Category Archives: Guest blog

Mary Behre’s SPIRITED Debut!

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It is my extreme pleasure and honor to introduce my dear friend, debut Paranormal Romantic Suspense author, MARY BEHRE (pronounced Merry Berry–isn’t that too cute?) to you today!

Not only is Mary a truly selfLESS, sweet, giving, nurturing, amazing person, she is also a rather  incredible author.

Just look at some of the reviews pouring in for her first novel, SPIRITED, which debuts today!

“This mix of romance, ghostly visions and unexpected danger is unbelievably fun and thrilling!” –4Stars RT Book Reviews

“…a fast paced story that made me lose track of the time…” 4 1/2 Stars Top Pick, Night Owl Reviews

“Behre’s exuberant debut paranormal romance is lighthearted and easygoing, with a slow-moving subplot that promises to spark future books.” –Publishers Weekly

“I loved Spirited and can’t wait to see what Behre will do next. She has an incredible talent and is a great new voice in romantic suspense that will most definitely have me coming back for more.”  ~herding cats & burning soup

“Spirited is an intriguing blend of romance, mystery and ghosts to keep you up late at night.”New York Times bestseller Dianna Love

“Great! A real-page turner. Be prepared, once you sit down to read, you won’t want to get up until you’ve finished the book.” – NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lynsay Sands

A sweet, funny, sexy debut!” – Deadly Games Series author Lena Diaz 🙂

“Rich with mystery, hot romance, and sneaky humor… No magic crystal ball is needed to foresee this writer is bursting with talent! –  Author of Games People Play & The Fifth Favor, Shelby Reed

Isn’t that terrific???? I can’t remember the last time I saw such glowing reviews for a brand new author. Here’s the cover–which I adore!–for SPIRITED, along with the back cover copy.

Spirited_Cover

She’s running from who she is…

All Jules Scott wants is to live a normal, quiet life–preferably one that doesn’t include ghosts. Jules’s ability for communicating with the dead has brought her nothing but trouble. Despite her best efforts, needy spirits always find her and draw her into their otherworldly drama. When one implicates her in a series of deadly crimes, she may need to entrust her secrets to the person least likely to believe her…

He’ll do whatever it takes to catch her.

Detective Seth English can’t get distracted from the big case he’s working on, not even by his alluring new neighbor. He doesn’t believe that Jules had anything to do with the string of robberies-turned-murders that he’s investigating, but when she keeps showing up in all the wrong places, his gut tells him she knows more than she’s letting on. To solve his case, he’ll need to expose what the sexy redhead is hiding–no matter how impossible the truth may be…

Now let’s get to know Mary a little better…

LD: What’s your favorite food?

MB: Chocolate, of course!

LD: What three books influenced you the most in life?

MB: I love this question!

Dr. Seuss’s HORTON HATCHES THE EGG had a huge influence both on my childhood and my philosophy of life. Here was an elephant doing what the entire world thought was ridiculous because he’d made a promise. In the end, the universe rewarded his honesty, his hard work and his faithfulness. “And it should be, it Should be, IT SHOULD BE like that. Because Horton was faithful, he sat and he sat.”

Another book that heavily influenced my life was Agatha Christie’s THE MIRROR CRACK’D FROM SIDE TO SIDE. I’d read a number of Miss Marple books  but this was the first one where I figured out who did it on page thirty-eight. It wasn’t because the book was poorly written, quite the opposite. I’d simply adopted Miss Marple’s habit of comparing a mystery to life as I knew it. And I figured out who did it and why. Ooh, I felt so brilliant that day. I thought for sure, I’d guess the culprit in all of her other books as quickly. I didn’t but I did learn to pay attention to details in books and movies.

Finally, the most recent book to add to my list of most influential books of my life is Suzanne Brockmann’s INTO THE STORM. Shortly after my second child was born, my sister handed me her copy of the book while my baby napped. I couldn’t put it down. Suddenly, I’d found a genre that I could really see myself writing. Sexy, fun, and suspenseful!

LD: When you’ve had a rough week, what’s your go –to book or movie or activity to relieve stress?

MB: For a long time, my go-to movie was GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE with Brendan Fraser. I love the slapstick comedy. Anymore, I don’t have time to watch a lot of movies, but I must admit, between November 1st and December 31st, I’m a sucker for sappy and sometimes silly Christmas movies.

LD: What profession would you like to attempt?

MB:Tai Chi instructor. I was once on the path to become one, but then my husband moved to a small town. I could have continued my training to be an instructor, but that would have meant weekly eight-hour round trips and my children were still babies at the time. So, it wasn’t feasible.

LD: What profession would not want to attempt?

MB: Any job from which I’ve already resigned. LOL. I believe if work becomes drudgery, quit and find something you enjoy. Life’s too short to hate your job.

LD: What sound or noise do you love?

MB: Military jets in the skies over Virginia Beach. When September 11th happened, all the jets were grounded. It was an eerie quiet that night.

LD: What’s a fact most people couldn’t guess about you?

MB: I have three tattoos; a frog, a dream catcher and a pink ribbon. Each one represents a significant change in my life or the life of a loved one.

LD: Vampire, werewolf, zombie, ancient warrior, cowboy, or ghost?

MB: GHOST! I love suspense but I love paranormal too. There’s a ghost in almost every story I write.

LD: What subgenre do you write?

MB: Technically, I write paranormal romance, but it’s really paranormal romantic suspense. Ever story has humor, suspense and a psychic love-connection.

LD: What’s your writing schedule like?

MB: I write Monday through Friday from nine am until five pm. Since I have a family with young children, it’s imperative I be available to spend time with them at night and on the weekends. Although, when I’m under a tight deadline, I have been known to write all night long.

LD: In one word, describe your perfect day.

MB: Beach

LD: Where can readers find you in the next six months? (Conferences and/or book signings)

MB: I’m all over the place!

March 8, 2014: Books-A-Million in Fredericksburg, VA for my book launch party

March 22, 2014: Turn The Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, MD where I’ll be doing a book signing with Tracey Anne Warren, Erika Robuck, Addison Fox, Cat Johnson, and NORA ROBERTS!

April 12, 2014: Lady Jane Salon Silver Spring, in Bethesda, MD

April 27, 2014: Kensington Day of the Book, Kensington, MD

May 14-18, 2014: RT Booklovers Convention, New Orleans, LA

June 27-28, 2014: Frederick Book Festival, Frederick, MD

July 23-26, 2014: RWA National Convention, San Antonio, TX

LD: Where can people find you on the internet?

http://twitter.com/MaryBehre

http://facebook.com/MaryBehre.Author

http://MaryBehreBooks.com

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Buy Links!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Spirited-Tidewater-Novel-Mary-Behre-ebook/dp/B00EOAS0BS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392366207&sr=8-2&keywords=spirited

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirited-mary-behre/1116561037?ean=9780425268612

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=5649170482822&query=Mary+Behre&where=All&search.x=0&search.y=0

Leave a comment or question for Mary to be eligible for a drawing to win a free ebook copy (Nook or Kindle, winner’s choice) of SPIRITED! Please check back on Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

Melissa Cutler wants to know: What’s on your bucket list?

SecretAgentSecretaryIf you love romantic suspense, but are in the mood for something shorter than the average 400-page book—and you’ve already finished all of Lena Diaz’s Intrigues—consider picking up Melissa Cutler’s latest: SECRET AGENT SECRETARY. It’s action-packed, sexy, fun, and full of twists.

Want to learn more? Melissa gives you the whole scoop below. And be sure to look for the giveaway. 😉 Take it away, Melissa…

What’s on Your Bucket List?

Melissa Cutler Author PhotoMelissa Cutler here, and I’m so excited to be on Kiss and Thrill today talking about SECRET AGENT SECRETARY, my latest action-adventure romance from Harlequin. In the book, the heroine, Avery, is obsessed with spy movies and books. She has a crush on James Bond, a 911 Porche Carrera that she’s named Nikita, and cats named Aston and Martin. She also has a bucket list of things she wants to do or accomplish before she kicks the bucket.

Tops on that list is assisting in the capture of a criminal mastermind. Also on the list is driving a powerful, dangerous man crazy with desire for her and to own her very own spy gadget. With a little help from jaded, brooding black ops agent Ryan Reitano, she just might get to cross some of those items off her list throughout the story…

Until two years ago, I only had one item on my personal bucket list: to become a published author. Done! Ever since I earned my first publishing contract, I’ve been debating what should go on my new bucket list. And though I have a bunch of ideas, I haven’t put them in any kind of order yet.

Traveling tops my list. Presently, I’ve been to more countries in the world than states in the United States. I can’t decide if I’d like to reverse that statistic or widen the gap. Pretty much, I’d like to go EVERYWHERE. Traveling to Australia, Japan, and Brazil would be dreams come true, but I’d also like to visit Hawaii and cruise the Mississippi.

Giveaway: Do you have a bucket list? What’s on it? Leave a comment and be entered to win either a digital or print copy of TEMPTED INTO DANGER, the first book in my ICE: Black Ops series. (SECRET AGENT SECRETARY is book 2) Unfortunately, I can only open this giveaway up to U.S. residents. Sorry about that!
[Be sure to check back Thursday to see if you won! ~ Gwen]

Book Blurb:

Tops on Avery Meadows’s bucket list is assisting in the capture of an international criminal mastermind…from the safety of her desk as an ICE Agency secretary. She’s obsessed with everything secret agent-y, but being the daughter of grassroots pacifist leaders has left her with a mountain of guilt about it. But when, on New Year’s Eve, fate catapults her into the arms of sexy, soft-spoken Ryan Reitano—an undercover ICE agent with dangerous secrets he’s desperate to hide—Avery’s dream of saving the world takes on a whole new twist…

SECRET AGENT SECRETARY is Now Available Everywhere:

Amazon   B&N   Walmart   iTunes   Kobo   Harlequin

Read Chapter One on Melissa’s website.

Here’s a scene from SECRET AGENT SECRETARY:

Who knew where Avery would be by the time he returned? She should be enrolling in the ICE academy, or the FBI. Even if she stayed in San Diego, the odds of a woman like her staying single for long were not in his favor. If the male gender had any kind of clue, they’d be lining up for miles hoping to catch her eye. The realization added a new level of frustration to his already despairing heart. He’d never ask her to wait for him; he’d never hold her back like that.

But, damn it all, he wanted to. He wanted to be her shepherd through this dangerous world she dreamed of being a part of. He wanted to be everything she needed to embrace how strong and capable she truly was. He wanted to help her fly.

She flattened against the car and smoothed her palm over his cheek. In her eyes, he read tenderness, desire. Need that mirrored his own. He stepped into her, pinning her against the car with his hips. Her smiling lips parted on a hungry sigh.

“You’re going to kiss me,” she whispered so softly that if his gaze weren’t already transfixed on her lips, he might’ve thought he’d imagined it.

He brushed his hand along her jaw, past her ear and into her hair. He brought their faces together, breathing into each other, noses rubbing. “Yeah, I am.”

A tilt of her head and her lips skimmed his lower lip with a touch so feathery light a ripple of electricity washed over his skin. A growl of pleasure rose up from his throat like he was some sort of damn animal, but he couldn’t temper the intensity of his hunger for her. To take her and make her his.

Her eyes cracked open and met his gaze. And it was the strangest thing because it was like she was looking inside him, at the real Ryan that he only showed to maybe a handful of people the world over. He hadn’t even meant to show that side of himself to her, but she’d stripped his defenses handily, effortlessly, by stripping off her own defenses and inviting him into her world, to bear witness to the glories of her spirit.

He felt like he could hang in that moment with her forever, hip to hip, nose to nose, getting high off the knowledge that they were going to put their mouths on each other and it was going to be fireworks.

With Avery, everything was fireworks.

*  *  *

My thanks to Kiss and Thrill Blog for hosting me today. I love hearing from readers and am really easy to find at www.melissacutler.net, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ), and Twitter (@m_cutler). And you can always email me at melissa@melissacutler.net or sign up for my newsletter (http://www.melissacutler.net/newsletter/ ) to find out about my latest books and upcoming events.

Bio: Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world, dividing her time between her dual passions for writing sexy contemporary romances and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense for Harlequin, Penguin, and Kensington Books. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she’s not globetrotting, she’s enjoying Southern California’s flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.

Julie Ann Walker Celebrates Romantic Suspense!

Julie Ann Walker

Today I am thrilled to welcome Julie Ann Walker back to Kiss and Thrill! The eagerly anticipated 5th book in Julie’s Black Knights, Inc. series released Tuesday, and I’m pretty sure her wonderful fans have already devoured it and are deluging her with requests for the next book. Fortunately for all of us at Kiss and Thrill, Julie has compiled a list of favorite authors to tide us over until book 6!

If you haven’t read Julie’s series yet, but don’t want to start with book 5, here is your chance to get caught up – she’s is giving away print copies of books 1-4 to one lucky commenter!

And now, I’m delighted to hand the blog over to the fabulous and talented Julie Ann Walker!

Let’s Celebrate Romantic Suspense!

AKA: The Authors Who Inspired Me to Write in the Genre

I’ve been wanting to do a shout-out to my fellow romantic suspense authors for quite some time now.  And what better place to do that than here on Kiss and Thrill, the blog dedicated to, run by, and specializing in the RS genre.  (Hi, ladies!  *waves*  Thanks for having me back!)  Because, truly, those of us who write romantic suspense first started out reading romantic suspense.  We fell in love with the action, the mystery, the mayhem, the thrill and chills and, of course, the sexy times.  *wink*  And while I adore the work of all the ladies here on the Kiss and Thrill site – seriously, if you haven’t picked up their books, you’re truly missing out – I wanted to dedicate this particular blog to some of the authors who pioneered the way for us, those wonderful writers who’ve been plugging away in the genre for years, sometimes decades.  I thought I’d do that by listing my top five favorite romantic suspense authors – in no particular order – adding why I love their writing and how they inspired my own.

So, without further ado…

1.)  Sandra Brown

Sandra has been writing romantic suspense since before romantic suspense was even considered a sub-genre.  (Not to give away her age or anything.  It’s obvious she started writing as a fetus.  *winces*  Hi, Sandra!)  But, the thing that always intrigues me about Sandra’s books are her intensely flawed heroes.  I adore them.  They’re unique.  They’re angst-y.  And above all else, they’re real.

2.)  Elizabeth Lowell

Can you say delicious prose, boys and girls?  Because Elizabeth does it like no other.  Rich descriptions, tasty metaphors, scrumptious word choices.  I fall in love with her sentence structures.  Plus, Elizabeth’s books are always a like mini college classes in 400 pages or less.  Her research is phenomenal.  And to read one of her books is to get a crash course in everything from the emerald trade to the collection of old tintypes.  So. Much. Fun!

3.)  Linda Howard

Talk about a pioneer.  Linda’s  first single title was published in 1982!  Her books are always filled to the brim with adventure, intrigue, daring heroes, dauntless heroines, and intensely despicable villains. I like to say Linda writes romantic suspense in its purest, most distilled form. Her books epitomize the genre. I suppose that’s why she’s so long-lasting, eh?  Go, Linda!

4.)  Suzanne Brockmann

Oh, be still my heart.  Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series is the entire reason I started reading the genre.  And the thing that most inspires me about Suzanne is that she’s a rule-breaker.  She writes from multiple points of view – something not done until recently.  One of her heroes is gay – something still frowned upon in some circles.  Her books usually have two love stories – something that editors will tell you is a no-no.  The list of ways she’s pushed the envelope goes on and on.  But my point is, not only does she break the rules, but she does it beautifully, eloquently, masterfully.

5.)  Lora Leigh

Oh, Lora, Lora, Lora!  *fans self*  Does she know how to write one smokin’ hot book, or what?  If you’re a Shades of Grey fan, but like some hard-core action between your titillating sex scenes, then Lora is the gal for you!  She takes romantic suspense to the next level on the heat scale.  Her characters’ chemistry practically sets the pages on fire.  Be sure to set the screen level brightness on your eReader to dim, or else the words might just burn out your retinas.  LOL!

So, thanks ladies, for not only giving me great books to read, but also for giving me the inspiration to pen my own works!  You all rock!

And with that, I’m outa here!  A resounding huzzah to the gals at Kiss and Thrill for having me back.  It’s always such a treat!

One lovely commenter will win print copies of the first four books in my Black Knights Inc. series!  Just answer the following question:  Who is your all-time favorite romantic suspense writer and what is it that you love about their books?

Born-Wild-Book-CoverNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker dives back into action with the red-hot romantic suspense Black Knights Inc. series!  They claim they’re bad-boy bikers who own custom motorcycle shop, but these special-ops guys–a mix of Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Marines, FBI and more–handle the jobs too tough for the government to tackle.

TICK…TICK…

“Wild” Bill Reichert knows a thing or two about explosives. The ex-Navy SEAL can practically rig a bomb blindfolded. But there’s no way to diffuse the inevitable fireworks the day Eve Edens walks back into his life, asking for help…

BOOM!

Eve doesn’t know what to do when the Chicago police won’t believe someone is out to hurt her. The only place to turn is Black Knights Inc—after all, no one is better at protection than the covert special-ops team. Yet there’s also no one better at getting her all turned on than Billy Reichert. She has a feeling this is one blast from the past that could backfire big time…

PRAISE FOR BORN WILD:

One heck of a riveting plotline… Born Wild is definitely not to be missed!” —RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars

A wild roller coaster ride of a story… Nonstop action.” —Fresh Fiction

“Drama, danger and sexual tension… Romantic suspense at its best.” —Night Owl Reviews, 5/5 Stars, Reviewer Top Pick

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics, and prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor, and Twitter, @JAWalkerAuthor

To Purchase Born Wild:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Discover a New Love | iBooks | Indigo/Chapters | IndieBound | Sourcebooks

Carla Neggers: The Joys of Research

Today I’m delighted to introduce a guest post from one of my favorite authors, New York Times and USA Today bestseller, Carla Neggers. At the end of the post, look for a chance to win a ten dollar Amazon gift certificate from Kiss and Thrill. And now without further ado, here’s Carla’s wonderful guest post. Enjoy!

Neggers_Carla_11_col1-2Writing my Sharpe & Donovan series featuring FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan has allowed me to indulge my interests in art, whiskey, Ireland, the Maine coast, “my” city of Boston, sheep farming, ancient history — and food. Even FBI agents have to eat, right?

In Declan’s Cross, the third book in the series, Emma and Colin are taking a break in Ireland when Julianne Maroney, the ex-flame of Colin’s brother Andy, arrives on the south Irish coast to help set up a marine science field station. Julianne is, after all, a marine biologist. Only problem: the village Julianne has chosen is also the site of a celebrated unsolved art theft, the first of a serial art thief who for the past decade has eluded Emma, an art crimes expert, and her grandfather, art detective Wendell Sharpe. Emma and Colin are on high alert. Of all the quaint Irish villages, why did Julianne pick tiny Declan’s Cross? It can’t be a coincidence.

I love Ireland and have visited many times. My idea of “hands on” research! In fact, as I type this note, I’m tucked in a cottage on the southwest Irish coast working onHarbor Island, my next Sharpe & Donovan novel. In the name of research, I’ve sampled not only a wide variety of Irish whiskey but also many different versions of Irish rhubarb crumble. So good! I haven’t had a rhubarb crumble I don’t like. I’ve tried making it at home and, after some trial-and-error, devised my own recipe. I thought I’d share that with you.DeclansCross_188

Rhubarb Crumble

You will need:
About 4 cups of rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/8 tsp salt
12 to 14 T. butter
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a glass or ceramic baking dish and add the cut-up rhubarb. 
Sprinkle to taste with 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (as much as 2 cups if you have a sweet tooth!). 
Combine remaining sugar, flour, oats and salt. (You can use just flour or any combination of oats and flours to make about 2 cups). 
Cut in butter until you have a coarse meal (you’ll still have small pieces of butter). 
Sprinkle over the rhubarb-sugar mixture and bake for about an hour or until the rhubarb is fully cooked and the “crumble” is brown. 
Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or with whipped cream.

FYI, I prefer my rhubarb crumble with unsweetened whipped cream with a touch of pure vanilla extract. I might have to have some tonight! (I also walk a lot in Ireland!)

Enjoy, and thanks for your time. For more information on Declan’s Cross and all my other books, please drop by my website — www.carlaneggers.com — and be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Last month I included the recipe for an easy apple-spice cake. All things in moderation, but rhubarb crumble and apple-spice cake are tough to resist. Fortunately, they freeze well.
Happy reading!

 

You can also follow Carla on Facebook and Twitter
Thanks to Carla for her lovely post. We hope you’re having a wonderful time in Ireland with your ‘research’ 🙂 !
Readers, since we’re on the subject of food, please tell us if you have a favorite comfort food- mine’s cherry pie, because my mom used to make it for me from scratch, and I remember the special fun of learning to bake with her. One lucky commenter will win a ten dollar gift certificate to Amazon. 

Guest Post: What Type of Heroine Captivates You?

Misty Evans

Misty Evans

Readers: Meet Misty Evans, a multi-published author in multiple genres! Writers know there are many ways to create a realistic heroine who’s thrown into the fray of adventure. Misty explains how she came up with Anya, the heroine of the latest book in her Super Agent series: The Blood Code. Welcome, Misty!

   If I was going to cast you in the leading role of a heroine in one of my books, would you be an international spy, an FBI agent working undercover, or perhaps an everyday woman wrongly accused?

  In other words, which type of romance heroine are you? Suspense? Mystery? And would you rather star in a contemporary romance or a historical?

  I write in multiple genres, including paranormal and urban fantasy, but today I want to talk about romantic suspense and romantic mystery heroines. Do you like angst and drama? Heroes with sketchy backgrounds and no-win situations? Move over Angelina Jolie, you’re a romantic suspense heroine. You’re bold, brave, and take no prisoners. You know how to handle a gun (if only in your imagination) and can outmaneuver anyone in a car chase.

   Maybe you prefer things a little less hectic, but are thrilled to find a dead body buried in the rose garden. You like a plot that asks lots of questions and throws suspicion on everyone. You cross off the suspects one by one until you figure out it was Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the wrench. You’re a mystery heroine.

   How about contemporary versus historical? Would you rather be a heroine running a million-dollar internet start-up? Or a heroine running slaves on the Underground Railroad?

   What if you were a lost princess? You could be in a contemporary mystery or a historical romantic suspense. And what if the president of your homeland blackmailed you into returning so you could have his babies and restore a royal bloodline…would you do it?

   That’s the premise of my latest Super Agent novel, The Blood Code. The heroine, Anya, is not your typical contemporary romantic suspense heroine. At least not at the beginning. She’s not a trained undercover agent, nor does she have a clue how to outmaneuver the Russian president who wants to use her to build a new family of royals. But she’s one determined gal, and she’s not about to let the bad guy win, even if it means sacrificing her own life.

   And that’s what makes all heroines – no matter the storyline or genre – great. Each one, whether funny, angsty, or highly trained – sacrifices something during the story so that good wins over evil, and the bad guys eat dirt. Throw in a sexy hero who can help, and they’re guaranteed to save the day.

   *************

THE BLOOD CODE: Fifteen years ago, Anya Radzoya fled Russia with her grandmother after the suspicious deaths of her get-attachment (35)parents, but she can’t escape the royal genes that make her one of Russia’s last living princesses. When President Ivanov blackmails her into returning to Moscow in exchange for her grandmother’s life, Anya discovers he’s planning to unleash a nuclear war. With no one else to turn to, she joins forces with CIA operative Ryan Smith.

Undercover at the nuclear summit, Ryan recruits Anya to find proof Ivanov is resurrecting the Cold War, but he suspects his new asset is a double agent. Anya is determined to rescue her grandmother with or without his help, however, and Ryan finds himself falling for the beautiful princess before he even trusts her.

Trapped inside the Kremlin with a cunning and ruthless opponent, the two must risk their lives and their hearts to save Anya’s grandmother as well as millions of innocent people.

Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent series as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy theories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When her muse lets her on the internet to play, she’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more about her stories at www.readmistyevans.com Or visit these booksellers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/17SI9l5

B&N: http://bit.ly/18N2UOD

iBookstore: http://bit.ly/18PHoWM

Kobo: http://bit.ly/14MO43Q

So how about it, readers? What type of romance heroine would you be and why? One commenter will win a blingy tiara keychain (US only, please) and another will win a copy of their choice of my super agent books (US and International)!

Amanda Brice’s 2013 Summer Reading List for Tweens & Teens

Summer vacation is looming in my house. That big blank spot on the calendar, which I am woefully unprepared for. I have two kids, 13 and 10, girl and boy. Both voracious readers with very different tastes. Five more days of school, then we enter the abyss.

In a panic, I turned again to my friend, the brilliant author Amanda Brice for help. My daughter has read and loved all of Amanda’s Dani Spevak mysteries, and while I really wanted Amanda to write a few dozen more of the dance-world set mysteries before next Tuesday, that wasn’t really feasible, so instead she compiled this list of mysteries for Tweens and Teens.

We are opening up the comments today for middle grade and young adult book recommendations in any genre. On Thursday I will post a PDF of all the books recommended by Amanda as well as all the recommendations from our readers, so be sure to come back on Thursday for a library/shopping list. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Amanda’s PAS DE DEATH plus one of the books recommended by Amanda (winner’s choice) for the voracious reader in their life!

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Thank you to Rachel and the rest of the Kill & Thrill ladies for hosting me today. I had so much fun making summer reading suggestions last year, I’m delighted to make this an annual tradition. Here’s to great summer reading for years to come!

Now that school is out (or will be shortly), moms and dads across the country are faced with the task of what to do with their kids for the next 2 months or so. I can’t help you with summer camps or childcare of occupying their every waking hour, but in keeping with the suspense theme of this blog, I can help provide you with a list of awesome YA and middle grade mysteries!

These books are in no particularly order, so please don’t try to interpret it as a ranking of preference. But they are just some of my faves, and I hope they’ll come your kids’ faves, too.

For the Tweens:

Chomp by Carl Hiassen

Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle.  His father is the unpredictable one.

When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.

They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun . . .

It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”. . . .

The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

The first book in this groundbreaking multimedia series sends readers around the world on the hunt for the 39 Clues. Written by #1 NYT bestseller Rick Riordan, and backed by $100,000 in prizes!

Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her decendants an impossible decision: “You have a choice – one million dollars or a clue.”

Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world’s most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 Clues hidden around the world will reveal the family’s secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what’s important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents.

NOTE: Each of the books in this series is written by a different famous author: Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, Margaret Peterson Haddix, David Baldacci, Clifford Riley, etc.

Last Shot by John Feinstein

Steven Thomas is one of two lucky winners of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association’s contest for aspiring journalists. His prize? A trip to New Orleans and a coveted press pass for the Final Four. It’s a basketball junkie’s dream come true!

But the games going on behind the scenes between the coaches, the players, the media, the money-men, and the fans turn out to be even more fiercely competitive than those on the court. Steven and his fellow winner, Susan Carol Anderson, are nosing around the Superdome and overhear what sounds like a threat to throw the championship game. Now they have just 48 hours to figure out who is blackmailing one of MSU’s star players . . . and why.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow’s nest, being the ship’s eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there’d been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the way back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud. . . .

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor

Kids who grew up with Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy picture books can spend some quality time with their BFF: Nancy Clancy is now starring in her novels!

Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth is the first in a series of delightful middle-grade mysteries. Sassy Fancy Nancy is now a detective. When one of her classmate’s most special possessions disappears from school, it’s up to Nancy to save the day. With the help of her friend Bree, she follows the clues to an unexpected source.

Fans of Nancy Drew’s Clue Crew will be happy to see a new Nancy join the ranks of super sleuths.

Gone by Michael Grant

In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.

It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else…

For the Teens:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

Paper Towns by John Green

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers. (Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.)

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

protect the diamonds

survive the clubs

dig deep through the spades

feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

A 2005 Michael L. Printz Honor Book and recipient of five starred reviews, I Am the Messenger is a cryptic journey filled with laughter, fists, and love by the author of the extraordinary international bestseller The Book Thief.

Investigating the Hottie by Juli Alexander

Peterson. Amanda Peterson. When my life suddenly turns into the Princess Diaries meets Mission Impossible, can I do in a week what I haven’t managed to do in all my fifteen years—reel in a hottie?

When Amanda spends a week with her aunt, Christie, she learns that her aunt is a spy. Christie admits that Amanda has security clearance and has already started her training. When her aunt asks her to investigate a teenage hacker, Amanda thinks that spending time with a nerd should be doable despite her social ineptitude. Unfortunately for Amanda, the hacker is a hottie.

Also Known As by Robin Benway

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She’ll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school’s security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

Demons of the Rich and Famous by Tawny Stokes

Supernatural possession is the new “disease” and teen exorcist Caden Butcher is the cure…

Caden Butcher, known as the whiz-kid exorcist to the stars, loves the Hollywood limelight. Or at least that’s what he wants people to believe so he can earn enough cash from his high profile exorcisms to take care of his ailing father. The problem is, not everyone’s happy with Caden’s star status, particularly Remy Martin, a high ranking member of the International Order of Exorcists, who suspects the truth, that these Hollywood exorcisms are staged with the help of Caden’s demon BFF, Dan.

So when a real exorcism goes bad and a nasty demon jumps bodies, the crap hits the supernatural fan. The Order strips Caden of his exorcism license right before he discovers the unleashed demon is one he knows well, very well. This demon is hell bent on destroying Caden’s life and everyone else who gets in his way. Now with the help of his demon buddy, and Caden’s girlfriend Aspen Spencer, a necromancer in training, Caden must defy the Order, track down the rogue demon and send him back to hell before it’s too late.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

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Thank you, Amanda, for putting together such a great list! Now it’s time for me to add my own recommendation:

Pas De Death by Amanda Brice

pas de deux: (NOUN: pl. pas de deux)
1. A dance for two, especially a dance in ballet consisting of an entrée and adagio, a variation for each dancer, and a coda.
2. A close relationship between two people or things, as during an activity.

pas de death (NOUN: yeah … totally made up)
1. A dance of death.
2. When Dani Spevak stumbles over a dead body and gets into another crazy situation.

Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is back home for the summer, recovering from an injury. What was supposed to be a simple day trip into New York City to visit her friends at the Manhattan Ballet Conservatory turns deadly when Dani discovers that the world of professional dance can be cutthroat — literally.

Please give us your recommendations for teens and tweens in the comments, all genres welcome! One lucky commenter will get a copy of PAS DE DEATH and their pick of one of the books Amanda recommended.

Our Global Travesty: Black Market Adoptions

Welcome back from the long weekend, readers! A QUICK REMINDER: Only 4 more days left to bid on fabulous trips, tickets, gift baskets, autographed books, jewelry, (our Kiss and Thrill cornucopia of critiques, gift cards, books and promotional help) and so much more at Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research. Peruse and bid for a great cause http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/ and help make this the highest donating year yet!

And now back to our blog. Today, multi-published author STACY GREEN guest blogs about a topic she extensively researched for her newest release TIN GOD: the horror and prevalence of black market adoptions.

  What if you found out the child you gave up for adoption in the hopes of providing her a better life ended up sold as part of a black market adoption ring?

  Believe it or not, illegal adoption happens. When I researched this horrific crime for my plot in TIN GOD, I started calling family attorneys in the state of Mississippi, where the book is set, as well as several adoption organizations.  

Stacy Green

Stacy Green

Legally, attorneys are not allowed to charge a fee for matching a child to a set of parents. They can only charge a fee for the licensed adoption, and ONLY for the legal work.

  But the black market industry continues to grow. Illegal practices in international adoptions are becoming more and more common and some countries, like Cambodia, Vietnam, and Guatemala, are becoming a type of breeding ground for nefarious acts like buying and selling children as well as kidnapping.

  Switched and stolen babies are sold, as well as voluntarily relinquished children from unsuspecting birth parents to well-meaning adoptive parents. While some, desperate for a child, pay huge sums to brokers, others are taken in by attorneys who raise their legal fees in lieu of a finder’s fee.

  But it doesn’t just happen overseas. Fraudulent adoption happens right here in the United States. The story that inspired the idea for TIN GOD comes from a family law attorney in Jackson, Mississippi. A woman spent months posing as a social worker from various adoption agencies throughout the cities. She convinced couples to pay for her services by preying on their need to adopt and assuring them she could expedite the process. While most of them DID end up with an adopted child, this woman not only posed as a worker of an adoption agency, but scammed thousands out of innocent couples.

  Like Jaymee’s daughter in TIN GOD, these children’s records are often falsified or just plain don’t exist.

  There have been other types of cases where the mother simply didn’t inform the birth father, denying him the decision to decide whether to retain his rights.

  Georgia Tann operated one of the United States most notorious illegal adoption scams. She operated the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis and used the place as an unlicensed front for her black market sales from the 1920s until 1950. Tann used various manipulations to take children from birth parents – mostly poor, unwed mothers – and sell them to wealthy clients.

  And then there are the Cole babies. From the 1930s to the 1960, Dr. Katherine Cole is said to have placed more than 1,000 babies without legal documentation. Known as the “Cole babies,” most had a difficult time piecing together their identities, and for many, the truth was discovered after noticing that Cole listed the adoptive parents as the birth parents on the birth certificate.

  She was eventually arrested.

  The horror of black market adoptions is the backbone of my newest release TIN GOD. Tin_Gods_cover_smallOriginally, Jaymee was mourning the death of a child, but that was darker than what I wanted to write. So my critique partner and I put our heads together, and she suggested looking into illegal adoption. I didn’t realize it was so prevalent in this country, but when I started researching, I realized this would be a great plot for a book.

 

TIN GOD (A Delta Crossroads Mystery)

Getting pregnant as a teenager and being coerced into giving her baby up for adoption left a festering scar on Jaymee Ballard’s life. Trapped by poverty and without many allies, Jaymee nearly gives up hope of getting her daughter back after her best friend is murdered. Now, four years later, a wealthy woman with legal connections hires her as a housekeeper, and Jaymee gathers the courage to seek her help. But Jaymee’s last chance ends up in a puddle of blood in one of the historic antebellum mansions in Roselea, Mississippi.

I just murdered your wife…again.

 An unsigned letter consisting of six horrifying words turns Nick Samuels stagnant life upside down. Stuck in emotional purgatory since his wife’s unsolved murder four years ago, Nick is about to self-destruct. The arrival of the letter claiming credit for his wife’s murder and boasting of a new kill sends Nick to Roselea, where he and Jaymee’s worlds collide.

 Jaymee and Nick realize exposing the truth about her daughter’s adoption is the only way to solve the murders. Up against years of deception, they rush to identify the killer before the evidence–and Jaymee’s daughter–are lost.

 But the truth doesn’t always set the guilt-ridden free. Sometimes, it destroys them.

What to do if you suspect you or someone you know is a victim of black market adoption: If a parent or adoptive family believes they have been a victim of an illegal adoption, they can call their social worker, local police or FBI, or attorney general’s office.

 

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About the author

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

 

Website: www.stacygreen.net  intothedark333x500BLOGS

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Stacy Green, Author

Twitter @StacyGreen26

 

Thank you for being here today, Stacy and sharing your research on such a tragic crime.

READERS: Stacy is giving away swag for one lucky commenter.  Check back on Thursday to see if you won a TIN GOD pin, bookmark and book charm!

(Snail Mail and only in the US please.)

DARYNDA JONES: Snarky T-Shirt Saying CONTEST!

DARYNDA_JONES   That’s right, readers! Our guest blogger today is…(deep inhale, preparing to gush) the talented, funny, prolific, creative, generous, GH and RITA Award winning, best-selling author DARYNDA JONES. You know, of the super successful Charley Davidson series– the Grim Reaper who moonlights as a coffee-addicted PI and has ATTITUDE up to here? (Look up, way up!)

If you’ve read any of her books in the series you know Darynda begins each chapter with a hilariously snarky phrase–the kind you see on a bumper sticker or T-Shirt. The kind that makes you laugh out loud (for real, not LOL.) I’m delighted to welcome her today and extend her fun contest to you and all your friends- spread the word!

Write your favorite snarky saying in our comments section below. Darynda will pick her favorite one on Thursday and the winner gets a Darynda Jones novel of choice. (P.S.: She also writes a wicked-funny YA series, see details below.) Without taking up another inch of precious blog space- here’s Darynda Jones:

Avail 7/9/13

Avail 7/9/13

   Thank you to everyone at Kiss and Thrill for having me today! As a connoisseur of snarky T-shirt sayings, I thought it would be fun to list my favorites, because nothing brings a smile to the face like snark.

    I fell so in love with Julia’s Bridgerton series, and I thought it so clever that she opened each chapter with a little quip from Lady Whistledown. Then I picked up the Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi’s Spiderwick series and they did something very similar. Instead of a title for each chapter as many children’s books have, they opened with a little preview of what was about to happen, something like, ‘Chapter One: In Which More than a Cat Goes Missing.’

   I’m sure there are other authors who do this, but I fell in love with that type of subtle foreshadowing and wanted to do something similar. Only I was writing about a snarky grim reaper with trouble for a middle name. How could I incorporate that kind of fun with something that reflected Charley’s personality? Snarky T-shirts of course. And the chapter headings were born.

First-Grave-on-the-Right-tn  So here is a list of some favorites from the Charley series. In case you are wondering, most of them really and truly are T-shirt and bumper sticker-type quotes. I make up a few here and there, but not many. Can you guess which two out of this list I made up?

  • Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
  • If it has tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble.
  • What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
  • Is it sexy in here or is it just me?
  • Upon the advice of my attorney, my shirt bears no message at this time
  • Some girls wear Prada. Some girls wear Glock 17 short recoil spring-loaded semi-automatic pistols with a loaded chamber indicator and a non-slip grip.
  • Where am I going and what am I doing in this hand basket?
  • You know those bad things that happen to good people?  I’m that. 
  • Death comes to those who wait. And to those who don’t. So either way…
  • If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is NOT for you.
  • Some days you’re the cat. Some days you’re the brand new, suede leather Barcalounger.
  • Only two things in life are certain. Guess which one I am.
  • Welcome back. I see the assassins have failed.
  • Hi. I’m Trouble. I heard you were looking for me.
  • Two drinks away from girl-on-girl action.
  • When life hands you lemons say, “Lemons? What else have you got?”
  • It puts the lotion in the basket.
  • I love children, but I don’t think I can eat a whole one.
  • Jenius
  • ADD.  A lifetime of distractions.
  • Sarcasm.  Only one of the services offered.
  • When fighting clowns, always go for the juggler.
  • I may not look like much, but I’m an expert at pretending to be a ninja.

   And, yes, that is a very small sampling. The collection goes on for pages and pages. So, have you seen any great sayings lately you’d love to have on a T-shirt? One caveat: Anything you say can and will be used against you. And quite possibly in my next book.

Thanks again!  ~D~

daryndaINFO AND LINKS:

www.DaryndaJones.com www.cafepress.com/daryndajones www.facebook.com/darynda.jones.official

Check out Darynda’s YA series: Death and the Girl Next Door and Death, Doom and Detention

Okay Readers, I’ll list a few of mine and then you’re up! 🙂

    • I know the Voices in my Head Aren’t Real, But They Sure Have Some Good Ideas
    • Yet, Despite the Look on My Face You’re Still Talking
    • I’m Not Shy, I’m Holding Back My Awesomeness So I Don’t Intimidate You
    • I’m jealous of Me Too
    • You say I’m a B**ch Like it’s A Bad Thing
    • I’m Not Mean, You’re Just a Sissy