Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lena Diaz Dragged Out in Public & Forced to Speak!

Breaking news …

Diana and Lena

Diana Belchase and Lena Diaz at last year’s Golden Heart Awards

Multi-award winning author, Lena Diaz, was dragged out of a conference in Anaheim last summer and actually forced to speak — on film, no less — by the audacious Diana Belchase.

Despite her fervent protests, Lena was beaten into submission in the most terrifying and horrific manner by her blogmate.  Subjected to the greatest inequities, deprived of food and water until she capitulated, you, the viewer, will see here, the abject misery and torment to which an author can be subjected — not only by the nature of her profession, but in the name of so called friendship.

We ask you to judge, both the perpetrator and the victim.  Leave your verdict in the comment section and for your efforts, one of you will win an e-copy of Lena’s newest release, Explosive Attraction, for your effort.  But be warned — if you consider this a bribe, and the verdict turns unduly in Lena’s favor, Diana has vowed to retaliate — by searching out and videoing each of you… (insert loud menacing echo here).


Okay, now that that’s over (I just couldn’t resist!), I do have real news.  At a recent conference, it was heard that Lena is a new rising star who not only is doing phenomenally in the states but is taking Germany by storm as well!  All I can say is YIPPEE!

I can’t think of a more deserving person — after all this is the gal who went to the finals for the Beacon, the Golden Heart, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, and  WON both the TARA and the Daphne Du Maurier awards  — and she is an amazing person, too.

Lena Diaz, with author Robin Perini, and Diana Belchase during a tour of the LA Police Deptartment

Lena Diaz, with author Robin Perini, and Diana Belchase during a tour of the LA Police Deptartment

What do I mean by an amazing person?  Well, a top mother who fights for her kids in every way, someone who works to spread the message about diabetes and raise funds for research, a friend who always has your back, someone who, while working full time, donates her off-hours to her community and fellow writers.  On top of all that, she’s so modest I could barely get her on camera!  LOL.  Oh, and she still manages to find time to turn out the most incredible fiction I’ve ever read.

ExplosiveAttractionsmlTake her newest book, Explosive Attraction, Lena starts with the hero and heroine and a serial killer on page one and doesn’t stop.  Each page is filled with plot twists, sexual tension, and a story that will keep you riveted until you get to the very end.  Not only that, but it’s written beautifully.  Take a look at this excerpt:

“Even with heels on, Darby had to stand on her tiptoes for a good view of the picture. In the middle of a large, empty room, a man sat in a chair, his posture stiff and oddly strained. The low quality of the photograph reminded Darby of one of those cheap, do-it-yourself picture-printing machines found in drugstores. She squinted, wishing the exposure wasn’t so dark. “He looks familiar.”

“You know him?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe.”

She reached for the picture but he pulled it back.

“Fingerprints,” he reminded her, holding the edges with his gloved fingers. When she lowered her hands, he held the picture in front of her.

She tapped her nails against her thigh. “Why would he have his picture taken sitting in the middle of an empty room?”

“That’s a concrete floor. And those are industrial-style windows across the back. Probably a warehouse.” His jaw tightened. “And he’s not sitting there because he wants to.” He pointed to the arms of the chair. “He’s tied up.”

She let out a gasp and leaned closer to get a better look. Recognition slammed into her, stealing her breath. Was this some kind of joke?

“You know him,” Rafe said, not a question this time.

“Who is he?”

“An attorney, Victor Grant. He used to be in private practice, but he made assistant district attorney last week. I saw him at the courthouse just yesterday.”

He set the photograph down to reach for the envelope again. When he pulled out the watch, she realized it didn’t have a wristband connected to it. Rafe’s eyes widened and he let out a vicious curse. He grasped the watch in one hand and yanked his cell phone out of his jeans pocket with the other.

“What’s wrong?” Darby hated the alarm in her voice, but what had seemed like a harmless prank a few minutes ago now seemed like something far more sinister.

Rafe issued rapid-fire instructions into the phone to someone named Buresh. In answer to Darby’s earlier question, he held the watch down where she could see it.

A stark, digital readout flashed against the white background, displaying 00:00:15. The last number was decreasing—fourteen…thirteen…twelve…”

This is a book you do not want to miss, so please remember to enter  our prize drawing by leaving a comment below  The winner will be posted on Thursday when Lena returns, this time to interview author Angi Morgan and hear about Angi’s newest release.


LegallyUndercover200x300-4 Thank you all for stopping by and “meeting” debut author Rachel Kall this week. A random name was drawn from the commenters on her post. Rachel is going to gift that person a free ebook copy of LEGALLY UNDERCOVER!

Congratulations Leslie P. Garcia ! You are the lucky winner! Please click on the Contact Us button and let us know your email address and your preference (Nook or Kindle copy).

Diana Belchase shows off her video interview skills again by interviewing…me (Lena Diaz) on Tuesday. I hope you’ll stop by!

Birth of a Romantic Suspense Author–Rachel Kall

Rachel Kall

Few things are more exciting than seeing someone achieve their dreams. It has been my extreme pleasure and honor to see Rachel Kall achieve hers. We ‘met’ through twitter when Rachel reviewed my debut novel a couple of years ago. Since then, we’ve tweeted back and forth, laughing and sharing anecdotes, until suddenly one day the most awesome thing happened. Rachel sold! Yay! Naturally, I jumped at the chance to introduce her to the world of readers here on Kiss and Thrill. And finally, that day has arrived. Congratulations Rachel! And welcome to Kiss and Thrill. Her debut novel is called Legally Undercover.


Attorney Alex Popov’s dream of partnership is put to the test when she’s pulled into a top-secret investigation involving arms dealers and one of her clients, Rodrigues Capital. The only good part about her association with the secretive organization is her client contact, Pedro Martín. She’s drawn to him, but he’s hiding something. 

When Jacob shows up as a new attorney at Alex’s firm, it’s clear Pedro isn’t the only one with secrets. As Alex tries to determine Jacob’s true identity, she’s drawn closer to Pedro and deeper into the mystery of Rodrigues Capital and its shadowy networks.

Everyone has an agenda. In a world of lies, where no one is what they seem, Alex puts everything — even her dreams of partnership — on the line for love.

I asked Rachel lots of random questions to help our Kiss and Thrill readers get to know her. Rachel was extremely gracious and patient and I think you’ll enjoy her fun personality in her answers below.

Rachel would love to offer a free ebook copy of her debut romantic suspense novel, Legally Undercover, on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble to one lucky commenter. See the bottom of this post for details.

Lena: You and I ‘met’ on Twitter. Have you met any other really cool people (besides me of course, ha!) on Twitter or Facebook? Details.

Rachel: Yes, I absolutely have. I have made great friends that I met on Twitter. It has been a wonderful experience meeting other writers and sharing this wonderful journey with them.

Lena:  How long have you been writing?

Rachel:  I started writing romance in 2010. Before that I had always loved to write but had never written a full length novel.

Lena: Why did you choose to write romantic suspense? Do you write any other genres or plan to in the future?

Rachel:  For now I am sticking to romantic suspense. It’s my favorite genre to read and I want to keep pursuing it. I did try to write a contemporary once but I ended up killing someone off. So that didn’t work out too well!

Lena:  Um, yeah, probably not (grin). What inspired you to write Legally Undercover?

Rachel:  I wanted to take the fairly mundane life of a lawyer and turn it into something exciting and dangerous!

Lena:  What are you currently working on?

Rachel:  I’m working on a political thriller, and I’m very excited about it.

Lena:  What are your promo plans for your new release – will you be doing any booksignings or special blog hops or contests you’d like to mention?

Rachel:  I’m doing a blog tour that I’m in the middle of right now. I celebrated my release week last week by donating for each book sold to a wonderful cat rescue organization called Winging Cat Rescue. They do amazing work.

Lena: Name the last three books you read.

Rachel: I read while doing my cardio workouts. But the last three were Back on Track, Only You, and Reckless.

Lena: Tell us something that might surprise your readers

Rachel:  I was a national debate champion in college.

Lena: Cool! I knew you were smart (LOL). And finally, a question a fellow author asked me once and that I thought was an awesome question (thanks Diana Belchase), what does success as an author mean to you?

Rachel:  Success for me means being able to continue to write more books.

Lena: Now, for the final lightning round (I stole this idea from author Carey Baldwin!)

Q. Favorite TV shows?

A. I Love The Good Wife, Castle, Bones and New Girl.

Q. Favorite food

A. I love cheese. Which also means I love pizza.

Q. Pepsi or Coke?

A. Neither! I’ve given up soft drinks. But I love coffee.

Q. Cat or dog person?

A. I’m a HUGE animal lover. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats.

Q. Beach or mountain?

A. Beach

Q. Dream vacation?

A. Grand Cayman.


And there you go. That’s debut romantic suspense author Rachel Kall in a hundred words or less (okay, maybe a few MORE than one-hundred actually). Now it’s Rachel’s turn to ask  her readers a question. One lucky responder will win a free e-copy of Rachel’s debut book, Legally Undercover. Check back on Thursday to see if you’re a winner!

Rachel’s question for commenters: Alex has some serious work/life balance issues. How do you find balance in your life?

Buy Links:

Free Prequel to Legally Undercover is available at Smashwords


For Smashwords we’re going to do a discount code for the week.
Promotional price: $3.89
Coupon Code: ZL35L

Author links

Twitter: @rachelkall

Winner Winner! You’re Gonna Dig It!


 The winner of a signed copy of

CONCRETE EVIDENCE from Rachel Grant is Carrigan Fox!

Congratulations, Carrigan please contact us here in the next 10 days with your snail mail address so Rachel can send you your book.

Next up:

I’m so excited about this interview. Lena Diaz will be interviewing debut author Rachel Kall. I’ve been anxiously waiting to read Ms. Kall’s debut, LEGALLY UNDERCOVER . I’m only sad I’m not eligible for the drawing to win 😦 .


Can You Dig It, Baby? Rachel Grant Uncovers Concrete Evidence

First I just want to say that all of us at Kiss and Thrill want to acknowledge the tragedy that occurred yesterday at the Boston Marathon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families, and we are grateful for the emergency responders, bystanders and participants who came to the aid of those in need.

Rachel Grant

Rachel Grant

Today I’m delighted to offer you an interview and giveaway with my friend and fellow Kiss and Thrill mate, Rachel Grant. I first met Rachel at a Romance Writers of America conference where she was already racking up the Golden Heart nominations. Since that time I’m honored to say that she has become a wonderful friend.  I am so delighted to present her to you today with her new release, CONCRETE EVIDENCE.

When I read CONCRETE EVIDENCE, I expected it to be awesome, and I was not disappointed. From the opening scene the thrills and chills drew me in. I love her smart, sexy heroine, Erica. As for the hero, Lee, all I can say is I’m a sucker for brainiacs with pecs 🙂

The secret life of archeologists is deftly woven into the plot, and a look at this fascinating world is a treat you won’t find in many books. I can honestly say I did NOT see the twists and turns coming, and they kept me reading late into the night. This is one of the best romantic thrillers I’ve read…ever. I absolutely loved it, and I know you will too.

Concrete Evidence

A year ago she lost everything. Now she wants revenge…

Accused of stealing artifacts from a five-hundred-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She’s concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She’s finally closing in on her goal when she’s distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He’s looking for the lead conspirator in an international artifact smuggling scheme, and Erica is his prime suspect. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her trust and get her to reveal her secrets, even seduce her.

As Erica and Lee struggle to conceal their real agendas, the one thing they can’t hide is the attraction that burns hot between them. When Erica’s quest puts her life in jeopardy, Lee must choose between old loyalties and a woman he never expected to fall for.

Carey: Rachel, you have a fascinating background that greatly enriches your storytelling. I always imagine an archeologist as a dreamy, Indiana-Jones type, but I have little understanding of what the job truly entails. Can you tell us about being a real-life archeologist and how that has influenced your writing?

Rachel: If only archaeology were as exciting as the Indiana Jones movies! Most archaeologists in the United States work in the private sector (i.e. not for a museum or university) in Cultural Resource Management—projects driven by the National Historic Preservation Act and other environmental/historic preservation laws. As a CRM archaeologist, I worked primarily on prehistoric Native American sites in the Pacific Northwest, but I also lived in Washington, DC for two years, and enjoyed working on historic and prehistoric projects in that region. In my books, my characters are usually CRM archaeologists.

I would be remiss in my professional duties, however, if I didn’t point out that as much as the Indiana Jones movies are fun and exciting, sadly, the character is more of a looter than an archaeologist.

Carey: Oh, dear! I suppose so, but he’s a very enticing looter! Rachel you know we want to hear that story about finding “treasure” at a sewage plant.  Spill, please!

Rachel: Ha! Never use the word “spill” in association with sewage treatment.

archaeologyI met my husband on my first professional dig, at the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant, in Seattle. We were excavating a 4000-year-old shell midden site that was found during construction during plant expansion. There was this cute guy who rejoined the dig after working for a summer in Jamaica. One day I was assigned to screen for him, and I knew he was flirting with me when I found gold-colored Jamaican coins in the buckets of dirt I was water-screening.

Yes, this is how archaeologists flirt. 🙂

Carey: What an adorable story! I wouldn’t mind if my husband gave me some gold coins. Why hasn’t he thought of that? What is your writing process? Do you plot, pants it or both?

Rachel: I’m a hybrid. I always promise myself I will plot more, pants less, but the characters and their situations always take over and change the story.

Carey: What inspires you as a writer?

Rachel: Archaeology is a starting point for all of my stories. My husband has an M.A. in Nautical Archaeology and I mine his experience as much as my own. I usually start by asking myself how someone could get in trouble working in a particular region or on a certain type of project, and the story flows from there.

Carey: If you could travel to any location for a dig, where would it be?

Rachel: Will it sound terrible if I say that I’m done with fieldwork? I loved fieldwork, but after getting carpal tunnel in both wrists and other digging-related ailments, the excitement is gone. I LOVE visiting sites, though and would like to travel and see more World Heritage Sites.

Carey: Rachel, you have achieved something amazing: You are a four-time Golden Heart finalist. Congratulations! I understand your upcoming release, CONCRETE EVIDENCE, is one of your GH finalist manuscripts. I had the honor of reading an early version of CONCRETE EVIDENCE as well as the current one, which is out today.  It’s fabulous! I can’t wait for our readers to get the 411.  Was there a special inspiration or an original story question that led you to write this particular story?

Rachel: Thanks, so much, Carey! I’m so thrilled you loved CE!  As far as inspiration goes, yes. When I lived in Washington, DC, I worked for a large, multi-national engineering firm, a lot like the one Erica works for in CE, and I had to write an Environmental Assessment for a unique house made out of a strange, yeasty concrete that no one knew anything about…

Carey: Do you have a playlist for CONCRETE EVIDENCE?

Rachel: I listened to a lot of  Third Eye Blind (all their albums) when writing the first drafts of this book. So much that when I read it now, I hear lyrics.

Carey: Can you tell us what makes the hunky hero of CONCRETE EVIDENCE, Lee Scott, tick?

Rachel: Lee is deeply loyal. Once he meets Erica, he’s conflicted about the role he must play, but that loyalty drives him to see his job through.

Carey: What about the brainy and brave heroine, Erica Kesling?  Did I mention I adore brainy heroines?

Rachel: LOL – I’m so glad you liked Erica! She’s a little reserved, but she has her reasons. 🙂 She’s very driven, wanting to make up for her past mistakes and regain a sense of safety. To protect herself, she tries to keep everyone—especially Lee—at arm’s length, but he’s too taken with her to allow that. He is exactly the person she needs to pull her out of her isolation.

Carey: There are so many fascinating details and inside information woven into your plot. What’s all this about a deck of cards?

Rachel: The cards are so cool! In 2007, the DoD issued them to American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to educate them on the need to protect archaeological and historic sites in the Middle East.  For more information on the cards, you can visit my website: I have a few decks and plan to give one to a reader on my (currently nonexistent) mailing list, but it will have to wait a few more weeks, when my website update will be complete and all the planned bonus content for CE will be up.

Carey: What can we expect from Rachel Grant in the future?

Rachel: I have another book coming out, GRAVE DANGER, in late-May. GRAVE DANGER is set in the Pacific Northwest and isn’t connected to CE. Further down the line, I have other books set in the same world as CE. Lee shows up in at least one. 🙂

Carey: I certainly hope so! I love Lee! Looking forward to reading GRAVE DANGER! Rachel thank you so much for your wonderful answers. I know everyone is going to adore CONCRETE EVIDENCE as much as I do!

Rachel: Okay, now I have a question for our readers, what is your favorite movie that incorporates some type of archaeology in the story? (It’s okay to say Indiana Jones – I loved those movies too! – but it’s not my favorite…) I’m giving away a signed copy of CE to one commenter.

Thrill Ride Winner!

Coming up next week on the blog, Carey Baldwin interviews… me. 🙂 My debut romantic suspense, CONCRETE EVIDENCE, will be available in print and ebook, and, well, since I have this opportunity for a shameless plug…


A year ago she lost everything.  Now she wants revenge…

Accused of stealing artifacts from a five-hundred-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She’s concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She’s finally closing in on her goal when she’s distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He’s looking for the lead conspirator in an international artifact smuggling scheme, and Erica is his prime suspect.  He’ll do whatever it takes to win her trust and get her to reveal her secrets, even seduce her.

As Erica and Lee struggle to conceal their real agendas, the one thing they can’t hide is the attraction that burns hot between them. When Erica’s quest puts her life in jeopardy, Lee must choose between old loyalties and a woman he never expected to fall for.


Thank you to Julie Ann Walker for a great interview on Tuesday, and thank you to all her fabulous fans for stopping by!

The winner of THRILL RIDE is…

Erin johnson!!

Congratulations! To claim your prize, please email us your U.S. mailing address within 10 days.

Stepping Inside the Actors Studio with Julie Ann Walker

Julie Ann Walker

Julie Ann Walker

This week I am thrilled to welcome Julie Ann Walker back to Kiss and Thrill! Julie’s latest book, THRILL RIDE, released April 2nd and to celebrate this eagerly awaited sequel, I decided to put Julie in the hot seat, James Lipton-style. Lipton (photo below courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) is the host of the Bravo TV series Inside the Actors Studio, and he always wraps up the interview by asking the subject the same ten questions.

James Lipton by David Shankbone

James Lipton by David Shankbone

Since this is Julie, and I know she won’t mind, I’m going to sit back and enjoy a cocktail while James does all the work.

1.) What is your favorite word?

It’s too dirty. I can’t share it here. LOL! Just kidding. I love the word “flibbertigibbet.” I mean, come on! It sounds made up, completely nonsensical, like something a drunk man in a bar would come up and say to woman. “Ya wanna head back to m’place and play with my flibbertigibbet?” *hiccup*

2.) What is your least favorite word?

Now, you’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I loathe, despise, and abhor the word “slurp.” It’s like the words slim, slug, and burp got together and had a threesome and the child born of the unholy union was slurp. Slurp is supposed to denote both an action and a sound effect, and both things are repugnant. :-/

3.) What turns you on?

Oooh, that’s easy. A good wine. Give me a nice bottle of wine, a warm night with a soft breeze, and I’m a sure thing. (Believe me when I say my husband considers this information when planning vacations. *wink, wink*)

4.) What turns you off?

Without a doubt, that would be feet. Feet are usually ugly, sometimes smelly, and oftentimes either obscenely dry or disgustingly sweaty. Feet have always grossed me out. And some of that might stem from having my older sister shove her big toe in my mouth if she caught me sticking my tongue out at her, or if she caught be yawning, or sneezing… She was a sadistic child, and now I’m scarred. For life.


5.) What sound or noise do you love?

I should say it’s the smooth, guttural rumble of a V-twin engine, right? Considering badass custom motorcyclists are kind of my shtick? And I do adore that sound. It’s visceral and exciting. But more than anything else I love the soft resonance of waves shushing against the shoreline. Perhaps it’s because I grew up on a lake and currently live on one, but something about that noise is so soothing, so comforting… feels like home.

6.) What sound or noise do you hate?

The alarm clock. Of course, this could have something to do with the fact that I’m not, repeat not, a morning person. The instant that meep, meep, meep wakes me out of a deep sleep I want to cut someone. Seriously… cut them.

7.) What is your favorite curse word?

Hands down, that would be “asshat.” The word is so concise and at the same time so definitive, summing up a person who has their head stuck up their butt in just two syllables. I’m a sucker for brevity when it’s wielded with precision. LOL! Perhaps it’s the writer in me!

8.) What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I think it would be fun to be a foreign correspondent for a big news agency. I imagine myself exposing corrupt politicians, interviewing leaders of state, slinking across unfriendly borders in the middle of the night to get the next big scoop… Then again, like anything else, the idea of foreign correspondence is probably far more romantic than the reality.

9.) What profession would you not like to do?

Anything that has to do with garbage or human waste. I have a weak stomach. And smells can get to me quicker than anything else. The aroma of chicken skin left in the trashcan for a couple of days has been known to make me to blow chunks into the kitchen sink. Just sayin’…

10.) If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Whew! Didn’t expect to see you here! 😉

Today Julie wants our readers to answer question 3: What turns you on? We will randomly choose from the comments a winner who will receive a signed copy of THRILL RIDE!


He’s Gone Rogue…

Ex-navy SEAL Rock Babineaux is as Cajun as they come—spicy, sexy, and more than a bit wicked. But would he actually betray his country? Even his best friends on the special-ops Black Knights team aren’t sure they can trust him. Now the target of a massive manhunt, Rock knows the only way to protect the team—especially his partner, Vanessa—is to run…

She Won’t Back Down…

Rock might think he can outmaneuver them all, but he hasn’t counted on how stubborn Vanessa Cordero can be. And she refuses to cut him loose. Sure, her partner has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good because she and Rock are about to get very tight…


Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series.  Look for the first four books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels (August 2012) In Rides Trouble (September 2012) Rev It Up (October 2012) and Thrill Ride (April 2013). For more information, please visit or follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.

To Purchase THRILL RIDE:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Target | Sourcebooks | Discover a New Love

Bonus Friday post – in which Rachel shares some news…

I’ve been quiet on the blog lately, because I’ve been a little busy, but today I’m thrilled and excited to share my news. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think this should cover it:


If all goes well, CONCRETE EVIDENCE will be available in print and ebook on April 16th. My website is in the process of being updated, but there will be bonus content there for this book and another one (coming out in May!) very soon.

I want to thank all the wonderful women at Kiss and Thrill for their encouragement and support as I embark on this publishing journey.

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