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The Midnight Confessions of Ella Grace

Manda hbio-picere. You may not know this about me,  but one of the romantic suspense hero types that really cranks my tractor is the small town sheriff. So when I picked up the first book in Ella Grace’s new trilogy set in Midnight, Alabama and saw that the hero was…a small town sheriff, I was SO there. And when I realized that Ella Grace is the alter ego of Christy Reece, who writes angsty, nail-biting international romantic suspense, I HAD to know more.

So, being the Nosy Nellie that I am, I invited Ella to K&T so I could get the real scoop for me and for all of you out there who read and loved her Last Chance Rescue books as Christy Reece and who are well on the way to adoring every word that Ella Grace puts on the page. Without further ado, let’s welcome to the K&T lounge, the delightful, Ella Grace!

MC: Welcome, Ella! I’m so glad you’re here. I first started reading your Last Chance Rescue series cover_rewardunder your Christy Reece name and became a fan. That you’re also an Alabama girl just cements it!

EG: Hey Manda! Thanks so much for having me over. I’m excited to be here. And I always love talking to another Alabama girl.

MC: Bama gals have to stick together! Only we know how grateful to be for the existence of Mississippi! Speaking of locales…Your Last Chance Rescue series feels global in scope, with many of the stories taking place overseas, and the headquarters of the Last Chance Rescue organization calling Paris home. Your new Ella Grace stories are set in small town Alabama, which is about as far from Paris as you can get. What are the challenges of writing about people and places that are so narrow in focus? Do you prefer one over the other?

EG: At first it was a struggle to go from an international setting to a place that could be my own back yard. I love the exotic excitement of international settings. Depending upon how far you want to go in making the setting a part of your story, it can add a lot or a little extra flavor. My LCR characters are sophisticated, street smart, and somewhat edgy. They wouldn’t fare well in a sleepy little southern town, no matter how many murders take place there. So I felt the need to tone down the ‘world-weary toughness’ of the characters but still make them comfortable if danger came calling. Which it does.

When I first started writing the series, I wanted to stretch myself creatively so I worked to keep Christy’s voice out of Ella’s writing. My Christy Reece books tend to be dark and angsty. I don’t think I was totally successful, because there’s quite a bit of angst in the first two books and the third one is shaping up to be even more so. However the blend of Christy and Ella’s voice began to work quite well and became a good fit for the series.

When the town of Midnight finally came alive for me, so did the book. The story wasn’t really working until I finally named the town. I was going for a Southern sounding name but could never find one that I liked or wasn’t already a real city or town in the South. Then I noticed that certain monumental, life-changing events kept occurring around the midnight hour. That’s when the name Midnight struck me, and suddenly the town and it’s citizens came alive.

hcover-midnight-secretsTo create it further, I drew on my knowledge of small southern towns. I grew up in a small Alabama community where whatever you did was scrutinized and talked about almost before you did it. And I’ve lived in small southern cities where shady dealings of law enforcement was known and accepted as a way of life. Having lived in the South most of my life, I felt comfortable creating the characters, from the quirky and loveable Aunt Gibby, the nosey Inez, the humorless but somewhat mysterious Faye, to the hideous red neck characters of the Daytons and Hensons. At some point in my life, I’ve met them all.

It was so much fun creating this pretty little south Alabama town. I’d love to live there–well, except for the murders. 🙂

I can’t say that I prefer one setting more than the other. However, I do have to get in a particular mindset to write each series. And in its own way, it’s freeing to be able to ‘switch gears’ voice-wise.

MC: Midnight Secrets the first of your new series set in Midnight, AL introduces the reader to the Wilde triplets whose parents died under mysterious circumstances when the three girls were children. Midnight Secrets is Savannah’s story which reunites her with her high school boyfriend Zach. Reunited lovers is one of the most popular tropes in romance. What do you think draws readers to these stories? Do you have a favorite?

EG: I adore reunited lovers stories. Four of my LCR books are reunion romances. There’s just something about having that history, the remembered heat of passion. Reigniting the spark and watching it flame out of control is so much fun to create and watch. You know I love angst and what’s more angsty than past hurts or betrayals and working to overcome them?

MC: Choosing triplets as your heroines for this series is a bold move, and I love it. What was your reason for casting this series with triplets instead of just sisters? Was there something about the bond between multiples–and especially identical ones that intrigued you?

EG: I really wish I had an intelligent, well thought out reason for making the sisters triplets. I don’t. From the moment I sat down to write Midnight Secrets, I knew the sisters were triplets. However, once I got into the story, I realized how much fun I was going to have with it. The sisters are identical in appearance but how they reacted to their parents’ deaths became such a wonderful personality and character study. Savannah turns inward, becoming shy and bookish. Samantha hides her pain behind her popularity, letting no one know what’s going on behind her bright smile. And Sabrina rebels, making each issue that comes her way a battle she must fight and win.

And I do love the bond that they have. It’s not psychic or supernatural. It’s pure, untainted lovehcover-midnight-lies between siblings. I didn’t want the typical strife one might see between sisters. I wanted the girls to be best friends. When the world comes crashing down around them, they have each other. No matter who’s against them, they always have each other’s backs. Their relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the series.

MC: The second book in this series Midnight Lies, is Samantha Wilde’s story. What kind of trouble is on the horizon for this sister, the cop? Who is her hero?

EG: Samantha is a homicide detective in Atlanta, dating Quinn Braddock, who she thinks is the ‘most perfect man on earth’. However when his ex-wife is murdered and he’s found standing over her body, she begins to wonder if the perfection she thought she saw in him was a facade. She’s never really dealt with her parents’ deaths and all of that comes crashing down on her, making her question her judgment.

Quinn is an ER doctor and has been betrayed repeatedly by the people in his life. However, if there’s one person he knows he can count on, it’s Samantha Wilde. Imagine his surprise when he realizes she’s not sure of his innocence.

After their break-up, Samantha returns to Midnight and Quinn follows her. But all isn’t rosy. They’ve hurt each other badly and their earlier relationship put more emphasis on their physical attraction than it did on getting to know each other. This is something they have to rectify if they’re going to move forward. Into the mix comes another murder and once again Quinn is considered a suspect. This time Samantha stands by her man, unaware that the killer has set his sights on her as his next victim.

MC: Who are some of your influences? Your favorite authors, romance, suspense or otherwise?

EG: I grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. (MC: Hi fives! Always love meeting other Nancy Drew fans!) I loved the excitement and fun of puzzling out the mysteries. Some of my favorite romance and suspense authors are Linda Howard, Karen Rose, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood and Allison Brennan.

MC: Do you have any more projects underway? Tell me about them!

EG: Yes, I’ve started a new series called Grey Justice. The first book, Nothing To Lose, features a young woman who has everything she’s ever dreamed of and then loses it all because of one family’s corruption and greed. She’s determined to see that they pay. Enter a mysterious man who offers to help her in her quest but has his own agenda and another man who’s number one goal is to save her from herself, even if it costs him his life.

I’m also continuing my Last Chance Rescue series, with at least three more books planned. And another book in the Wildefire series for Sabrina Wilde, the third triplet.

MC: Ella, thank you so much for visiting us today! I can’t wait to read your next book, no matter which of your personae is writing it!

To learn more about Ella Grace and her Wildefire Series or Christy Reece and Last Chance Rescue, check her out on the web, on her LCR Facebook Page, her Ella Grace Facebook Page, or @EllaGraceBooks on Twitter.

So, gentle readers, do you like your Romantic Suspense with an international flavor or a downhome flair? Tell us which one you like best, and give us an example! One lucky reader will receive a copy of Ella Grace’s latest Wilde Sisters book, Midnight Sins.

Mary Kay Andrews’ Murderous Secret Identity

Mary Kay AndrewsMary Kay Andrews books are transformative.  When you’re done with them, you think twice about your life decisions, and you feel as if you’ve found long-lost sisters.  She takes you down the back roads of America — to little towns and places where traditions and secrets run deep, and friendship runs even deeper.  Her heroines are the kind of women I want to be — brave, able to deal squarely with their problems (okay it might take a few chapters) and move in new directions.

(If you’re having trouble viewing the video, please update your adobe flash player)

But if you’re as much of a fan as I am — you might notice that there is always an element of suspense or mystery buried within the pages of her novels.  Well, the reason is finally made clear as Kiss and Thrill reveals that Mary Kay is also mystery writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck.  What a scoop!  Take that all you fancy reporters at CNN.  <smile>  And an even more recent scoop — Mary Kay just bought her dream house, Ebbtide, the one that was featured in her book Summer Rental!

I love Mary Kay’s dual identity more than I can say, because I also write both suspense and women’s fiction and can tell you, Mary Kay is exactly who I want to be when I finally grow up.

irisheyeseverycrookednannyTell us who you want to be when you grow up and you might win a copy of Spring Fever by Mary Kay!  SpringFever

Today we’re giving away as prizes TEN COPIES of her newest women’s fiction novel:  Spring Fevera fab read I know you’ll enjoy.  Don’t forget to leave a comment or ask a question to be entered!  Mary Kay is going to try to stop by and answer as many as possible.

(Please make sure you contact us within ten days of  us posting the winners or you’ll forfeit your prize.  Chances of winning depend upon number of people entered.  Winners will be chosen from those that leave comments today and tomorrow at both Kiss and Thrill and Diana Belchase’s website, and you are invited to post comments on both sites for an extra chance to win.)  Good Luck!

Brad Meltzer & The Fifth Assassin

Bestselling author, Brad Meltzer, sat down with Diana Belchase on the night his newest novel, The Fifth Assassin released at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC.  Find out how Brad came up with the idea for a Presidential serial assassin, the scoop on his TV show, Decoded, and how he ended up consulting for the Department of Homeland Defense.

Share with us your favorite President and why, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Brad’s new book, The Fifth Assassin!  Just leave a comment below.  Check back at the end of Manda Collin’s interview on Tuesday to see who won!

For a look at the Everybody Hates Brad Meltzer funny video The Fifth Assassinstarring his grandmother, her friends and his kids’ Little League team click here.  Buy the Fifth Assassin everywhere, preferably at your favorite independent bookstore.  And to see a truly heartwarming surprise Brad received at Politics and Prose Bookstore last week in another video I shot, please click here:  Brad Meltzer’s USO Surprise.  I guarantee there won’t be a dry eye when you’re done.

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Be sure to join us next Tuesday when Sarah Andre interviews our very own Manda Collins about the third and final novel in her Ugly Ducklings trilogy, HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL.

When Maddie’s brother becomes prime suspect in a friend’s murder, she’ll do whatever it takes to find the real killer. Even work alongside the newly elevated, Christian Monteith, Earl of Gresham, who poses a real danger…to her heart.

Our Thrilling Pets!

Kitty Kitty Bang Bang CoverOkay, I can’t resist.  Sparkle Abbey got me so excited, I just had to share some photos of the great pets we girls keep talking about behind the scenes.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we have.  Don’t forget to Scroll to the end to find out which three readers won copies of Sparkle Abbey books!

Hugs,

Diana Belchase

Make sure you join us on Tuesday as our own Lena Diaz interviews the thrilling Rita Herron!  And now the Winners of a Sparkle Abbey book each are:  Effie’s dad; Helen Rabin; and Morgan K. Wyatt!  Please make sure you contact us within the next ten days with your information.

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Kitty Kitty Bang Bang Cover

The Sparkle Abbey Writing Team

We all love our pets, but how many of us are willing to name ourselves after them?  Find out where the writing team of Sparkle Abbey got their names and how their pets fit in to their mystery series.  Plenty of laughs and interesting facts about cats and dogs that paint, plastic surgeon transvestites, and beauty queens who fight over inheritances and men.

I know you’ll enjoy!

And if you leave a comment telling us about why your own pet (or your neighbor’s pet, or your imaginary pet) should be included in it’s own book, THREE lucky commenters will win a copy of one of the books below!

DesperateHousedogsCover Get Fluffy - screen Kitty Kitty Bang Bang Cover

Cherry Adair in Person!

Who doesn’t love Cherry Adair books?  She’s an incredible writer, the prolific author of over 32 bestselling, suspenseful action adventures.  In print interviews, she’s fun — but in person?  Well, this firecracker is hysterically funny, will keep you on your toes, and is absolutely not to be  missed.

Cherry sat down with me a few months ago to tell me a little about her books, her life, and how she got both her wonderful Montana accent and a life coach named Murgatroyd.  Remember to leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of Ice Cold!

Hope you enjoy her as much as I do!

So, today’s question is do you have a secret person, real or imaginary who gives you that boost — or should I say kick you know where — when you need one?

  Thanks Cherry for stopping by!  Don’t forget everyone, to leave a comment below. One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of Cherry’s newest, hottest release in the T-FLAC series, Ice Cold! (See the trailer Here.)  So make sure you’re entered by commenting!  Cherry will be stopping by today and tomorrow to answer questions, too!

Colleen Thompson: Passionate and Relentless

Have you ever met a multi-published, award-winning  author who is so personable, modest and cheerful you think ‘that’s exactly how I want to be when I’m that famous’?

Well, for me that author is romantic suspense writer, Colleen Thompson. She’s survived this crazy industry so long and experienced so many ups and downs in her career, yet manages to remain passionate about her writing and relentless to stay in the game and get her next story published! 

Although she probably doesn’t know this, Colleen’s the first person I met after joining the West Houston chapter of RWA. I tend to be uber-neurotic going someplace new, so of course I was way too early and sat at a table by myself long enough to think that getting up and going home was a really great idea.

Then Colleen came in, smiled that big smile and asked if she could sit with me. She went out of her way to make me feel welcome and not the dumbest writer ever for not knowing lingo like ‘Series Contemporary.’

Even under tight deadlines Colleen attends chapter meetings, pinch-hits a topic if our scheduled speaker cancels, teaches online classes and can always be relied upon to generously give her time to authors in all stages of their careers. Oh, and she still manages to co-host a blog, update her status on Facebook with lightning speed and posts pictures of darling rescue dogs in need of adoption. Yeah, I want to be just like Colleen Thompson when I grow up!

Welcome Colleen! Who are your favorite romantic suspense authors?

I first fell in love with romantic suspense reading Nora Roberts, Tami Hoag, and Sharon Sala. I still love those authors and have also come to enjoy novels by Karen Rose and Allison Brennan.

I know for some of your books you’ve actually gone to the small town (for your setting) or done an activity. What was the most interesting thing you did in the name of research?

A few years ago, I went flying in gliders while researching Triple Exposure, whose heroine is a glider pilot. Then I spent a fun afternoon brainstorming with glider pilots about ways one might sabotage a sailplane (what they generally call gliders) to make it crash. Thankfully, they all got into the spirit of the thing rather than calling the FAA to report me!

 More recently, I’ve spent time speaking with a forensic anthropologist about the life cycles of the various insects that feed on a decomposing human body.

…sorry to interrupt…but UGH! GROSS.

After reading and talking about it, I decided to forego the field trip—I could already imagine what it smelled like all too well. (I have what I call “smell-a-vision,” which makes me smell everything I read about or see on a TV or movie screen. This is awesome when I’m reading about blooming lilacs or baking bread. Not so much, when I’m researching decaying corpses. Gross!)

You have been in this industry a long time. If you were just starting today what would you do differently?

I would give serious consideration to some of the alternate routes available today.

Many mainline publishers are giving new authors the opportunity to break in to their electronic-only lines (and buying very few debut titles for their print-first lines.)

There are some very reputable smaller e-presses out there, too, some of which have been regularly putting their authors on bestseller lists. These don’t usually pay advances, but they give a writer experience in working with an editor and publicity team, and some authors are breaking out and into print or indy e-book success.

If I were writing something too different for the current market, I would also seriously consider indy publishing—but not until I had my work independently edited by a pro (not a friend or critique partner) and gotten myself a sharp, professional-looking cover. Then I’d spend six months to a year studying how to launch it right before diving in with self-publishing.

While your dream may have been to publish first with one of the big houses, don’t close your eyes to or be snobbish about other opportunities. With a lot of work, a lot of talent, and some good, old-fashioned luck, they really can work.

Tell us a little bit about Boxing the Octopus?

My good friend, New York Times bestselling author Joni Rodgers, and I met at a book signing and instantly bonded, after which we went out for coffee once every week or so.

She’s a memoirist, ghostwriter, and novelist, while I’m a mass market paperback original genre girl, so we’d had very different experiences, but each of us had respect for the other—and a lot of hard-earned respect for what it takes to stay in the game putting out books year after year.

During one of those talks, Joni compared grappling with the publishing biz to “boxing the octopus,” and I blurted, “That’s it! That’s our blog’s name!

 In late 2006, we launched Boxing the Octopus, www.boxocto.com, to foster an ongoing conversation on the writing life. And I’m still not finished yakking!

Do you like movies that scare you or make you cry?

Ha! Seriously, I like scary books a lot better than scary movies, for some reason. I hate having stuff jump out at me onscreen, but I can read (and write) suspense all night.

While I don’t like emotionally manipulative tearjerkers, if they’re really honest and understated, they can be devastatingly beautiful. One favorite of mine is the Italian film, Life Is Beautiful. Set during the Holocaust, it features a loving father who convinces his little boy (to help him survive the concentration camp where they are taken) that the experience is all a game.

I laughed at the funny moments (believe it or not, there are quite  a few) and cried my eyes out at the ending, but loved it enough to recommend it to all my friends and family members.

Oh my gosh! One of my top favorite movies (only the Italian version!)

You’re married to a true alpha-hero, Mike, a fireman.  Does he get teased by his fellow firefighters given his wife is a romance writer?

Not that I know of, but since he’d just shrug it off if anyone made a dumb remark, I can’t say for certain. For the most part, his fellow firefighters have been awesome, buying copies for their wives and mothers and answering my research questions. One (actually an ambulance supervisor/EMT and not a suppression firefighter) took me for a ride-along one busy Friday night, where we visited the trauma center ER and scoped out all the dicey areas where I could never go on my own at 2am! I used a lot of that research in my book, Fade the Heat.

You used to write historical romance. (under the names Gwyneth Atlee and Colleen Easton.) Why the change to Romantic Suspense?

I loved, and still love, American-set historicals set around true-life events and have recently been bringing some of these older books back (under my Gwyneth Atlee historical romance pseudonym) in e-book form.

Unfortunately, the market for these books contracted in the early 2000s sank, putting a lot of authors (and my then-editor) out of work. I was reading and enjoyed so much mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense at the time that I wanted to try my hand  (after seven historicals, all of which included a lot of suspense elements) in this exciting new-to-me arena. I was instantly hooked—and found a more receptive home for my darker, grittier voice.

What’s up next for you writing wise (or speaking engagements)?

After Relentless Protector (Harlequin Intrigue) in September, I’ll be promoting Passion to Protect (Harlequin Romantic Suspense) which comes out in November. Meanwhile, my agents are shopping several new proposals, but nothing I can talk about at the moment, darn it!

OK, then on to my favorite topic…favorite food ever?

Snow crab legs with melted butter. But lumpy mashed potatoes, my favorite comfort food, runs a close second!

Mmm! I’m right there with you on the lumpy mashed potatoes. How can readers get a hold of your backlist, given that your prior publisher collapsed?

I’m very excited about a deal I’ve just signed with Amazon to bring back my nine single-title (full-length, as opposed to the briefer category books I enjoy writing for Harlequin) romantic suspense novels, which were in limbo with my former publisher’s (Dorchester’s) financial collapse. Already available in e-book form, the books will soon be out in paperback and hardcover formats. Readers have been asking for these books for two years, so this is terrific news!

That’s exceptionally good news and you REALLY deserve it, Colleen! Thank you so much for visiting us today. For more information on Colleen, please click here for her website: http://www.colleen-thompson.com/

Colleen will be answering questions today and is giving away a copy of her newest release “RELENTLESS PROTECTOR” to one lucky commenter. Stop back on Thursday to see if it’s YOU!

 

Lamb, Well-Done (Joyce Lamb!)

There has been a bit of strife here at Kiss and Thrill.  Lena Diaz and Diana Belchase have been engaging in an all out war.

It started innocently enough,

Lena lobbed a cyber spitball. Diana retaliated with an e-eraser. But when the poisoned quills began splaying terse notes across electronic desktops it really became too much.  Someone had to win the honor of interviewing Joyce Lamb and it wasn’t going to be pretty.

In the ultimate battle, the two authors initially went separate ways. Lena interviewed Joyce on paper. Diana mounted a sneak attack and did a video interview.  Finally, in a shocking revelation, they realized, that like chocolate and peanut butter (okay you have to be my age to get that joke), they work much better together than apart.

Whew.  It was getting scary there for a while folks!

So, here we present our Kiss and Thrill threesome — er — Joyce Lamb well-done — okay, a joint interview of Joyce Lamb by Diana and Lena doing what they both do best — together!

Lena: Thanks Diana! I forgive you for the e-eraser throwing (rubs bruise on side of head.) And welcome, Joyce Lamb, to the Kiss and Thrill blog today. It was so fun meeting you at RWA nationals in Anaheim this year.

Diana: Yes, Welcome Joyce!  

Joyce: Thanks so much for having me, Lena and Diana!

Diana: We’re so glad you could be here today.  I’ll let Lena run with the questions in print since we did the video below.  See you in a sec!

Lena: I guess the most obvious question is – Who is Joyce Lamb?

Joyce: Well, that would be me and about a hundred old ladies living in the South. I have a Google alert set up for my name, and it’s shocking how many times I get an e-mail saying I’m mentioned somewhere, and it’s in an obit for a Joyce Lamb who lived/lives in the South. I’ve died a lot lately!

Lena: Yikes! I think I’d turn off my Google alerts if I was seeing my name pop up in obituaries (shiver). How long have you been writing?

Joyce: I wrote my first novel at 17 on my dad’s old electric typewriter. I’d graduated from high school early and immediately started college but with only a few classes at first. I got really bored really fast. So I entertained myself by writing. So, hmm, let’s do the math … I’ve been entertaining myself for 29 years. I suppose all that’s changed is the technology.

Lena: What genre(s) do you write?

Joyce: Romantic suspense. I love action/adventure movies and TV shows. So I write what I love to watch and read.

Lena: Me too! Give me some Die Hard or Criminal Minds any day. Love it. What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Joyce: They might be surprised to learn that I’m a full-time copy editor at USA Today in the Money section. As far from romance fiction as you can get! I do the Happy Ever After blog in addition to the copy editing, which can be a real handful. But I love it. And if anyone needs me to explain credit-default swaps, I can do that.

Lena: Thanks for the fun offer to talk credit-default swaps, but we need to get back to the interview. Please tell us about the USA Today HEA blog – how it came to be, your role in it.

Joyce: It was all about timing. True Vision (True #1) won a Daphne du Maurier award last summer, right about the time USA Today hired a digital books editor. When he introduced himself and congratulated me, I grabbed my moment and pitched the idea for a romance novels blog that would be the first ever on a mainstream newspaper’s platform. We already had a very popular video-games blog, so I pitched it as “romance novels are to women what video games are to men.” He loved the idea and here we are.

Lena: Congrats on the Daphne win! And I absolutely love the USA Today HEA blog. Can you tell us about your current release?

Joyce: Flash Heat came out in e-book format in June. It’s about a newspaper photographer who has in her possession an incriminating photo that someone is desperate to keep secret. The very hunky star reporter helps her figure out who, what, where, why and how, and along the way they have some pretty funny conversations and some steamy sex. Cole and Bailey are among my favorite couples that I’ve created. Their banter is a lot of fun.

Lena: Sounds like a lot of fun. Let’s get a little more personal for a moment. I’m going to insert some pictures of your kitty-cats, just because they’re so cute I can’t help it. And you can go ahead and tell us about your biggest fear.

Joyce: Dying in a plane crash. I’m not afraid of flying, though. Nervous, sure, but not fearful. I’m just afraid of the plane going down. Once when I fell asleep on a plane, I awoke to that intense sense of falling, like you get when you plunge down that first steep incline on a roller coaster. The plane had hit an air pocket and lost about a thousand feet in altitude all it once. Freaked me out big-time. So now I’m afraid of that sense of falling.

Lena: That would have terrified me! Let’s lighten things up a bit. What would your dream vacation be?

Joyce: Two weeks in a fancy beach house with my closest friends and family.

Lena: I’m more of a mountain girl myself, but then again, I live near the beach so maybe I’m jaded. Do you believe romance books present an unrealistic view of love and relationships?

Joyce: I think romance books present a “fictional” view of love and relationships, for the most part. Just as spy novels and movies present a fictional version of spying. It’s fantasy. Entertainment. And we all know the difference!

Lena: Okay, let’s go with something a bit deeper. What’s your opinion of the current trend to take classic literary works and write new books using those characters? Example – Jane Austen Fan Fiction?

Joyce: I’m torn on this. I find it fun, but I also think fan fiction shouldn’t come with a price tag. It’s OK to enjoy playing with the story and the characters. Share it with your friends and online, but making money off of it turns me off. I don’t imagine that if Jane Austen were still around she would be all that pleased to know that writers are not only making money off of something she worked really hard on but are also denying her the control she should have over the world and characters she created. If a writer bought “fan fiction rights,” if there was such a thing, then fine. Then the author has a say on who and what other writers can do. Mind you, fan fiction in general is a-OK with me! I enjoy a lot of it. What’s not OK with me is making money on it.

Diana:  Okay, I can’t wait any more.  You all must see this interview Joyce and I did in California just a few weeks ago!  Joyce was up for the Rita with not one but two books — against Nora Roberts and Cherry Adair (who btw only had one book each) — how’s that for making it big time!

Lena: Ahem. Gee, thanks for cutting me off there Diana. What, my PRINT interview wasn’t good enough for you? Hm?

Diana:  Actually your interview was great, Lena!

Lena: (blushes) Oh, okay. Sorry about that snarky comment there. Um, back to our wonderful guest. Actually, I thought it might be fun to show a sneak peek from Joyce’s latest release – FLASH HEAT. Below is an excerpt from chapter one that gives a really fun look at the interaction between the hero and heroine – AND – introduces the villain! Enjoy!

“Would you come on?” he called over his shoulder.

“I’m coming,” she replied, irritated at how breathless she sounded. She was in excellent shape. She played tennis every other day, and it wasn’t just hitting the ball around. It was cutthroat, I’m-serious-about-this-crap tennis. On days when she didn’t play, she rode her bike at least twenty miles, up hills and everything. Her muscles were toned, her body trim. But trailing a good twenty feet behind Cole—who moved fast and silently—made her feel out of shape and clumsy.

Of course, it did give her the opportunity to admire one of his better features. The man might be an ass, but he also had a damn fine one. Add to that long legs, a flat stomach—she was sure that a work of sculpted art lurked beneath the crisp shirts he usually wore—and he was indeed a very well-constructed man.

Dark good looks went with the fantastic body. His short, almost black hair always looked as if he’d just gotten out of bed, but rather than looking messy, it was sexy as all hell. Long thick lashes framed blue eyes the color of the water in the Caribbean—and showed just as many shadows.

He rounded the street corner ahead of her, bypassing the barricades blocking vehicle access to the closed street, and Bailey kicked her pace up to a jog. She imagined him standing next to the senator, both already in hard hats and each tapping a foot while they waited. She was just a few steps from the intersection, glancing into the front window of an indie bookstore she’d always meant to visit, when the strap of her camera bag caught on something.

Off-balanced, Bailey spun, more startled than afraid. But then she saw the man in motorcycle leathers and shiny black helmet. He seized the strap of her bag and dragged her back several feet into an alley that separated the bookstore from a hair salon.

“Hey!” she yelled, struggling against his strength.

He slammed her hard against the peach stucco, and a gloved hand that smelled of cigarettes cut off her next scream.

She could do no more than slap at his jacket and helmet until he trapped her between his body and the unyielding wall and held her immobile. Terror nearly choked her. Oh God oh God oh God …

He tugged at the camera bag, but the way she’d put it over her head made it impossible for him to simply tear it away from her and run.

She clasped the strap to her, instinctively protecting the expensive equipment, but then she heard a snick and saw morning sunlight reflect off a blade. White noise began to roar in her head.

He’s going to kill me.

Lena: (shiver) Wasn’t that great???? Here’s the cover for Flash Heat. 

Diana:  Well you have to admit, any way you get Joyce Lamb, on video, in a print interview, in her USA Today blog, or especially in her books True Shot, True Colors, True Vision, Flash Heat and so many others, she is fantastic!

Lena tell them about the prize!

Lena:  Joyce has graciously agreed to give away one digital copy of her novel, FLASH HEAT, to one lucky commenter. Joyce would love to answer any questions you have. And she’d like to know what would YOUR dream vacation be?

Lena:  Thanks again Joyce! You’ve been a wonderful guest.

Commenters: Don’t forget to stop by Thursday and find out if you are a winner! One lucky commenter wins an ebook copy of  FLASH HEAT (via Amazon.com gift certificate) from Joyce Lamb!

You can learn more about author Joyce Lamb at her website, or check out the Happy Ever After USAToday blog!