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YESTERDAY’S NEWS is Today’s Hot New Crime Novel by R. G. Belsky!

Former Journalist turned Crime Novelist, R.G. Belsky, has a New Book out. Happy Release Day to R. G. for YESTERDAY’S NEWS, a Clare Carlson Mystery!

A CLASSIC COLD CASE REOPENED―ALONG WITH PANDORA’S BOX

When eleven-year-old Lucy Devlin disappeared on her way to school more than a decade ago, it became one of the most famous missing child cases in history. The story turned reporter Clare Carlson into a media superstar overnight. Clare broke exclusive after exclusive. She had unprecedented access to the Devlin family as she wrote about the heartbreaking search for their young daughter. She later won a Pulitzer Prize for her extraordinary coverage of the case.

Now Clare once again plunges back into this sensational story. With new evidence, new victims, and new suspects―too many suspects. Everyone from members of a motorcycle gang to a prominent politician running for a US Senate seat seem to have secrets they’re hiding about what really might have happened to Lucy Devlin. But Clare has her own secrets. And, in order to untangle the truth about Lucy Devlin, she must finally confront her own torturous past.

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This is the first novel in a new series, featuring Clare Carlson as the protagonist. If the rest of the series is anything like YESTERDAY’S NEWS, it will be suspenseful and exciting with satisfying twists and turns.

If you haven’t read a novel by R. G. Belsky, this is a great place to start. I highly recommend his work, particularly because R. G. has led a fascinating life and incorporates the wisdom and unique experiences of being a former crime reporter into each story that he crafts. But don’t take my word for it. Look at what critics and other fellow authors have to say.

“Belsky’s Yesterday’s News elicits all parents’ deepest fear―the disappearance of a child. But this intelligent, gripping novel is about so much more: ambition, secrets, and, most shocking of all, truth. Read it.” ―Reed Farrel ColemanNew York Times best-selling author of What You Break

“[Yesterday’s News is an] engrossing mystery…Belsky puts Clare’s journalistic integrity to a dramatic test in this gut-wrenching tale.”―Publishers Weekly

“Belsky’s behind-the-headlines story of the story news director Clare Carlson can’t let go has enough twists to keep even the best-read fan on their toes. Yesterday’s News is a thriller about truth, lies―and how much of each we’re willing to live with.” ―Lori Rader-Day, Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of The Day I Died

“Taut, fast-paced and compelling characters make Yesterday’s News a page-turner.” ―Mary BurtonNew York Times best-selling author of The Last Move

“What a terrific book! A complex and compelling non-stop cat-and-mouse chase―and you’re never quite sure which one’s the mouse. Even the savviest of readers will be gasping in awe at Belsky’s impressive story-telling skills.” ―Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author

“…Belsky’s extensive news-media background allows him to paint behind the scenes of a TV-news set realistically and with a wry sense of humor.”―Booklist

Below are just some of the interesting things about R. G. and some tidbits about YESTERDAY’S NEWS, along with some pictures of him both as an author and as a reporter. And now, in R. G.’s own words…

I’ve covered a lot of big murder stories as a journalist – Son of Sam, O.J., John Lennon. But I’ve always felt that missing persons cases could be even more tragic. Especially when it involves a missing child. At least in a murder, there’s a sense of closure for the friends and family of the victim. But when someone goes missing – and is never found – there are never any answers. That’s why I decided to write this book about an 11-year-old girl named Lucy Devlin who disappears on her way to school in New York City and is never heard from again. Until my character, TV journalist Clare Carlson, goes digging for the truth years later.

Yesterday’s News (Oceanview – May 1, 2018) is the first in a series featuring Clare Carlson, a former newspaper reporter who is now the news director of Channel 10 News in New York City. A second Clare Carlson book THE CINDERELLA MURDERS will be published by Oceanview in the spring of 2019.

APPEARANCES

  • There will be a book launch party at Mysterious Bookshop in New York City on May 8.
  • I will be attending numerous mystery conferences including Maine Crime Wave, Thrillerfest, Deadly Ink, Killer Nashville and Bouchercon.
  • There will also be appearances at a number of bookstores in cities around the country.
  • You can check out my website for more details on my schedule. Wwwrgbelsky.com

I write about what I know. My book (like all my earlier mystery books) is set in the world of the New York City media where I worked as a journalist for many years as a top editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News. The inspiration for many of the mystery novels I’ve written have come from stories I covered (the “Ripped from the Headlines” technique) and colorful people I worked with at all those places. Whenever anyone has asked me where I got the ideas for my crime novels, I always replied: “Hey, I just go to work every day!”

I’ve done some pretty good things as a journalist, but the thing I became most famous for was something that wasn’t even my idea. The famous New York Post Headless Body in Topless Bar headline. I didn’t write that headline, but I was in the newsroom that day and helped pull together the bizarre story for it. About a holdup man who robbed a topless bar, killed someone, cut off their head and then – for some unfathomable reason – took the head away with him. It became a legendary tabloid headline, and I’ve written about how it was created numerous times since then. So I’ve become linked with that headline as maybe the most notable thing in my journalistic career. Oh, well there are worse things to be known for.

Amazingly enough, I interviewed best-selling author Douglas Preston recently about his new book City of Endless Night with co-author Lincoln Child. That book is about a murderer in New York City who cuts the heads off his victims – and takes them away with him. And yes, he remembered that New York Post headline! Even though he said the idea came from somewhere else. But we had a pretty interesting discussion about that once I told him about my involvement in the Headless Body in Topless Bar headline.

Yesterday’s News is my 11th mystery novel. Most of them were written while I was working fulltime as a journalist. Lots of people wonder how I could work all day in a newsroom and then sit down for a few hours every day on top of that to write a novel. Hey, writing a novel is fun and relaxing compared to working in a newsroom. My job in the newsroom involved lots of work and stress to make sure the stories – and all the facts in them – were completely accurate. As a mystery novelist, I get to make stuff up. How cool is that!

I have plenty of journalist friends who actually believe that my characters are based on them. I’m sure when this book comes out, there will be women I worked with in newsrooms telling me: “I’m the real Clare Carlson, right?” The answer is no. Clare Carlson, the hard-driving, news-obsessed TV journalist in this new series, is not based on any one person. But she is a compilation of plenty of women I’ve met in newsrooms. Let’s just say I’ve worked with a lot of Clare Carlsons in my time.

My last book before this was Blonde Ice (Atria – 2016), the third in a series featuring Gil Malloy, a New York City newspaper reporter. (Like I said, I tend to write about what I know.). That book was about a cold-blooded woman serial killer – a kind of female Son of Sam – who murdered men on the streets of New York City just for the thrill of it. One interesting footnote on that book: I was able to get an author blurb praising it from from Joe Eszterhas, the legendary Hollywood screenwriter who wrote Basic Instinct – featuring Sharon Stone as a blonde murderer.  Joe and I go way back together. We were best friends in college at Ohio University in the ‘60s, working together when he was editor of the daily paper there. Years later, when I was at Star magazine, we covered him as a Hollywood celebrity. So I thought it was really cool to get that praise from him on my book.

I try to write the same kind of books that I like to read. Colorful characters; a fascinating story with lots of twists; and fast-paced, taut writing that keeps a reader turning the pages (this last one is easy for me because of my tabloid background of telling a story quickly and clearly). I had a lot of fun writing Clare Carlson and Yesterday’s News. Hopefully the readers will enjoy it too.

 

Thanks R. G.! Congratulations and good luck with the new release. Readers, below is a complete book list by this fascinating author. I hope you read and love YESTERDAY’S NEWS!

COMPLETE BOOKLIST

As Dick Belsky…

  • ONE FOR THE MONEY – Academy Chicago (1985)
  • SOUTH STREET CONFIDENTIAL – St. Martin’s (1989)
  • BROADCAST CLUES (Paperback version from Berkley Prime Crime of South Street Confidential) – 1993
  • LIVE FROM NEW YORK – Berkley Prime Crime (1993)
  • THE MOURNING SHOW –Berkley Prime Crime (1994)
  • SUMMERTIME NEWS – Berkley Prime Crime (1995)

As R.G. Belsky….

  • LOVERBOY – Avon 1998
  • PLAYING DEAD – Avon 1999
  • THE KENNEDY CONNECTION – Atria (2014)
  • THE MIDNIGHT HOUR – Novella – Atria (2015)
  • SHOOTING FOR THE STARS – Atria (2015)
  • BLONDE ICE – Atria (2016)
  • YESTERDAY’S NEWS – Oceanview Publishing (2018)

Learn more about R.G. Belsky by visiting his website.

Running Blind release day

Running Blind (Men of Steele #4) is out today!

A bit of trivia… Did you know that each of the the four Men of Steele books was released while I lived in a different city? This one was by far the most hectic because during edits and launch prep, I was living in a temporary rental, house hunting, and unpacking in a new home. Oh, and my college kids were with us for winter break.

Honestly, I’m a little bit amazed this book launched on time, LOL. But, yay! Kurt and Caitlyn finally get their story. I hope you love it!

Running Blind book cover

Charter pilot Caitlyn Brevard’s sister disappeared while working undercover to expose human traffickers in the Caribbean. Four months later, Caitlyn has finally found her, but to infiltrate the captor’s inner circle and rescue Rose, she must appear at the man’s gala event with a fiancé she concocted to keep his lecherous son at bay. Can she convince Kurt Steele to forgive a past betrayal and play the doting groom-to-be?

Former special operator and wounded warrior Kurt can’t say no to a friend in need, especially not Caitlyn, who he can’t forget, no matter how hard he tries. But playing ardent fiancé to the woman who broke his heart—and still attracts him like no other—might just be more than he can bear. When their mission turns deadly, he and Caitlyn must risk everything to save Rose and get a second chance at a love worth dying for.

New Release – Tennessee SWAT Continues with SECRET STALKER!

A SWAT officer loves a suspected murderess. What could possibly go wrong?

secret-stalker Lena Diaz

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Ten years ago, Bexley Kane and Max Remington were high-school sweethearts hoping to get married and start their future together. But a stalker, and his death, ended their hopes and dreams and sent Bex fleeing town under suspicion of murder.

Now she’s back, and the past has caught up to her. But will SWAT officer Max Remington learn to trust and love her again? Or will Bex’s secrets destroy them both?

In 2014, award winning book TENNESSEE TAKEDOWN introduced readers to the sexy SWAT team of Destiny, Tennessee. This year readers get to experience more stories about the wonderful men and women in the TENNESSEE SWAT series, beginning with MOUNTAIN WITNESS. The newest release is out now, SECRET STALKER. And there will be more stories after that.

Below is an excerpt from SECRET STALKER. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE

The whispers started thirty seconds after Bexley Kane walked down aisle three in the Piggly Wiggly on Magnolia Street. Not that there was a Piggly Wiggly on any other street in the tiny town of Destiny, Tennessee. With a population the size of a large high school in other parts of the state, this town could only support one grocery store. And one movie theater. And one Waffle House. But, oddly enough, there were four Starbucks. Too bad not one of them was anywhere close to Magnolia Street. Bex sure could use a venti caramel macchiato right now.

Head high, shoulders back, she began filling her cart as quickly as possible while pretending not to notice the other shoppers talking behind their hands as she passed. But, come on, did they really believe that she didn’t know they were gossiping about her? She could well imagine what they were saying.

Is that who I think it is? What’s it been, ten years? Why is she back in town?

You didn’t hear? Her mama done passed away. I heard she died of a broken heart, on account of her daughter didn’t visit even once after she got run out of town.

You think Chief Thornton will arrest her this time?

Is there a statute of limitations on murder?

“Miss Kane, nice to see you today.” Mr. Dawson gave Bex a genuine, welcoming smile from behind the deli counter. “I was hoping I’d see your lovely face at least one more time before you left Destiny. You here for lunch? We’ve got a brand-new batch of pickled pigs’ feet.” He proudly thumped a large jar on top of the display case that looked like a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

Bex very nearly lost her breakfast. She averted her gaze from the nauseating sight and smiled at one of the few people in Destiny who hadn’t treated her like a pariah in the week that she’d been back.

“Hello, Mr. Dawson. I called in an order for some lunch meats and grilled chicken. Could you see whether it’s ready, please?”

“Gladys must have taken that order. I’ll check the cooler. Won’t take but a minute.” He opened the massive walk-in refrigerator behind him and headed inside.

Bex checked her grocery list. The only thing left to get was mustard, one of several things she’d forgotten the first time she’d been in the store. After today’s shopping trip, she should have enough to tide her over for several more days, until she finished taking care of all of the details of her mother’s estate. Then she could hop into her car and leave Destiny in the dust. Again. And this time, she’d never come back.

If she remembered correctly, Mr. Dawson kept the condiments across the aisle from the meat case. Since little else had changed in this town, she doubted that had, either. She turned around—and locked gazes with the one person she’d hoped to avoid.

Max Remington.

His golden-brown eyes stared at her in shock for all of three seconds. Then they filled with anger. His jaw clamped tight and, without a word, he circled around her and headed to the sandwich counter at the other end of the deli.

Gladys miraculously appeared as if from thin air, eager to take Max’s order. Bex couldn’t help noticing that he was all smiles and yes, ma’ams, no, ma’ams when speaking to the older woman. But he couldn’t even spare a hello for his former lover.

His curt dismissal shouldn’t hurt. After all, she was the one who’d left him. But he’d been her first love. And she’d built him up in her mind over the years as her handsome hero, dreaming of what life could have been, should have been, if she’d said yes that night.

And if Bobby Caldwell hadn’t died.

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Mountain Witness - Lena Diaz

TennesseeTakedown

 

FINAL EXIT – The Explosive Conclusion to the EXIT Trilogy

It’s here! The last book in the EXIT Inc. trilogy, FINAL EXIT!

FinalExit-HighRez

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FINAL EXIT is the story of washed-up FBI agent, Kade Quinn, trying to redeem himself and rehabilitate his career after a personal tragedy sent him on a downward spiral into addiction. Rounding up all of the Enforcers who used to work for EXIT, so they can be re-trained and sent back out into society without the controls and oversight of their former agency, seems like “the right thing” to do. And Kade is proud to be a part of this mission. Until he meets Enforcer Bailey Stark. Her resistance to being taken, and her repeated assertions that the government is killing Enforcers instead of retraining them, is met with denial and then shock as Kade begins to suspect she might be right.

While Kade and Bailey work together to bring down the evil forces behind EXIT Inc. once and for all, they fall in love along the way. Of course! This is, after all, a romance. It’s full of action, like all of my stories. But I’m particularly pleased with the romantic arc of these two very damaged people. And if you’re a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, I really think you’re going to enjoy this one.

As with all of the EXIT books, there’s a host of sexy alpha-male secondary characters from earlier books, including the Buchanans from my Deadly Games series. The below flowchart is something I put together to show the connections between the characters in the DG series. (Yes, I’m a nerd, who loves flowcharts and spreadsheets.) You might have to click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.

Lena Diaz Buchanan-family-tree

Did I mention that I love flowcharts? Here’s another one, showing an overview of the EXIT series. (Click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.)

 

Lena Diaz exit-series-family-tree

So how are these series linked? The picture below is a BIG hint. Devlin (Devil) Buchanan is one of the brother’s from the Deadly Games series. Unbeknownst to his family, he’s also an Enforcer for EXIT Inc. In TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP, Devlin’s two world’s collide and he fights to protect both the woman he’s starting to love and his family from the employer he’s trusted his entire adult life. The aftermath of that struggle is the creation of the Equalizers, a group of former EXIT Enforcers and others who join together to fight against what EXIT has become. That struggle continues throughout the EXIT series, beginning with EXIT Strategy and ending in an explosive climax in FINAL EXIT.

Lena Diaz series-for-katLena Diaz Website Books Page with Buy Links

It was so much fun bringing in the Buchanan’s and even Logan Richards (a friend of the Buchanan’s from HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT) as secondary, but extremely important, characters throughout the EXIT series.

Although the four-book Deadly Games series and the three book spin-off EXIT series are incredibly fun to read in order, each story contains a unique and fulfilling love story and can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book. You’ll understand what’s going on even without reading the earlier stories.

I hope you’ll give FINAL EXIT a try. And let me know what you think! Shoot me an email through my website. And please join my newsletter list if you’d like to receive notifications of future releases or giveaways. Sometimes I do giveaways ONLY to my subscribers, like last week when I gave away ten books to randomly drawn names from my newsletter list.

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Quirky Q&A with Cathy Perkins: So About the Money

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Left-brain meets right-brain. Add in heart. Award-winning author Cathy Perkins skillfully blends all three in her newest mystery with a financial twist and a dash of romance: SO ABOUT THE MONEY.

When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. With an infinitely sexy cop—Holly’s pissed-off, jilted ex-fiancé—threatening to arrest her for the murder, the intrepid accountant must protect her future, her business…and her heart…by using her investigative skills to follow the money, before the killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass…and the next dead body is Holly’s.

How does Cathy do it? That’s what I wanted to know so I asked her a few quirky questions which she gamely answered for her third visit to K&T. Join me in welcoming the mastermind behind the Holly Price amateur sleuth romantic mystery series. (And be sure to read to the end to find out who won the Lark Brennan DANGEROUSLY YOURS give-away!)

***

Krista passed along five sentences openers for me to complete for this guest post. Panic! My mind raced along with my heart. I have to be profound. Funny. Introspective. Yikes!

Wait a minute. I just have to be “me.” Whew. I know how to do that. So here we go. So-About-the-Money-2-200x300

1) I do my best thinking when… I’m moving. “Moving” can mean running, hiking or driving—anything that lets my mind relax. It may be getting into that zone that lets my subconscious toss out ideas that have churned around down there. Aside – the idea for So About the Money came while I was hiking with my husband along the Snake River in eastern Washington. As we pushed through some tangled foliage at the water’s edge, I peered over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?” Yes, mystery/suspense authors think things like that.

2) I’m addicted to… coffee. Seriously, I don’t function without it. My husband is either an enabler or the best husband ever (my personal choice) because he always starts the machine when he gets up.

first-coffee

3) In my spare time… Wait, you have spare time? Can you lend me some? I’m still rocking the day job while writing. Oh, and there’s the tree farm. And building the new house. And… But soon—really, really soon—I want to get back to the other creative outlets I adore—fused glass, watercolor, hand-sewing little girl dresses.

4) Smart women are… everywhere. “Smart” comes in so many varieties—I hope all of us can appreciate what everyone else has to offer. Book smarts, people skills; natural leaders and nurturers. Life is so much better when we focus on what women do well and help each other succeed.

5) Traveling… is my favorite thing. I love exploring new cultures and new places. My personal bucket list includes items big and small, local as well as international. Diving the Great Barrier Reef, Soap Lake’s mineral springs, and seeing Qin Shi Huang Di’s terra-cotta army in Xi’an, China.

What about you? Is there a place you’d love to visit?

whitehouse 216

So About the Money by Cathy Perkins

Holly Price never expected to be back in Richland, Washington. She bolted out of the small town in eastern Washington for college—with no intention of returning. She also never expected her father to have a mid-life brain-fart and run off with his yoga instructor. His defection stranded Holly’s mother both personally and professionally. Without Holly’s CPA license, her mother would have to close the family accounting practice.

And absolutely the last thing Holly expected was for a hike with Alex Montoya to turn into the date from hell, but when he’d invited her to Big Flats, she’d heard “hike,” while he meant “hunt.”

Excerpt:

She peered forward and behind. “Alex,” she called, louder this time. “Where are you?”

She might be the commitment-phobe in this relationship, but surely Alex wouldn’t leave her out here. Everywhere she looked, dangling leaves and dried canes blocked her path. The sharp staccato of a dog’s excited bark broke the silence. Duke—ahead and to the right. The dog must have found the wounded pheasant.

She edged past a mushy spot. A harsher tang that reminded her of the dead fish they’d passed earlier grew stronger with each step. Nose covered with her hand, she rehearsed choice phrases to unleash on Alex when she finally found him, starting with a sarcastic, “Thanks for your concern,” before descending rapidly to “asshole.”

Something big rustled in the dense undergrowth behind her. Heart pounding, she spun around and peered into the thicket. They had coyotes out here. And drug grower/dealer guys. The only person they’d seen between the gravel parking area and this jungle was an Aryan Nation skinhead dude. Her heart stutter stepped. Oh, crap. What if this was his territory?

The noise from something plunging through the brush grew louder, closer. Blindly, she turned and crashed through the tangled foliage.

The rushes ended at a mound of dirt. She staggered into the clearing, her gaze zeroing in on Alex. Leaning over something on the ground, he tugged at Duke’s collar. The dog struggled, twisting his body in a muscular objection.

“Alex. Thank God.” Her knees felt weaker than she wanted to admit. “I heard something in the bushes back there.”

“Probably a deer. Stay back.” He wrestled the dog to the side.

His brusque tone shattered her mini-panic.

Well, don’t I feel silly.

A quick glance around registered the details. A drooping cottonwood canopied the clearing. Sunlit water lapped at the muddy shore. Gulls whirled overhead in a protesting flurry, lingering in a swirling complaint of dirty white feathers. The clearing looked like a teenagers’ party spot. Tattered food wrappers and empty beer bottles littered the ground. Filthy, torn clothing formed a soggy heap at the water’s edge.

The wind gusted off the inlet, carrying a stench across the clearing.

“Phew.” As bad as it smelled, she wondered if a dead fish was caught in the trash. A few birds remained near the river, their wings raised high, voices screeching defiance.

The pile of clothes had female-shaped contours. Eyes narrowed, Holly gave it a closer look. A pale, mud-streaked foot extended toward her. “Is that a woman?”

***

Visit Cathy Perkins on Facebook, Twitter, and Cathy’s website.

For more Cathy Perkins K&T interviews:

The Two (Suspenseful) Sides of Cathy Perkins & A New Kind of Mile High Club with Cathy Perkins

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Congratulations to DARCY WOODS for winning the $25 Amazon gift card from Lark Brennan! And a special thanks to all of you who helped us celebrate Lark’s debut DANGEROUSLY YOURS last week. DANGEROUSLY YOURS debuts today!

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Mary Behre is ENERGIZED to be with the KaTs Today!

Happy Book Release Day to Mary Behre for Her Paranormal Romantic Suspense Novel, ENERGIZED!Mary_Behre_Author_Photo_330_dpi

Energized_cover

LENA: Happy Book Release Day, Mary! ENERGIZED is your third full length novel in the paranormal romantic suspense TIDEWATER series. I, for one, will be sad to see this unique series end. Which begs a question…IS it ending? Is ENERGIZED the last of this fun series?

MARY: Hi Kiss and Thrill Folks! Thanks for having me back. Ooh, good question! While Energized is the end of the Scott sisters’ trilogy, it may not be the end of the series itself. Right now, I’m working on a spinoff that will focus on the McKinnon cousins. And for those readers asking, yes! Ryan and Ian will get their own stories if this series is picked up.

 

LENA:  For our readers, here’s the back cover copy about ENERGIZED.

In the new Tidewater novel by the author of Guarded, a kiss between strangers draws both into unexpected danger and unforgettable desire . . .

She’s searching for a sign . . .

Hannah Halloran has always believed in her gift. The things she sees through her psychic touch have never led her wrong before. Not when they led her to an unforgettable night with a sexy marine at a bar. Not when she felt a need to leave her home and find the sisters she barely knows. And not now, when she is an unwilling witness to a brutal murder . . .

He’s ready to show her . . .

All Niall Graham wants is some peace. He’s recovering from the horrors of war, struggling to save his family’s restaurant, and desperate to forget Hannah, the beautiful woman who left him with memories of a mind-blowing night together and a bogus phone number. But a quiet life is hard to manage—especially when Hannah strides back into his restaurant with the news that a serial killer is on the loose and lurking closer than anyone could have guessed . . .

LENA: In the first book of this series, you introduced the term “CRIFT”. Can you explain that to our readers? Does Hannah think her abilities are a CRIFT?

MARY: Hahaha! Crift! I love that word. It means a cursed gift. When someone in Tidewater has a psychic power, there’s always a catch that goes along with it, kind of yin and yang thing. 

Until the psychic finds the balance, the ability can seem more like a curse than a gift.

Hannah is unusual in that she never thought of her ability as anything other than a fun ability, until she comes to Tidewater and stumbles into the path of a serial killer.

LENA:  What inspired you to do this series? Is Tidewater a real place and have you lived there?

MARY: The Tidewater series was inspired by the real cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk. Those cities are sometimes referred to as Tidewater but you won’t find that name on a map.

I lived in the Tidewater area for many years and still refer to it as home. Sadly, I moved away in 2006 but when I started writing this series, I could visit there anytime I wanted, with a few modifications. See, in my books, Tidewater is its very own city nestled right in the middle of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

LENA: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done as an author?

MARY: Attending the Writers Police Academy has been the coolest thing I’ve done so far as an author. It was before I was published and it was the first time I put myself out there and really asked the questions I’d wanted to ask forever. I got to use fake guns to clear a room, participate in a simulated shootout with a suspect, disarm a knife-wielding attacker, and even won a rat signed by the legendary Ann Rice!

LENA:  By the way, readers…Mary recently won the National Readers Choice Award! CONGRATULATIONS, MARY!

2014 NCRA Award for Guarded from OKRWA

Now, back to the questions. What’s the most challenging thing about being an author?

MARY: THANKS! The most challenging thing about being an author is writing through grief. I lace humor in all my books but I had to write the second novel in this series right after my sister died of breast cancer.

It about ripped me apart to write Guarded, especially the funny scenes with the attack ferret, when I was grieving. But I did it and learned that as hard as it was, it helped me grow as a writer and work through the pain. And as Tom Hanks pointed out in Sleepless in Seattle, “work is good.”

LENA: Mary, I’m so sorry to hear about your sister. Hugs. But so glad you were able to write an incredible book using that emotion. Hopefully it was cathartic. Now, what are some of your favorite books?

MARY: Besides Exit Strategy and Judgment? Secrets of a Runaway Bride by Valerie Bowman, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, It by Stephen King, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Vampire Interrupted by Lynsay Sands, and Visions in Death by J.D. Robb are all books I’ve read at least three times.NRCA Guarded and Lucy

LENA: Ahhhh. Thanks for the shout out for EXIT Strategy (and I’m sure that Carey Baldwin appreciates the JUDGMENT shout out.) Favorite movies?

Mary: Ah, this one’s easier for me. There are only three: It’s A Wonderful Life by Phillip Van Doren Stern and directed by Frank Capra; Elf by David Berenbaum and directed by Jon Favreau, and The Princess Bride by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner.

LENA: Favorite pasttime (other than reading and writing)?

MARY: I love to take daily walks, especially early in the morning. I love being out in nature. While I’d prefer to do walks on sandy beaches by the Atlantic, I’m content to do them in my neighborhood.

LENA: Something readers would be surprised to learn about you?

MARY: I’m quite shy. I often volunteer at events to have something to do otherwise, I’m likely to duck out of soirees early because I have no idea how to strike up a conversation. J So if you want to chat, introduce yourself. I’m friendly once you get me talking. 

LENA:  Do you have any pet peeves about romance novels to share with us?

MARY: My biggest pet peeve is when people come up to me and tell me that they love reading my “trashy books.” It’s not a compliment to be called trashy, so I never quite know how to reply.

LENA: Can you share anything about your next project?

MARY: I’ve got two projects I’m working on. The one, I mentioned above is set in Tidewater and centers around the McKinnon cousins of Tidewater Security Specialists. More murder, romance, and psychic mayhem awaits the residents of the coastal city.

The other project is set in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Can’t say much more about it, but there are ghosts, romance, and a quirky heroine definitely in over her head with all the psychic antics.

Thank you Kiss and Thrill for having back today! I love hanging out with these very talented women!

LENA: And now a question from Mary to the KaT readers…

What is the biggest pet peeve a romance reader has when reading a romance novel? 

 

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Join us next Tuesday for another new KaT blog post!

Thank You! and Winner Announcement

Fallen high resThanks to all of you for helping me celebrate the release of FALLEN! You made it a great release week for me! And now…drum roll…

The winner of the $10 Starbucks gift card is Julie Oest! Julie please contact me to claim your prize.

Tune in tomorrow when our very own Sarah Andre shares a very special release post for her debut novel LOCKED LOADED AND LYING. Take my word for it, you are going to love this book! LockedAndLoadedFinal cover

Blessed Are Those Who Weep

Giveaway alert: a Nook or Kindle copy of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP and a Starbucks card are up for grabs.

Today I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderful friend and fellow Witness author, Kristi Belcamino, to the blog. Kristi has a fascinating and heart-wrenching story to tell you, so I’ll let her do most of the talking, but I just have to say a few words about her new release BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP.

This story grabs you by the throat from the beginning and never lets go. The heroine, Gabriella Giovanni, leads you through a maze of compelling characters and twisting events until you arrive at an ending that will leave you breathless. But it’s not the heart-pounding ending you’ll read for. It’s Gabriella herself. A heroine who’s brilliant yet vulnerable, brave yet all too human. Pick it up today, then kick back with a glass of red wine, a hanky, and a do not disturb sign.

Here’s the blurb:

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni stumbles onto a horrific crime scene with only one survivor—a baby girl found crawling between the dead bodies of her family members. Reeling from the slaughter, Gabriella clings to the infant. When Social Services pries the little girl from her arms, the enormity of the tragedy hits home. Diving deep into a case that brings her buried past to the forefront, Gabriella is determined to hunt down the killer who left this helpless baby an orphan.

But one by one the clues all lead to a dead end, and Gabriella’s obsession with finding justice pulls her into a dark, tortuous spiral that is set to destroy everything she loves …

The Story That Did Me In

By Kristi Belcamino

I’ll never forget the story that did me in.

The one that slayed me and changed my career path entirely. The one that ultimately led me to quit my job as a newspaper reporter.

It was about the perfect family destroyed — shattered — by tragedy.

As a crime reporter, I had been blithely cruising through other people’s tragedies for years. I was moved and haunted by many of the stories I covered — some which caused me to drink and smoke too much — but I was still able to do my job and more importantly, I still loved doing my job.

My two close friends at the paper were just like me. We thought nothing of talking about “floaters” and “decomps” and those words were sprinkled into our ever day conversation.

Not much rattled us. Dead body? No problem.

In fact, I’ll never forget how excited I was one day to get a new copy of a homicide investigator’s manual in the mail. It was chock full of graphic photos of various modes and manners of death, including close-range gunshot wounds to the face and explosions and people crushed to death. Not pretty.

But that didn’t stop my friend C and I from taking the book to a Chinese restaurant and flipping through it over lunch.

C also had seen more autopsies at our county morgue than probably any reporter in the history of our newspaper. She was soft-spoken, drop-dead gorgeous, and fearless.

I only saw one autopsy. A guy about my age who overdosed. I can recognize the smell of a dead body to this day.

C and I were regular visitors at the morgue and I soon got a reputation at the newspaper. Every time an intern started, the editors would tell me to take them to the morgue that first week.

I wonder how many interns were traumatized by the experience? I took one young woman on a day when a young man who died in a motorcycle crash was on the slab as we walked into the room. The first thing we saw was the giant chunk of his skull that was missing at the top of his head.

But none of that bothered me. Not really.

Then I gave birth.

The flood of hormones transformed me into another person. Suddenly, everything I reported on was much too close to home.

All the evil that I had kept at arm’s length seemed to follow me home at night.

I would immerse myself in the seediest, darkest part of life and then come home to the very definition of innocence in my baby. I was having a hard time reconciling these two worlds, but then it got worse.

Right before Christmas, a mother in a wealthy suburb and her two children, who I think were less than a year apart, were walking on a beautiful fall day to get ice cream. They were on a parkway, where a wide sidewalk was separated from the road by a patch of grass.

The kids were either in front of or behind the mother when a suspected drunk driver went careening off the road and plowed into the kids, killing them both.

Not long after, the parents invited the press to talk to them in their luxurious home in a rich subdivision. I sat with other reporters in their living room and looked around at the beautiful couple in their beautiful home.

The mother, who I had imagined would be curled up in the fetal position with dirty hair and slobber on her wrinkled clothes, looked more put together than I ever had in my entire life.

She was gorgeous. Her husband was gorgeous. Without knowing their story and looking at them in their fancy home, you would think they had everything.

And yet, they had nothing. Not anymore. Some drunken fool had taken away their life.

The million dollar house was empty and hollow, haunted by memories of children playing and laughing.

Later, my editors asked me to do a story about what this couple’s Christmas was like. I refused. Or rather, I simply kept forgetting to do it.

I couldn’t force myself to call them. I knew what their Christmas was going to be like. Or at least I suspected. It was going to be a hellish nightmare, just like the rest of their days were right now.

So, I suppose it could have been any story that fall — any tragedy that struck me to the core — but that was the story that did me in. Suddenly as a mother, I couldn’t dip into and out of other people’s tragedies anymore. I just couldn’t do it.

I had always cared about my job and cared about the victims of tragedies and tried to do them justice in the best way I could, but I couldn’t do it anymore. When I became a mother, the emotions struck too sharp and too deep for me to continue doing my job properly.

I quit my job a few months later.

But I am forever changed by my former life as a reporter. I have seen things that help me put everything into perspective.

Luckily most of the people I know live very sheltered lives. When they complain — and cry — about trivial things, I try to understand. II tell myself they don’t know. They don’t understand.

They don’t know how lucky they are. They have a little bubble around their lives. They feel invincible. And maybe it is necessary to feel that way to go on day to day.

But I know something different. I know that bubble doesn’t protect them from tragedy. Tragedy is not picky. It is not discerning. It has a laissez-faire attitude in who it strikes. There is no rhyme or reason.

That’s one thing I know.

I’ve sat in too many living rooms of people who know the same thing.

This knowledge may seem like a burden to some. And in fact, up-close knowledge of that as a crime reporter was more than I could handle as a new mother.

But with hindsight, I realize this knowledge is not a burden, but a gift.

It is a gift because it reminds me to pick my battles, put minor setbacks in perspective and to never, ever take one moment of this precious life for granted.

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and crime reporter who also bakes a tasty biscotti.

As a reporter, she’s flown over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, and attended barbecues at the morgue. Her first novel was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer.

During her decade covering crime in California, Belcamino wrote and reported about many high-profile cases including the Laci Peterson murder and Chandra Levy’s disappearance. And because of her police sources, she was one of the first reporters in the country to learn that the passengers on Flight 93 had fought back on 9/11. She has appeared on Inside Edition and local cable television shows. Her work has appeared in such prominent publications as the Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and Chicago Tribune. She now works part-time for the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a police reporter.

Connect with Kristi on her website, facebook, or twitterprofilecowboy2

Readers leave a comment or question for Kristi. One lucky person will win an e-copy of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP and a $10 Starbucks card. Good luck!

 

 

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