Author Archives: Krista Hall

Take a Walk on the Wild Side with Erica Monroe

EricaMonroe

Erica Monroe writes dark, suspenseful (and well-researched) historical romance. In her atmospheric debut novel A DANGEROUS INVITATION, she takes us out of the ballroom and drops us straight into the labyrinthine alleys and gritty flash houses of London’s East End. Rather than manners and courtship, the first book in the Rookery Rogues series is a story of survival and the transformational power of love. Read on to find out you can become eligible to win A DANGEROUS INVITATION ebook…

Dangerous Invitation Cover

Torn from her life of privilege by her father’s death, Kate Morgan relies on her knowledge of finery to survive in one of London’s dark and depraved rookeries as a fence for stolen goods . The last man she ever expects, or wants, to see again is Daniel O’Reilly, the man who promised to love, honor and protect her, but who instead fled amidst accusations of murder.

One drunken night cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved and the life he’d worked so hard to create. If he ever wants to reclaim that life—and Kate—he’ll not only have to prove he’s innocent of murder, but convince the pistol-wielding beauty to forgive his many sins.

With a killer on the loose, time is running out for them…

KH: Why did you choose to set Kate and Daniel’s story in 1832 during the short reign of King William IV rather than the more commonly used Regency time period between 1811-1820?

ERICA: I studied Victorian literature in college, and then I began to educate myself in the regency period when I started to write historical romances. The 1830’s represents the perfect merging of my two interests—it’s this strange period of social reform yet people are still trying to cling to what they used to have. The trade of corpses in the regency period is a big deal in the underworld, for a resurrection man could make far more selling bodies than he could in the honest work that might be available to an unskilled, uneducated laborer (read, not many jobs at all). The London Burkers (called that because their method of murder for dissection profit resembled that of legendary serial killers Burke and Hare in Edinburg, Scotland in 1828) were arrested in 1831. Two were executed, while another turned State’s Evidence and was released. I knew that I wanted to link my resurrection man villain to this case so I had to set it in January 1832 shortly after the executions. Mid-year 1832, the Anatomy Acts were repealed, and now surgeons had access to more bodies for dissection, so they didn’t have to use grave robbers to advance in their fields of study.

I found the idea of people being stolen from their graves to be sold as medical experiments to be utterly creepy and morbid, and admittedly, being a girl who grew up reading Edgar Allen Poe, I loved it. Resurrection men were considered to be one of the lowest types of thieves, reviled by everyone else in the London underworld. What better villains to use in the first book of my Rookery Rogues series, which centers on denizens of the London slum areas (called rookeries)?

KH: Your descriptions of daily life in the rookeries of London are vivid and create the dark, gritty atmosphere of A DANGEROUS INVITATION.  You clearly spent a great deal of time researching the history, culture and geography of the East End—Bethnal Green, Jacob’s Island, and the St. Katharine Docks.  What unexpected discoveries did you uncover that enriched or influenced the development of the characters and the suspense storyline?

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Jacob’s Island, PD-US

R lee [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

R lee [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

ERICA: The new system of policing fascinated me—far more like the Scotland Yard we know and love than the original regency policing system. Prior to 1829, London did not have a centralized police force. You had a bunch of little districts and constables and a Night Watch that really bordered on useless. But 1829 and Robert Peel’s act brought forth a new structure, a more vigilant way of policing. This of course meant that some of the attitudes toward crime in the rookeries changed. The Bow Street Runners (think London’s first detectives) allowed flash houses (meeting places of thieves, often functioning as brothels as well) to exist because it was easy to get at informants when they were all congregated in the same police. The Met Police didn’t really believe in that—they focused on preventing crime instead of solving it. I use this distinction in my next novella, Secrets in Scarlet, which features the Met Police officer I introduced in A Dangerous Invitation. 

I also used the “Catholic Question,” which comes about throughout the 1800’s but really hit a breakthrough in 1829 when the Roman Catholic Relief Act was passed, which removed a lot of the restrictions that were still on Catholics in the UK. This and the Sacramental Test Act were huge in getting rights for Catholics. Prior to this act, Catholics could not hold office. The relations between the English and the Irish were already strained at best. I use this in A Dangerous Invitation as my hero Daniel O’Reilly is Irish, but he has been raised since childhood in Sussex. He feels like a man of two nations. Daniel has been the victim of racial prejudice, for in 1832 the Irish were considered not much better than dogs in the street by a lot of England’s population. This plays into his interactions with Kate and his feelings toward himself. He has to learn that he is indeed worthy of love.

KH: Peelers, dimber morts, crank…uh, translation please 🙂 Was it difficult to learn the street slang of the period?

ERICA: A Peeler refers to the Metropolitan Police Officers, called Peelers or Bobbies because of Robert Peel, who was the main person behind the bill establishing the new force. A dimber mort refers to a pretty wench, and crank is a cant term for gin (important because of Daniel’s struggle with remaining sober).

I actually really enjoy the slang. I’ve never had an aptitude for foreign languages, but thieving cant to me feels like a secret language based in English so I can understand it. It was important to me that my thieves sound like they grew up in the East End and not posh aristocrats. These are people deprived of formal education, growing up in neighborhoods where they pretty much had to steal to eat. They’re going to have their own set of words for things, jargon that’s been doctored so that the Police can’t fathom what they’re saying.

In writing A Wayward Man, my short story prequel to A Dangerous Invitation, it’s been interesting to write the dialogue for Kate because this is before she ends up in the rookeries. She doesn’t know those slang terms and she hasn’t changed to coarser language. I paid a lot of attention to dialects, trying to properly mimic what people would sound like in different parts. I’ve no idea if I got it all right, but it “feels” more authentic to me, at least.

Illustrated Romance book cover images from Jenn LeBlanc

KH: What is your favorite slang expression?

ERICA: There are so many good ones, and some really, really vulgar ones. There’s about 57 different terms for prostitutes, most of which end up being quite depressing.

Some of my favorite ones that I find can be used in historical romance are “collar day” for being executed at Newgate prison, “dive” meaning to pick a pocket, and Drury Lane ague meaning venereal disease (given that prostitutes often frequented Drury Lane).

KH: What’s next in The Rookery Rogues series?

ERICA: Two things. One, I’ve got the short story prequel to A Dangerous Invitation coming out in February, and it is titled A Wayward Man. This starts before Daniel leaves London, three years prior to the beginning of ADI. It’s about 10,000 words and I will be offering it up for free.

After that, I’ve got Secrets in Scarlet, which is a novella. I hope to have it out sometime around late March.

SecretsInScandal-EricaMonroe-2

Here’s the blurb: When a girl is murdered at a factory in one of London’s rookeries, Thaddeus Knight comes in to investigate. But it’s not just the factory owners that Thaddeus wants information on–the devilishly intriguing Poppy O’Reilly is a puzzle he’d like nothing more than to solve. Protecting her young daughter is the most important thing to Poppy, and Thaddeus threatens the false identity she’s carefully constructed. The last thing she should do is allow Thaddeus close to her family, yet she can’t stay away from him. With danger around the corner, will the secrets of a scarlet woman lead to their undoing?

Can’t wait to read more? You can find Erica’s books on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, iTunes, and AllRomanceBooks.

What are the elements you look for in historical romantic suspense? Do you have a favorite time period? House parties vs Ballrooms vs Gaming Hells? Do you like your stories filled with members of the ton? Can a housemaid become a duchess? Tell us what you like to read! Erica is giving away an e-copy of A DANGEROUS INVITATION to one lucky commenter!

Coming Soon: Why Dukes Say I Do Plus Thursday’s Winner!!!

WDSID

Even in London society–where everyone knows what you did last season–you never know who’s next in line to walk down the aisle…

TRUE LOVE IS OFTEN FOUND
With her whirlwind social life in London, Lady Isabella Wharton has little interest in the customs of the country. But when her godmother asks her to pay a visit to her bachelor grandson in Yorkshire, Isabella can’t refuse. It behooves her to please the old dowager, since she harbors one of Isabella’s most scandalous secrets. So off she goes to see the newly-titled–and notoriously rustic–Duke of Ormond…

WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT
Trevor Carey doesn’t care about what goes on behind ballroom doors. He is content with the simple life–and isn’t ashamed to admit it to a society flirt like Lady Isabella. But the country air brings out a different side of Isabella–one full of longing and passion. Can her sophistication be hiding a desire for love? When a blackmailer from the city arrives to threaten Isabella, Trevor will shield her from harm–even travel to London. Can the duke tackle the ton on Isabella’s behalf …and manage to keep her all to himself?  

WHY DUKES SAY I DO is coming to a bookstore near you on July 30th!!

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AND THE K&T THURSDAY WINNER IS: JANE!!!

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Congratulations, Jane! You’ve won a copy of CONCRETE EVIDENCE! Be sure to contact us with your email address and your ebook preference–kindle or nook–within 10 days.

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Next Tuesday, Montlake author Juliette Sobanet visits to tell us about MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO PARIS, her newest mystery set in 1930’s France.


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DC By The Book: A mash-up of literature, history, geography and technology

Capitol at nightMore often than not, when you’re reading about Washington DC, you’re likely to find words like dysfunctional, partisan, nuclear option, filibuster, and gridlock. But politics aside, there’s still plenty to love about this town, especially if you’re a fiction writer or a reader. Recognizing that DC is the go-to setting for tons of books from super serious to high octane entertainment, two DC librarians recently started a clever crowdsourcing project to encourage the exploration of the town’s social and geographic history by populating a database of excerpts from novels with DC scenes and mapping them:

DC BY THE BOOK.

Capitol Medallion

I love to read books set in my town so I couldn’t wait to explore the DC By The Book website. Once there, I found out that you can join the project as a contributor by recommending  novels with DC settings. Or you can help the librarians map the books that are already listed on the site by finding the excerpts set in the Washington DC neighborhoods, parks, government buildings, museums and so on. There’s also a cool map that shows you the locations where scenes from the books take place.

I couldn’t resist adding a couple of books with scenes set in some of my favorite places in DC to the website.

Allison Leotta opens DISCRETION Discretion-paperback-cvr-thumbwith a young woman, Caroline, dressed like a K Street lobbyist in an “ivory St. John suit, Manolo heels,” entering the Capitol through the Senate-side for a private, evening appointment with a congressman. Except Caroline is not a lobbyist; she is an expensive prostitute. A staffer walks her through the Capitol to his boss’s personal office. On the way, they pass through the magnificent Brumidi Corridors—“the most beautiful corridor Caroline had ever seen.”

Brumidi Corridors 2

Caroline pauses in the Rotunda—“the ceremonial heart of the Capitol”— to admire Brumidi’s masterpiece on the domed ceiling:  “The Apotheosis of Washington, a fresco painting of the first President depicted as a god among angels.”

Dome

The staffer ushers Caroline past a sign—“No Visitors Beyond This Point”—and up the stairs to the congressman’s personal office in the Capitol building.

No Visitors

Inside the congressman’s office, Caroline admires the view of the National Mall from the balcony.

View

You’ll have to read the book if you want to find out how Caroline’s night ends. Or visit DC By The Book to see if the excerpt has been posted and mapped.

FrontCover-Final-300dpiA lot of the action in CONCRETE EVIDENCE, by our own Rachel Grant, takes place in DC. One of my favorite scenes is a romantic moonlit walk through the presidential memorials along the Tidal Basin:

Holding hands, Erica and Lee “walked in the darkness around the basin. She managed to drop his hand before they reached the Jefferson Memorial, and he could feel her build a barrier between them until it was as solid as the marble columns surrounding the statue of the nation’s third president.”

Carol M. Highsmith

Carol M. Highsmith

Be sure to check out this mash-up of literature, history, geography and technology: DC by the Book

But before you go, dear Reader, share your favorite setting for fiction. And K&T authors, tell us about your favorite places to set the novels you write.

Comment for a chance to win

CONCRETE EVIDENCE (Kindle or Nook).

The lucky winner will be announced on Thursday!

Happy exploring!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!

Firework Spectacular

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY FROM K&T!!!

Be sure to stop by on Tuesday, July 9, when Sharon Wray hosts the author of the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series–Larissa Reinhart!

What’s in your beach bag? Summer reading with K&T…

Fourth of July week kicks off one of my favorite annual rituals: summer reading. There’s something about the hot days and slower pace that has me eagerly sliding books off my TBR pile and into my oversized beach bag along with the towels and swimsuits. This summer I’ll be reading the first book of a mystery series that’s been on my TBR pile forever, re-reading an old classic, and trying something completely different.

Here’s a peek at what’s in my bag:

Krista's Pool Bag

Baltimore Blues (The First Tess Monaghan Novel) by Laura Lippman

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop by Adam Bradley

But that’s not nearly enough for the whole summer so I asked my K&T blogmates to help me out by sharing their summer reading plans. To get a more complete picture, I also wanted to know about their favorite summer reading spots. Hope you have a pencil and paper handy to jot down these great suggestions 🙂

SARAH ANDRE

Criminal by Karin Slaughter

Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones

When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak

Sarah’s fav reading spot: on the back porch in the morning (before it gets too hot) or sofa after dinner instead of TV.

RACHEL GRANT

Hush by Carey Baldwin

Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Rush by Joan Swan

Rachel’s fav reading spot: usually in bed, but I’m looking forward to trying out the hammock my husband thinks I bought for him.

SHARON WRAY

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (July 2013)

Shadow of the Crown by Patricia Bracewell

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Bringing Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Sharon’s fav reading spot: any place where I can be alone, and during the summer that means in the car waiting for kids to finish their activities. But when I was a teenager, I lived on a lake and had a sunfish sailboat which I would take out in the morning, anchor in the middle of lake, and read for hours by myself. It was Heaven!

MANDA COLLINS

Unseen by Karin Slaughter

The Ninth Girl by Tami Hoag

Lost by S.J. Bolton

Manda’s fav reading spot: piled up in bed with my cats and dog!

GWEN HERNANDEZ

Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare

Aftershock by Jill Sorenson

Moonshell Beach by JoAnn Ross

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Gwen’s fav reading place:  under a tree by the water on a mild, sunny day.  Usual reading spot: either standing at the kitchen table during my lunch, or–when I can grab a few minutes–sitting in my favorite chair in the extra room at the front of the house that no one else uses but me.

LENA DIAZ

Grave Danger by Rachel Grant

The Cursed by Alyssa Day

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

Games People Play by Shelby Reed

Lena’s fav reading spot: on the couch with a pillow, a blanket, and a glass of ice-cold Diet Dr. Pepper.

CAREY BALDWIN

The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan (July 15, 2013)

 Six Years by Harlan Coben

 Ashes, Ashes They All Fall Dead by Lena Diaz (September 2013)

 Why Dukes Say I Do by Manda Collins (July 30, 2013)

Carey’s fav reading spot: on the treadmill, with my ears. I’m turned on to audiobooks now and I can’t go back. 

DIANA BELCHASE recommends….

(Check out DianaBelchase.com for reviews)

Under His Nose by Candice Gilmer

Hush by Carey Baldwin

Last Refuge by Marcia Talley

All the books by K&T authors (check out the book covers on the right)

Diana’s fav reading spot: on the swing that hangs from the giant sycamore in my front yard.

Still looking for more titles? Check out the RITA Award nominees for best romantic suspense of the year: 2013 RITA Nominees

BTW, my fav reading spot: sprawled on the wicker couch on my screened porch with the fan blowing full blast, the cicadas kicking up a ruckus, and an ice cold popsicle in my hand.

What book is in your beach bag? And where’s your fav reading spot?

whitehouse 119Happy summer reading!!

The Perks of Being a Beauty & Drawing The Line Novella Winners!!!

Thanks for joining us for Novella Week on K&T!

The lucky winners of THE PERKS OF BEING A BEAUTY are… Connie Fischer, Maureen, and Kieran Kramer. Congratulations, Ladies!

Perks of Beign a Beauty

And the lucky winners of DRAWING THE LINE are…Kim, Jenna Blue and Chris Bails!

Portrait of young attractive happy amorous couple in bedroom

Congratulations!!! To claim your e-books, please contact us at contact@kissandthrill.com to let us know where to send them. Remember we must hear from you in 10 days to qualify. Happy reading!

Be sure to stop by on Monday, June 24 when Gwen Hernandez hosts NYT bestselling author Laura Griffin with a guest post!

Exposed

Kimberly Kincaid’s Novellas Make Dangerous Delicious

Kimberly Kincaid

I first heard Kimberly Kincaid’s name when we were both 2011 Golden Heart nominees, and more recently when she released the first two novellas in her Line series. When I mentioned to my blogmates that I’d like to invite Kimberly to K&T, Sharon Wray told me she adores Kimberly. And after reading Kimberly’s novellas, I adore her too.

These novellas remind me of the most delicious artisan chocolates. They are beautifully crafted, packed with unique flavors, and intensely satisfying. And unlike those artisan chocolates I love, these are guilt-free treats! Read one Kimberly Kincaid novella and you’re going to want to gobble up—um, read the rest of them. Kimberly’s heroines are foodies—a personal chef and a chef/owner of a local diner—and her heroes are cops. A suspense thread originating in LOVE ON THE LINE drives the action in her newest novella DRAWING THE LINE.

Portrait of young attractive happy amorous couple in bedroom

DRAWING THE LINE

When Detective Jason Morgan is tasked with keeping a local restaurant owner safe as part of a make-or-break case, he rises to the challenge. The job is his first priority, and he owes it to the memory of his father, a detective killed in the line of duty, to do it at any cost. But Jason never expected Serenity Gallagher to be so beautiful, so serious…or so tough to protect.

Serenity has moved from place to place at the whim of her capricious mother all her life. The last thing she wants is to leave the diner she finally calls home, even if it means being stuck with a sexy blue-eyed detective. But she’s the only witness to a horrible crime, and the man behind it wants her very, very dead. Going into protective custody means survival, no matter how much Serenity hates hiding.

As Jason and Serenity bide their time together, they are shocked to discover they have much more in common than the surface reveals. But keeping her safe is Jason’s number one priority, no matter how much he’s drawn in by the woman beneath the witness, and Serenity’s past makes it difficult to trust. As the stakes get higher and the spark burns hotter, can Jason and Serenity draw the line?

I love Kimberly’s novellas so much that I’m giving away Kindle e-books of DRAWING THE LINE to three commenters. But first let’s pick Kimberly’s talented and highly imaginative brain.

Writing and cooking…

For me, they honestly go hand in hand. I was raised in a family where food is definitely love, and we cook to show affection and caring. This is something I try to translate into each of my books, albeit in different ways. So whether my characters are cooking to soothe themselves through rough emotions (Serenity does this in DRAWING THE LINE) or to nurture the ones they care for (Violet, in LOVE ON THE LINE), there’s always a little food to go with the love in my books!

Love On The Line

The first time I cooked…

My mom has always had an open-kitchen policy, so I was young! But the first thing I remember ever cooking pretty much on my own was Hamburger Helper. I think I was maybe eleven. Now we make our own version of cheeseburger macaroni at my house…just without the box 🙂

The best dinner party ever…

Has good friends, good food, and good spirits! It can be a lobster boil on the beach or a black tie affair. Dinner parties don’t need to be fancy to sustain people. Some of the best dinner parties I’ve ever had have been on a picnic blanket with my kids. For me, it’s about the gathering, and the simple celebration of whatever food you’ve got. Everything else is extra.

Opening Lines: “Having spent half her life in one restaurant or another, Serenity Gallagher had seen just about everything a professional kitchen had to offer. Except for a body on the floor. That was definitely new.”

Recipes…

Making up your own recipes is a little daunting at first, I admit. But here’s the crux of it: Nothing’s written in stone. I use some age-old recipes that have been handed down to me, I use new recipes that I find online and in books, and I make things up as I go. Sometimes I combine one or all of these methods. Cooking is about the journey. Sometimes, we get lost! But it’s okay to start over when that happens. It’s what the pizza guy is for!

In my spare time…

I’m laughing, because I don’t think I have any. But… in my spare time, I read (of course), cook (you know it was coming), take my kids to the library, watch action movies with my husband, study martial arts and shop for shoes. Not necessarily in that order.

The next book I write…

I’ve got two in the works right now (one is getting “The End” today!) The third “Line” novella, OUTSIDE THE LINES, which features Dr. Blake Fisher, the sexy-serious ER doc who has appeared in the other two “Line” novellas, and a fourth novel to go with my Kensington PINE MOUNTAIN series which debuts with a full length novel  TURN UP THE HEAT in March. After that, I’m looking at a few other projects. There may or may not be firefighters on the horizon. I plead the fifth 🙂

Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Visit her any time at www.kimberlykincaid.com or come check her out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/kimberly.kincaid1) and Twitter (@kimberlykincaid).

Tell us about your best dinner party ever for a chance to win Kimberly Kincaid’s novella DRAWING THE LINE! Three winners will be announced on Friday! Plus the three winners of Manda Collin’s novella THE PERKS OF BEING A BEAUTY!

Winner of NIGHTWATCHER…..

And the winner of the autographed copy of NIGHTWATCHER by Wendy Corsi Staub is

TRISHJ

Congratulations, Trish J!

Please go to the Contact Page to send us your U.S. mailing address within the next 10 days.

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Multi-published RS author Colleen Thompson joins us next Tuesday and will be giving away a copy of her newest release RELENTLESS PROTECTOR to one lucky commenter.

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