Monthly Archives: December 2013

Rachel Puts Debut Author Elizabeth Heiter in the Crosshairs

Front Cover_Final

I’m so excited today to introduce my friend Elizabeth Heiter to our Kiss and Thrill readers. Elizabeth and I met in 2008 when we were both finalists in Romance Writers of America®’s Golden Heart® contest. She was an early reader of CONCRETE EVIDENCE and I in turn was extremely lucky and got to read HUNTED, which debuts today.

I absolutely loved HUNTED and Elizabeth’s heroine, FBI profiler Evelyn Baine. This book is intense, scary, and fascinating. If you are looking for a book that will keep you up late and take your breath away with the best fight scenes I’ve ever read, this book is for you!

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed I don’t give books star ratings, because I find stars just don’t capture exactly how I feel about a book. So, as is my wont, I needed to come up with a new rating for HUNTED. Only one symbol fully captures the intensity of this book.

HUNTED gets five crosshairs:


So now it is my great pleasure to welcome Elizabeth to Kiss and Thrill!

RG: What published author (any genre) turns you into a total fangirl?  Is there a particular book or is this based on their entire body of work?

EH: I’m going to have to say Suzanne Brockmann.  I was perusing the romantic suspense section at the bookstore one day many years back and came across Over the Edge.  Well, as soon as I finished it, I went out and bought everything else I could find by her (I even found used copies of all her TDD books, which weren’t in reprint at the time), and I’ve read everything since then.  In 2010, I entered a haiku contest she was running and I won!  I got the chance to sit down and talk to her at a conference as part of my prize, and it was a fantastic experience.  Not only is she an amazing writer and a very nice person, I love how she uses her success to bring awareness to issues that matter to her.

RG: I think several of our Kiss and Thrill contributors are turning green with envy right now. 🙂 I 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?

EH: Yes!  The very first manuscript I ever finished was written with critique partner Robbie Terman (whom I’ve known since second grade).  In early high school, we wrote a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys novel – all in pen, in a big notebook.  During our senior year of high school, we went back and took that basic plotline we’d created and completely rewrote it into our own story, separate from the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys world.  That manuscript got us “Gifted and Talented” credit in high school and showed me that I could finish a book.  There’s still a special place in my heart for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!

RG: I love that story! Robbie is the best–you are so lucky you grew up together! And it’s funny – another 2008 GH finalist, Diana Miller, also named Nancy Drew in her fan fiction answer (you can read that post here). Next question, Facebook or Twitter?

EH: Both, and neither.  I was a latecomer to social media, and I still find some aspects of it really bizarre (like when I’m at a restaurant and at the table next to me, everyone has their phones out and are tweeting instead of talking to each other!).  In other ways, it’s quite fun.  I like Facebook because there’s no limit on words (and as a novelist who likes to write 100,000 word books, that’s handy!) and I enjoy Twitter because it’s quick and I really enjoy the randomness of it.

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

EH: Hmmmm…my villains actually tend to use pretty straightforward methods for murder, most of the time.  It’s the body disposal where they get weird – for example, in more than one manuscript, I have used alligators (either to destroy evidence or as a way for a villain to try to kill off my heroine).  I’ve been intrigued by this idea ever since I went kayaking in the marshes in Georgia and had to sign a piece of paper that essentially read “this company is not liable if, while kayaking, an alligator eats you.”  I think only a suspense writer would be amused by that, but I still took that kayak trip (and I’m alive to talk about it!).

RG: I have been tubing and canoeing down rivers in Florida and I can confirm having alligator sightings every time. Never a dull moment on the river. 🙂 Okay, now for the best part, tell us about your debut release.

EH: My debut psychological suspense, HUNTED, is about an FBI profiler who learns just how deadly it can be to get inside the head of a killer.

In HUNTED, FBI profiler Evelyn Baine gets what looks like a typical serial killer case to profile.  Except when she arrives at the crime scene, the behavioral evidence seems contradictory.  But it does tell her the killer has struck before, and unless they stop him, he’ll strike again.  As she digs deeper into the case, the serial killer she’s tracking begins to track her too.  This time, it may be Evelyn’s turn to disappear…

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann said, “This is a really excellent thriller – fast-paced and exciting, with a memorable cast of characters. Well done!”

RG: Okay, now I think my fellow K&T contributors are exploding with envy over the Brockmann quote! Thank you so much for sharing your debut release day with us, Elizabeth! With 2013 ending with your debut release, I know 2014 is going to be an exciting year for you.

Today Elizabeth is giving away a copy of HUNTED in ebook to one lucky commenter. To enter the drawing, tell us one thing you are looking forward to in 2014.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Garland

Merry Christmas

from all of us at

Kiss And Thrill

Detail from First Lady's Christmas Tree

Detail from First Lady’s Christmas Tree 2012

In the meantime,

eat, drink and be merry —


read lots of suspense.


from all the

Kiss and Thrill girls:

Krista, Carey, Lena, Rachel, Gwen, Sharon, Sarah, Manda, and Diana

White House Christmas Tree 2012

White House Christmas Tree 2012 (Yes, I know it’s last year, but I didn’t get invited this year. LOL)

Remember to join us on Tuesday, December 31st for a very special New Year’s Eve interview with author Elizabeth Heiter on her debut release day!


Rachel Kall-Presidential Pursuit cover Thank you all for stopping by and “meeting” 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 PRESIDENTIAL PURSUIT!

Congratulations ST Bende! 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).

Join us on Tuesday, December 31st for a very special interview. Rachel Grant welcomes author Elizabeth Heiter on her debut release day!

Love and Scandal – Rachel Kall

Rachel Kall

It’s my pleasure to welcome my friend and fellow suspense author, Rachel Kall, back to Kiss and Thrill. Rachel writes political thrillers, including her brand new series she calls “Love and Scandal.” What a perfect name for a series involving politics and romance!

So, what are people saying about her new series? Take a look…

“Rachel Kall writes gritty, fast-paced, realistic romantic suspense that carries a punch to the gut and a twist to the heart. Don’t miss a word!” —Roxanne St. Claire, New York Times bestselling author

Excuse me while I shove the little green monster off my shoulder. What an awesome endorsement!

Rachel just released PRESIDENTIAL PURSUIT, a prequel novella to the first book in this series. (But you can read either one first.) Helen Riley, the heroine, has overcome some serious issues in her past to rise to the level of frontrunner in the presidential election. Below is the cover and a description of the story.

Rachel Kall-Presidential Pursuit coverDynamic and determined, Helen Riley has devoted her life to public service. Now she’s on the verge of doing something no other woman has ever done: Become the President of the United States of America. But her enemies will stop at nothing to end her Presidential hopes.

Smart, loyal, and sexy Sean Mackay has never pushed to be more than Governor Riley’s best friend and strongest supporter. However, when her life is threatened Sean steps up to protect the woman he loves beyond all reason.

As the campaign heats up, sparks begin to fly between Helen and Sean. Will she make history and admit her love for Sean, or will her pursuit of the White House end in tragedy?

Rachel’s gorgeous kitty, Willow, certainly appears to approve of PRESIDENTIAL PURSUIT! Rachel Kall-Willow PP

Love intrigue, suspense, and scandal? Then the Love and Scandal Series is for you. Set in the nation’s capital, these stories are full of drama, feature sexy heroes, political intrigue, and edge of your seat suspense.

The first full-length novel in this series was released just a few days ago and is called RACE TO KILL.

When fiercely independent Vivian Reese is thrust onto the national stage during a heated presidential campaign, she doesn’t expect to become a media darling. She also doesn’t expect to start to fall for her sexy new bodyguard, Marcus Locke. But when threats start surfacing against the sitting President’s campaign and all evidence points to Vivian, she doesn’t know who to trust. 

Rachel Kall-RacetoKillDelta Force Operator turned FBI agent Marcus Locke is supposed to be investigating campaign finance crimes. He’s not supposed to be checking out the sexy, eloquent campaign spokeswoman Vivian Reese, who’s one of his prime suspects! But when they are caught in the middle of a presidential race that is quickly turning deadly, he is forced to put both his heart and his job in the line of fire.

Tempers flare and passions ignite as the campaign gets dangerous, but when bullets start to fly will either of them survive?

Not to be left out, Rachel’s cute lab, Chloe, wants to let you know that she highly approves of RACE TO Kill! Rachel Kall-chloe rtk

Now, for a quick lightning round of questions…

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.


One lucky commenter will win a free e-copy (Nook or Kindle, winner’s choice) of PRESIDENTIAL PURSUIT.  Check back on Thursday to see if you’re a winner!

Rachel’s question for commenters: “I love writing strong and intelligent heroines, so writing the story of the first woman president was exciting. What are the characteristics that you like most in romantic suspense heroines? What things turn you off?”


Author links

Twitter: @rachelkall

And the Winner is …

Thanks so much to Art Taylor for letting me interview him on Tuesday.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed learning more about short stories from him and how much I enjoy Art in real life, too.  So here, without further ado …

The winner of a copy of Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder is Pat Marinelli!

This job is murder

& The winner of Carey Baldwin‘s novella, Hush is Paula Gail Benson!


Congratulations to both our winners.  And for those of you who didn’t win, both books make great Christmas and (belated) Chanukah gifts, too!  Click on the images below to get more information on both.

Coming up on Tuesday, our own Lena Diaz will be interviewing Romantic Suspense author Rachel Kall.  Rachel enjoys writing spicy and suspenseful stories tthat keep readers guessing.  They’ll be discussing her newest book, Presidential Pursuitwhich  debuts next week .


The “Art” of the Short Story

Triple Derringer winner, Art Taylor, teaches writing and literature at George Mason University.  He’s such a fan of noir, that he’s named his son, Dash.  Please join me as we sit down and discuss  how he writes his winning short stories, his students, and what makes great short fiction.


Great News!

Art is giving away a copy of the latest, Chesapeake Crimes anthology:  This Job Is Murder with his Derringer-winning  story, When Duty Calls.  It has a host of great shorts from other award winning authors, too — like Barb Goffman, Donna Andrews, and a forward by Elaine Viets.  So leave a comment here and/or at my other website to enter.

This job is murder

Now, for another dazzling short — well not a short story, but novella, by our very own Carey Baldwin, tell us who your favorite short story or mystery author is.  For an extra chance to win, guess why Art’s son is named Dash.  Or be really sneaky and go to and leave a comment there (under this same post) for another chance.  Tune in on Thursday to see who won.

Here is our second amazing prize!


Reformed bad boy Charlie “Drex” Drexler returns to his hometown of Tangleheart, Texas hush-by-carey-baldwin-ebooklg-e1373254420916hoping to make peace with his dark past and make amends to those he’s wronged. He’s also looking to reconnect with an old flame. But Anna won’t cooperate, new questions tear open old wounds and his best friend’s wife and baby disappear. Can Drex and Anna mend their broken hearts while fighting for their lives and racing to bring mother and baby home safely?

Read an excerpt here.

Thursday Winner – Undercover Twin and Working Girls!


Cover Undercover Twin - Lena Diaz

Jenna, please click on the Contact Us tab above within the next 10 days and let us know where we can send it. I just know you’ll love the story!


Julie, you won a print copy of BODY OF EVIDENCE and an ebook by either:  Melissa F MillerM A ComleyCheryl BradshawToni Dwiggins, or Phoenix Sullivan! Please Contact us with your mailing address and choice of ebook.


Next Tuesday Kiss and Thrill will be hosted by Diana Belchase. We look forward to seeing you then!

Why Are We Fascinated by TWINS?

Cover Undercover Twin - Lena DiazI’m the first to admit when I come across identical twins I am both charmed and freaked. I stare (rudely) as I try to discover even the slightest difference between them. Don’t you wonder what it would be like to have a ‘second you’ walking around on the face of this earth?

Today we celebrate another Intrigue release by our very own Lena Diaz. In UNDERCOVER TWIN, Heather Bannon does the unthinkable. She disposes of a huge amount of cocaine that her identical twin is carting around in a knapsack in a bar! Heather doesn’t stop to think about the ramifications of who owns this much cocaine (i.e., a powerful drug lord?) or that she happens to be in the perfect relationship with DEA agent Nick Morgan. Yeah, DEA. Yikes! All Heather thinks about is saving her sister from a heap of trouble. And in doing so she’s thrust into a world of killers, kidnapping and dangerous undercover ops.

As you probably know, Lena has published 9 books in the two years we’ve hosted this blog, so I was hard-pressed to come up with another fun interview. But because UNDERCOVER TWIN explores the deeply complex dynamic between identical twin sisters the plot twists kept me glued to my seat and the characters triggered my twin-fascination. So (light bulb!) what a great blog topic!

I asked the other K&T members if they enjoyed plots that centered around twins and got a resounding YES, as well as links to novels and stories of real life phenomenon that occur with both fraternal and identical twins. All of their answers are so awesome I copied and pasted as fast as I could. (Let’s just consider this a Group Blog!)

They say ‘blood is thicker than water’ but it seems twins share something  even thicker. Our own SHARON WRAY is the mother of fraternal twin teenagers and has blogged here about them in the past. Here’s an occurrence that astonishes me, but not Sharon:

I got a call from the nurse and one of my daughter’s teachers.

Sharon Wray

Sharon Wray

 Apparently, my son had gone to the nurse because he wasn’t feeling well (he had a low-grade stomach bug which he graciously shared with the rest of us). In the meantime, in another class in another part of the school, my daughter’s teacher told me she just got up in the middle of class and left the room, leaving her books behind and not even asking the teacher’s permission. She literally just walked out of class.
Since this was so unusual, the teacher left her class and followed my daughter, wondering if she was sick. The teacher followed her all the way to the nurse’s office where she watched my daughter go in and tell the nurse that they needed to find her brother because he was sick. She had no idea he was already there until the nurse pulled back the privacy curtain and she saw him lying on the bed. Then she said to both the nurse and the teacher to call me because he was about to throw up. Which he did a few moments later.
The teacher was freaked out because my daughter was giving orders and expecting them to understand that she had a brother to take care of which meant she didn’t have to follow the rules about asking for a pass, etc.  And when the principal came in, my daughter asked her why I hadn’t been called yet and didn’t understand why she might be in trouble. The principal said she didn’t know what to say because dealing with my daughter was like dealing with a parent.
Anyway, I came and got my son and my daughter went back to class. Because the nurse had grown twins, she was able to explain (kind of) to the teacher and the principal that this kind of behavior is normal for twins. Everything stops for one if the other is in distress. 
I tried to talk to the kids about it that evening, but they both seemed genuinely confused when I said they couldn’t just break the rules because the other one was sick. Since they only need the approval of each other, they don’t seek ours. As my daughter puts it, our approval is the frosting while her twin’s approval is the cupcake.

Lena DiazLENA absorbed that special connection and made her characters incredibly real. She also said while writing UNDERCOVER TWIN she delved into the annual twin conventions around the country. “I got lost for hours on websites while researching the book because the pictures of twins at the conventions is mesmerizing.” (Clearly a gawker like me.)

When I asked her why she chose twins as main characters she replied: “I immersed myself in watching Ink Master marathons (about tattoos.) Around that time I needed to propose my next Harlequin Intrigue, and the idea of tattoos was stuck in my head. I became fascinated with the idea of a conservative business woman having a sister who was her complete opposite, in both how she dressed and the fact that she had tattoos all over her body. From there my mind took a natural turn to identical twins where the non-tattooed twin would have to pretend to be the tattooed twin, and how much fun that would be, and UNDERCOVER TWIN was born. It’s really more about the “duck out of water” trope than the twin trope that caught me. It was so fun to make the heroine have to act and dress in ways that were totally outside her comfort zone.”

MANDA piped up with: There’s a list of twin books on All About Romance here:

Sharon also posted these twin facts:

Both types of twins can have a twinspeak, a language all their own. 
Both types of twins can have a “psychic” connection. Mine do and it’s kind of freaky and every year I get an email from one of their teachers about a strange incident in class. They ALWAYS know when the other is sick and will also tell me if one is hungry or sad or angry, etc. 
According to my pediatrician (a specialist in multiple births) both a twin-speak and a psychic connection are real and  have a strong link to the type of pregnancy. The worse the pregnancy (more dangerous, preemie birth, etc), it seems the stronger both of these connections are. This is regardless of whether they are fraternal or identical.
In a twin relationship, the opinion of the twin is far more important than the opinion or approval of the parent. The parent is always the third wheel, almost unnecessary except for feeding and driving places.
Birth order and birth weight is highly important and mentioned to strangers the moment they say “Are you a twin?” My daughter is eleven minutes older, but my son was 1 pound 14 ounces bigger. This is ALWAYS mentioned to complete strangers just so no on is confused as to who is the Alpha twin.
Alpha twin. The ongoing battle as to who was conceived first. No idea why this matters but it seems to matter to lots of sets of twins.
Do you have a twin story to share or a favorite novel featuring twins? One commenter will win an eBook of UNDERCOVER TWIN (either Kindle or Nook version). Stop back on Thursday when we post the lucky winner’s name!




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