Category Archives: debut
Posted by Sarah Andre
All nine of us are up here and the champagne is overflowing!
Welcome, friends, as we celebrate blog-mate and close friend, Sharon Wray on her debut day. Every Deep Desire is book one in her Deadly Force series and a novel that garnered her one of eight RWA Golden Heart® nominations.
Like most things Sharon undertakes (studying wedding dress design in the couture houses of Paris, a mother of twins, a librarian and astounding photographer) she added her unique flair to the modern day romantic suspense. Every Deep Desire is a sweeping saga of haunted pasts, tortured secrets, epic yearning and a love that transcends all. K&T members thought this blog post should reflect a unique approach as well, so we’ve each participated in the interview. Grab some bubbly and join us!
Need-to-know questions from the great interviewer, James Lipton; “Inside the Actors Studio”:
- What is your favorite word? Grace.
- What is your least favorite word? Hurry.
- What turns you on? Politeness.
- What turns you off? Bad breath.
- What sound or noise do you love? Garden water fountains.
- What sound or noise do you hate? Barking dogs.
- What is your favorite curse word? Damn.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Home organizer.
- What profession would you not like to do? Anything where I have to drive.
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “I missed you.”
When did you know you wanted to write novels, and when did you actually begin writing?
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 (my twins were four), I started reading romance novels again to help offset some of the grief. After reading Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dark Prince by Christine Feehan, and Letters to Kelly by Suzanne Brockmann, I decided I wanted to write a novel myself. Except I had no idea how so I joined RWA in March 2, 2004. My debut novel comes out March 6, 2018.
This modern retelling of Romeo and Juliette is fascinating. How did Shakespeare influence you to create your strong heroine?
It was a trip to Verona and a guide took us to see the city’s most famous celebrities: Romeo and Juliet. We went to Juliet’s courtyard and Romeo’s palazzo, and she told us the history of this famous story. A history that included six earlier sources of the love story, including a mention in Dante’s Divine Comedy. But the detail that caught my attention was that she kept calling the story Giulietta and Romeo.
Apparently, in all of the prior source material that Shakespeare used, Juliet was the protagonist. The story belonged to the heroine!
When I got home, I read translations of all of the source material and studied the literary criticisms. Shakespeare had not only made Juliet the main protagonist, but that it was the first time in all of his works that a woman was the hero of a play. The reason why deserves a blog post all its own, but when you study the text you can see that Juliet is given half of all of Romeo’s sonnets. She makes plans and follows through while the men can’t control their tempers. She even kills herself like a man while Romeo uses poison—a woman’s weapon.
Up until this time, within my own work, I’d assumed that the men in my Deadly Force series were the protagonists. The men had suffered terribly—violence, combat, POW camps, etc—so why wouldn’t they be the ones who had to change the most? But when I looked at the story emotionally (like I’d studied Romeo and Juliet), I realized that my heroines had the harder journey. They might not have undergone physical suffering, but their emotional journeys came with higher risks. Once I made my heroines the protagonists, the stories came together in a way I’d never expected. And Juliet, in Every Deep Desire, took me on a journey that left my breathless and exhausted. And all of the work to rewrite the books has been worth it.
Do you believe in serendipity? Your career (and how massively busy you are writing, editing and promoting the 3-book deal) is taking off just as your kids headed off for college. Is this the perfect time or do you wish you were well into your publishing career?
While part of me would like to already have ten books on the shelf, the truth is I wouldn’t have been willing to give up the time with my family that that would’ve required. I do think that God’s timing is perfect. Now that my twins are in college, I have the freedom to work, each day, as long as want. For the first time in 18 years, my time is my own and I’m spending almost every waking hour writing or with my husband.
What authors have been your greatest influence? And why?
I know the Bronte sisters are a clichéd choice, but clichés don’t become what they are for no reason. When I was in sixth grade I started Jane Eyre on Thursday morning and finished it on Friday at one a.m. When I woke up at noon on Friday, I started Wuthering Heights and stayed up all night, not finishing it until almost four a.m. Then I crashed. When I woke up later on Saturday, I remember going downstairs and feeling . . . different. I felt awake. I realized that life was much larger, and far more dangerous and exciting, than I’d ever thought possible. And the realization that I, too, might grow up and fall in love filled me such wonder and joy, I could barely breathe.
Tell us a bit about the overall story line for the series.
The Deadly Force series: Where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines redeem Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.
The series is about a team of ex-Special Forces soldiers, accused of vicious war crimes, who are desperate to prove their innocence and find their enemies before they attack again. As these men struggle to rebuild their lives and redeem their honor, it’s the women they love who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.
What is the tentative schedule for deadlines and publishing dates?
Every Deep Desire, March 6, 2018 (today!)
One Dark Wish, (book 2) is currently in revision and I hope to finish soon. This book is tentatively scheduled for publication January 2019.
Deadly Force 3, (book 3) is due September 1. (Yikes!!!!) Title and publication dated TBD. I just call this one DF3. (Poor, untitled DF3. LOL.)
You, of all people, know what patience and perseverance means in this business. Do you have any advice for writers still waiting for ‘the call’?
Two things in particular: I wasted so much time wondering “if” it would ever happen that I wish I could go back and tell myself to worry less and laugh more. If you begin as you wish to proceed, things will work out eventually. Maybe not the way you expected, or in the time frame you wanted, but usually even better than you’d hoped. So write every day as if you’re published. Take classes, learn your craft, and build your network of writing friends. That way, when the time comes, you’re ready.
The second thing is an order from Winston Churchill. And for our purposes, the enemy is our own self doubt:
“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Sharon, we all wish you an unforgettable debut day and a bestselling series!
Thanks so much, Sarah, for hosting me today. It’s such an amazing thing to celebrate my debut with my Kiss and Thrill sisters.
He’s taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves
Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.
It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…
BUY LINKS: (Please don’t forget to help a debut author out by leaving a review!)
Posted by Diana Belchase
Romantic Suspense author, Lena Diaz has swept nearly every major published book award this year. This comes as no surprise. The author of more than 18 books, Lena has always been a favorite among judges of great literature, and most of her books have been nominated or been winners.
But this year her nominations are exceptional. Look at this incredible list:
Deep Cover Detective is a finalist in the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.
No Exit is a finalist for the 2017 Holt Medallion award.
Hostage Negotiation is a finalist in the Romantic Suspense Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice Award.
Arresting Developments is a finalist in the Series Action Adventure Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice award.
Deep Cover Detective is a finalist in the Series Action Adventure Category of the 2017 Carolyn Readers Choice award.
A total of four books up for five national book awards! In the book biz this is something that gives all of us the vapors, as Southern girls like to say. 😉
A former Navy Brat, Lena’s books have authenticity, action, and heat. They have been translated in to German, Turkish, Japanese, and Norwegian and have been sold in many countries including the USA, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, France, Australia, Holland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Mexico, Turkey, and Italy.
More than the awards listed here, and the dozens of awards Lena has won over the years (for a partial list click HERE), is the role she plays in the writing community. She is always there with a supportive word, a can do spirit, and she’ll go out of her way to help everyone, even newcomers. There are few like her and I’m so very proud to know her.
Congratulations to Lena Diaz from everyone here at Kiss and Thrill!
Posted by Sarah Andre
Congratulations to WINNERS: Nan Dixon, Erika Kelly and Janice Hougland! All three of you have won a digital copy of RACE THE DARKNESS, by Abbie Roads. Thanks for commenting on Tuesday and celebrating her debut. Please click the CONTACT US page and let me know the email address of where you’d like your copy sent. -Sarah Andre
RACE THE DARKNESS (excerpt)
They weren’t going to make it.
Not unless he suddenly sprouted blue tights and a red cape. The hope of escape morphed into despair and resignation and finally reckless pissed-off-ness. No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned, and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate up the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain.
That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn’t be on the verge of death. Again.
The truck kept coming—now twenty-five feet away.
Everything slowed, happening as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh…dum. Pause. Duh…dum. Pause.
His life didn’t flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen’s future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes devoid of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plunked itself down inside his heart and wouldn’t leave.
He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over. It all could’ve gone so differently if he’d only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.
The air changed, displaced by the truck only a few feet from them. Heat from the engine blasted his face, smelling of burning oil, gasoline, and a scent reminiscent of popped corn. He locked eyes with the bitch behind the wheel. Her pudgy lips ripped back over her teeth in a snarling scream.
Xander knew anger—his best friends were fury and rage—but the look on the bitch’s face went beyond mere anger all the way to unholy.
The truck imploded.
The sound was supersonic, a resonation that rippled through his skin and muscle to rattle his bones and shake the earth underneath his feet. Metal and glass and fire shot outward, skyward, backward, in a near-perfect arc of destruction. Flaming debris rained around them.
He stood there holding Isleen, watching it happen, not believing the message his eyes sent to his brain.
“What the…?” The last of the truck parts hit the ground. The pieces burned. That’s all that was left—pieces. Nothing touched them, like they resided under an invisible dome of protection.
He glanced down at Isleen for an answer, but she was unconscious, her head lolling so limply on her neck that it looked as if he was carrying a corpse.
Today is DEBUT DAY for my insanely talented author-friend, Abbie Roads. RACE THE DARKNESS is the first book in her ‘Fatal Dreams’ series, and mark my words- she is launching like a superstar. Note the date and where you first heard her name mentioned, folks, because I’m introducing you to a future bestseller!
To celebrate this exciting occasion I’m giving away three digital copies of her debut romantic suspense to three lucky commenters. Even if it’s a “congratulations, Abbie,” consider yourself in the running. 🙂
Check out her book trailer:
For more on Abbie Roads, please visit her Social Media Links: