Category Archives: Gwen Hernandez

3 New Releases and a Launch Party!

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Gwen Hernandez, Rachel Grant, and Carey Baldwin all have new releases for Valentine’s Day this year. To celebrate, we’re hosting a Facebook party tonight (Feb 13th, 8-10pm EST) and tomorrow (Feb 14th, 11am-4pm EST), along with Toni Anderson and Darcy Burke.

There will be plenty of awesome giveaways, including the grand prize: an Amazon Echo, Kindle Fire, and 3-month subscription to Audible. We hope you’ll join us for the celebration!

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RSVP to make sure you get a reminder to show up. (All comments through February 14th EST are eligible to win.)

Here’s a quick peek at the new books, out tomorrow.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Stolen by Carey Baldwin

stolen-final

Is she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

Blindsided by Gwen Hernandez

BlindsidedCoverSHE’S RUNNING FOR HER LIFE
Framed for espionage, reformed hacker Valerie Sanchez has no choice but to run. Worse, when the proof of her innocence is destroyed, things turn deadly. Can she trust the sexy terrorist hunter who mysteriously turns up to protect her, or is he the real threat?

HE’S HOT ON HER TRAIL
Former Marine sniper Scott Kramer’s job was supposed to be easy. Follow the hot computer geek who stole plans for classified weapons until she meets her buyer, then let law enforcement take over. But when Valerie becomes an assassin’s target, Scott’s gut says she’s innocent. Now, he must risk his life—and his heart—to keep her safe.

Tinderbox by Rachel Grant

tinderbox-rachelgrant-finalIn the volatile tinderbox of the Horn of Africa, Morgan Adler has made the paleoanthropological find of a lifetime. The discovery brings her to the attention of a warlord eager to claim both Morgan and the fossils, forcing her to make a desperate dash to the nearby US military base to beg for protection.

Master Sergeant Pax Blanchard has orders to intercept Dr. Adler before she reaches the base, and in so doing saves her life. After a harrowing afternoon he safely delivers her to his commanders, only to find his responsibilities toward protecting the obstinate archaeologist have only just begun.

Morgan and Pax are forced to work together in the Djiboutian desert heat, but it is the fire that ignites between them that threatens to combust them both. For the Green Beret, involvement with the woman he must protect is a threat to his career, while for the archaeologist, the soldier is everything she never wanted but somehow can’t resist. When Morgan uncovers a mystery surrounding Djibouti’s most scarce and vital resource, the danger to her reaches the flashpoint. For Pax, protecting her is no longer a matter of following orders, and he’ll risk everything to bring her back alive.

 

Summer Lovin’

Boy diving into swimming pool

After surviving my first New England winter, I find myself appreciating summer even more than usual. Here are a few of my favorite things about the warm season, humidity aside.

There’s no snow!

Snow in front of house

Everything is green again.

Minuteman National Park, MA

Going to the farm for fresh produce.

Pick Your Own produce board

Farm produce

Farm produce

cherry tomatoes

Fruit!

watermelon

blueberries

With luck, a trip—or two or three—to the beach.

Shell Beach sunset

Flowers.

Flowers on farm

Sweet William flowers

Sunflowers

Being able to grow plants inside and out. (Our house is so dark in the winter that my houseplants have to crowd around the living room window just to survive.)

coleus plant

dianthus flowers

Did I mention the lack of snow?

Snow on front walk

What are some of your favorite things about summer?

Join us next week when Rolynn Anderson stops by to chat about her new book Fear Land.

Winners!

Many thanks to the awesome Nancy Allen for joining us for a fun Friday! Please come back anytime, and guys don’t forget to check out A Killing at the Creek!

9780062325969The winner of a ten dollar Starbucks gift card and choice of Nook or Kindle copy of A Killing at the Creek is: Patti Straight. Congrats to Patti! Please use the contact form to let us know your preference for Kindle or Nook and your preferred email for receipt of prizes. 

Also, thanks to everyone who stopped by last Tuesday to celebrate the release of Gwen Hernandez’s new book, Blind Ambition!

GwenHernandez_BlindAmbition_200pxThe winner of an electronic copy of Blind Ambition is kimk. Congratulations! Please use the Contact Us link above to send us your preference for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, or Kobo and include your preferred email.

Next up our very own Rachel Grant previews her new release: Incriminating Evidence and talks Second Book Syndrome. Don’t miss it!IE-frontCover-Final-r2-72dpi

Blind Ambition: Danger and kisses in the jungle

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! For my bit o’ the green this year, I’m carrying around my new release Blind Ambition.

Blind Ambition cover

What? You didn’t notice the green? 😉

In Blind Ambition, former pararescueman Dan Molina’s mission to rescue a kidnapped aid worker from St. Isidore’s rebels falls apart when the woman—who once broke his heart—refuses to leave the island.

Alexa Alyssandratos won’t leave until she’s certain the orphans she cared for are safe from the rebels. On the run from ransom-hungry soldiers, old passions reignite as she and Dan race to save the children before they disappear forever.

Running, hiding, swimming, rebel attacks, and kissing (and more) ensue.

Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, the whole “Kiss me, I’m Irish” saying got me thinking about different types of kisses. Like the undercover kiss that turns real, the shut-her/him-up kiss, and the ill-advised-but-can’t-stop kiss.

Alexa and Dan have an electric attraction that pretty much short-circuits all rational thought when they’re together, which means many of their kisses are of the the ill-advised-but-can’t-stop variety. Like this one…

She opened to him, their tongues tangling as she forgot about the cold water, the danger on shore, everything. Nothing felt like being in Dan’s arms, connected. Nothing in her life had ever even come close. They were perfect together.

Perfect in a way that scared her. A way that made her want to forget the vows she’d made and to never let him go.

Or this one…

A little shiver ran through her as he watched her with those beautiful eyes as if trying to figure her out.

Then he kissed her.

Not just a quick meeting of the lips. This was a kiss for the ages. A kiss to sustain her for the rest of her life. A devouring kiss that awakened every cell in her body and aligned them all toward Dan.

Oh, yeah, and this one…

Before he could think it through he gripped her head and pulled her into a kiss.

Her mouth met his, equally hot and hungry as their bodies melted together. She stroked the back of his neck with one hand, the other pressing him between the shoulder blades as if to bring him closer.…

…It had always been like this with them. Nonstop desire, instant heat. Zero to sixty in two seconds flat.

I promise there are plenty more where those came from. 😉

Do you have a favorite type of kiss from books or movies? I have an e-book copy of Blind Ambition to give away to one lucky commenter. Wishing you the luck o’the Irish and plenty of kisses in your life!

Super short stories of intrigue

Before I was published, I wrote one super-short extemporaneous story every week, based on a word or phrase chosen at random. Each was written quickly, with minimal revisions, to force myself to stop self-editing and just write (probably something I should start doing again).

I thought I’d share a couple of the stories that have a hint of intrigue. Enjoy!

The gun

Handgun and Hollow Points

The agent in the crisp gray suit slapped a picture onto the hood of Dustin’s truck. A bloody body lay in a tangle in the dirt, partially covered by a blanket. “This was Arnaldo Jimenez. He was 15.”

Dustin tore his eyes from the photograph and pressed on his stomach. Oh, God, he was going to throw up on the man’s shiny black shoes. Saliva filled his mouth and he covered his lips with his palm. The hot, dry air swirled around him as he took a deep breath and waited for his gut to unclench.

After he graduated he was going to move somewhere cool and humid and never come back to the desert again. Assuming he didn’t get thrown in jail.

“I didn’t know,” Dustin finally whispered, feeling lame. He should have known where the gun would go, or at least suspected it. If a kid asks you to buy beer, he’s under age. If a man asks you to buy a gun for him, he’s a criminal.

But it hadn’t been a man. It had been the hot girl from his Physics lecture.

Dustin rubbed his eyes. He would not cry. “She told me she wouldn’t pass the background check because she’d been arrested for possession of meth. Supposedly it was her brother’s, but it was found in her car. She wouldn’t flip on him, so she took the rap.”

Agent Fernandez held out another photo. “Is this her?”

Dustin’s heart sank and he nodded. Silky brown hair and lean curves mocked him. Every guy in class wanted her. He’d thought he had a chance. Fool. “She said it was for protection. That there had been some break-ins in her neighborhood.”

“Victoria Arenas-Thomas.” Fernandez shook his head. “She’s got a lot more than meth possession on her record. If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the first schmuck she’s suckered.”

Oh, right. Dustin felt so much better now. His stomach heaved and he doubled over, but he managed not to puke. His sneakers mocked him as images of the dead boy overlay the cracked asphalt of the student parking lot.

That’s when the anger kicked in. The bitch had used him and now a boy was dead at the hands of the cartel thugs that held Sonora and the rest of Mexico hostage. He couldn’t change the outcome, but he could try to prevent it from happening again.

He took a deep breath and stood to face the agent. “What can I do to help?”

Fernandez stared at him for a beat. “How are your acting skills, kid?”

Dustin thought back to his starring role in Central High’s production of Death by Chocolate. “A lot better than my taste in women.”

The agent’s lip twitched. “All right then. Give me a minute.” He pulled out a phone and walked a few steps away.

The hot sun beat on Dustin’s neck and he wiped his brow as students streamed into the parking lot from the nearby engineering building. Until three minutes ago, he’d been as innocent and naive as they were. The moron his dad always said he was.

But, maybe, just maybe, he’d do something right for a change.


Lies

shadowy man walking up stairs

Mike rushed home from work, eating his drive-thru burger and fries in the car, napkin tucked in his collar to protect his tie and crisp white shirt. In his rush to get out of the house this morning, he’d left his briefcase in the hall. With the Harlowe presentation in it.

He swerved into his driveway and hit the brakes in surprise. Why was Karen’s car there? Had she forgotten something too? She’d already been long gone when he woke up.

Suspicion stirred at the back of his mind. Just enough that he closed the car door quietly, and entered the house through the side door into the kitchen. He swung the door shut, careful not to make a sound. For a full minute, he stood in silence, listening.

From the back of the house—the master bedroom—he heard muffled noises. His heart rate kicked up a notch and he squeezed his hands into fists. He marched down the hall. If she was… He couldn’t even think about it, but he’d have to kill her.

With a deep breath, he flung open the bedroom door.

Karen scrambled away from the man lying naked beneath her. “Mike!” She hid behind a sheet, her face white with shock and fear.

Mike slumped back against the wall, his pulse pounding in his head. Thank God. She hadn’t found the safe.

His secret was still secure.


Congratulations to Lindy Dierks, winner of the $10 Amazon gift card offered by Julie Mulhern last week! Please use the Contact link above to send us your email address and we’ll pass it on. 🙂

Laura Griffin on her new book Beyond Limits, research, and Navy SEALs

An FBI agent and a Navy SEAL race against time in New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin’s newest Tracers novel.

Beyond Limits book coverLaura Griffin’s latest book, BEYOND LIMITS is out today! To celebrate, she agreed to hang out at Kiss and Thrill and answer a few questions about the new book and her writing process. She’s also giving away a signed copy of SCORCHED—the RITA Award winning book where Derek and Elizabeth first meet—to a lucky commenter.

I’m already counting the hours until I can pull out my iPad at the gym and start reading…

GH: Happy release day! Thanks for joining us on K&T. We appreciate the chance to get into your head a bit. 😉 Your early books were focused on characters working in or around law enforcement. The new books still have that element, but you’ve added Navy SEALs to the mix. What is it about these guys that drew your interest?

LG: Thanks for inviting me, Gwen! My first SEAL character appeared in the novella UNSTOPPABLE, and they keep finding their way back into my stories. What I love about these guys is that they tackle any challenge and they never give up. This tenacity makes them so interesting to write, especially when that never-quit attitude spills over into their personal lives.

GH: Did you discover anything fun, interesting, or surprising in your research for this book?

Laura Griffin headshotLG: In the story Navy SEAL Derek Vaughn is on a rescue mission overseas when he discovers clues of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. While researching the book I learned about the many ways our country is vulnerable. On the other hand, some of the new tools law enforcement has now are truly amazing. For example, the facial recognition techniques they use now are so sophisticated that it boggles the mind.

GH: When you get a new idea for a book, which usually comes to you first, the premise, a compelling scene, or a character? Do you know what sparked your idea for BEYOND LIMITS?

LG: I used to be a newspaper reporter, and often news headlines will spark the idea for a story. With BEYOND LIMITS I wanted to write about what a SEAL would do if he had inside knowledge of a pending attack on U.S. soil. Would he feel compelled to act or would he be able to leave it up to other people to handle? Derek Vaughn makes it his mission to help, even if it means he has to manipulate a woman he cares about to get inside info about the investigation.

GH: Are there any themes you feel like you keep returning to in your writing? Any idea why?

LG: Many of my stories feature women who are survivors of something. I like writing about people who look deep into themselves to find the strength to keep going even when disaster strikes. I’ve been blessed with some strong female role models, and I think about them a lot when I’m creating a story.

GH: What’s next on your plate?

LG: I’m having fun writing a new book in the Tracers series. It’s called SHADOW FALL, and it features some of my favorite Tracers characters: Mark Wolfe, Mia Voss, Kelsey Quinn. The hero of the story is Mark’s brother, Liam Wolfe, who runs a private security firm and finds himself at the center of an FBI murder investigation. SHADOW FALL should be out later this year, and I’ll keep you posted with details!

GH: I can’t wait! For readers who are new to the series, do the Tracers books need to be read in order?

LG: People ask me that a lot. Each story has a stand-alone suspense plot and each focuses on a different romantic couple. So you can pick up the series anywhere!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book. Visit her at http://www.LauraGriffin.com or on www.Facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of SCORCHED.

Romantic. Isn’t it?

The minute Halloween ended, the stores had their Christmas decorations up. Yikes! So now I’m thinking Christmas gifts. And romance. Because, uh, romance writer.

Which got me thinking me of my first Christmas with my husband (a.k.a. The Engineer), back in our dating days. He bought me aftermarket cruise control for my car.

Seriously.

picture of cruise control

Right up there with vacuum cleaners you say?

Well, maybe. Would I have swooned for some jewelry? Oh yeah. But romance is about more than cards and flowers and gems. You can have all that and still end up with a dud instead of a stud. Flowers and jewels are easy outs. Pick one and I’ll probably like it.

Venice jewelry store display

No, the real challenge in my mind—and the real definition of romantic—is knowing your partner well enough to get a gift he or she will truly enjoy. It shows you’ve been listening and have given a lot of thought to what would please.

In that respect, in spite of what his roommate thought, The Engineer’s gift was wildly romantic. We had been driving two hours each way to another city every few weeks for family visits. Without cruise control, I was constantly battling my lead foot and my (then) sporty five-speed to stay within a reasonable speed limit. How much nicer life would have been if I had a newer car with cruise so I could relax. I definitely didn’t need any more speeding tickets!

Well, the newer car was out. We were poor college students, after all. But the cruise control… Who knew you could put something like that on after market? The Engineer, of course! And he installed it too. See? Smart, handsome, and handy with a tool. How could a girl go wrong? 😀

And every once in a while, he gets totally impractical and buys me something pretty that I don’t need. Like jewelry. Which makes it all the more special, because he also understands that sometimes I just want something that sparkles.

What’s the most romantic (or unromantic) gift you’ve ever received?

Becoming a writer: Why I write romantic suspense

Circled list item“In 7th grade I wrote a novel. It was horrible, but I’ve always wanted to try again.” That’s a line from a note I created in my early days on Facebook called “25 Random Things About Me.”

Thank goodness I quit “wanting” and tried again!

I’m not sure when I first realized I liked to write, but it happened somewhere between a disastrous report on the parts of the eye in 6th grade and my pre-teen attempt at a novel (a super-short story, actually).

pic of text from my first novel

Text from my first “novel.”

That first manuscript included an orphaned heroine, a cross-country adventure while eluding the police, and a crush on a bad boy who helped her out of trouble.

How it took me so long to figure out that I should write romantic suspense, I’ll never understand.

Maybe it’s because I never considered writing as a career. Other people made a living at it, not people like me. Success as a writer seemed as likely to happen as that singing career I’d once envisioned. The idea of making a living writing is still daunting—and as yet unrealized—but here I am plugging away at the keyboard most days, ever hopeful, because it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

For years, I dabbled in poetry, wrote a slew of technical documentation, and emailed random flashes of story ideas home for safekeeping. When I finally quit working for someone else back in 2008 (wow, time flies!), I knew I needed something to keep my brain engaged and challenged. Something that could satisfy my insatiable desire to learn, my unending curiosity, my hunger for a behind-the-scenes look at professions and scenarios I’ll never (I hope) experience firsthand.

Like reading, but better. It was time to seriously pursue writing.

pic of books on a shelf

Some of the many authors who’ve inspired me.

Fiction was my dream, but I didn’t have any big ideas. Not the kind I thought I wanted to take on. I’d spent most of my adult life reading mysteries, thrillers, and historical adventures. I couldn’t imagine where authors like Sue Grafton, David Baldacci, Ken Follett, Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Joseph Finder, and Khaled Hosseini got their ideas. Talk about intimidating.

It wasn’t until I picked up a couple of old historical romance novels from the “Free” box at the library that I realized there was a genre for the stories in my head. It was an epiphanic (yes, that’s a word), slap-your-head sort of moment. I knew historical wasn’t for me (love to read it, can’t write it), but when I found romantic suspense authors like Suzanne Brockmann, Christina Dodd, JoAnn Ross, Laura Griffin, Roxanne St. Claire, and so many others, I found my home.

I started writing immediately, and haven’t stopped since. Releasing my own romantic suspense (Blind Fury) earlier this year was the culmination of a five-year effort/dream that really goes all the way back to junior high.

What if I hadn’t picked up those free books? Would I have come to romance another way eventually? I hope so. It’s likely. But who knows how much longer it would have taken?

I’m just grateful for the ways of the universe, and happy to have found my niche.

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try (or try again)? What’s holding you back?

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