Monthly Archives: November 2012

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Please join us on Tuesday, December 4th when our guest will be Cherry Adair.  Leave a comment on Tuesday to be entered to win an e-copy of her newest T-FLAC book, Ice Cold!

New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike.  She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on three series -T-FLAC, CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE.

Celebrating a Year of Kisses and Thrills!

Kiss and Thrill turns turns one today! At the start, we never could have imagined what an amazing first year we’d have. The caliber of guests we’ve managed to bribe, cajole, and strong-arm…er, I mean welcome, to the site has been awesome. And the reception from readers has been a pleasant surprise as well. Thanks!

To celebrate our first birthday, several of us chose highlight memorable posts from the last year.

Do you have a favorite of your own? Please share!

Sarah Andre

I have to mess up the K&T Anniversary assignment by picking 4 blogs…our first 4 blogs. We were a rag-tag group of 9 romantic suspense writers who barely knew each other or never even met: 6 Golden Heart finalists, 3 debut authors.

I remember we had no idea what we wanted to say to other romantic suspense readers, but we wanted to engage them and share our collective enthusiasm. Somehow, through no planning and scant forethought, we asked a few bestselling authors to answer personal and professional questions and…holy smokes, they said yes!

Our first 4 blogs showcased Allison Brennan, Brenda Novak, Cindy Gerard and Harlan CobanWhat audacity! What a thrill!

To me, our first 4 blogs established K&T as a comet-streaking Romantic Suspense Blog in the hundreds of interesting RS blogs out there. And it showed me that the impossible (busy, best-selling authors graciously spending the day with us) is actually very possible. All we did was ask.

Diana Belchase

I loved Sharon Wray’s post on October 9th about how she got into trouble in high school for reading Mary Stewart and how that author influenced her. The most amazing feeling in the world is when you fall so throughly into a book that all time stops. If you’re brought out of it at the wrong moment, you find you’re even in the same sulky mood as the heroine and like any other kind of addict, you’ll do next to anything (okay in my case dishes and household chores) to get the time to get back to reading. Sharon caught the mood of that life-altering moment so well it brought back tons of memories.

So glad to be part of this group. Our first year passed so quickly yet it feels as if we’ve been doing this together all our lives. I call that another life-altering moment. Congratulations to Kiss and Thrill!

Sharon Wray

It was so hard to pick my favorite post. Reviewing them all made me realize how many wonderful authors we’ve interviewed and how lucky we’ve been that Kiss and Thrill has become so popular. But since I have to pick one, I’m choosing Diana Belchase’s interview on April 10th with James Grady.

When I was a teenager, I fell in love with suspense books after reading James Grady’s Three Days of the Condor. Although I write about things that have never (and probably will never) happen to me, James mentioned how good thrillers “thrill” because of the quiet situations characters face even more so than the grand adventures. His insight made me realize my story doesn’t have to be “bigger” to capture a reader’s heart–it just has to matter to the reader. Brilliant!

Lena Diaz

Picking a favorite was really hard! But I’d have to say that Krista Hall’s post from July 3rd, K&T Picks Murderously Good Reads for July is definitely one of my faves.  I love posts where all the K&T ladies join in. But this one was especially fun because I got a glimpse into the personal reading preferences of my K&T sisters, and some great books added to my TBR pile!

Rachel Grant

We’ve had a lot of great guests this last year, which makes it so hard to choose just one post to highlight.  Without going back through our archives I considered which ones I remember the most.  Sharon’s Mary Stewart story and her ghost story, Carey, Lena’s, and Manda’s release day interviews and celebrations, being introduced to so many romantic suspense authors, and the behind the scenes battles as we called dibs on hosting favorite authors.

But the blog that I thought of first, the one that I want to remind our readers about is Gwen Hernandez’s August 28th post about her book, SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES: How my passion for writing led to another kind of book deal.  I love this celebration of craft, software, and unexpected detours.

Krista Hall

One of the best parts of writing is researching—exploring the endlessly fascinating mystery of who we are, how things work, why we do the things we do. That’s why my favorite post was written on January 17th by Rachel and her BFF Elisabeth Naughton: How to Electrocute Your Husband.

Gwen Hernandez

Against all odds, we started K&T with a bang, kicking off with Allison Brennan, Brenda Novak, and Cindy Gerard, and then (bam!) on December 15th, one of my favorite posts, Harlan-freaking-Coben. Carey asked fun questions, and Mr. Coben answered with his usual dry humor. That post is where I learned he had a YA book out, which I promptly bought for my two teenaged boys. They loved it, and my younger one has already read it twice. That’s worth the e-book’s virtual weight in gold.

My favorite things about this last year have been making friends with the awesome group of ladies at Kiss and Thrill, and getting to know so many wonderful authors. We’ve had a tremendous twelve months, and the talent–both within the group, and from contributing guests–is staggering. I’m excited for another year of thrills!

Photo credit: By User:Aliasd and Adam Monkhouse (Image:Birthday_Cake.jpg and own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Join us Tuesday to Celebrate our Anniversary!

The nine authors of Kiss and Thrill are celebrating our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY on Tuesday! Please join us for an exciting post written by our very own Gwen Hernandez as she asks each K&T lady what their favorite post or memory is from our K&T blog in the past year.

Why I’m Thankful…A Personal Story about Diabetes

The Kiss and Thrill ladies would all like to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Thanksgiving. May you have good health, love, and an awesome meal!

When I think about what I’m thankful for, I can’t ignore the fact that November is Diabetes Awareness month. Eleven years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with this terrible disease, and for that–I am thankful. Not because she has diabetes of course, but because she’s a survivor. Like most people, I wasn’t aware of the symptoms of diabetes, and because of that, I very nearly lost my daughter.

By sharing this personal story about my daughter’s diagnosis, my hope is that people who think they know about diabetes – but have never personally experienced its impact in their lives – will take a moment to read this. You never know. What you learn might save a life.

Most people are familiar with Type II diabetes, which is typically caused, or at least exacerbated, by an unhealthy lifestyle (over-eating, over-weight). People with Type II can lose weight and exercise, and often (but not always) symptoms of the disease will dramatically improve or disappear altogether.

I’m going to tell you about the other type of diabetes, Type 1, which my daughter Jennifer has. The picture above shows her in the hospital a couple of days after she was diagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, because it usually strikes children. In this disease, the islet cells in your pancreas stop producing insulin. Most people who get this disease are NOT overweight. And losing weight or eating differently won’t make it go away or make it better. Your body doesn’t produce insulin. Period. And if you don’t have insulin every day, you die. Period.

Most people think they know the symptoms of diabetes. Thirsty all the time. Check. Frequent urination. Check. But there are many other symptoms you may not be aware of. I used to be one of those people who didn’t know the other symptoms, and because of that, I almost lost my daughter. Let’s step back in time to when my daughter, Jennifer, was seven.

Jennifer was thin. Always. No matter what she ate, she didn’t gain much weight (Symptom #1). From the time she could hold a sippy cup, she liked to drink a lot. So, for her, drinking a lot (and therefore going to the bathroom a lot) was normal. (Symptom #2)

Jennifer was relatively healthy, just like any other child her age. But shortly after she started school, she would complain about tummy aches. (Symptom #3) She only complained occasionally. It wasn’t chronic. Kids get tummy aches. A lot. So I really didn’t think that was a problem. I gave her medicine for her tummy, and she always felt better the next day.

I took her for a haircut one day. The hair dresser called me over. I thought she was going to ask me something about the hair cut, but instead she showed me several long strands of my daughter’s hair. The hair dresser told me my daughter’s hair came out too easily (Symptom #4). I have to tell you, I blew that off. I thought that lady was being silly.

A few weeks later, my daughter wasn’t acting like herself. She sat around a lot instead of playing. Her cheeks were also bright red. My husband took her to the pediatrician. I asked my husband to be sure to let the doctor know that the hair dresser said my daughter’s hair was falling out too easily. Because by this time I was thinking the same thing, but I didn’t have a clue what that could mean. Our pediatrician ignored the hair symptom, much like I initially had. And he diagnosed my daughter with Fifth’s Disease, which basically means a red rash and that she is tired a lot and doesn’t feel well. The cure was to give her time to get better. (Being diagnosed with an illness OTHER than diabetes is Symptom #5).

The following weekend, my daughter woke up in the middle of the night. She said her tummy hurt. And she was breathing very fast. (Symptom #6) She threw up and then seemed to feel better. No fever. So I put her to bed with me and she went to sleep.

The next morning she was feeling better, but not great. Her tummy didn’t hurt anymore, and she wasn’t throwing up, but she sat around not doing much. And when I looked at her, I could tell there was something wrong, but wasn’t sure what. I can only describe it as saying she didn’t look like Jennifer. Something about her face was ‘off’ but I couldn’t figure out what it was. (Symptom #7 – sunken-in eyes)

That was in September, on a holiday weekend. I was definitely planning to take her back to her doctor after the holiday. But I was so worried about her, that I went ahead and took her to the emergency room. Honestly, I felt silly doing it. She had no fever. Her doctor had already diagnosed her a few days earlier with Fifth’s Disease, which could theoretically explain her not feeling well. But my gut told me to go, so I went.

On the way to the hospital. She complained about being thirsty and I bought her a Gator-ade to drink. She drank a LARGE bottle on the way to the E.R. – all of it. It did nothing to quench her thirst. Her tongue was dry like sandpaper (Symptom #8).

When the nurse triaged my daughter, I told the nurse my daughter didn’t feel well, had just been diagnosed with Fifth’s, and that she drank a bottle of Gator-ade on the way to the hospital and her tongue was dry. I also mentioned her face just didn’t look right to me but I didn’t know why. I hadn’t even finished telling her all of that when the nurse reached for a glucose monitor and checked my daughter’s blood sugar level. That nurse knew with just one look that my daughter was severely dehydrated – which explains the thirst and the sunken-in eyes that made her look ‘off’.

Her sugar level was too high to register on the meter.

My daughter was immediately taken to the Intensive Care Unit. Her blood was drawn and sent to the hospital lab to get an accurate blood sugar level reading, and she was put on an insulin drip. A normal sugar level is around 100. If your sugar gets around 250 or higher, it’s considered really bad and dangerous. My daughter’s sugar was over 1000. Her doctor later told me he had never heard of anyone having sugar that high who survived.

My daughter spent four days in the ICU. I almost lost her. The doctor later told me that when sugar levels get that high, people typically have seizures and die. He also told me that if I had waited until after the weekend, my daughter would have died. He estimated she was literally within an hour or two of seizing and dying.

Think about that for a minute.

How many of you would have taken your child to the emergency room when they had no fever and just seemed ‘off’ and just weren’t very active? Especially since the pediatrician had diagnosed her with a condition just a few days earlier that explained her symptoms? I don’t know for sure why I went to the E.R. that day. My gut just told me something was wrong, so I went. And I thank God that I did.

I’m not saying to assume diabetes every time your child has a tummy ache. I’m saying to trust your gut and be your child’s advocate.

MOST Type 1 diabetics are diagnosed with a different illness shortly before being diagnosed with diabetes. Why? Because Type 1 is an auto-immune disease. Every time a person with Type 1 gets sick — whether it’s a cold or something else — their body attacks the Islet cells in their pancreas, killing more of them. One day, one of those “attacks” kills enough cells so that the diabetic goes into ketoacidosis, which is what happened to my daughter. Her blood was literally turning to acid and killing her.

So what about all of those symptoms I mentioned? Here’s a quick run-down of each symptom, and what it really meant, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

  • Can’t gain weight – Your body needs insulin in order to absorb nutrition, so without insulin your body eats all the fat to survive.
  • Thirsty – If your sugar is too high your blood is getting acidic, so your body’s natural reaction is to crave water to dilute the acid.
  • Frequent urination – Drink more, pee more (smile)
  • Hair Falling out – Malnutrition! The body can’t absorb nutrients.
  • Sunken-in Eyes – Dehydration because the body can’t absorb water anymore (acidic blood).
  • Tummy ache – Malnutrition
  • Throwing up – Potassium and electrolytes in the blood are all ‘off’ which throws the entire body out of whack and makes you sick
  • Rapid Breathing – Respiratory distress. This is one of the last systems, along with throwing up. It happens right before the body shuts down. Next symptom – seizure and death.

Okay, enough of the doom and gloom. I’m happy to report that my daughter recovered and is now living a rich fulfilling life in spite of the incredible challenges of living with this horrible disease. (The picture above is a current picture of Jennifer.)

Hopefully by sharing my daughter’s story, I have educated some people about symptoms you may have otherwise overlooked. And if that saves a life, well then, that’s a wonderful thing.

I, and all the ladies at Kiss and Thrill, hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. We’d love to hear what you’re thankful for this year, and what special things you’re doing to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Diana Miller Giveaway Winner

The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card from Diana Miller is

Timitra

Congratulations!!

To claim your prize, please go to the Contact Page to send us your U.S. mailing address within the next 10 days.

Thank you to Diana for the generous prize and fun interview!

~~~~~~~

Please join Kiss and Thrill next Tuesday, when our own Lena Diaz will give thanks and talk about a topic near and dear to her heart.

Lena Diaz

Diana Miller’s DANGEROUS AFFAIRS Gets Rachel in Hot Water

I’m a bath person. I love that first moment of sinking into a tub—the slow immersion in a bath just a hint too hot and then riding the temperature down to perfect. This is how I felt as I sank into DANGEROUS AFFAIRS by Diana Miller. This book seduced me with liquid warmth, but it didn’t disappoint with water that cooled too fast. Every time I thought the romantic tension might ease, Diana deftly tossed in a new obstacle. And whenever it seemed events in the story could spiral out of control—possibly overheating—again, Diana’s firm grasp of craft guided the story and maintained tension, conflict, and suspense at the perfect temperature.

It’s been a while since a book immersed me so perfectly, so I’m thrilled to share it with our readers. In honor of this, today I’m creating my own personal rating system and giving DANGEROUS AFFAIRS highest marks: five bathtubs.

With great excitement I welcome Diana Miller to Kiss and Thrill!

DM: I’m thrilled to be here! And as another bath person, I can’t think of a greater honor than getting a five bathtub review! Thanks so much.

RG: Have you ever written fan fiction, and if so, what work was it based on?  If you haven’t, what would you be tempted to write fan fiction about?

DM: I’ve never written fan fiction, but I’ve always wanted to write a romantic suspense novel featuring Nancy Drew. Growing up I was obsessed with those books (actually I wanted to be her).

In my book Nancy would be in her early thirties. She broke up with long-time boyfriend (and college football star) Ned Nickerson a dozen years ago, when she discovered he cheated on her with a dippy cheerleader. He claimed he did it because was feeling unappreciated and needed someone who focused more on him than on mysteries and also wasn’t so blasted self-sufficient. Knowing he could lose Nancy, however, made Ned realize how much he loved her. He apologized and even resorted to groveling, but Nancy refused to forgive him, and their romance fizzled.

Shortly thereafter Nancy’s BFF Bess got a job, got married, and had twins. Her other BFF George either decided to become a doctor or came out as a lesbian and left River Falls to marry the girl of her dreams in Massachusetts. Nancy realized that life as a socialite, even one who spent some of her free time helping people by solving mysteries, wasn’t really fulfilling. So, following in her father’s footsteps, she decided to go to school and become a lawyer. She took over her dad’s practice in River Heights and now solves legal puzzles, which isn’t quite as exciting as solving mysteries, but is a whole lot safer.

Then out of the blue, someone tries to kill Nancy. She, her dad, and the local cops assume it must be one of the hundreds of villains Nancy helped put away during her stint as a girl detective. However, they have no idea which villain since dozens of them have finished their sentences and been released from jail. Enter former boyfriend Ned Nickerson, who’s involved either because he’s now an FBI agent or because he’s a former Navy SEAL turned PI who for some reason Nancy’s father hired to protect her. Ned now has to deal with a more mature Nancy who he finds hotter than ever, but who’s even more self-sufficient and doesn’t want his help or protection—and who still hasn’t forgiven him for cheating on her!

RG: This sounds fantastic—certain to be a five bathtubs book! Let me know if you need a beta reader. 😀

Next question: Facebook or Twitter?

DM: Facebook. No contest. Facebook is simple to use and easy to read. I love seeing all my friends’ family and vacation photos and funny posts (and Mary Strand’s weekly Hugh Jackman photos make Mondays more bearable).

Twitter, on the other hand, freaks me out. Partly it’s because I haven’t taken the time to figure it out, so it seems really complicated to me. But my biggest issue with it—and the reason I haven’t bothered figuring it out–is that tweets have to be short and concise. I used to be a lawyer and expounded for a living. I have trouble keeping a query letter to one page or limiting a synopsis to five pages. How am I supposed to say anything worthwhile in under 140 characters?

RG: LOL—I’m just the opposite. Facebook terrifies me. I think I’m the last person left who doesn’t have a FB page, but I love Twitter.

Okay, What is the strangest weapon you’ve used to kill off a character, either on or off-scene?

DM: I’m pretty boring when it comes to killing people—I’m not good at writing violence (I’m one of those people who closes her eyes and plugs her ears during violent movie scenes). Although I have been trying to work out the logistics of stabbing someone with an icicle, one the murderer either knocks off a roof just as the victim passes under it or actually uses like a sword. I’m talking about one of those big, heavy icicles with lethal points. Those things are scary and look like they could easily drill through someone’s skull or chest. And if I set that book in Minnesota (as I did DANGEROUS AFFAIRS), the villain certainly wouldn’t have trouble finding one. Unfortunately, we have five months of winter–and even more unfortunately, it’s going to start any day!

RG: Your heroine in DANGEROUS AFFAIRS is a soap opera actress. I loved the fact that while the TV genre got a little well-deserved ribbing, it was still treated with respect. As someone who spent my adolescence addicted to soaps, I appreciated the balance. I don’t watch soaps any more—I don’t have the time!—but I know if I allowed myself to turn on the TV during the day I’d quickly get hooked again. So my question for you—and for our readers—is have you ever been hooked on a soap, and if so which one(s)? Is it a habit you’ve broken or an indulgence you still enjoy?

DM: I’ve been hooked on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and GENERAL HOSPITAL since I was in junior high. Back before VCR’s, I lived for school vacation days so I could catch up on them, and I have to confess to skipping class with friends a couple times to watch a favorite hero/heroine’s wedding. Like you, I don’t have time to watch much anymore. But I still read their fan sites every week so I can keep up with what’s going on!

Okay readers, now it’s your turn to confess: have you ever been a fan of a soap opera? Today Diana is giving one lucky commenter a $25 Amazon gift card!

~ ~ ~

DANGEROUS AFFAIRS

When soap opera star Abby Langford leaves Los Angeles for her Minnesota hometown, she’s hoping to give her nine-year-old daughter the peaceful childhood she never knew. But instead of tranquility, Abby finds an old knife hidden behind a wall of her new house. Then the nightmares start: a blood-soaked victim and a killer’s arm slicing through the air, again and again.
Abby wonders if she’s having the nervous breakdown the tabloids claim she already had, especially when sexy, skeptical police chief Josh Kincaid questions her story. When menacing hate mail arrives, Josh’s professional concern for Abby soon evolves into an intense attraction, and the feeling is mutual. But as Abby’s visions grow more graphic and gripping, so does her fear.

Somewhere in the shadows of Abby’s memory lies the key to a very present danger. But she’ll have to stay alive long enough to find it…

Winner! We have a Winner!

Thanks so much to Diana Cosby for her fantastic blog Tuesday. And true to our word, we’ve let the randomizer pick a winner from our commenters. Congratulations to

DEB! 

Contact me (Manda) here with your choice from Diana Cosby’s backlist.

Come by next week when Rachel welcomes lovely and talented Montlake author Diana Miller!

 

Until then, toodles!

Author’s Eye View: Diana Cosby Talks Marketing Your Passion

Manda here, and today I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine. Diana Cosby and I first met because she and I are represented by the same agent, but what what I soon learned about her was that she’s not only a fab author of super sexy medieval romantic suspense, but she’s also pretty savvy when it comes to getting the word out about her books. Today she’s gives us some tips on setting marketing goals, and using your passions to sell your work.

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Her award-winning books are available in five languages. Diana has appeared at Lady Jane’s Salon, in NYC, and in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happily Ever After,” MSN.com, and in Texoma Living Magazine.

After retiring as a Navy Chief, AGC(AW), Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. She is currently working on the sixth book in the award-winning MacGruder brother’s series, and in August released her story in the anthology, “Born To Bite,” with Hannah Howell and Erica Ridley.

Without further ado, here’s Diana!

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Once a suspense author sells their book, they’re faced with the new challenge of marketing their work. To me, it’s imperative that the author defines their goals. What exactly are they trying to achieve? Is it a sales number? Do they want to reach a certain best-seller list? With a clear goal in mind, it’s time to push forward, break down the steps in your marketing strategy.

I prefer to do something I call, “Marketing Your Passion.” Simply, this is doing what makes business sense and what is fun. Let’s be clear, marketing is HARD WORK! There are no short cuts, but well laid out plans for maximum effect. As marketing is hard work, why do something you dislike? It will show in your actions and could come across to the reader as insincere.

One normally believes as we’re suspense authors our promotion should center around our books. I personally disagree. I believe that our readers like to learn who we are, and enjoy the connection of having common interests. You do this by sharing your passions. Write articles, volunteer, or give workshops about what intrigues you. Your biography will give readers follow-on information to read more about you.

How do you find venues to submit articles? Look for blog owners seeking authors to appear on their site. Write an article for a local newspaper. Submit an article to a magazine you enjoy. A personal favorite of mine is Reporter Connection . com: http://www.reporterconnection.com/

Each weekday, a message will appear with a reporter or others seeking people to interview about different topics. If a topic is of something that you’re interested in and have knowledge about, you can choose to respond. If your query is accepted, in addition to an interview, quotes or whatever the person is seeking help on, credit will be given to you in the form of your name and a possibly a link to your website in the article.

So, the next time you’re drafting a marketing plan, define your goals as a suspense author, then choose areas in your life where you have fun. In the end you’ll meet amazing people who share your passion. Take care and I wish you every success!

Manda:

Now its time for you guys to weigh in. As a reader, do you like learning what your favorite authors are passionate about besides books? Can you think of any particular examples of authors whose passion for a certain pastime has changed your mind about them? Or maybe turned you on to their books? One commenter will win her choice from Diana’s backlist.

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