegian”…great grandma was a Tlingit Indian; great grandpop was a rough and tough Norwegian fisherman.

How do you spend your winter months besides writing?

We love to travel in the U.S. as well as abroad, but I also enjoy my half acre of fruit trees and garden in Central Coast California.  I golf once or twice a week and I’m tournament chair of our golf club, as well.

Favorite food?  Peanut butter and chocolate.

If you had a career do-over and had not been a teacher/principal…what profession would you choose?

A wine-maker; an athlete (golf?); a CEO.


Don’t miss SWOON by Rolynn Anderson! If you like an interesting cast of characters, a heavy dose of mystery and a lot of fabulous surprises, you’ll be happily turning pages late into the night.”

~ Brenda Novak, NYT and USA Bestselling Author of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES

Don’t forget to leave a comment below:

What phrase should funeral planner, Jan Solvang include in YOUR obituary?

Stop back Thursday to see if you’ve won an e-copy of FADEOUT.


LAST RESORT-print and digital at Amazon:
FADEOUT- print (digital soon) at Amazon: 


Thursday preview: Rolynn Anderson

Next week Sarah Andre is going to get into the Halloween spirit with Rolynn Anderson. Join us to learn more about her new romantic suspense series featuring a funeral planner!

Behind the “scenes”: reading for research

I’m not a serial killer (good to know, right?), special ops warrior, veteran suffering from PTSD, DEA agent, drug lord, or hacker, and I don’t have a service dog. (Just a lazy one.)

If I only wrote what I know, my books wouldn’t be romantic suspense, they’d be a cure for insomnia.

So, often a little research is in order. Magazine articles, blogs, and are great, but sometimes I need to go deeper. That’s where books come in.

Even if you don’t need to do research, you might enjoy some of the books that I’ve read over the last few years. Here’s a selection of my favorites.

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin de Becker

I think every woman (and man) should read this book. The author is a security specialist who not only makes excellent points about trusting your instincts, but talks about common strategies people use to get us to let down our guard. If you’re into psychology, you’ll also enjoy his section on stalkers and killers, and how to fire someone to avoid workplace violence.

Big Boy Rules: America’s Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq by Steve Fainaru

I’ve read several books about private security contractors in the Middle East, including Jeremy Scahill’s Blackwater, but this was my favorite. Not only was it an incredibly compelling read, but the author brings you into the minds and hearts of the men he’s embedded with.

His agenda is to understand them, not to demonize them. I have several heroes who are or were mercenaries, and this book really helped me bring them to life.

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan

This memoir about a wounded soldier with PTSD and the service dog who turned his life around is a great read. While there are some who dispute the author’s version of events in the Middle East, there’s no disputing the change Tuesday made in his life.

Hot Shots and Heavy Hits: Tales of an Undercover Drug Agent by Paul E. Doyle

I love the TV show DEA for insight on strategies and techniques for drug busts, but for a more personal inside look, check out this book. The author shares stories from his long career as an undercover agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency and its predecessor, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security by Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Mitnick is a famous hacker turned consultant. This book details how hackers use social engineering to bypass traditional network security measures. Often they don’t need to spend days trying to break into a computer system. They take shortcuts by convincing people to hand them the keys to the network. Often people just give them the information they’re looking for. Another fascinating read that I found both interesting and scary.

The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel by Robert Mazur

Robert Mazur spent five years undercover as a wealthy mover and shaker with mob connections to bring down the bankers that laundered money for drug lords like Pablo Escobar of the Medellin Cartel, and General Manuel Noriega. This fast-paced book reads like fiction. Hard to put down.

None Braver: U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen in the Afghanistan War by Michael Hirsh

A look inside the lives of USAF Pararescuemen, some of the most elite special operators in the military. The author is a reporter who spent five weeks living among the PJs in Afghanistan. The book contains amazing stories, details that bring these guys to life, and a bit of historical perspective on these men whose motto is “These things we do that others may live.” I went through a whole stack of sticky flags with this one.

Those are a few of my favorites. Got any recommendations to share?

And the Winner is . . .

The Kiss and Thrill ladies would like to thank Jessica Scott again for visiting our site this week. We enjoyed hosting her and we hope she comes back soon, especially when the third book in her trilogy Back To You is released!

Now, it’s time to announce the winner.

The winner of one eBook of Until There Was You is: Chris Bails

CONGRATULATIONS! To redeem your free eBook, please email your preferred email address to (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days.

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, October 16, our very own Gwen Hernandez is up, and on Tuesday, October 23 we welcome Rolynn Anderson. Then, Friday Oct 26, we have Carey’s special Halloween “Ghosts and Giveaways” spectacular.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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