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How to Electrocute Your Husband Without Getting Caught

If you follow Elisabeth Naughton or me on Twitter, you might have noticed we are friends (although it’s entirely possible you’ve assumed we are enemies, because there might be just a tiny amount of snark in someone’s Twitter stream…) and after reading her post, I want to make it clear, I adore Elisabeth.  Really.  I think she’s great.  And brilliant.  And I’m not saying that because I want to stay on her good side (but I really want to stay on her good side…).

Seriously, I’m delighted to be hosting Elisabeth today, a fabulous writer who keeps me on the edge of my seat with her Eternal Guardians series, and I’m anxiously awaiting the coming ebook release of her romantic suspense Stolen series.

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A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards including the prestigious RITA® awards by Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, The Golden Leaf and the Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ballpark or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit her at www.elisabethnaughton.com to learn more about her and her books.

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If you post a comment today, check back on Thursday to see if you’ve won a copy of Elisabeth’s latest release, WAIT FOR ME.

And now, I’m handing over the blog to Elisabeth, for a tutorial on how to electrocute your husband without getting caught…

Thanks so much to Rachel and the crew at Kiss and Thrill for inviting me to stop by today!

When talking with a friend about what I should discuss today, she gave me five words of advice: Stick to What You Know. (Ya think she knows I can go off on tangents or what?) We’ve all heard this. Heck, writers are told this when they start writing. If you write what you know you’re more inclined to get it right. But does that mean if a writer writes about murder they’re really a serial killer? (If so, Thomas Harris is in big trouble.) Or what about me? I have a series about Greek mythology. Does that mean I’m really a secret goddess? (I lean toward saying yes. Rachel…don’t answer that one…)

These days, my mantra is: Stick To What You WANT to know. I’m more inclined to read—and write—books about things I want to know versus what I already know. My masters degree is in education. Do I read or write books about teachers? No. Why? Because I’ve lived that life. It’s boring to me. What does interest me? Murder, mayhem, mythology, history, sometimes paranormal abilities, and lots and lots of romance.

Of course, the wanting to know thing can get a person into trouble. Especially one who is a writer. When I was researching STOLEN SEDUCTION, the third book in my Stolen Series, I needed to know how to kill someone without making it look like murder. I contacted an ME via email (one I’d met before and who had spoken at my local writer’s meeting) who never responded to my questions. After brainstorming with my husband—who works for a pharmaceutical company—he decided to ask a doctor he had a good relationship with. Because he wasn’t scheduled to see this doctor for a few more weeks and I needed the info ASAP for my book deadline, he sent the doctor an email. In it he explained that his wife was a writer and was working on a new book and needed to know how to kill someone medically without it looking like murder. The doctor emailed back. Three words: GET A LAWYER.

Yes, I hear you chuckling, but that response reminded me what sorts of trouble I could get myself into. I’m sure I’m on some national watch lists for the things I research on the Internet. After that, I decided not to email research questions anymore. Paper trail! (I’m pretty sure my hubby upped his life insurance too but we won’t go there.) But a writer still has to get their questions answered, right? So I decided face to face is better.

Enter the husband again. (He’s fodder for my research.) My hubby has chronic back pain and in one attempt to fix it he had a neuro-stimulator implanted into his back. The device sends electrical impulses to the area of pain and in theory is supposed to take your mind off the pain you’re experiencing. Pretty cool idea. He was given a trial device to see if it would work for him. Electrical leads were placed into his spinal column for a week. The leads came out of his back and attached to a device—about the size of a pager—that was battery charged and clipped to his waistband. The writer in me pondered this for quite some time. (You see where this is going, don’t you?) There were electrical WIRES sticking out of his spinal column. Long wires. All one would have to do to commit murder would be detach the device when he’s asleep, plug them into an electrical outlet, then reattach the device when the deed was done. It would look like he was killed by an electrical malfunction of the neuro-stimulator. A brilliant solution to a character one must off in a story. But would it work? I needed to have the hubby ask his doctor for verification. So I convinced him to do so at his next appointment. And the doctor (after laughing his ass off) said yes. In theory that would work. Then he sobered and told my husband to keep one eye open when he was sleeping during the rest of the week-long trial.

Hm…on second thought…maybe I do write about what I know. But I digress…

The same is true for what you read. Do you read what you already know? Probably not. I’m guessing you read what you want to know more of. SEALs and detectives and knights and ladies and wizards and…gasp…sometimes even prostitutes. Does that mean you are a SEAL or a detective or a knight or a lady or a wizard or a prostitute? Well, maybe, but my bet is no.  If we all read (and wrote) about only what we already know, how boring would the fiction world be?

So where does that leave me? Continuing to read and research things that interest me. I’m not saying I’ll never write a book about a teacher—I did once, and you guessed it, there was murder involved (when I started asking the DH questions about erotic asphyxiation during the research of that book he told me point blank he wasn’t getting involved in THAT research question). But if I only stuck with what I already know, I—and my readers—would be missing out on a whole lot of good stuff.

I’ve got a copy of my latest book—WAIT FOR ME—a contemporary romantic suspense that includes all kinds of murder and mayhem (and yes, lots and lotsa romance!) to give away to one lucky commenter today. To be entered in the drawing, just for fun, tell me what your training/background/profession is and what your favorite genre to read is. Really curious if the rest of you are like me and read more what you want to know versus what you already do know.

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WFM

A woman without a past…

After a tragic accident left her with no memory, Kate Alexander struggled to fit in with a husband and world that didn’t feel right. She’s had no reason to question what friends and family have told her, not until her husband is suddenly killed and she finds a photo of a young girl in his office. A girl who can’t be anyone but a daughter Kate didn’t know she had.

A man desperate for a reason to live…

Ryan Harrison lost his wife in a plane crash five years ago. To cope with the pain of her loss, he dedicated himself to his job and to raising their daughter. Now a successful pharmaceutical executive, Ryan has everything a man could want—money, fame and power—but he’d give it all up in a heartbeat for just one more day with the woman he still loves.

Two lives about to converge.

As Kate begins to dig into a past she doesn’t remember, evidence leads her to San Francisco and puts her on the path toward Ryan, a man who sees in her the woman he loved and lost. Kate feels a draw to Ryan, one she can’t explain, but is that feeling enough to convince her this is where she’s supposed to be? As Ryan and Kate search for answers, they uncover lies long buried, a passion hotter than either expected and a danger that threatens…even now…when the second chance they’ve both been searching for is finally within reach.

“Full of twists and turns, lies and deception, and the ultimate revenge, WAIT FOR ME is a great romantic suspense read.”

Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick

HARLAN COBEN: Carey spotlights the New York Times Best-Selling Author and Self-Proclaimed Snazzy Dancer

Be Patient. There’s an interview with Harlan Coben coming.

But first…What on earth, you wonder, you do wonder don’t you, is that?


That is my copy of GONE FOR GOOD by Harlan Coben.  Okay, that was back in the day when I used to color code the good parts in my favorite books in an effort to teach myself to write. By now I’ve forgotten what all the colors stand for, except I’m pretty sure pink is for emotion.  I’ve got this passage (page 64, Gone For Good) marked with a pink sticky, so let’s see:

If Mel was lying on her belly, her feet kicking in the air, she was talking about boys and parties and that nonsense. But when she lay on her back and stared at the ceiling, well, that was for dreams. I thought about her dreams. I thought about how none of them had come true.

“I love you,” I said.

And, as though she could see into my thoughts, Melissa started to cry.

I was right. Pink is for emotion. Which is sort of my point about Harlan Coben novels. You buy them for the twists and turns and wind up reading a love story. Not necessarily a boy-girl love story, but more often than not, what’s driving the protagonist forward throughout the book is love. Love for a wife, sweetheart, brother, or child. So if you think Harlan Coben doesn’t write romance, you either haven’t read Harlan Coben, or you have a very narrow definition of the term. So without further ado (no idea what ado is) here is my Q and A with Harlan Coben.

Harlan Coben, Photo by Miriam Berkley

With 50 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last four consecutive novels, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT,  LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted  at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His first Young Adult novel SHELTER was just released this fall. His books are published in 41 languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries. (Bio from www.HarlanCoben.com)

Carey:  If you were stranded on a desert island with one other author, yes the real author, not a book, who would it be and why?

Harlan: Boring answer: I’d rather be with a friend than a stranger.  Luckily, I have many writer-friends I admire – if I start listing them the interview will run too long – but they are all good company.

Carey:  You are known for your fantastic plot twists. What’s your secret recipe for keeping readers surprised?

Harlan: I wish there was a recipe.  It is more like a long hike through deep woods.  You have to cut a different path each time – so it’s harder.  But you know you’ve done it before – so it’s comforting.

Carey: Do you have a special way you order your food? For example, do you always hold the sprouts on your salad or ask for a side of cherries with your diet coke?

Harlan: I’m ridiculously low maintenance in that way.  So no.

Carey is about as low maintenance as a Real-New-Jersey Housewife: I’m the same! How did you come to write your first manuscript?

Harlan: I spent summers working as a tour guide in Spain for Americans traveling on vacation.  At some point I decided to write a book about the experience.  The book was horrible, but the writing virus – yes, that’s how I’d describe it – was unleashed.

Carey:  Do you have a personal hero?

Harlan: My father.

Carey: Perhaps that’s why you wrote so movingly about a father in your Father’s Day essay for the New York Times. Which of your series or which of your books is your favorite?

Harlan: It’s so hard to say.  I usually like the newer books.  I can see the seams in the old ones.  They’re like that college essay you thought was so brilliant and you find it now and think, “Wow, this doesn’t work at all.”  It’s like that with old books.

That said, TELL NO ONE was my first big bestseller and movie, so that will always hold a special place in my heart.  FADE AWAY won the Edgar and the Shamus and revealed how Myron Bolitar “became” Myron Bolitar.  So those are the two I’d pick.

Carey.   I recently finished your young adult novel, SHELTER. Mickey Bolitar tugged at my heart from the opening line. What motivated you to write a young adult novel, and will you spill any secrets about Mickey and his future?

Harlan: I have four kids, ages 17 to 10.  I wanted to write a novel for them.  I also had a great idea for a book, but the hero was only fifteen years old.  That means, yep, Young Adult.

 Carey: Your novel LIVE WIRE features Myron Bolitar, a beloved character from prior series who is also Mickey’s uncle. How do your storylines intersect?

Harlan: My stand-alone books and my series books take place in the same world.  Sometimes they intersect.  I think it’s fun when that happens.

Carey:  What do you like to read in your down time?

Harlan: It’s pretty varied, except for the fact that I read almost exclusively fiction.  Right now, for example, I’m reading a short story collection by Elissa Schappell.

Carey makes a note for her TBR pile. What scares you?

Harlan: Not much.  I get a lot of it out on paper and then I block a lot in real life.  Of course, once you have children, you always live with fear.

Carey: Please tell us about your upcoming release STAY CLOSE. Do you prefer writing series or stand alones?

Harlan: STAY CLOSE is a slightly darker tale.  Usually I have a romantic vision of the American dream and those who fight to get it.  This time, well, not so much.  It is, I believe, the best thing I’ve done.

Carey wonders where she can pre-order STAY CLOSE. Oh, here:

Harlan: I don’t have a preference between writing stand-alones or series.  They are both equally torturous.

Carey: Do you have a special cause that is close to your heart?

Harlan: Medical services for poor children.  My wife is a pediatrician and this is our big focus.  Anne runs a medical facility for foster children via Children’s Aid and Family Services in New Jersey www.cafsnj.org .

Carey: Is there a story you are itching to write, but haven’t done so?

Harlan: No.  If I’m itching to write it, I write it.

Carey: TELL NO ONE is the first Harlan Coben book I ever read. It kept me up all night and kept me surprised to the last page. It’s been made into a movie and is currently available on DVD. What do you think about how the story transitioned onto the big screen?

Harlan: I thought the French (Guillaume Canet) did a wonderful job.  It was a critical and commercial success, getting nine nominations for the French Oscar (the Cesar) and winning four of them.  It’s also readily available on Netflix Instant, so give it a watch (with subtitles).  Ben Affleck is working on an American remake, and I’m very excited about his passion and ideas.

Carey is also excited about Ben Affleck….er…his passion and ideas.  I loved the book TELL NO ONE, and I am seriously stoked that it will be made into an American film. I don’t know why I haven’t seen the French version yet, but I know what subtitled film I’ll be watching this weekend.

Harlan, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. It was truly an honor to have you here. And now I’d like to open things up for comments or questions.

We love Harlan’s books so much we are going to give away one e-copy of SHELTER and LIVE WIRE. There will be two winners. One book per winner. Be sure to check Friday’s blog to see if you are a winner.

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