Blog Archives

And the winner of the Joyce Lamb drawing is…


Congratulations, Mary (Sept 4, 7:51am comment),


Please click on Contact Us and let us know your email address to send your Amazon or Barnes-and-Noble ebook certificate (specify your preference please).

Thank you to everyone who commented on our interview of Joyce Lamb this week, and to those who shared our link on Facebook and Twitter. We appreciate your enthusiasm for Kiss and Thrill and author Joyce Lamb!

And now for a sneak peek at next Tuesday’s Kiss and Thrill guest…


Another thriller from Wendy Corsi Staub promises another sleepless night! Next Tuesday the New York Times bestselling author answers Krista’s questions about NIGHTWATCHER, the first book in her New York trilogy set on the eve of 9/11.

Find out how an East Coast earthquake, a blizzard that cancelled Halloween, and other world events in 2011 had Wendy rewriting the second book in the trilogy.

Join us on Tuesday with your own questions for Wendy and a chance to win an autographed copy of NIGHTWATCHER.

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 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!

You Had Me At Hello–2012 RITA® Nominees’ Opening Lines

For me, a book’s “hello” is that opening line on page one: those first delicious words that invite me into another world. Some books open with action; others with dialogue or even setting. But whether with a whisper or a shout, there is power in those first words of hello. They make me ask, “And then what happened?”

Today at Kiss&Thrill, we are showcasing the eight romantic suspense novels nominated by published authors for the final round of the Romance Writers of America’s 2012 RITA® competition. Each of these novels had me at hello. Read the opening lines and I’m sure they’ll have you too!


HIDDEN AWAY by Maya Banks
Berkley Publishing Group Sensations; Cindy Hwang, Editor

There were any number of men who would do any job Marcus Lattimer wanted done.

HOT ZONE by Catherine Mann
Sourcebooks Casablanca; Deb Werksman, Editor

The world had caved in on Amelia Bailey.

HUSH by Cherry Adair
Pocket Star; Lauren McKenna, Editor

Three things happened simultaneously: the soft, warm curve of a woman’s bare ass tucked enticingly against Zakary Stark’s good-morning-happy-to-feel-you erection, the familiar gut-wrenching realization that she was the wrong woman, and the cold hard metal of a gun barrel pressed to his temple.

Penguin Putnam; Leslie Gelbman, Editor

While a late-summer storm bashed against her single skinny window, Lieutenant Eve Dallas wished for murder.

New American Library; Kerry Donovan, Editor

With the precision of a surgeon, he sank the screw into the aged cork, curling it around and around; his experience had taught him to go so far and no further.

TRUE COLORS by Joyce Lamb 
Berkley Publishing Group Sensations; Wendy McCurdy, Editor

Alex Trudeau spotted the flashing lights of a police cruiser and pulled onto the shoulder of the beach road.

TRUE SHOT by Joyce Lamb
Berkley Publishing Group Sensations; Wendy McCurdy, Editor

Zoe was dead.

Harlequin MIRA; Adam Wilson & Miranda Indrigo, Editors

Dear Sam, There is a moment in every life that defines, shapes, transcends your previous spirit, molding you as if from newborn clay.


Kiss&Thrill congratulates all the authors and editors nominated for the 2012 RITA®! Up to 1,200 novels published in 12 sub-genres were nominated for the prestigious RITA® award and the  winners will be announced at a ceremony this Saturday in Anaheim at the 32nd Annual Romance Writers of America conference. 

How many of the nominated books have you read? What suspense novel had you at hello? Share the opening line with us. One lucky commenter will win an e-book (Amazon/BN) of the romantic suspense novel awarded the 2012 RITA®.

In celebration of the conference this week, the winning commenter will be randomly selected from comments on Tuesday through Friday until 5 pm EDT and announced next Tuesday!

Join us on Thursday for an exclusive sneak peek at some of the most exciting up-and-coming writers in romantic suspense: the 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Romantic Suspense Nominees.

“You had me at hello.” Jerry Maguire, 1996


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!