Blog Archives

Fallen: Cover Reveal

Fallen high res

I couldn’t be more excited to share the cover of my new book, FALLEN, with you guys! I have to say I think the art department over at HarperCollins did me a solid. This just might be my favorite of all my Witness Impulse book covers. I’m pretty excited about the book too! I had a blast writing it, and I learned all kinds of cool stuff- like how to make a wax statue. FALLEN is available for pre-order now. Here’s the blurb for inquiring minds (yes, this is a sneak peek too).

A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard.

When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet.

The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer – a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

Then the killer raises the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets —or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins.

Now time is running out, and Cassidy and Spenser will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up as the next grotesque tourist attraction.

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PS JUDGMENT, book one in the Cassidy and Spenser series, has been named a best book of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. I’m incredibly honored to have been included in that list. 

Eustress: Help Carey Celebrate JUDGMENT’S Release

Hi Friends!

popping champagne corkI hope you are all having a wonderful fall! This is a special day for me, and I love celebrating it with you. I’m definitely eustressing today. Have you guys heard this term? I first learned about eustress way back when, in graduate school, but to simplify I’ll just use this definition from Wikipedia –which is right on the money:

“Eustress occurs when the gap between what one has and what one wants is slightly pushed, but not overwhelmed. The goal is not too far out of reach but is still slightly more than one can handle. This fosters challenge and motivation since the goal is in sight. The function of challenge is to motivate a person toward improvement and a goal.”

So Eustress, while uncomfortable, is really a positive thing. The source of my “good stress” today is the release of JUDGMENT, the first book in my Cassidy and Spenser Thrillers series, but more about that later.

ConfessionhiresFirst, I want to thank you all for helping to make CONFESSION a bestseller. I’ve loved being part of Harper Collins/Witness Impulse’s first year. And because of readers like you, CONFESSION spent six weeks in the top 100 Nook Books over at Barnes and Noble (reaching a best rank of #12 in the overall Nook store) as well as appearing on the Amazon bestseller lists in both Suspense and Romantic Suspense.

So I truly want to thank you, and I have a special gift for one lucky commenter. I wish I could give the gift to each one of you. But I’ll have to settle for one randomly drawn commenter.

And now for more on Judgment. I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be doing a new series featuring forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caity Cassidy and FBI profiler, Special Agent Atticus “Spense” Spenser for Witness Impulse.

The first book in the Cassidy & Spenser Thriller series, Judgment, releases today. Here’s the blurb:

 If these two rivals can’t work together…

Dr. Caitlin Cassidy is on a mission to protect the innocent. Fifteen years ago, she witnessed her father’s execution for a crime she’s convinced he didn’t commit. Now she works as a forensic psychiatrist to make sure that other innocents don’t meet the same fate.

Special Agent Atticus Spenser is hell bent on locking the guilty away. A brilliant FBI profiler, Spense loves, a good puzzle…especially when the solution takes a psychopath off the streets. But his nemesis, the enigmatically vexing Caity Cassidy, is one puzzle he’s never been able to solve.

…One of them is going to die.

When a young coed falls prey to a sexually sadistic killer, Caity and Spense are called in by opposing sides. But before the case can go to trial, the accused man is murdered in a brutal attack and Caity is critically wounded. Now Caity and Spense must put aside their differences and work together to uncover the truth—because the Man in the Maze is coming back for round two.

Thanks again for celebrating with me!


What kind of eustress have you experienced? Remember eustress is a positive challenge that pushes your limits and expands your horizons. One randomly selected commenter will win a one hour massage at Massage Envy or a local day spa if Massage Envy is not available in your area. This contest is restricted to commenters in the continental United States. Good luck, everyone! And thanks again!




Criminal Profiling: Art, Science or Both?

brainWhen I set out to write my upcoming release, JUDGMENT, I knew I had a lot of research to do, since the male lead is an FBI profiler, and it’s very important to me for my stories to be as authentic as possible. So I read more than a dozen books on profiling and the FBI, attended the writers’ police academy, made myself a pest on the crime-scene writers’ loop, and interviewed my local law enforcement resources. Then, armed with my pre-research, I went straight to the source- the FBI- for fact checking. You may or may not know that the FBI has a bureau of public affairs that provides specific avenues for writers and other artists to help them get their facts straight. Pretty cool, I think.

The real profilers, or more accurately, criminal investigative analysts, are a dedicated and courageous group, comprised of some of the brightest minds in the FBI. Most criminal investigative analysts start out as field agents before moving on to profiling, so they have experience and street smarts that round out their analytic skills.

But contrary to popular belief, profiling didn’t start with the FBI. Many consider New York psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, to have created the first criminal profile. Dr. Brussel astounded the police and public by providing a detailed psychological and forensic portrait of a serial bomber who had been terrorizing New York City. Burrows used deductive reasoning, psychological theory, and crime-scene analysis to come up with a finely tuned description of the culprit. When the Mad Bomber was apprehended, he fit the profile well, reportedly down to the buttoned up double-breasted suit he was wearing. One might speculate that the profile was so accurate, there might have been a little magic mixed into the process.

Which brings me back to the question. Is profiling an art or a science? John Douglas (one of the first FBI criminal profilers) and others have now developed standardized analytic techniques and a classification system, based on both their experiences and on data gathered from the study of serial murderers. But there is no doubt that the scarcity of serial killers available for analysis and the retrospective and subjective nature of the case studies, create major obstacles to verifying the scientific validity of claims made by profilers.

Nevertheless, FBI profilers are highly sought after by law enforcement to assist in their most baffling cases. The proof of their value can be seen in their high success rate. What impresses me most about these intrepid men and women is their willingness to burrow deep into the darkest recesses of the human mind. I find both the profiler and the process fascinating.

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

In JUDGMENT, I hope to convey a glimmer of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a criminal investigative analyst. I loved writing this book, and I hope you’ll enjoy the series. You can read an excerpt of Judgment or sign up for my newsletter at

The human brain fascinates me. What fascinates you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Manda Collins upcoming Christmas novella, ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS KISS on release day. Winner’s choice of e-book or print.Once-Upon-A-Christmas-Kiss

Plain Awesome : Alison Stone

Alison Stone (200X300)Keep reading for a chance to win a print copy of PLAIN PURSUIT.  But first I have to tell you, I’m so excited about our guest today. Alison Stone proves that great suspense comes in all flavors. I’d describe her books as sweet suspense, but she can elaborate on her writing herself-keep reading for an interview with the lovely Alison!  

All I know is I adored her latest release: PLAIN PURSUIT. This gem of a story set in Amish country has all the ingredients I crave: twists, turns, well-drawn characters, and of course nail-biting suspense. Alison has also given us insight into a faith and culture we don’t normally have access to. It’s just a plain great read, and written with a fresh, wonderful voice. You won’t want to miss it.

Before we go on to the interview, here’s a little about Alison and PLAIN PURSUIT:

Alison Stone left snowy Buffalo, New York and headed a thousand miles south to earn an industrial engineering degree at Georgia Tech in Hotlanta. Go Yellow Jackets! She loved the South, but true love brought her back North.

After the birth of her second child, Alison left Corporate America for full-time motherhood. She credits an advertisement for writing children’s books for sparking her interest in writing. She never did complete a children’s book, but she did have success writing articles for local publications before finding her true calling, writing romantic suspense.

Alison lives in Western New York with her husband of twenty years and their four children where the summers are absolutely gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book–or writing one.

Besides writing, Alison keeps busy volunteering at her children’s schools, driving her girls to dance, and watching her boys race motocross.

Random Acts and Too Close to Home were released by Samhain Publishing in 2012.

Plain Pursuit, a Harlequin Love inspired Suspense, is available now.


Danger in Amish Country

When her brother is killed in a small Amish town, Anna Quinn discovers she’s an unwelcome outsider. But the FBI agent investigating the case is right at home—because Eli Miller was born and raised in Apple Creek’s Plain community. Eli left his Amish faith behind long ago, but his heart is rooted in a local cold case he can’t forget—a mystery with strange connections to Anna’s loss. Desperate to uncover the truth, Anna and Eli are faced with stony silences and secrets…secrets that someone wants to keep buried in the past.

Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Interview with Alison Stone

Carey: Who are some of your favorite suspense authors?

Alison: The list of suspense authors I enjoy is long. But Lisa Gardner, Erica Spindler, Wendy Corsi Staub, and Harlan Coben are a few of the names that come to mind.

Carey: Oh, we need to have our own book club! I guess great minds read alike. Does your background in industrial engineering influence you as a writer?

Alison: My engineering background is both a blessing and a curse. My analytical side is great for plotting suspense. However that same part of my brain gets hung up on being a perfectionist. Perfectionism only leads to head banging and procrastination. I continually have to remind myself it’s okay to write a “crappy first draft.” It may come as no surprise that I prefer the editing process. I get tremendous satisfaction from fitting all the pieces neatly (and sometimes not so neatly) into place.

Carey: Alison, you describe yourself as a writer, mom and volunteer, just trying to figure it all out. I’m guessing part of what you’re figuring out is balancing family and career. What’s your best advice for others trying to find that balance?

Alison: Um, learn to say no? I’m getting better now that I’m a published author. Before I sold, I tended to volunteer my days away. Now, I realize I should have protected my writing time more. I still volunteer, but I’m more selective. It’s also easier to write now that all four of my kids are in school during the day. I’m lucky I don’t have a day job, so I know I have it much easier than those who work outside the home, have children, and write. But the most important advice I have for others (and I’m constantly reminding myself) is to enjoy the moment. To stop thinking “I should be writing” when I’m spending time with my kids…or doing almost anything else. The pressure to write more, better, faster is always there, but my new focus is to be “present.” Life’s moments are fleeting.

Carey: I have to say that resonates with me. So much of the time I’m thinking “I should be writing” when what I should be doing is being present in the moment. Your current release, PLAIN PURSUIT, takes place in a fictional Amish community called Apple Creek.  What drew you to write an Amish romantic suspense?

Alison: As a writer, I’d read about trends and popular settings. The idea for an Amish story kept popping up. I had long been fascinated by the Amish. When I was a little girl, I remember seeing an Amish gentleman riding on the edge of the road in a horse and buggy. When my dad explained that the Amish didn’t use electricity, I was fascinated. No TV? No Happy Days?

I kept putting the idea of writing an Amish story off. I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated by the research. Then when I was at the RWA conference a few years back in NYC, I heard a Harlequin editor say she’d love to see more Amish romantic suspense.  No more excuses. I had to write my Amish story. The idea of a plane crash in Amish country came to me while I was still in the hotel in NYC. I came home and started doing research. I sold Plain Pursuit less than a year later.

Carey: Your hero, Eli Miller, is an FBI agent who has left his Amish faith behind. What is Eli’s biggest personal challenge when he returns to his Amish roots?

Alison: Eli’s biggest challenge is facing his past. He became an FBI agent years after his little sister went missing while under his care. When he returns home, he has to deal with the guilt of leaving his Amish faith and causing the pain in his mother’s eyes.

Carey: How is the theme of forgiveness woven into the story?

Alison:  In doing research on the Amish, I read the book Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy. It retells the tragic events of the one-room schoolhouse shooting in Nickel Mines, PA that killed 5 Amish children and wounded 5 more. Immediately the world was amazed at how the Amish were able to forgive the gunman. Forgiveness is an integral part of the Amish community as prescribed by the New Testament. I knew I had to weave the theme of forgiveness into Plain Pursuit. In my novel, the hero has to learn to forgive the person responsible for his sister’s disappearance. And just as importantly, he has to learn to forgive himself.

Carey: That’s a powerful lesson. What do you see as your heroine, Anna’s, greatest flaw?

Alison: Anna’s greatest flaw is distancing herself from loved ones for fear of getting hurt. When she was a young girl, her parents died in a murder-suicide. Then as a young woman, she avoided her brother. The story opens with her brother’s death in a plane crash, leaving her to pick up the pieces. (Anna’s character growth also explores forgiveness.) She has to learn to open her heart to find peace.

Carey: What makes Anna and Eli a couple to root for?

Alison: Who couldn’t root for the Amish-turned-FBI hero and his damsel in distress? No seriously…both Anna and Eli have experienced terrible loss in their lives leaving them afraid to take chances with their hearts. When Anna’s brother turns out to be the prime suspect in the ten-year-old disappearance of Eli’s missing sister, they have to learn to put their differences aside to work together to find the truth, all while someone is working very hard to keep secrets buried in the past. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but Anna and Eli do live happily ever after.

Carey: What can readers expect to see from you in the future?

Alison: I’m thrilled to announce I recently sold another book to Love Inspired Suspense. This one involves murder, betrayal, and the high-stakes world of pharmaceutical research. Needless to say, I left the Amish world behind for my next story, but I do hope to revisit the Amish community of Apple Creek, New York in future books.

Carey: Congratulations! And I have to say that story sounds intriguing. I look forward to reading it! Alison, thank you so much for being our guest today! 

Alison: Thank you for hosting me on Kiss and Thrill.

 Readers, connect with Alison 


Twitter: @Alison_Stone


One lucky commenter will win a print copy of PLAIN PURSUIT!

Kendra Elliot: Secrets Hidden Chilled and Buried in Bone

KFELLIOTTWe have a special treat for you guys today: An interview with Kendra Elliot, author of the Bone Secrets series, along with  a giveaway of a signed copy of her latest romantic suspense novel, BURIEDDon’t forget to comment below for a chance to win.

I’ve been hearing wonderful things about Kendra and her books, so I’ve been itching to have her as our guest. Before we get to the interview,  here’s some information about her lastest release, BURIED.

What reviewers are saying about BURIED:

Buried by Kendra Elliot took me by surprise. ‘Engrossed’ is too mild a word for what I felt while reading this amazing romantic suspense novel.” —Morgan Doremus, RT Editor; RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence Nominee

“Romantic suspense fans, drop everything — cooking, cleaning, even the dog can wait — because you will have your nose buried in Buried for the next 24 hours. Elliot once again proves to be a genius in the genre with her third heart-pounding novel in the Bone Secrets collection. The author knows romance and suspense, reeling readers in instantaneously and wowing them with an extremely surprising finish. Plus, returning characters from her first two stellar stories make a guest appearance with gusto. Elliot’s best by a mile!” —RT Book Reviews Top Pick, 4 1/2 stars

“A page-turning blend of romance, thrills, and danger! HIDDEN is a winning debut from a new star in romantic suspense.” –Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author

MARCH 26, 2013

Reporter Michael Brody is used to getting answers. The one that’s eluded him, though, for twenty long years is learning what happened to his brother Daniel the day his school bus disappeared. When the remains of the other children are discovered—and Daniel’s aren’t among them—a desperate Michael calls upon the sole survivor of the tragedy, Chris Jacobs, hoping he will finally break his silence.

Constant fear of being found by his kidnapper has driven Chris into hiding. The only lead Michael has is Chris’s sister, Jamie. Strong and impenetrable, she’s capable of burrowing deep into Michael’s heart. As they race to find Chris, Michael and Jamie somehow find each other among the decades of wreckage. But locating Chris may not be so easy. Now grown, his scars go far deeper than skin.

In Buried, the next thrilling Bone Secrets novel from bestselling author Kendra Elliot, a damaged hero digs deep into his terrifying past…and unearths a chance at love for the future.

Welcome Kendra! 

Carey: Kendra, you’ve got a smashing success on your hands with your Bone Secrets Series which includes HIDDEN , CHILLED, and your latest release, BURIED. Can you tell us how your background in dentistry influenced the series?

Kendra: Thanks, Carey! I spent 16 years as a dental hygienist. I have a sister who is a hygienist, a sister who is a dentist, and a brother-in-law who is a dentist. My dentist from when I was kid would die laughing to know I went into the field. I was the kid with four cavities each visit. Part of keeping my dental license requires I complete continuing education classes each year. I loved the forensic identification courses and when I was looking for an idea for HIDDEN, I came up with a forensic dentist who identifies remains by their teeth. She loves what she does, but she’s not comfortable working around some of the nastier aspects of the medical examiner’s office.

Carey: What do you see as the unifying theme for the three books?

Kendra: Each book has a different main character that works in a different forensics specialty. HIDDEN has the forensic odontologist, CHILLED has a forensic nurse death investigator, and ALONE (January 2014) has a forensic anthropologist. BURIED features the odontologist and anthropologist as secondary characters.

Carey: I frequently get asked the question, “Where do you get your story ideas?” But what I often wonder is where do certain characters come from. Is there anyone in your real life who has inspired a character in one of your books?

Kendra: My younger sister was a big part of the inspiration of Lacey, the forensic odontologist in HIDDEN. My sister is a dentist and was a NCAA gymnastics champion. I based a lot of Lacey’s background on my sister’s experiences. I had already written the scene where Lacey’s home is broken into and some jewelry stolen, when my sister’s house was broken into and they took her jewelry. It was freaky.

Carey: Erm..That really is freaky! Michael Brody and Jamie Jacobs are the protagonists in BURIED. What quirks, if any do these two have that make them unique?

Kendra: Michael is an investigative reporter who is freakishly intelligent, but can’t live by the rules. He likes to take short cuts to get what he wants and usually breaks the law while doing so. The heroine, Jamie, is an elementary school principal. Her life is based on rules and order; it’s how she keeps her sanity. These two butt heads like crazy but of course can’t get past their attraction. 😉

Carey: Michael and Jamie have the common goal of locating Jamie’s brother Chris. What else draws them together?

Kendra: Outside of animal attraction?  Michael’s brother vanished in the same incident as Chris two decades ago. Chris didn’t return for two years. Both of them lost their siblings as children and have strong empathy for the other’s experience.

chilled-cover-250Carey: Kendra, you’ve received glowing reviews for your trilogy, and are consistently praised for your in-depth forensic knowledge. What types of research have you done in order to deliver such authentic accounts?

Kendra: Blushing here…I read a lot. I have shelves full of forensic manuals and devour other authors’ works who write in the same specialty that I do. I have access to a medical examiner, but I try not to bug him with questions too often. Amazingly, Facebook opens up access to a whole bunch of experts. I refuse to be a pest and dig hard to find the answers to questions before I bug a friend. As a hygienist, I had a patient who was a chemist for the Oregon State Forensics Lab…talk about a boring job. It was not CSI.

Carey: Let’s get personal. Which character in your stories is most like you, and in what way?

hidden-cover-250Kendra: Hmm. There’s a little of me in all my female characters. I’m a bit introverted and hide my emotions like Victoria Peres, seek the best in people like Lacey, and I’m a tiny bit OCD like Jamie in BURIED. (Ask my family about recycling and the proper way to load the dishwasher.) Sometimes I wonder if the people who really know me are nodding their heads as they read my books, saying, “That’s exactly what Kendra would do.”

Carey: LOL about the proper way to load the dishwasher. If anyone needs lessons see either Kendra or me! What books are on your keeper shelf?

Kendra: Everything by Lee Child, Robert Crais, Tami Hoag, Lisa Gardner, Karen Rose, Allison Brennan, and Michael Connelly.

Carey: What can readers expect from you in the future? Will there be more Bone Secrets books, or is there a new series on the horizon?

Kendra: ALONE comes out January 2014. The forensic anthropologist, Victoria Peres from HIDDEN and BURIED will finally have her chance at happily ever after. I didn’t want to write about her, because she intimidates the hell out of me and comes across as a cold b%tch. But my editor loved her in BURIED and pushed for me to write her story. She was right, of course. I’m contracted for two more Bone Secrets novels after ALONE. There is the possibility of a Lacey Campbell (my HIDDEN heroine) short story this summer…I’m waiting on the details! Facebook   Twitter  Blog

Kendra, Thanks so much for joining us today and for your generous giveaway! Please come back soon! Readers don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of BURIED

Can You Dig It, Baby? Rachel Grant Uncovers Concrete Evidence

First I just want to say that all of us at Kiss and Thrill want to acknowledge the tragedy that occurred yesterday at the Boston Marathon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families, and we are grateful for the emergency responders, bystanders and participants who came to the aid of those in need.

Rachel Grant

Rachel Grant

Today I’m delighted to offer you an interview and giveaway with my friend and fellow Kiss and Thrill mate, Rachel Grant. I first met Rachel at a Romance Writers of America conference where she was already racking up the Golden Heart nominations. Since that time I’m honored to say that she has become a wonderful friend.  I am so delighted to present her to you today with her new release, CONCRETE EVIDENCE.

When I read CONCRETE EVIDENCE, I expected it to be awesome, and I was not disappointed. From the opening scene the thrills and chills drew me in. I love her smart, sexy heroine, Erica. As for the hero, Lee, all I can say is I’m a sucker for brainiacs with pecs 🙂

The secret life of archeologists is deftly woven into the plot, and a look at this fascinating world is a treat you won’t find in many books. I can honestly say I did NOT see the twists and turns coming, and they kept me reading late into the night. This is one of the best romantic thrillers I’ve read…ever. I absolutely loved it, and I know you will too.

Concrete Evidence

A year ago she lost everything. Now she wants revenge…

Accused of stealing artifacts from a five-hundred-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She’s concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She’s finally closing in on her goal when she’s distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He’s looking for the lead conspirator in an international artifact smuggling scheme, and Erica is his prime suspect. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her trust and get her to reveal her secrets, even seduce her.

As Erica and Lee struggle to conceal their real agendas, the one thing they can’t hide is the attraction that burns hot between them. When Erica’s quest puts her life in jeopardy, Lee must choose between old loyalties and a woman he never expected to fall for.

Carey: Rachel, you have a fascinating background that greatly enriches your storytelling. I always imagine an archeologist as a dreamy, Indiana-Jones type, but I have little understanding of what the job truly entails. Can you tell us about being a real-life archeologist and how that has influenced your writing?

Rachel: If only archaeology were as exciting as the Indiana Jones movies! Most archaeologists in the United States work in the private sector (i.e. not for a museum or university) in Cultural Resource Management—projects driven by the National Historic Preservation Act and other environmental/historic preservation laws. As a CRM archaeologist, I worked primarily on prehistoric Native American sites in the Pacific Northwest, but I also lived in Washington, DC for two years, and enjoyed working on historic and prehistoric projects in that region. In my books, my characters are usually CRM archaeologists.

I would be remiss in my professional duties, however, if I didn’t point out that as much as the Indiana Jones movies are fun and exciting, sadly, the character is more of a looter than an archaeologist.

Carey: Oh, dear! I suppose so, but he’s a very enticing looter! Rachel you know we want to hear that story about finding “treasure” at a sewage plant.  Spill, please!

Rachel: Ha! Never use the word “spill” in association with sewage treatment.

archaeologyI met my husband on my first professional dig, at the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant, in Seattle. We were excavating a 4000-year-old shell midden site that was found during construction during plant expansion. There was this cute guy who rejoined the dig after working for a summer in Jamaica. One day I was assigned to screen for him, and I knew he was flirting with me when I found gold-colored Jamaican coins in the buckets of dirt I was water-screening.

Yes, this is how archaeologists flirt. 🙂

Carey: What an adorable story! I wouldn’t mind if my husband gave me some gold coins. Why hasn’t he thought of that? What is your writing process? Do you plot, pants it or both?

Rachel: I’m a hybrid. I always promise myself I will plot more, pants less, but the characters and their situations always take over and change the story.

Carey: What inspires you as a writer?

Rachel: Archaeology is a starting point for all of my stories. My husband has an M.A. in Nautical Archaeology and I mine his experience as much as my own. I usually start by asking myself how someone could get in trouble working in a particular region or on a certain type of project, and the story flows from there.

Carey: If you could travel to any location for a dig, where would it be?

Rachel: Will it sound terrible if I say that I’m done with fieldwork? I loved fieldwork, but after getting carpal tunnel in both wrists and other digging-related ailments, the excitement is gone. I LOVE visiting sites, though and would like to travel and see more World Heritage Sites.

Carey: Rachel, you have achieved something amazing: You are a four-time Golden Heart finalist. Congratulations! I understand your upcoming release, CONCRETE EVIDENCE, is one of your GH finalist manuscripts. I had the honor of reading an early version of CONCRETE EVIDENCE as well as the current one, which is out today.  It’s fabulous! I can’t wait for our readers to get the 411.  Was there a special inspiration or an original story question that led you to write this particular story?

Rachel: Thanks, so much, Carey! I’m so thrilled you loved CE!  As far as inspiration goes, yes. When I lived in Washington, DC, I worked for a large, multi-national engineering firm, a lot like the one Erica works for in CE, and I had to write an Environmental Assessment for a unique house made out of a strange, yeasty concrete that no one knew anything about…

Carey: Do you have a playlist for CONCRETE EVIDENCE?

Rachel: I listened to a lot of  Third Eye Blind (all their albums) when writing the first drafts of this book. So much that when I read it now, I hear lyrics.

Carey: Can you tell us what makes the hunky hero of CONCRETE EVIDENCE, Lee Scott, tick?

Rachel: Lee is deeply loyal. Once he meets Erica, he’s conflicted about the role he must play, but that loyalty drives him to see his job through.

Carey: What about the brainy and brave heroine, Erica Kesling?  Did I mention I adore brainy heroines?

Rachel: LOL – I’m so glad you liked Erica! She’s a little reserved, but she has her reasons. 🙂 She’s very driven, wanting to make up for her past mistakes and regain a sense of safety. To protect herself, she tries to keep everyone—especially Lee—at arm’s length, but he’s too taken with her to allow that. He is exactly the person she needs to pull her out of her isolation.

Carey: There are so many fascinating details and inside information woven into your plot. What’s all this about a deck of cards?

Rachel: The cards are so cool! In 2007, the DoD issued them to American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to educate them on the need to protect archaeological and historic sites in the Middle East.  For more information on the cards, you can visit my website: I have a few decks and plan to give one to a reader on my (currently nonexistent) mailing list, but it will have to wait a few more weeks, when my website update will be complete and all the planned bonus content for CE will be up.

Carey: What can we expect from Rachel Grant in the future?

Rachel: I have another book coming out, GRAVE DANGER, in late-May. GRAVE DANGER is set in the Pacific Northwest and isn’t connected to CE. Further down the line, I have other books set in the same world as CE. Lee shows up in at least one. 🙂

Carey: I certainly hope so! I love Lee! Looking forward to reading GRAVE DANGER! Rachel thank you so much for your wonderful answers. I know everyone is going to adore CONCRETE EVIDENCE as much as I do!

Rachel: Okay, now I have a question for our readers, what is your favorite movie that incorporates some type of archaeology in the story? (It’s okay to say Indiana Jones – I loved those movies too! – but it’s not my favorite…) I’m giving away a signed copy of CE to one commenter.

Suspense Spiked with Romance: Rolynn Anderson

  1. FADEOUT’S heroine, Jan Solvang, just might be YOUR funeral planner.  What’s one phrase about you she MUST include in your obituary?
  2. (Answer in our comment section for a chance to win an e-copy of FADEOUT, the new romantic suspense novel by Rolynn Anderson!)

Hmm…I guess mine would be: Sarah Andre always felt tremendous joy when a friend achieved the dream of publishing a novel.

And it’s true (although that question was harder than I expected!) For me, the coolest part of being a writer is connecting with others, watching their careers launch and applauding their successes. 

So picture this: Spanking New Writer goes to a conference and lines up to pitch to her first agent. (Translated: uncontrollable trembling, dry mouth, clammy hands, whispering the blurb over and over.) Smiling Writer behind her introduces herself and chats so amiably New Writer almost forgets her anxiety, which ultimately makes for a much better first pitch.

You guessed it! Rolynn Andreson stood behind me at the Desert Rose RWA chapter’s Desert Dreams Conference waaay back in 2006. And we’ve reconnected at that conference every time since. So imagine my thrill this year when she told me she’s now published! It is an absolute pleasure to introduce you to my friend, Rolynn Anderson.

Hi Rolynn, thanks for joining us today! In your debut novel, LAST RESORT how did you come up with a terror plot involving the Winter Olympics (which is plotted out realistically enough to give me the chills!) 

Rumor has it this huge, posh fishing resort in Big Bay, B.C., was once owned by drug lords.  Now it’s owned by London Drugs!  I mean the place HAD to be written about. The other rumor I heard from the locals: CBS was going to house its crew at the big lodge for the Winter Olympics and fly them to Whistler by helicopter.  That never happened…except in my novel.  Don’t you love rumors? 

 Is there another novel in the works involving any of the primary or secondary characters from this story?

Not yet, but I’d love to give Rena another adventure with Nora riding shotgun.

Your newest release FADEOUT: Again…how did you come up with a series surrounding a funeral planner?

My father died of Alheimer’s in 2005.  My sister, brothers and I were planning his funeral in a traditional way until I realized how many young children were attending the memorial.  We dumped old rituals in order to properly honor my father and teach the children gently about death.  The event was so successful, I began thinking about the value of a ‘boutique’ (my term) funeral planner.  Jan Solvang’s story emerged, and of course I had to add suspense and romance to the mix. Jan’s got a fainting disorder called Syncope and she’s inherited a Scottish terrier (Elwood) with some quirks, too.

Who are your favorite RS authors?  Linda Howard, Suzanne Brockman.

SWOON, the second in the funeral planner series, comes out November 15th.  Can you give us a sneak peek?

Jan’s been a boutique funeral planner for over a year, and her dead clients still refuse to rest in peace.  She’s supposed to bury a missing woman and an infamous man, but her research on them disturbs family secrets, unmasks killers and imperils her relationship with Roman. 

Wow! Sounds terrific. (Reader, please note Brenda Novak’s testimonial for Swoon below!)

Rolynn, tell our readers a bit about your fascinating retirement (summer adventures.)

My husband and I spend the four summer months living on our boat (a 46 foot trawler), cruising from Washington State, up the breathtaking Inside Passage, all the way to Alaska and back.  We fish for shrimp, Dungeness Crab, rockfish, salmon and halibut, but mostly we enjoy the beauty of the area and the friends we reconnect with every year.

Do you ever get ideas for a story from those summer months?

Absolutely.  I’ve just finished a double murder mystery called LIE CATCHER that takes place in Petersburg, Alaska.  Liv, the main character, is a “Tlingwegian”…great grandma was a Tlingit Indian; great grandpop was a rough and tough Norwegian fisherman.

How do you spend your winter months besides writing?

We love to travel in the U.S. as well as abroad, but I also enjoy my half acre of fruit trees and garden in Central Coast California.  I golf once or twice a week and I’m tournament chair of our golf club, as well.

Favorite food?  Peanut butter and chocolate.

If you had a career do-over and had not been a teacher/principal…what profession would you choose?

A wine-maker; an athlete (golf?); a CEO.


Don’t miss SWOON by Rolynn Anderson! If you like an interesting cast of characters, a heavy dose of mystery and a lot of fabulous surprises, you’ll be happily turning pages late into the night.”

~ Brenda Novak, NYT and USA Bestselling Author of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES

Don’t forget to leave a comment below:

What phrase should funeral planner, Jan Solvang include in YOUR obituary?

Stop back Thursday to see if you’ve won an e-copy of FADEOUT.


LAST RESORT-print and digital at Amazon:
FADEOUT- print (digital soon) at Amazon: 


How to Romance a Rake by Manda Collins

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

How to Romance a Rake

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Manda Collins

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

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