Monthly Archives: June 2015
Posted by Lena Diaz
Whether You Like Heroes on Motorcycles or the Bad Boy Assassin Type, Kiss and Thrill has You Covered Today.
First up, hero Bryan Fisher from EASY TARGET, the brand new installment by author KAY THOMAS in her Elite ops series with Avon.
FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BRYAN FISHER (aka Hollywood)
1. Growing up, I lived in California with my mom until I was nine years old. When she died in a car accident, I went to live with my grandmother in Springwater, Mississippi. The reason I love Dentyne gum so much is because my mom chewed Dentyne and always shared it with me.
2. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’ve never ridden a horse. But I love to ride motorcycles and I know how to surf. Yes, my nickname is Hollywood. And no, I don’t like to talk about how I got that particular “handle.”
3. I watch The Walking Dead and DVR it so I don’t miss episodes when I’m working on AEGIS jobs.
4. I love sushi, Wylie Coyote, and Pearl Jam. I hate broccoli. My favorite dessert is Key lime pie with graham cracker crust.
5. A romantic evening for me would include driving out of town away from the city lights to stargaze. Since I grew up in the country for the most part and now live in Dallas, that’s the one thing I miss the most—seeing a star-filled night sky. I enjoy sleeping under the stars, but fair warning, I don’t own a pair of pajamas…
(Lena fans herself after that pajamas remark.)
Here’s the back cover copy for EASY TARGET.
AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men who will do anything for their country…and their women.
Fighting to clear her brother of murder, freelance reporter Sassy Smith is suddenly kidnapped and thrown into a truck with other women who are about to be sold…or worse. When she sees an opportunity for escape Sassy takes it, but she may have just jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
Former Marine Bryan Fisher (aka Hollywood) is no stranger to dangerous situations, or to his best friend’s little sister. When he rescues Sassy, Bryan is determined to keep her safe…if he can keep his hands off of her. Because Sassy is all grown up and not at all like the girl he used to know. But he’s got bigger problems. And with enemies coming at them from every corner, Bryan and Sassy will need to work together if they’re going to survive.
Next up is Mason Hunt, a bad boy assassin from EXIT STRATEGY, the first book in my (Lena Diaz) new EXIT Inc. series with Avon.
FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT MASON HUNT
2. I do have tattoos, but only Sabrina (my heroine) gets to see them. Not a motorcycle fan, but I can ride one if I have to. And horses? Yeah. I can ride those too. We ex-military, bad ass assassin types are trained to do pretty much everything in a pinch. Nickname? When Sabrina first met me, she labeled me Tall-Dark-and-Deadly, but that was before she got to know me. Now I have another nickname that she gave me instead. But like that Bryan guy in EASY TARGET, I’m not discussing it.
3. I don’t have time for TV shows. Too busy saving innocent people and killing bad guys.
4. I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Hey, protein, what can I say? Music? Country rock. Dessert? (grins and looks at Sabrina.) “Pass the whip cream, Rina.”
5. A romantic evening would include sitting on my back porch with the woman I love–Sabrina of course–watching the corn stalks waving in the field behind my house. Then a walk in the moonlight to the barn for some target practice with my Glock 22. After that? Cornfield sex. (Read the book and you’ll know exactly what I mean.)
Here’s the back cover copy for EXIT Strategy.
Lena Diaz launches her thrilling new series featuring the undercover vigilantes of EXIT Inc. with a skilled operative putting his life—and his heart—on the line for a woman in trouble
When Sabrina Hightower awakens to the sound of an intruder, she figures he’s there to rob her, murder her— or worse. She doesn’t expect to be carried off by a muscle-bound stud with male-model good looks . . . or that he came to rescue her.
Mason Hunt became an enforcer with EXIT Inc. to eliminate the bad guys—terrorists, militia groups, all those who would do America harm. But his latest target is innocent. If EXIT could lie about sultry, strong-willed Sabrina, what darker truths might they be concealing?
Going rogue in the rugged North Carolina mountains, Mason risks everything to keep Sabrina close, especially now that EXIT’s lethal assassins are chasing them down. The heat is on . . . but it’s nothing compared to the slow burn of seduction.
If you’d like to get to know Bryan better, pick up a copy of EASY TARGET.
Mason’s waiting for his chance to get to know you in EXIT Strategy.
GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the release of EASY TARGET and EXIT STRATEGY, Kay and Lena are each giving away one ebook copy of their books (winner must be able to receive the book on their Kindle or Nook from either Amazon(dot)com or B&N(dot)com.) Leave a comment for a chance to win and then check back next Tuesday to see the randomly chosen winners at the bottom of Tuesday’s post.
Join us next Tuesday when I take the Kiss and Thrill reins again and interview the amazing ANGI MORGAN!
Posted by Sarah Andre
He’d found what he needed. At last. After twenty years of waiting, of planning, of purposely blending in to escape notice, he had the thread that would lead him back to the only woman who’d ever really mattered in his life.
The only woman who’d ever been a challenge.
The only woman who’d ever gotten away.
Once his parents had finally gone to bed, and long after anyone would expect for them to have a visitor, Jasper Moore stared down at the envelope he’d recovered from his father’s desk. Inside was a letter from Evelyn Talbot’s father, pleading with Stanley and Maureen to come forward if they possessed any information on Jasper’s whereabouts. It said that Evelyn had been through enough. That the Moores should finally do the right thing and divulge any information they possessed.
But they never would. They were the ones who’d helped him escape in the first place, all those years ago—and they told everyone they hadn’t seen him since before the murders, even though, in recent years, he risked a furtive visit now and then, if he could do it safely.
Anyway, it wasn’t the letter that concerned Jasper. He didn’t give a shit about the Talbots’ emotional plea for justice and closure.
He was far more interested in the return address on the outside.
—Excerpt from HANOVER HOUSE by Brenda Novak
She’s baaaack! That vintage, creepy Brenda-Novak-writing, folks. She’s the kind of suspense writer who grabs you from the first page and sends you on the kind of ride even amusement parks would ban! HANOVER HOUSE, her return to the romantic suspense genre, isn’t the only change we’ve seen from Brenda this year. May, 2015 came and went without the usual author enthusiasm (let’s be honest–hysteria) over Brenda Novak’s Auction Anything for Diabetes Research. That’s right, after 10 successful years and accumulating a total of $2.4 million toward her Diabetes Research charity, Brenda took the year off. Well…not exactly.
“For 2015, I came up with another plan to raise money, one I thought readers might like even better. Because…what’s better than getting a great deal on a great book? Getting a steal of a deal on a whole bundle! And what’s better than having all the proceeds go to diabetes research? Well…nothing. Nothing I can think of, anyway. That’s why I’ve curated THREE fabulous box sets filled with BRAND NEW stories from some of today’s most popular authors—so I could launch my fundraising initiative for 2015 and contribute to the effort of finding a cure for my son (who was diagnosed at five) and all the other people who have to cope with this terrible disease.”
That bears repeating: Brenda ingeniously collected stories from some of today’s top-notch romance authors and developed 3 box-sets that are only available until the end of June. (A week from today, people!) ALL proceeds go toward her Research for Diabetes, and each is priced at $2.99, a staggering special! The kick-off to her romantic suspense series, HANOVER HOUSE is featured in the SWEET DREAMS set. So let’s start with that one. Brenda, who else has contributed to SWEET DREAMS?
SWEET DREAMS. This limited edition set contains thirteen new thrillers. Allison Brennan, Cynthia Eden, JT Ellison, Liliana Hart, Heather Graham, Alex Kava, CJ Lyons, Carla Neggers, Theresa Ragan, Erica Spindler, Tiffany Snow and Jo Robertson have all contributed. I’m in this box, too. I’m including a brand new story that’s nearly 200 pages long—HANOVER HOUSE, the start to the new suspense series I just sold to St. Martin’s Press. And none other than the amazing Lee Child has written the foreword.
Wow, that’s some superstar lineup! I’ve bought it already, but was intrigued with your other sets.
SWEET TALK. This is a limited edition contemporary romance collection featuring
ten brand new stories by such amazing authors as #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Sherryl Woods of Chesapeake Shores series fame. We also have the magnificent Linda Lael Miller, as well as Melody Anne, Violet Duke, Steena Holmes, Gina Maxwell, Molly O’Keefe, Melissa Foster, Rosalind James and Nancy Naigle. Great lineup, right? As a bonus, I’ve thrown in the prequel to my Whiskey Creek series, WHEN WE TOUCH—and megastar Robyn Carr has written the foreword.
So we’ve covered suspense readers, and contemporary romance readers…what would the last box set encompass?
SWEET SEDUCTION. This box is for those who like their romances with some HEAT (a la FIFTY SHADE OF GREY). It features new work from erotica greats Lexi Blake, Nicole Edwards, J. Kenner, Megan Hart, JS Cooper, Karen Erickson, Nina Lane, Roni Loren, Elisabeth Grace, Julia Kent, Mari Carr, Lauren Hawkeye and Avery Aster. Lisa Renee Jones, another popular author in this subgenre, has not only written the foreward, she’s provided one of her full novels as a bonus!
Brenda, I am truly amazed at the generosity of these authors giving their works to such a great cause. And my compliments to you for thinking up such an incredible giveaway to continue your ongoing charitable contributions to Diabetes research. Any last words?
“According to the CDC, nearly 10% of the American public has diabetes. That’s an outrageous figure! So let’s do something about it—read and raise money at the same time.” For more information, visit http://brendanovakforthecure.org.
Here are links to the different online stores that offer the sets:
And for more information on Brenda-the-author, please visit her at:
DON’T FORGET TO ORDER YOUR BOX SETS BEFORE NEXT TUESDAY, JUNE 30th!
AND PLEASE HELP BRENDA SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS ON ALL YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA SITES.
Thank you for being here today, Brenda and we look forward to your new suspense series AND hearing how much you and these generous authors raised this year!
ANNOUNCING LAST WEEK’S COMMENT-WINNER!
CONGRATULATIONS TO ELIZABETH HEITER
FOR WINNING A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD
Join us next Tuesday when Lena Diaz and Kay Thomas dish 5 things about
the heroes of their latest books– EXIT Strategy and Easy Target.
Posted by Sharon Wray
Sarah Andre and I have been close friends (some would call us twins) and Golden Heart sisters for a long time, and it’s a friendship I treasure. So I am not exaggerating when I say I am so excited and proud to introduce Sarah and her debut romantic suspense novel Locked, Loaded, & Lying.
And check out Brenda Novak’s cover quote! “An impressive debut! This book has everything readers crave: believable, enduring characters, an intriguing conflict, and plenty of heart. Don’t miss Locked, Loaded, & Lying.”
L3 (as I always think of it) is a blockbuster story intertwined with a beautiful romance and a fast-paced plot. And I can’t wait for you all to read it so we can talk about her hunky hero Lock Roane. (The heroine Jordan is lovely too, but Lock is hot, hot, hot!)
But since we have to wait to dish about Lock (another blog post), here is the trailer and blurb:
He might be innocent. Or he might be very, very guilty…
Olympic skier Lock Roane was on top of the world: smashing Alpine records, collecting medals, and basking in both the love of a nation and his beautiful heiress girlfriend. It all comes crashing down after Lock discovers his girlfriend had an affair—then awakens from a drunken bender covered in her blood. Given his history of violent blackouts, it’s not a big leap for him to believe he did kill her.
On the eve of his murder trial he saves the life of a car accident victim, not knowing she’s his biggest media nemesis. And when Jordan Sinclair regains consciousness, she’ll lie through her teeth to keep it that way.
Jordan is out of options and out of time…
To satisfy her blackmailer, she needs the inside scoop (and its tabloid cash reward) on Lock Roane. An attraction to the arrogant athlete was not part of the plan. Neither is trying to find out what really happened that night.
Now Jordan risks everything—including her life—to help Lock. But the more they discover clues pointing to someone else with a motive, the more Lock is also unraveling all the lies Jordan’s fed him. Her betrayal leaves him with two option: take his chances at his murder trial or forgive the woman who mesmerized him from the moment he saved her life.
SW: There are no words that express how much I love this story and how happy I am for you. But I’d love to know — What kind of research did you do for this story?
SA: The BARE minimum! Hate it. All I want is to write my story the way it unfolds in my head and not stop to authenticate details. But boy, did I learn a valuable lesson when Brenda Novak generously gave me editorial feedback. She asked if a tertiary character would be able to get a Sports Illustrated magazine in prison. It had never occurred to me to check! They have libraries, prisoners get mail…I was kind of annoyed she would want me to research such a minor detail. Well, this story had been through 5 FULL rewrites by then (5 plots, 5 different killers, 5 different ways the victim died…) and the guy in the Tutweiler Penitentiary had always gotten that magazine. Grumbling under my breath, I looked up Tutweiler Penitentiary in AL (which I’d randomly chosen 7 years ago by Google maps: ‘prisons in AL.’) I was SHOCKED to find out…it’s a women’s prison. Consider me spanked. Lesson learned.
SW: I am still laughing. I think that is the best answer I’ve ever had to an interview question! Do you prefer to write from the male POV or female POV?
SA: Easy answer! Male. I’m quite obsessed with what makes that gender tick. What pushes their buttons? What causes them heartache? Because on the outside they are way too stoic. Give me a real-life, emotionally stressed-out guy and all I see is a poker face? OMG, my imagination runs WILD. 🙂
All my stories, even the first one collecting dust bunnies under my bed, have been hero-based. They are larger than life: smokin’ looks, success, money, babes…and each figuratively gets ‘the rug pulled out from under him’ in the first chapter. They need the ordinary-heroine’s intelligence and talent to help them back on their feet. A guy like that needing someone? It’s a simmering pot of emotional conflict from the start.
SW: Are your story ideas first drawn from characters or from plot?
SA: Gosh, after writing for 10 years you’d think I’d know the answer! Plot, I guess. I’ll think: ‘what if this were to happen…’ and then I choose the two most ill-suited couple to go on that adventure, stick them on the same page and watch the sparks fly.
SW: What is your greatest strength as a storyteller?
SA: The feedback I’ve received from readers is that I zip the story forward through authentic sounding dialogue. Personally, I think my greatest strength is the friction and/or camaraderie between the hero and his ‘sidekick’ –in this case Lock’s brother, Leo.
SW: I have to agree! What was your favorite scene in this book to write?
SA: The car accident and rescue. Wrote it in one sitting during one of those days where storytelling comes like a gift from God. The words just fell onto the page, the scene unfolded with all the perfect action words and stark emotion. During all the rewrites I have barely revised it, and that’s saying something.
SW: What was the most difficult scene in this book to write?
SA: In ALL my novels I leave the sex scene until the bitter end! I’ll insert a placeholder ‘SEX SCENE HERE’ and move on. It takes all of my skill as a writer to describe the act, the emotions, have it end up original, erotic and realistic, and yet still complicate their problems further. I bow to erotica authors! Back in my dust-bunny book all I had to do was think, ‘you know, my mom is going to read this’ and I was done for the night! Packed it in right in the middle of a sentence. 😉
SW: Can you give us one interesting fact about Locked, Loaded, & Lying?
SA: I got my hero’s entire character from one glimpse of champion surfer, Bruce Irons on the cover of Outside Magazine back in April 2006. I was in a WF checkout line and saw his expression. Stupefied me…there was Lock’s personality! That’s exactly how he’d glare at the paparazzi lens. Arrogant, sexy, double-dog-dare stare with not-so-subtle impatience- like they were keeping him from the sport he loves. Still gives me shivers!
SW: Now Sarah has a question of you:
Who is your favorite Olympic athlete or favorite Olympic sport?
One lucky commenter will win a $25 e-gift certificate to Amazon!
Sarah, thanks so much for sharing your debut with us. I know this is just the beginning of a prolific and successful career!
Photos courtesy of Sarah Andre.
Posted by Carey Baldwin
The winner of the $10 Starbucks gift card is Julie Oest! Julie please contact me to claim your prize.
Posted by Diana Belchase
Today I’m speaking with my blogmate and “Best Books of 2014” author, Carey Baldwin. Carey’s book, Judgment was just named a Daphne du Maurier finalist and her newest book, FALLEN, debuts this week! Going with the theme of things that fall, I had a few questions for Carey.
Diana: How many times have you “fallen” in love?
Carey: I don’t really know how many times I’ve fallen in love, but I do believe that we have the capacity to fall in love an infinite number of times. Of course, I had my schoolgirl crushes- I can even remember feeling lovesick in the first grade. I wanted to call the object of my affection and invite him for a play date, but then my aunt explained “Girls don’t call boys.” I was six! Thank goodness times have changed.
But the real loves of my life are deep and many. My husband, my children, my parents, my friends, my patients…Life would be so sad if we were only allotted one love, I think. But, Bill, honey, don’t misinterpret, there’s no “hall pass” in your future! 🙂
Diana: What do you think makes a girl fall in love or you “fall” in love.
Carey: Intimacy. I think the more I get to know the “real” side of someone, the more likely I am to love them. Okay, let’s be honest though. A hot body never hurt!
Diana: Have you ever “Fallen: from a height? What was your worst fall?
Carey: Luckily, I haven’t yet had a truly bad physical fall. And I’m not afraid of heights, though I’m cautious. I love experiencing the thrill of that grand view you get from the top of a mountain, or a zip line. I think my favorite “fall” is the Tower of Terror at California Adventure. There’s something thrilling about a taking a dive when you know you’re safe. And that’s partly why I like to read and write thrillers.
Diana: How does the theme of Fallen people balance with redemption in your book? We have those that fall from grace, from windows, and into love — how do they, or do they, all find redemption in your book?
Carey: Great question, Diana! I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I will tell you that one person who could be considered “fallen” by most standards, triumphs over not only fear and the evil that’s pursuing her, but also over her own shortcomings. She finds out she is a lot stronger and braver and more unselfish than she ever knew.
Diana: Here’s the blurb from Fallen. I can tell you, it’s a fast-paced, can’t put it down, kind of read with characters you’ll remember long after you finish.
A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard.
When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet. The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer—a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.
The killer has raised the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets—or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins. With time running out, Spenser and Cassidy will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up the next grotesque tourist attraction.
For an excerpt, please click HERE.
As a thanks to readers Carey is offering a $10 Starbucks gift card to one lucky commenter. Falling in love is risky. Tell us what would make you willing to take a chance on love?
Posted by Diana Belchase
The Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense
Published Nominees from Kiss and Thrill!
We’re so proud of you both!
In Romantic Suspense
Lena Diaz for Tennessee Takedown
A SWAT officer in small-town Tennessee will do anything to protect the innocent beauty whose life has been put on the line.
It can’t be a coincidence that in the past twenty-four hours, three different thugs have tried to kill or abduct Ashley Parrish. Sexy SWAT team leader Dillon Gray saved her, but now he wonders why someone would want to murder the beautiful accountant…and why he finds her so infuriatingly attractive.
Then the FBI comes after Ashley for embezzlement, and Dillon knows he must protect her from a killer and prove she’s being framed. Taking her on a hair-raising run through dangerous terrain barely fazes him. But wanting her for more than just one night scares the hell out of him.
In Mainstream Mystery/Suspense
Carey Baldwin for Judgment
A Suspense Magazine “Best Books of 2014” author
When a coed falls prey to a sadistic murderer, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin “Caity” Cassidy and FBI profiler, Special Agent Atticus Spenser, are called in to testify–one for the defense, one for the prosecution. With warring approaches to justice, these two rivals have been butting heads for years–both inside the courtroom and out. And at first, this case appears to be no different.
But when a brutal attack leaves the accused man dead and Caity in critical condition, petty differences take a backseat to saving lives. As the lone survivor, Caity knows too much, and the killer–a madman calling himself the Man in the Maze–is coming back for round two. Now Caity and Spense must join forces to uncover the killer’s identity before Caity’s time–and luck–runs out.
Posted by Sharon Wray
The last few years, our very own Rachel Grant has put together Kiss and Thrill’s annual MG/YA summer reading list. But since she’s in the midst of another book release (Covert Evidence), I offered to do the list this year. As a librarian and former reader’s advisor (for all reading levels), I was happy to compile it. It helps that I am surrounded by children who read within these ranges. Besides my fifteen-year old boy/girl twins, I have seven nieces and nephews between 8-18 who offered recommendations.
This year’s list is divided between Young Adult and Middle Grade, then subdivided by genres including YA romance, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Classics, etc. I also marked with an asterix those books that have been made into a movie or are currently in movie production. There are books on this list for every tween and teen reader, even the most picky.
Below is just a small sample of this year’s complete list. Since the 2015 list wouldn’t fit on the blog, here are two links: K&T 2015 MG/YA List word (downloadable) file and a K&T 2015 MG/YA List PDF file.
So pour some lemonade, throw down a blanket in the sun, and let’s start reading!
Here are my daughter’s recommendations (for both the books and the series they are part of) in no particular order:
Here are my son’s recommendations (for both the books and the series they are part of) in no particular order:
Here are my Middle Grade recommendations (for both the books and the series they are part of) in no particular order:
If a book you’re looking for is not on this list, please check the 2014 and 2013 lists. I tried not to duplicate titles, but if a series from earlier years had another book added this year, including e-novellas, I added it to this year’s list. Also, there are some annual faves that I duplicated because my kids want to reread them. (The entire Harry Potter Series is always a summer reading re-do!)
Disclaimer: Some of these books are (or once were) controversial. Some older YAs have closed-door adult situations, and others (YA & MG) deal with harsh issues such as suicide, bullying, war, poverty, and loss of a parent. As a librarian, reader’s advisor, and mother, I’ve learned that tweens and teens tend to read within their comfort zone, both emotionally and reading-level wise. All of these books offer a chance for parents and kids to discuss which topics are appropriate now and which books are best left for another summer. But I hope you all find books that will give your family a summer of new adventures and imaginary friends.
Now I need your help. This list is not complete. Are there books that you’ve read and would like to see added to the 2015 list? If you add them in the comments, I’ll update the list and repost it. Thanks!