Monthly Archives: February 2013

Winners, Movies, and Women in America

I must admit it, I’m addicted to old movies.  There is something wonderful about the clear black and white images, the language, and the “America is a great nation” plots that hooks me every time.  Lately, my favorite has become The Farmer’s Daughter. 

Jeannette Rankin, oil on canvas, Sharon Sprung 2004 Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Jeannette Rankin
Collection of the U.S. House of Reps.

The plot is simple (SPOILER alert):  a young woman from the country loses her money in the big city and takes a job as maid in the home of a renowned political family.  Her innate intelligence and kindness wins everyone’s heart, including that of the single, extremely handsome congressman.  She goes to college at night and is by nature a political devotee herself – so when they clash over a candidate the young congressman sets out to endorse, she ultimately ends up running for Congress herself.

The film was made in 1947.

Sounds pretty preposterous, right?  A woman running for Congress back then?  So, I did some research.  It turns out that by 1947 thirty-six women had served in Congress.  Roughly half of them were placeholders – widows whose husbands had left vacant seats – who kept the office running until a male replacement could be voted on during the next election.

But a few of them were pretty stunning.  The first woman in Congress was Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana (an early women’s suffrage state), who was elected four years before most women in the U.S. could even vote.  To me, that is utterly amazing.  I went through the women’s liberation movement, the angst over whether or not to be a feminist, the conversations about the glass ceiling – and this woman served in the federal government most women couldn’t even vote for.

Rankin said, “ I want to be remembered as the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote.”

So back to the farmer’s daughter (again SPOILER alert).  Our heroine is honest and true but the man she runs against is not.  He concocts a smear campaign to say she spent a night at a motel with a man.  Remember this is 1947 and she is unmarried.

Our brave Congressman follows her back to her father’s home and says, come back to Washington as my wife – you’ll be the happiest person to not have been elected to Congress.

The end right?  Gosh, I was about to throw my pillow at the TV set, when in walks Papa.  Who, in 1947, advises his daughter to go back and fight for the seat in Congress and the truth above all.

Now, I understand where women of my generation got the gumption to ask to be more than mere housewives.  Perhaps not all of our fathers, but certainly our mothers saw movies like these and inspired us from our cradles to be the best we can be.

All I have to say is thank you Mom, and thank you Hollywood.

Now … the Winners of Mary Kay Andrews’ Spring Fling are:

1. Tamrabaumann

2. Paula Summey

3. Susan

4. Pintip

5. Kathy Temean

6. Granny C

7. CarlaMary Kay Andrews

8. Pjpuppymom

9. Beth Irwin

10. Rolynanderson

Please make sure you contact us within TEN days (hit the contact link above) or you will forfeit your prize.

Thank you Mary Kay Andrews for stopping by on Tuesday!

Up next is our lovely Carrie Baldwin interviewing Kylie Brant on Tuesday!

Mary Kay Andrews’ Murderous Secret Identity

Mary Kay AndrewsMary Kay Andrews books are transformative.  When you’re done with them, you think twice about your life decisions, and you feel as if you’ve found long-lost sisters.  She takes you down the back roads of America — to little towns and places where traditions and secrets run deep, and friendship runs even deeper.  Her heroines are the kind of women I want to be — brave, able to deal squarely with their problems (okay it might take a few chapters) and move in new directions.

(If you’re having trouble viewing the video, please update your adobe flash player)

But if you’re as much of a fan as I am — you might notice that there is always an element of suspense or mystery buried within the pages of her novels.  Well, the reason is finally made clear as Kiss and Thrill reveals that Mary Kay is also mystery writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck.  What a scoop!  Take that all you fancy reporters at CNN.  <smile>  And an even more recent scoop — Mary Kay just bought her dream house, Ebbtide, the one that was featured in her book Summer Rental!

I love Mary Kay’s dual identity more than I can say, because I also write both suspense and women’s fiction and can tell you, Mary Kay is exactly who I want to be when I finally grow up.

irisheyeseverycrookednannyTell us who you want to be when you grow up and you might win a copy of Spring Fever by Mary Kay!  SpringFever

Today we’re giving away as prizes TEN COPIES of her newest women’s fiction novel:  Spring Fevera fab read I know you’ll enjoy.  Don’t forget to leave a comment or ask a question to be entered!  Mary Kay is going to try to stop by and answer as many as possible.

(Please make sure you contact us within ten days of  us posting the winners or you’ll forfeit your prize.  Chances of winning depend upon number of people entered.  Winners will be chosen from those that leave comments today and tomorrow at both Kiss and Thrill and Diana Belchase’s website, and you are invited to post comments on both sites for an extra chance to win.)  Good Luck!


swoon Thank you to ALL of you who stopped by to comment and share your bucket-list item (travel clearly won!)

A special shout-out to Caryn Moya Block who wins a copy of Rolynn Anderson’s SWOON!

Congratulations, Caryn.

Please click on the Contact Us button and let us know how we can send it to you.

Mary Kay Andrews will be appearing on Tuesday, February 26 to reveal her secret identity.

A kiss and thrill exclusive!

She’ll also be giving away TEN books to lucky fans who leave a comment. Please join us.


swoon“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.ˮ

~ Brenda Novak, NYT and USABestselling Author of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES 

“I’ve fainted two times in one week, Roman. That says something.”

Roman’s heart kicked up a beat. “And the faint dreams?”

“Ugly. Scary.” Color drained from her complexion. “I can’t breathe. I’m dying.”

“Oh, baby.” He touched her cheek, wanting the color to return.

She pulled in a breath to steady herself, her hand gripping Roman’s arm for support. In a voice so soft he had to watch her lips move to track her words, she said, “If Stan changed because of me, he’d want to meet me. Like I said, I need to believe he was a good man, brave enough to face me, know me.”

“So suicide is out.”


“What else is there?”

“In my dreams, I’m being suffocated. Maybe someone killed him.”

Excerpt from SWOON, Rolynn Anderson

Today we welcome back author, Rolynn Anderson! Her latest release, SWOON is the second book in her “Funeral Planner Suspense Series” featuring heroine, Jan Solvang.rolynn

Besides creating a unique, tasteful ceremony that celebrates the departed, Jan suffers from syncope (abrupt fainting spells, usually brought on by stress or shock.) They only last a minute or two, but in that time she dreams snippets of murder and mayhem which sets her on a mission to find out what exactly happened to the dearly departed.

Along for the adventure are a cast of amazingly quirky characters, including her black Scottish terrier, Elwood, who tracks shadows, senses villains and predicts her fainting spells. Add in her tumultuous relationship with super-hot Roman Keller and you’re caught up in a unique, fast-paced novel.

   Hello again, Rolynn! Both FADEOUT and SWOON are chalk-full of interesting characters.  Jan’s father ‘The General’ is written with authenticity and authority. Did you grow up in a military family?  I did!  My father was an Army officer, dragging five kids and a harried wife through 27 moves, Maryland, Wisconsin, Georgia, Germany, Japan and Korea, to name a few.  He loved serving, and luckily, we were resilient enough to manage the upheavals in our lives.

   I enjoy how Jan Solvang journals snippets of her obituary. Have you ever done that? Or know anyone who has?  My father updated his obituary regularly, but the idea of using an obit as a goal-setting device was mine.  I used this concept as a lesson plan for my high school students in English class, because many teenagers have such a vague notion of the future along with low ambitions.

My students were attracted by the lesson because it was a tad ghoulish.  My theme: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else.”  This is a lesson on specificity, too. I promised them (always the idealist!) the more detailed they made their goal-setting obit, the more likely they would get to their designed future.

   Pete is a forensic investigator who is legally blind. What is a forensic investigator and how difficult is it for you as a writer to have him help solve mysteries and murders blind?  I learned about a blind forensic investigator in a New York Times feature and was boggled by the concept.  Pete works freelance for private and public agencies.  He studies all the evidence of a crime, giving a fresh ‘eye’ to it.  His forte is interrogation of any and all parties involved; he’s known for ‘seeing’ what no one else observes.  Pete is bright, funny and calm, a perfect foil for Jan.  My editor is in love with Pete and wants me to give him his own book!

   How did you dream up the unnaturally perceptive Elwood?  ElwoodA friend of mine has a black Scottie named Charlie who actually DOES track shadows.  What does he see, I asked myself…and that’s the path that led me to Elwood’s prescience.

I read up on Mary Tyler Moore’s dog and other animals that are able to help their masters (Mary’s dog warns her when her blood sugar is low).  I ended up giving my dog a growth arc; can you believe it?

   I’m also intrigued you added syncope as an issue Jan struggles with. What made you think of that?  I’m a pantser as a writer, remember, so I make up a lot of stuff as I go along.  I needed to have Jan faint so Roman could touch her…connect with her quickly.

I didn’t want to show her as weak or flighty, so I gave her the disease.  Lots of research later, and meeting up a woman who has Syncope but still SCUBA dives…I used the disease as a challenge Jan had to overcome.

   Favorite place in the world to visit/live? The Tuscany region of Italy.

   Me too! Favorite movie?  Last of the Mohicans; An Affair to Remember

   (Sigh…Daniel Day-Lewis with long hair…I think you and I are twins, Rolynn. 🙂 ) What’s next for you? My editor has asked for the novel I’ve just completed, entitled LIE CATCHERS.

The setting is Petersburg, Alaska, a real-life fishing village settled by Norwegians in the early 1900’s.  My heroine, from Petersburg, and the hero, a U.S Treasury agent from Fresno, have two unsolved murders dogging them.  One is real and occurred in 1932 (talk about a cold case) and the other is recent (made-up).

My husband and I cruise on our trawler to Alaska in the summers…I can’t wait to tell the world about hot romance in cool, rainy Petersburg, Alaska!

Thanks for visiting us today, Rolynn, and good luck with LIE CATCHERS. For more on Rolynn Anderson’s funeral planner series please visit:

coffin Web:


Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of SWOON! Check back on Thursday for the winner’s name. Question of the Day: What’s on Your Bucket List?

And Our Valentine Winners Are …


Thanks for stopping by and commenting on Tuesday.  The winners of Robin Perini’s books are:

 In Her Sights: Arlene Hittle

 Behind the Lies (ARC): Mara K (& her buddy Kermit the Frog!)

Please make sure you email me with your contact information within ten days to claim your prize.

Now, coming up next is our own Sarah Andre interviewing Rolynn Anderson.  And in two weeks I’ll be back with another video interview — this time with Mary Kay Andrews!  Please join us.  Sarah, can you please tell us a little about Rolynn?

Thanks, Diana!swoon

On Tuesday, Feb 19th we welcome Rolynn Anderson back to K&T. Join in as we discuss her latest release, SWOON. This is the second novel in her romantic suspense series featuring funeral planner, Jan Solvang and her quirky terrier Elwood.

See you then!

Limos, Champagne, and Bestsellers: Robin Perini’s Golden Year

National Bestselling and award wining author, Robin Perini, gave me a behind the scenes scoop on her first year as a published author.  While her experience is far from ordinary, it’s beyond delightful that someone who is as nice as Robin, and has worked as hard as she, finally was able to reap her just rewards.  So enjoy the interview, and remember Robin is giving away both a copy of the first book in her series, In Her Sights, and a signed (and very collectible) ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of her newest book, Behind the Lies, to two lucky readers who leave comments below!

I wanted to catch up with Robin since the video and asked her what was new.

Robin:  In my ‘writing’ life, I’ve completed two more novels.  The first is Behind the Lies.  I just love Zach Montgomery.  What a hero!  Montlake will have his story out in April.  I also completed another Harlequin Intrigue called Undercover Texas which will be out in June 2013.  This is a Carder Texas connections book and you’ll find out about some of the characters readers met in Christmas Conspiracy.

Diana:  And I “heard” there is more good news about the first book in your series?

Robin:  Yes, In Her Sights, came out in audio this past December.

Diana:  <sighing>  Most of us are waiting for books to get published in digital format and pine for print.  You are already in audio.  Can I rub your book for good luck?

Robin: <blushing– pushes her enormous stack of published books toward me>  Thanks so much for having me on Kiss and Thrill.  I’m so very blessed and thankful for all the readers who have stopped by, too.

Diana:  Our pleasure Robin.

Now, don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us who your favorite hero is.  Two lucky people will win a copy of either In Her Sights or Behind the Lies (an extra special ARC not available to the public for a book that doesn’t come out until April!  So if you like to get things before your friends leave a comment!  <G>)


Winner Winner!

Thanks so much to the lovely Cindy Gerard for joining us last Friday! And thanks to everyone who made the day fun with all your pet stories and adventure plans!

The winner of a signed copy of KILLING TIME  and an E-copy of LEAVE NO TRACE is…..Stacey Eastwood! Stacey, please email us via our contact page with both your snail mail and your email address in order to claim your prize.Killing Time by Cindy Gerard


Don’t forget to join us tomorrow, Tuesday, February 12th when Diana Belchase interviews the marvelous Robin Perini!

Jazzed for Jacks: Welcome Back Cindy Gerard and Her New Crew of Hotties

Carey: Cindy, welcome back! As always, it’s an honor to have you on Kiss and Thrill. I have to tell you, I’ve been Cindy Gerardgoing through a bit of Cindy withdrawal …or rather Cindy’s boys withdrawal (not to slight your heroines in any way,  but those men are mine). It’s tough on readers who have grown to love a series, like your wonderful Black Ops Inc. series, when things come to an end. Lucky for us, the end of the BOIs means a new beginning and a whole new cast of characters for us to lust after, er..I mean to love sweetly and chastely. Can you tell us how your ONE EYED JACKS series developed, and how it will be similar to and different from the BOI series?

Cindy: The One Eyed Jacks is similar to the BOI’s in that my heroes are former military who served together in a multi-branch military task force. (Their nick name came out of the uniqueness of their experimental unit, their tight camaraderie, their slightly reckless reputation, their favorite downtime/pastime of high stakes poker and because each of them made a pact to always carry a One Eyed Jack playing card (either a Jack of hearts or a Jack of spades) as their lucky charm and a sign of unity.

What’s different about the One Eyed Jacks is that these guys are disenfranchised.  They didn’t end their service asjackscover_oej heroes.  They ended their service in disgrace.  When KILLING TIME opens, only three men of the original detail are still alive – Mike Brown, Bobby Taggart, Jamie Cooper.  On their last mission in Afghanistan, all three were dealt a losing hand and now share one common bond:  The military that they proudly served had cut them loose eight years ago with a ‘less than honorable’ discharge when their team led a covert operation that went south and the powers that be laid the blame squarely on their shoulders.

Now Brown, Taggart and Cooper lead separate lives in separate countries, have all dropped out of ‘normal society’ and not only live with the lie that led to their military separation but with the weight of the deaths of both their task force team members and several innocent civilians haunting them.

For these three men, life is now all about getting by, about forgetting the past, dealing with the anger and coping with the hand they’ve been dealt.  None of them intend to break the status quo – until a mysterious woman confronts and forces Brown to ask questions about what really happened in Afghanistan and how those events played into a current national security threat.  She dangles bait Brown can’t resist – the means to clear his name, deliver justice and expose the master mind behind the death of his teammates and his own downfall.

Carey: We first met Mike Primetime Brown in WITH NO REMORSE  (BOIs). Can you tell us how he’s changed since then, and how he grew his own story?

Cindy: Mike had everybody fooled in With No Remorse and Last Man Standing.  He was the epitome of a cock sure, swaggering hero.  What we didn’t know was that he was hiding a lot of anger and pain behind the smiling face.  But, don’t worry; he doesn’t get by with hiding anything in this book.wnr

Carey: One of the great things about your characters is that they are kickass and sinfully sexy, yet each of your protagonists seems to have something that haunts him and makes him vulnerable. What’s that vulnerable place for Mike?

Cindy: Betrayal.  Mike was betrayed then hung out to dry for sins he didn’t commit.  But, he feels the biggest betrayal of all, is his own cowardice when he didn’t stand up for what he knew was right – even if it might have cost him his life.

Carey: And how about Eva Salinas? What makes her tick?

Cindy: A little vengeance, a little lust for retribution and a threat against her life.  She started out on her journey looking for answers regarding her husband’s death eight years ago.  Her search, however, stirred up a hornet’s nest – with Mike Brown smack in the middle – and ended up with her running for her life.

Carey: I love the wonderful settings in your books. You always take me someplace I’d love to go. Have you been to Lima, Peru? How do you research your settings?

Cindy: I haven’t been to Peru but, boy, howdy, would I love to go.  As far as research – it’s extensive.  I have to have a feel for the setting or I can’t embed my story in the book.  So … maps, travel blogs, Lonely Planet guides and generally I manage to find someone who has been there and can help me with those delicious little details that make things click.  Part of this story takes place in Idaho and I was lucky enough to have a cousin who lives there and knows the area and provided an amazing amount of material for me.

Carey: Cindy, what’s in store for us after Killing Time? Whose story is next?

Cindy: I had initially planned 2 more books in the One Eyed Jacks series – RUNNING BLIND (Jamie Cooper’s book) and TAKING FIRE (Bobbie Taggart’s book).  I’ve since been given the opportunity to write a 4th book, one that will come out next December (just in time for Christmas!!) that’s a bonus book in the series.  I’m so excited about THE WAY HOME.  It’s a homecoming story featuring Tyler Brown (Mike’s brother) and is a little different book than I usually write.  Still romance, still suspense, still features our black ops warriors, but THE WAY HOME has a little something extra … something that  is leading me on  a very special journey as I write it.

Carey: Oooh! You’ve piqued my curiosity now. I can’t wait to read THE WAY HOME and find out what that little something extra is. Cindy, I know you are a big animal lover. Can you tell us about some of the animals who hang out your place? Do you have a favorite animal story?

Cindy: Oh boy.  This will be quite the list. LOL.  We have a Brittany spaniel named Margaret that my hubby and I both adore.  I call Margret his ‘other woman’ because she’s the one who gets to go on all the car rides with him :o).  We also have 2 house cats – Buddy and Sly.  One or the other is usually napping on my lap or the corner of my desk when I work.  Tom was never a cat person before these two felines found their way into our house through Margaret’s doggie door a few years ago.  Actually, neither was I.  But we LOVE these 2 cats and can’t imagine life or our home without them now.  A couple of years ago, I bought 2 fish – 2 betas – and kept them in a divided bowl for some time.  Then I bought them a 5 gallon tank and last year about this time, I added a 30 gallon fresh water aquarium to the mix.  This fall, I added a 90 gallon to my office.  So – as you can see, I’ve gotten bitten by the ‘aquarium’ bug.  I love my fish.  They’re beautiful and serene and so much fun to watch.  My hubby also has 3 quarter horses – Too Tall, Diamond, and Gus.  When I get a birthday card – which I did just last week :o) – it was signed by every critter on the place LOL.

Carey: Happy birthday, girlfriend!

On a personal note, I know you love a good adventure, whether it’s hiking the Grand Canyon or hanging with your BFFs in Spain. What adventure is next on your list?

Cindy: The next big adventure involves the kids.  We are taking them on a trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios in the spring.  It will be a HUGE adventure for all of us traveling together and the thought of getting on a roller coaster is already making me a little nauseas.  But, I’ll give it a go.  Maybe…..

Carey: Finally, can you tell us about your classic Love Swept titles? Any more re-releases in the works?booktn_august2012

Cindy: Thanks for asking about that.  WORTH DYING FOR was released last August and is a reissue of 2 of my Loveswepts in one volume.  I love that those stories have been brought back.  Next summer, WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES YOU will be released – another 2-fer volume of my favorite classic Loveswepts.  The reaction to these special e-book volumes has been wonderful.  I have 4 more stories that I plan to release at some point and will be sure to let everyone know when that happens.

Carey: Cindy, I can’t tell you how much I admire you both personally and professionally. Thanks so much for joining us today and for your generous giveaway. We’re all excited for the One Eyed Jacks! Readers, you can find Cindy at Don’t forget to stop by and get the 411.

home-cover-lntCommenters, tell us your favorite pet story or what you plan for your next big adventure. One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of LEAVE NO TRACE and a signed copy of KILLING TIME from Cindy! Good luck, everyone!Killing Time by Cindy Gerard

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