Category Archives: Manda Collins

Winner! We have a Winner!

Thanks so much to Diana Cosby for her fantastic blog Tuesday. And true to our word, we’ve let the randomizer pick a winner from our commenters. Congratulations to


Contact me (Manda) here with your choice from Diana Cosby’s backlist.

Come by next week when Rachel welcomes lovely and talented Montlake author Diana Miller!


Until then, toodles!

Author’s Eye View: Diana Cosby Talks Marketing Your Passion

Manda here, and today I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine. Diana Cosby and I first met because she and I are represented by the same agent, but what what I soon learned about her was that she’s not only a fab author of super sexy medieval romantic suspense, but she’s also pretty savvy when it comes to getting the word out about her books. Today she’s gives us some tips on setting marketing goals, and using your passions to sell your work.

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Her award-winning books are available in five languages. Diana has appeared at Lady Jane’s Salon, in NYC, and in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happily Ever After,”, and in Texoma Living Magazine.

After retiring as a Navy Chief, AGC(AW), Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. She is currently working on the sixth book in the award-winning MacGruder brother’s series, and in August released her story in the anthology, “Born To Bite,” with Hannah Howell and Erica Ridley.

Without further ado, here’s Diana!


Once a suspense author sells their book, they’re faced with the new challenge of marketing their work. To me, it’s imperative that the author defines their goals. What exactly are they trying to achieve? Is it a sales number? Do they want to reach a certain best-seller list? With a clear goal in mind, it’s time to push forward, break down the steps in your marketing strategy.

I prefer to do something I call, “Marketing Your Passion.” Simply, this is doing what makes business sense and what is fun. Let’s be clear, marketing is HARD WORK! There are no short cuts, but well laid out plans for maximum effect. As marketing is hard work, why do something you dislike? It will show in your actions and could come across to the reader as insincere.

One normally believes as we’re suspense authors our promotion should center around our books. I personally disagree. I believe that our readers like to learn who we are, and enjoy the connection of having common interests. You do this by sharing your passions. Write articles, volunteer, or give workshops about what intrigues you. Your biography will give readers follow-on information to read more about you.

How do you find venues to submit articles? Look for blog owners seeking authors to appear on their site. Write an article for a local newspaper. Submit an article to a magazine you enjoy. A personal favorite of mine is Reporter Connection . com:

Each weekday, a message will appear with a reporter or others seeking people to interview about different topics. If a topic is of something that you’re interested in and have knowledge about, you can choose to respond. If your query is accepted, in addition to an interview, quotes or whatever the person is seeking help on, credit will be given to you in the form of your name and a possibly a link to your website in the article.

So, the next time you’re drafting a marketing plan, define your goals as a suspense author, then choose areas in your life where you have fun. In the end you’ll meet amazing people who share your passion. Take care and I wish you every success!


Now its time for you guys to weigh in. As a reader, do you like learning what your favorite authors are passionate about besides books? Can you think of any particular examples of authors whose passion for a certain pastime has changed your mind about them? Or maybe turned you on to their books? One commenter will win her choice from Diana’s backlist.

Freaky Friday Ghosts and Giveaways!

(Stop #2 – see JustRomanticSuspense for stop #1)

Since Halloween plays a critical role in the plot of my romantic thriller, FIRST DO NO EVIL, I wanted to do something special to celebrate the holiday.

At first, I thought about re-telling my favorite ghost stories from childhood. But we’ve all heard them before. Then I thought, what if….

What if – I poll my friends and find out if they have had some sort of TRUE paranormal experience. Wouldn’t that be fascinating?

It turns out several of my author friends have had paranormal encounters, and they were willing to share. The stories I have for you today may seem less dramatic than those childhood tales and urban legends…but these stories are TRUE.

I’ve got more stories posted on the other blog I’m doing today over at JustRomanticSuspense so be sure and drop by there to read more true life ghosties!

Samhain author Carey Baldwin (that’s me!): Blue-eyed Brown-eyed Girl

I make no warranties that someone else in my family may not have a different version of this story. Everyone seems to have his own way of telling it. But according to family lore, my grandmother, Bessie Baldwin, was clairvoyant. This much I know is true because I remember: She was a beautiful woman with very unusual eyes. One of her eyes was blue. The other eye was half green and half brown. Like a magical marble.

According to family lore, she frequently knew when trouble was about to befall someone near and dear, or had a premonition before someone passed. Only once, that I know of, did she have a vision that was not directly related to family members.

When I was a little girl, a python escaped from the Ft. Worth zoo. Everyone was hunting the python. Where had it gone? Was it injured? Would someone harm the snake or be harmed by the snake? The whole community became caught up in the human interest story of the lost python. Day after day news reports came in that the python was still missing and feared dead or lost forever. After a few days, my grandmother turned to my grandfather and said, “Call the zoo and tell them the python is curled up in the grasses behind her cage.”

My grandfather did what any sensible person would do- he refused. So my grandmother called the zoo herself. Sure enough, the python was there behind the cage, just as she’d predicted!

Three-time Golden Heart finalist Sharon Wray: Baboo the Friendly Ghost

I grew up in a haunted house with a real imaginary friend- a ghost -named Baboo. Although no one in my family believed me, ever since I was a small child I could sense when Baboo was around. My room had once been an attic, and every night at 3am, his pacing would wake me up. I’d tell him to please stop, and he always did. Eventually I learned to sleep through it. Every once in a while my dad would ask me why I was walking around at night. I’d just shrug and say I couldn’t sleep.

Baboo wasn’t an active ghost who moved things or tormented me, but he did have one habit which used to drive my parents crazy. Baboo liked to turn all the locks in the house. My dad would lock up the house every night, but some mornings all the deadbolts were unlocked. I used to try to tell my parents it was Baboo, but at an early age I realized no one believed me.

This went on for years – since preschool until I went to college.

But one day in middle school I came home early. I had a key just in case my parents weren’t home, and that afternoon I went into the house through the front door. Except every time I turned the key, it would relock.

The key would turn, open, then immediately relock as if someone were on the other side of the door turning the lever. I got so frustrated, I went to the side door. Four times I’d unlock the deadbolt, four times it would relock. Finally, I went to the lower basement door and it opened. As I went in, I heard noises upstairs. I just assumed it was my father who often came home for lunch and I’d missed him walking around the house. So I yelled, “Hi, Dad!” as I went up the basement stairs.

Just as I said that, the door ahead of me slammed shut and locked. I was about to pound on the door when I heard two male voices speaking – and I realized neither one was my father. A moment later, I heard a crash, a few curses, then a door slam.

I stood there shaking, not sure what to do, when the door in front of me suddenly unlocked and opened. I could barely walk, I was so scared. But I also realized that Baboo wouldn’t have opened the door if it wasn’t safe – so I went into the house. A few things were knocked over, some things broken, but the back kitchen door was wide open. Someone had broken in and I’d interrupted. The police found the two men later that night, trying to break into a neighbor’s house. Both men were carrying guns and knives.

Many, many years later my father asked me about that day. He asked me if Baboo had kept me out of the house. I said yes. He nodded and apologized for not believing me. He then admitted that he’d had an incident with Baboo the day before he sold the house, but he wouldn’t tell me what happened. Maybe he still didn’t believe it. My parents moved out of the house nine years ago, and I often wonder if the new family has met Baboo or if he finally found his way home.

Avon Impulse and Harlequin Intrigue Author Lena Diaz: Grandma’s Favorite

Most of my family comes from Kentucky. Since my dad was in the Navy, we traveled a lot, and we were living in Florida when my oldest sister woke up in the middle of the night and saw my grandmother standing at the foot of her bed – my grandmother who lived in Kentucky at the time. My grandmother didn’t say anything, but she smiled sadly and reached out as if to pat my sister, then disappeared. It totally freaked my sister out. She got up and ran into my parents’ room. My mom and dad tried to console her, and then the phone rang to tell my dad that his mom – the grandmother my sister had just seen – had just passed away. My sister was always my grandmother’s favorite grandchild and my sister has always believed that grandma came to her that night in spirit to say goodbye.


Dr. Skylar Novak: Halloween Havoc

Okay this story is not true and it is not a paranormal story, because Sky Novak is the heroine of my romantic thriller, FIRST DO NO EVIL. But it is a great read for Halloween!

FIRST DO NO EVIL opens on a Halloween morning. Halloween is the worst day of the year for Sky, the anniversary of her father’s murder. If you want to know more about Sky’s story, I’ve pasted the blurb below:



One killer is in her blood. The other is in her house.

There’s a killer lurking in Dr. Skylar Novak’s family tree: the gene for breast cancer. That’s why her brilliant brother invented the Bella vaccine. But even if the miracle drug protects her from the cancer that took her mother’s life, it can’t save Sky from the flesh and bone evil stalking her in secret.

When the killer strikes, detective Daniel Benson finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The bold detective manages to save Sky’s life…just in time for her to return the favor. Survival leads to seduction, and Danny risks everything—his career, even his life, to keep Sky safe. But will the buried sins they uncover cost him her heart?

Danny’s strong arms may hold her close, but only Sky can stop the terror that’s coming next…

Warning: Contents include: One heart-melting hero—good luck getting this delicious detective out of your head. One reluctant heroine—wielding a Glock was never on her to-do list. One crazed villain—an entire flock of baa baa black sheep won’t be enough to put you to sleep. And a lifesaving vaccine with one deadly side effect—murder. 

Commenters : We’ve got PRIZES GALORE! So please read carefully.

One grand prize, consisting of the following books, will be awarded to one lucky commenter: FIRST DO NO EVIL by Carey Baldwin, (Nook or Kindle copy); SIMON SAYS DIE, and HE KILLS ME HE KILLS ME NOT by Lena Diaz (winner’s choice of electronic or print), HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE by Manda Collins (winner’s choice of electronic or print copy). Leave a comment here, on Kiss and Thrill, to be eligible to win this grand prize.

But wait, today only, EVERYONE’S A WINNER

Are you the kid who never, ever, won the cakewalk, no matter how many tickets you bought? Well, not on my watch. Today I’m also blogging over at JustRomanticSuspense and everyone who leaves a comment by midnight tonight on this blog, AND my Just Romantic Suspense blog will win an electronic copy of FIRST DO NO EVIL for kindle or nook. Remember, you must comment on both blogs to automatically win FIRST DO NO EVIL.

So tell us please, do you have a favorite Halloween memory?



Congratulations, Emily,


How to Dance with a Duke

AND  How to Romance a Rake

Please click on Contact Us and let us know if you prefer digital or paperback.

Thank you to everyone who commented on Manda’s new release last week, and to those who shared our link on Facebook and Twitter. We appreciate your enthusiasm for our Kiss and Thrill author and friend!

TOMORROW: We interview WILL SIMON, forensic computer PI, author of several thriller novels and a story in the Love is Murder 3 anthology.

If his plots are even remotely based on personal experiences he should be assigned a triple-digit aka…like: Will Simon, 008.

Don’t miss this interview!

How to Romance a Rake by Manda Collins

This week at Kiss and Thrill we are excited to celebrate the release of HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE by our own Manda Collins!

How to Romance a Rake

You can lead a wallflower to the ball, but you can’t make her bloom–unless one daring young bachelor turns up the heat…

What’s a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing at a place like Lord Deveril’s ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she’s a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the ton. So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense–and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze…

Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the “fashionable” ladies he’s accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence–and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret–and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms…


This book is so yummy we are certain you will love the blend of regency ballrooms with thrilling mystery, but don’t take our word for it, this is what reviewers have to say:

“Collins’ second installment of the Ugly Duckling trilogy is both a lovely, sensitive romance and a taut thriller.”RT Book Reviews

“This beautifully penned story is packed with mystery, passion, humor, warmth, surprising plot twists, clever dialogue, secrets and romance as it compassionately addresses the issues facing those who have suffered physical and/or emotional distress.” – Romance Junkies


We are so excited about Manda’s release we are giving away books!

Manda Collins

Leave a comment about historical romances with a mystery/suspense subplot for a chance to win a print or ebook copy of Manda’s books.  We’ll leave the comments open until 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, August 5th, and announce the winner on Monday, August 6th.  One winner will win both HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE and HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE. If you’d rather not leave a comment, but are on Twitter then tweet “#HowtoRomanceaRake” and include @KissandThrill in the tweet and you will be entered in a second drawing.  One randomly selected winner will receive HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | Powell’s


Here at K&T we’re getting ready for summer by loading up our Kindles and Nooks with new releases, debut authors, and old favorites! After checking out our nine picks for the beach, or pool–or even your daily commute, help us add to our list. What are you reading?


Sarah Andre recommends ALL THAT FALLS by Kimberly Frost

ALL THAT FALLS by Kimberly Frost is a breath of fresh air for the paranormal genre! This romantic suspense/mystery is chalk-full of unexpected twists, sparkling dialogue and sexual tension; and Kimber’s paranormal characters and world are intriguingly unique. I cannot recommend this novel enough! I am fortunate enough to be a friend and West Houston RWA chapter-mate of Kimber’s and predict she’ll be a well-known bestseller as word-of-mouth gets out about these fabulous Etherlin novels!

ALL THAT FALLS by Kimberly Frost (The Etherlin Series, Book 2, 2012)

Set in contemporary times, The Etherlin is a peaceful, beautiful world within our world. Kimber’s heroine Cerise is one of the four young Muses who live in the Etherlin. She’s the Muse devoted to helping humans achieve greatness in Art and Athleticism. When her musician boyfriend dies of mysterious causes, she loses her powers and her memory of that horrific night. The golden haired, winged hero is Lysander, a heartbreakingly tragic fallen archangel consumed by revenge. After thousands of years in limbo here on earth, he finally sees a sign that The Prophecy has begun. Needing all his concentration and fighting skills to assure Heaven is his final destination he has no time or interest in humans, even if she is a beautiful, graceful, stubborn Muse. (Amazon, BN)

Krista Hall recommends AN UNEXPECTED GUEST by Anne Korkeakivi

“Time rained down on Clare.” The prophetic first sentence of Anne Korkeakivi’s debut novel AN UNEXPECTED GUEST hooked me with its freighted simplicity. This day-in-the-life story of Clare Moorhouse, a British diplomat’s wife, opens with the same deceptive simplicity. It quickly gains speed and complexity until you are breathlessly turning the pages in a mad dash to the end as a secret from Clare’s past is revealed in a series of unexpected events that unravels her carefully constructed façade. This story is as beautifully written as it is compelling.

AN UNEXPECTED GUEST by Anne Korkeakivi (2012)

Clare Moorhouse, the American wife of a high-ranking diplomat in Paris, is arranging an official dinner crucial to her husband’s career. As she shops for fresh stalks of asparagus and works out the menu and seating arrangements, her day is complicated by the unexpected arrival of her son and a random encounter with a Turkish man, whom she discovers is a suspected terrorist. (Amazon, BN)

Gwen Hernandez (SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES) recommends FLASH HEAT by Joyce Lamb

As much as I love to read–and write–military and law enforcement heroes, it’s refreshing to read about ordinary people facing danger. And Ms. Lamb does a fabulous job crafting real, imperfect, interesting, wonderful characters that you can’t help but root for. Joyce Lamb is a multi-published RITA finalist–and curator of USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog–but this is one of her self-published titles. You would never know it. The writing is great.

FLASH HEAT by Joyce Lamb (2012)

Photographer Bailey Chase and reporter Cole Goodman only tolerate working with each other at a Southwest Florida newspaper. Cole knows Bailey’s ex, and he’s told Cole lots of lies about her. Not that Bailey cares. She’s still healing from that disastrous relationship and has far more important issues on her plate: such as keeping her recovering drug addict brother on the right track as a single dad to his 6-year-old son. When Bailey gets slightly injured during a mugging while on assignment with Cole, she’s shocked that he sticks around to help her out. Now, someone is after a photo in Bailey’s possession, and he’ll clearly stop at nothing to get it. Worse, it appears her brother’s shady past is connected. Cole and Bailey team up to crack this mystery before someone ends up dead. While they’re at it, they let the sparks fly … (Amazon, BN)

Sharon Wray recommends THE RIVER WITCH by Kimberly Brock

THE RIVER WITCH by Kimberly Brock is one of the loveliest books I’ve ever read. The lyrical prose and haunting southern landscape are the perfect background for Roslyn’s journey toward healing and love. The writing draws you in until you find yourself wishing you’d grown up on a Georgia Sea Isle. I couldn’t put this book down, and once I was done I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. No wonder this book has become a favorite among book clubs. Ms. Brock layers in so many levels of emotions that you could reread this book over and over again, each time finding a character or turn-of-phrase to love all over again. One of the best summer reads I’ve found in years.

THE RIVER WITCH by Kimberly Brock (2012)

Can the river heal her? Roslyn Byrne is twenty-four years old, broken in body, heart and soul. Her career as a professional ballet dancer ended with a car wreck and a miscarriage, leaving her lost and grieving. She needs a new path, but she doesn’t have the least idea how or where to start. With some shoving from her very Southern mama, she immures herself for the summer on Manny’s Island, Georgia, one of the Sea Isles, to recover. (AmazonBN)


Lena Diaz (HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT) recommends MR. PERFECT by Linda Howard

One of my favorite romantic suspense books of all time is MR. PERFECT by Linda Howard. I discovered Linda Howard years ago just by browsing the shelves at a Barnes and Noble. As soon as I read the first book, I was hooked. MR. PERFECT has the PERFECT blend of suspense and romance and it is so very sexy. Sam is the cop hero and is over the top wonderful. The sexual tension in this novel is unbelievable. And can I just tell you, there is a car wash scene that is so funny and so sexy that to this day some of the dialogue sticks in my head. I laugh and cry when I read this book and highly recommend it.

MR. PERFECT by Linda Howard (2001, e-book 2011)

What would make the perfect man? That’s the deliciously racy topic that Jaine Bright and her three girlfriends are pondering one night at their favorite after-hours hot spot: Mr. Perfect. Would he be tall, dark, and handsome? Caring and warmhearted — or will just muscular do? As their conversation hears up, they concoct a tongue-in-cheek checklist that becomes an overnight sensation, spreading like wildfire at work and sizzling along e-mail lines. But what began as a joke among friends turns deadly serious when one of the four women is murdered….Turning to her neighbor, an unpredictable police detective, for help, Jaine must unmask a killer to save her friends — and herself. Now, knowing whom to trust and whom to love is a matter of survival — as the dream of Mr. Perfect becomes a chilling nightmare. (Amazon,BN)

Rachel Grant recommends PROMISES TO KEEP by Kathryn Shay

About eight years ago a friend mailed me a box of paperbacks and this little gem was inside. I was quickly drawn in by Shay’s vivid characters and loved the two-romances-for-the-price-of-one storyline. I was especially charmed by Kelsey and Luke—I love a hero who has trouble maintaining his cover because he’s falling in love with a woman who absolutely can’t get involved with the person he’s pretending to be.

PROMISES TO KEEP by Kathryn Shay (2002, e-book 2010)

When by-the-book Secret Service Agent Joe Stonehouse and unpredictable Secret Service Agent Luke Ludzecky go under cover in a high school which has been flagged by their School Threat Assessment Team as having the potential for violence, they expect their differences will cause them conflict. What they don’t expect are the two women who blow their careful plan apart. Suzanna Quinn is the principal and hates being attracted to the new school psychologist, and worse, thirty year old Social Studies teacher Kelsey Cunningham is horrified by her feelings for Luke, her new “student.” But the very real threat of school violence from more than one student forces them to work together and face their feelings for each other. Suicide, gang warfare and bullying all play a part as this stunning drama unfolds. (AmazonBN)

Manda Collins (HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE) recommends DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND by Lisa Unger

DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND, which takes its title from the Simon and Garfunkel song, is one of the most hopeful suspense books I’ve read in a long time. Weaving together six seemingly disparate threads of narrative, Unger masterfully tells the stories of various inhabitants who live in The Hollows, a small town just outside of New York City, where fifteen years ago a young mother disappeared one night never to return. Our protagonist, retired police detective Jones Cooper, investigated the disappearance years ago when he was first on the job. And now he’s been asked by his former boss to look into the case again. What follows is a gripping, heartbreaking, and yes, ultimately hopeful story about people living lives of desperation. And some of whom just might get a second chance.

DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND by Lisa Unger (2011)

After giving up his post at the Hollows Police Department, Jones Cooper is at loose ends. He is having trouble facing a horrible event from his past and finding a second act. He’s in therapy. Then, on a brisk October morning, he has a visitor. Eloise Montgomery, the psychic who plays a key role in Fragile, comes to him with predictions about his future, some of them dire. Michael Holt, a young man who grew up in The Hollows, has returned looking for answers about his mother, who went missing many years earlier. He has hired local PI Ray Muldune and psychic Eloise Montgomery to help him solve the mystery that has haunted him. What he finds might be his undoing. Fifteen-year-old Willow Graves is exiled to The Hollows from Manhattan when six months earlier she moved to the quiet town with her novelist mother after a bitter divorce.  Willow is acting out, spending time with kids that bring out the worst in her. And when things get hard, she has a tendency to run away–a predilection that might lead her to dark places. (Amazon, B&N)

Diana Belchase recommends THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva’s THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR is so beautifully crafted. Silva’s voice is like molten gold, mesmerizing and poetic. His wonderfully drawn characters — whether elegant, folksy, or quirky — make the intricate plot an added bonus. If you love writers who craft every word, this is the one for you. In this book, a spy, who wants out of the biz, is drawn back in when an art restorer is murdered and a Rembrandt painting is stolen. He uncovers deadly secrets and the evil men behind them.

THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR by Daniel Silva (2010, e-book 2011)

Determined to sever his ties with the Office, Gabriel Allon has retreated to Cornwall with his beautiful wife Chiara. But his seclusion is interrupted by a visitor from his tangled past. An art restorer has been brutally murdered and a long-lost portrait by Rembrandt stolen. Despite his reluctance, Gabriel is persuaded by art dealer Julian Isherwood to search for the painting and those responsible for the crime. Gabriel discovers there are deadly secrets and evil men connected to the painting, and once again he is drawn into a world he thought he had left behind forever. (AmazonBN)

Carey Baldwin (FIRST DO NO EVILrecommends THE SURGEON  by Tess Gerritsen 

This is an older romantic thriller, and I’m recommending it because this is the book that made me realize stories can break with tradition. Gerritsen started out writing pure romance and eventually blended her medical background into her stories. THE SURGEON is the result of that extension in her storytelling. It also introduced characters featured in the wildly popular television series RIZZOLI & ISLES. THE SURGEON is one of the most compelling stories I’ve ever read.

THE SURGEON by Tess Gerritsen (2001)

He slips into homes at night and walks silently into bedrooms where women lie sleeping, about to awaken to a living nightmare. The precision of his methods suggests that he is a deranged man of medicine, prompting the Boston newspapers to dub him “The Surgeon.” Led by Detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli, the cops must consult the victim of a nearly identical crime: Two years ago, Dr. Catherine Cordell fought back and killed an attacker before he could complete his assault. Now this new killer is re-creating, with chilling accuracy, the details of Cordell’s ordeal. With every new murder he seems to be taunting her, cutting ever closer, from her hospital to her home. And neither Moore nor Rizzoli can protect Cordell from a ruthless hunter who somehow understands—and savors—the secret fears of every woman he kills. (AmazonBN)

Tell us what you’re reading this summer. We’re looking for recommendations for our TBR pile! Stop by on Thursday for a downloadable list of K&T’s Picks for Murderously Good Reads.

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

Cynthia Eden Talks Elite Ops and Shadow Agents!

Greetings, K&T-ers! The very first book Cynthia Eden book I read was her first one from Kensington, Hotter After Midnight. What I loved most about it was that it was a police procedural romantic suspense set in a paranormal world! Two great tastes that taste great together! So when she released her Deadly trilogy of straight romantic suspense, I knew it would be good. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so: she was nominated for a RITA for DEADLY FEAR. So without further ado, it’s my honor to introduce my friend and RWA chapter-mate, Cynthia Eden!

Hi, everyone! It is such a pleasure to be at Kiss & Thrill today—thanks for having me over!

I love the thrills and chills that can be found within the pages of romantic suspense novels. I love the danger. The intrigue. The tense, adrenaline filled life-or-death moments. Whenever I read a romantic suspense book, I fly through those pages, staying up late into the night, and imaging all sorts of scary killers.

Ah…what fun. 😉

I love romantic suspense novels because no matter how dark or dangerous things may seem, I know that my hero and heroine will prevail. They *will* survive and defeat the bad guy.  That’s the guarantee with romance novels. Happy endings will be on the last pages.  In real life? No, those endings aren’t guaranteed. And in real life…well, I’ve always said that real life is far more frightening than anything that I could ever dream up for my romantic suspense novels.

Because not only am I am extreme romantic suspense reader, I’m also a romantic suspense writer. I published three dark and sexy romantic suspense books with Grand Central (DEADLY FEAR, DEADLY HEAT, and DEADLY LIES), and, in 2013, I’ll be launching a four-book romantic suspense series with Harlequin Intrigue. While my Deadly books focused on FBI agents who tracked and apprehended serial killers, my Harlequin Intrigue novels will focus on a group that called Shadow Agents—my Shadow Agents work for a division of the government called the EOD (Elite Ops Division), and the agents are all ex-military: Rangers, SEALs, Delta Force.  The Shadow Agents specialize in hostage rescue and unconventional warfare.

Whenever I prepare to write a romantic suspense novel, I always begin with the research aspect. And, it’s with the research that the whole “Real life is far more frightening!” aspect comes around and hits me in the face.  Because as I research, I read first-hand accounts of some truly horrifying experiences.  When I was researching serial killers, I read stories that had me triple checking every lock and window in my house. When I researched my military heroes, I felt such sorrow for the losses that many families have faced—and continue to face.

In the books, I can give and get happy endings. In real life, well, let’ s just say that I wish real life could end the same way.  But that is why I think romantic suspense novels are so appealing to readers. You can get the danger, you can get the fear, you can get the adventure, and you KNOW that you’re safe. You know that the ending will have the bad guy being punished and the good guys and gals riding off into their sunset. Happy endings, guaranteed.

Do you have a favorite romantic suspense book that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it!  I’ll pick one commenter to win a $10 gift certificate.

Have a great day!

Cynthia Eden
ANGEL BETRAYED—Available 6/26/12
When you betray an angel, there’s all hell to pay…

Drive-By Interview: Karen Rose!

It’s a real thrill for me to be interviewing one of my favorite people–who is also one of my favorite authors: Karen Rose. I first met Karen when she was the keynote speaker at my local chapter’s Silken Sands conference (we won’t mention the times earlier when I stalked her like a…stalker!). She was gracious and funny and not nearly as dark as her books would suggest! So, without further ado, I give you…Karen Rose!

Karen Rose

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing at the very beginning because I was seeing a scene roll through my mind, like a movie.  But I knew it was no movie I’d ever seen before.  This little clip seemed to be on an endless loop in my brain, distracting me from my engineering job, waking me up at night – essentially driving me crazy!  One day, while on vacation, I decided if I wrote it down, then it would go away.  It was July, 1993 and I was in Minneapolis in my friends’ basement, sitting on an ugly orange futon.  Hours later I was still sitting on that futon, writing like mad.  Four years and two-hundred-fifty thousand words later (yes, 250,000), that book became my very first novel.

I kept writing because I could wait to see what my characters would do next and because I was travelling a lot internationally for my job, couldn’t physically pack enough books in my luggage for the flight over, and couldn’t understand the TV when I got there.  I wrote to keep myself company, never expecting or even dreaming I’d be published.

Incidentally, my first book was released 10 years to the month that I started writing :).

What is it about romantic suspense that draws you to it as opposed to other sub-genres of romance?

I love the romance.  I’m a sucker for a happy ending!  Partially because when I started reading, I was in my twenties and my husband had just come out of chemotherapy (He’s fine now).  My life was terrifying and those happy endings really made things bearable.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also say I like the hotter aspects of romance :).

I didn’t start out writing suspense.  The first novel I shopped was more women’s fiction.  But someone who’d read my work said, “You have a suspenseful voice.  Have you ever considered writing suspense?”  I said, “No, but I’ll give it a try.”  It turned out to be my niche.

Suspense to me is one big puzzle.  The twists and turns keep it interesting for me and the humanity of the victims makes it very real. Putting romance and suspense together is like a Reece’s peanut butter cup, LOL.

Is there any particular subject or scenario that you won’t touch? Why or why not?

Gosh, I don’t know.  I’ve written a number of dark subjects. I try not to deal too much with animal torture in my books, at least not in the story itself (maybe in backstory).  It’s awfully painful for people to read.  

What do you think sets your writing apart from other romantic suspense authors? Or, if you had to name one thing that you’re shooting for when you write a book what would it be?

I’m trying to create a character that stays with my reader long after they finish the book, one you’d want to know yourself (or if the villain, one you DON’T want to know).  I want them to be real and the communities of characters in which they live to be genuine and warm.  I want you to want to come back and visit from time to time, and maybe wonder how they are.  If you want to know how a given character’s doing, just ask!  I know how many kids Dana and Ethan have now (two with one on the way), how old Tess and Aidan’s twins are, how Michael Ciccotelli’s heart condition is doing (he’s well, btw), what Susannah Vartanian’s up to (victim advocacy).  And I know how all my communities interact and will interact in the future.  For me, the characters are real people and that’s what I want you to feel, too.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What is the easiest?

Hardest is the beginning, totally.  Where to start?!?  The easiest is the homestretch going into the end.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hm.  Don’t think I’ve been asked that before.  I think it was after my first RWA National in 1999.  I decided, “Yeah, I can do this.”  It was a shift in my thinking.  Writing wasn’t a stolen pleasure anymore.  It was not quite a “job” yet, but there was some respectability and credibility that I gave my writing hours.

What do you like to read? Are you reading anything right now? Tell us about it.

I love paranormal romance with dark angsty heroes!  Next on my TBR list is TANGLE OF NEED by the fantastic Nalini Singh.  I’ve had the ARC on my desk for a few weeks, waiting until I’m done with my current book.  Looks like you guys will probably read it before me, though.  Also sitting on my e-reader is LOVER REBORN by JR Ward – Tohr’s story!  I can’t believe I’ve made myself wait this long.  Love those Black Dagger Brotherhood guys…

It’s no secret that Aidan Reagan from You Can’t Hide is one of my favorite heroes of all time. But, tell me, Karen, when will his partner, Todd Murphy get his HEA? *weeps*

Someday Murphy will get an HEA!  So many characters.  So little time.  I know who Murphy’s heroine will be, even.  I just have to have time to write the book.

*Fist Pump* Yesss!!!!! Uh, moving on…your new series is set in Baltimore—Why there?

YOU BELONG TO ME and NO ONE LEFT TO TELL are set in Baltimore.  Why there?  I was looking to start a new group and I grew up in the Baltimore-Washington area and thought it would be a lot of fun!  Maryland has a lot of great geography for settings, too.  Beaches are only a few hours’ drive from mountains. There is history, cultural diversity, and the potential for lots of crime, so it fit my needs to a T.

Tell us a bit about what’s up next for you.

I’m writing book 3 of the Baltimore series!  I initially planned the series to have 4 books – and yes, Stevie and Clay will be one of them :).   Of course once I start writing, all the new characters walk on screen and say PICK ME, PICK ME.  They can be quite insistent, LOL.  Thorne is the character that most comes to mind here, although there are a few in the book that I’m writing that are already demanding their own story.  So many characters, so little time :).

Thank you so much for being here with us today, Karen! You’re a rockstar!

So, you readers out there, talk to us! Got any burning questions for KR? Or maybe you’d like to talk about your favorite Karen Rose book. Or the romantic suspense you’re reading now! Comment, and one of you will win a copy of Karen’s latest No One Left to Tell.

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