Category Archives: Uncategorized

A View of the White House

TOP SECRET WASHINGTON

(c) 2017 Diana Belchase

I’ve been lucky to be invited to the Top of the Hay several times this year. While I’ll be talking more about that in a later post, the most striking thing about this private room on the ninth floor of the Hay Adams Hotel is the view. It directly overlooks the White House in the most remarkable way.

From this bird’s eye perch, we can see from Lafayette Square all the way to the Air Force Memorial in Arlington,Virginia, to the National Harbor in Maryland, to the Potomac beyond. Below, protestors march in front of black iron gates, while couples stroll under the thick canopy of trees, and the dome on St John’s Church, also called the Church of the Presidents, glistens in the dimming light.

Here we are at the moment of dusk, when the sun finally submits to night, and the lights of the…

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Rolling Thunder in D.C.!

TOP SECRET WASHINGTON

Every Memorial Day weekend, the forecast is Rolling Thunder in the D.C. area. No, not the weather — though we’ve had some storms of late — but a huge motorcycle rally.

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This was the 30th year this group roared onto the D.C. Mall — all in tribute to vets and for a great cause — MIAs, POWs, and repatriated remains. For those of you too young to know this terminology, it stands for those still Missing In Action, Prisoners of War, and allowing the dead, who are in hostile territory, to be brought home for a decent burial.

I think there are few greater causes on this Memorial Day and I salute the men and women who gave their lives and their service. I also salute folks like those in Rolling Thunder who remind us of these important veterans’ causes and force us to remember how lucky the rest of us…

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Jo Beverley’s Last Interview

by Diana Belchase

Book Smart TV

Today marks a special event in 9780399583537literary history: Jo Beverley’s last book, Merely a Marriage, is being released to the public.  

Anyone who has read Jo Beverley’s books knows that it is a singular pleasure. She masterfully merged meticulous detail, lovely characters, and compelling plots. Her heroines inspired, her heroes were manly and believable, bodices never ripped, and in the process, the reader felt transported to another age and time where manners ruled and life, even for the privileged, was far from simple. Along the way, lessons in history were intricately woven into stories making characters of the Regency and medieval periods come alive.

Merely a Marriage is simply one of Jo’s best. In it we are thrust into a time shortly after Princess Charlotte died in childbirth and the consequent effect her death had, not only on the royal line, but on the every day life of the subjects…

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Buy a Piece of Tom Clancy

Take a peek at Tom Clancy’s home in this special, Top Secret glimpse!

TOP SECRET WASHINGTON

Thriller writer Tom Clancy passed in 2013, but he’ll always be an indelible part of the top secret D.C. landscape. He knew his subject inside out, and if authenticity is what thrills you, no one did it better.

Now his estate is going up at auction and you can bid to own a piece of Clancy, either in person or online. Or, if you’re a fan like me, you can take a virtual nose around and pretend you’re sipping coffee and discussing fictional spies with a literary master.

For more details, read the write up below. Enjoy!

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Bid on Items from Spy Novelist Tom Clancy (Photos)

by Michelle Basch for WTOP.com

WASHINGTON — An eclectic batch of items from American novelist Tom Clancy is being sold by an Alexandria, Virginia, auction house.

Clancy, who was a Maryland native, died in 2013 at age 66, and much of the on-sale belongings…

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Are You Ready to Go Rogue?

readysetrogue-by-manda-collins-300Happy 2017, KaTs! Manda, here.

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone, but its even harder (for me) to believe that today marks the release of my 12th book with St. Martin’s Press! Time flies when you’re writing kisses and thrills, I guess 😉

READY SET ROGUE is also the start of a new series for me, and it’s been a joy to write because it combines three of my favorite things in a historical romance: bluestockings, kissing and fantastic libraries. See for yourself…

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

This book has also been exciting for me because it’s garnered my first starred review from Booklist! Reviewer John Charles says:

“Displaying a deft hand at characterization, a superb ability to craft an engaging plot spiced with intrigue and danger, and a remarkable flair for graceful writing richly imbued with a deliciously crisp wit, Collins launches the Studies in Scandal series on a high note.”

Happy dancing!

If you’d like to read an excerpt and see for yourself, check out my website.

And here are the obligatory buy links…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2diZiep
iBooks: http://apple.co/2cGFleR
B&N: http://bit.ly/2dj1rqc
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2d1cnXN

To celebrate release day, I’m giving away a copy of READY SET ROGUE to a random commenter! 

So, readers, I’ve told you I love bluestockings. What’s your favorite heroine type in romantic suspense (historical or contemporary)?

Once You’ve Flashed Your Podiatrist … You Can’t Help but Become a Writer

Book Smart TV

51qkmx8l3xl-_ac_us320_ql65_ A five star read now only 99 cents!

Diana Belchase here: Today I’m super excited to welcome guest blogger Chris Campillo to BookSmart! Chris is the kind of person everyone loves — she’s the girl next door, a gal who always has your back, a phenomenal writer with a great sense of humor, and a stand up comic. When this Texas mom isn’t taking care of her kids, her home, and working (with her hubby) to make ends meets, she’s using the honesty of her daily life to imbue humor into her books. Her comedy will have you keeling over howling with laughter.

This is the thing about Chris: She says the things we’re all thinking — the average day-to-day horrors we’ll never talk about. There is something so cathartic about reading her stuff. It’s like therapy between the covers of great fiction. I promise you’ll come out entertained and…

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Giveaway for an Astonishing Debut!

Congratulations to WINNERS: Nan Dixon, Erika Kelly and Janice Hougland! All three of you have won a digital copy of RACE THE DARKNESS, by Abbie Roads. Thanks for commenting on Tuesday and celebrating her debut. Please click the CONTACT US page and let me know the email address of where you’d like your copy sent. -Sarah Andre

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RACE THE DARKNESS (excerpt)

They weren’t going to make it.

Not unless he suddenly sprouted blue tights and a red cape. The hope of escape morphed into despair and resignation and finally reckless pissed-off-ness. No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned, and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate up the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain.

That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn’t be on the verge of death. Again.

The truck kept coming—now twenty-five feet away.

Everything slowed, happening as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh…dum. Pause. Duh…dum. Pause.

His life didn’t flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen’s future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes devoid of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plunked itself down inside his heart and wouldn’t leave.

He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over. It all could’ve gone so differently if he’d only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.

The air changed, displaced by the truck only a few feet from them. Heat from the engine blasted his face, smelling of burning oil, gasoline, and a scent reminiscent of popped corn. He locked eyes with the bitch behind the wheel. Her pudgy lips ripped back over her teeth in a snarling scream.

Xander knew anger—his best friends were fury and rage—but the look on the bitch’s face went beyond mere anger all the way to unholy.

The truck imploded.

The sound was supersonic, a resonation that rippled through his skin and muscle to rattle his bones and shake the earth underneath his feet. Metal and glass and fire shot outward, skyward, backward, in a near-perfect arc of destruction. Flaming debris rained around them.

He stood there holding Isleen, watching it happen, not believing the message his eyes sent to his brain.

“What the…?” The last of the truck parts hit the ground. The pieces burned. That’s all that was left—pieces. Nothing touched them, like they resided under an invisible dome of protection.

He glanced down at Isleen for an answer, but she was unconscious, her head lolling so limply on her neck that it looked as if he was carrying a corpse.

Today is DEBUT DAY for my insanely talented author-friend, Abbie Roads. RACE THE DARKNESS is the first book in her ‘Fatal Dreams’ series, and mark my words- she is launching like a superstar. Note the date and where you first heard her name mentioned, folks, because I’m introducing you to a future bestseller!

To celebrate this exciting occasion I’m giving away three digital copies of her debut romantic suspense to three lucky commenters. Even if it’s a “congratulations, Abbie,” consider yourself in the running. 🙂

Check out her book trailer:

Buy Links

Amazon    iBooks   Barnes and Noble   Google

 

AbbieFor more on Abbie Roads, please visit her Social Media Links:

Facebook Author PageTwitter | Pinterest

 

How Not to be a Victim: Survival Tips for Women

Thank you Kiss and Thrill for letting me repost this from my other website. I hope that all women out there get the skills to remain safe.

Hugs,

Diana Belchase

 

TOP SECRET WASHINGTON

The theme of this blog is Top Secret Washington because of all the special things I get to do behind the scenes in D.C., but it’s also called this because of my spy series. I love empowered women who can take care of themselves — something I’ve always wanted to be, but don’t always achieve. Part of that takes skills — survival being the dominant skill set we all need, primarily as young women.

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Here are some tips:

  • Don’t walk and talk or text on your cell phone. Pay attention to your surroundings. Same goes for music on earbuds. Don’t get lost in the melody and forget where you are. Paying attention can save your life!
  • Notice if anyone is watching you. Scan the area. Be vigilant.
  • Walk with purpose, carry keys splayed between your fingers as a weapon. Don’t be so overloaded with packages you cannot defend yourself if…

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