Blog Archives

The Dark Powers of Rebecca York

Rebecca York is back with us in a video interview this time.  She’s amazingly prolific and always interested in helping new writers.  In fact, she received  the Washington Romance Writer’s Mentoring Award last April.  I’m so proud to call her my friend.

For a peek at the written interview with special little details about the Rebecca York  few people get to see, please click here.

Thanks so much for being my guest, Rebecca. Wishing you much success with your new book!

So, tell us your favorite type of suspense hero and you may win a copy of Rebecca’s newest Harlequin Intrigue, Her Baby’s Father.  (You can gain an extra entry by posting a comment at, too.)

Please stop by tomorrow when I post the winner and talk about life, death, and Arlington National Cemetery.

Jazzed for Jacks: Welcome Back Cindy Gerard and Her New Crew of Hotties

Carey: Cindy, welcome back! As always, it’s an honor to have you on Kiss and Thrill. I have to tell you, I’ve been Cindy Gerardgoing through a bit of Cindy withdrawal …or rather Cindy’s boys withdrawal (not to slight your heroines in any way,  but those men are mine). It’s tough on readers who have grown to love a series, like your wonderful Black Ops Inc. series, when things come to an end. Lucky for us, the end of the BOIs means a new beginning and a whole new cast of characters for us to lust after, er..I mean to love sweetly and chastely. Can you tell us how your ONE EYED JACKS series developed, and how it will be similar to and different from the BOI series?

Cindy: The One Eyed Jacks is similar to the BOI’s in that my heroes are former military who served together in a multi-branch military task force. (Their nick name came out of the uniqueness of their experimental unit, their tight camaraderie, their slightly reckless reputation, their favorite downtime/pastime of high stakes poker and because each of them made a pact to always carry a One Eyed Jack playing card (either a Jack of hearts or a Jack of spades) as their lucky charm and a sign of unity.

What’s different about the One Eyed Jacks is that these guys are disenfranchised.  They didn’t end their service asjackscover_oej heroes.  They ended their service in disgrace.  When KILLING TIME opens, only three men of the original detail are still alive – Mike Brown, Bobby Taggart, Jamie Cooper.  On their last mission in Afghanistan, all three were dealt a losing hand and now share one common bond:  The military that they proudly served had cut them loose eight years ago with a ‘less than honorable’ discharge when their team led a covert operation that went south and the powers that be laid the blame squarely on their shoulders.

Now Brown, Taggart and Cooper lead separate lives in separate countries, have all dropped out of ‘normal society’ and not only live with the lie that led to their military separation but with the weight of the deaths of both their task force team members and several innocent civilians haunting them.

For these three men, life is now all about getting by, about forgetting the past, dealing with the anger and coping with the hand they’ve been dealt.  None of them intend to break the status quo – until a mysterious woman confronts and forces Brown to ask questions about what really happened in Afghanistan and how those events played into a current national security threat.  She dangles bait Brown can’t resist – the means to clear his name, deliver justice and expose the master mind behind the death of his teammates and his own downfall.

Carey: We first met Mike Primetime Brown in WITH NO REMORSE  (BOIs). Can you tell us how he’s changed since then, and how he grew his own story?

Cindy: Mike had everybody fooled in With No Remorse and Last Man Standing.  He was the epitome of a cock sure, swaggering hero.  What we didn’t know was that he was hiding a lot of anger and pain behind the smiling face.  But, don’t worry; he doesn’t get by with hiding anything in this book.wnr

Carey: One of the great things about your characters is that they are kickass and sinfully sexy, yet each of your protagonists seems to have something that haunts him and makes him vulnerable. What’s that vulnerable place for Mike?

Cindy: Betrayal.  Mike was betrayed then hung out to dry for sins he didn’t commit.  But, he feels the biggest betrayal of all, is his own cowardice when he didn’t stand up for what he knew was right – even if it might have cost him his life.

Carey: And how about Eva Salinas? What makes her tick?

Cindy: A little vengeance, a little lust for retribution and a threat against her life.  She started out on her journey looking for answers regarding her husband’s death eight years ago.  Her search, however, stirred up a hornet’s nest – with Mike Brown smack in the middle – and ended up with her running for her life.

Carey: I love the wonderful settings in your books. You always take me someplace I’d love to go. Have you been to Lima, Peru? How do you research your settings?

Cindy: I haven’t been to Peru but, boy, howdy, would I love to go.  As far as research – it’s extensive.  I have to have a feel for the setting or I can’t embed my story in the book.  So … maps, travel blogs, Lonely Planet guides and generally I manage to find someone who has been there and can help me with those delicious little details that make things click.  Part of this story takes place in Idaho and I was lucky enough to have a cousin who lives there and knows the area and provided an amazing amount of material for me.

Carey: Cindy, what’s in store for us after Killing Time? Whose story is next?

Cindy: I had initially planned 2 more books in the One Eyed Jacks series – RUNNING BLIND (Jamie Cooper’s book) and TAKING FIRE (Bobbie Taggart’s book).  I’ve since been given the opportunity to write a 4th book, one that will come out next December (just in time for Christmas!!) that’s a bonus book in the series.  I’m so excited about THE WAY HOME.  It’s a homecoming story featuring Tyler Brown (Mike’s brother) and is a little different book than I usually write.  Still romance, still suspense, still features our black ops warriors, but THE WAY HOME has a little something extra … something that  is leading me on  a very special journey as I write it.

Carey: Oooh! You’ve piqued my curiosity now. I can’t wait to read THE WAY HOME and find out what that little something extra is. Cindy, I know you are a big animal lover. Can you tell us about some of the animals who hang out your place? Do you have a favorite animal story?

Cindy: Oh boy.  This will be quite the list. LOL.  We have a Brittany spaniel named Margaret that my hubby and I both adore.  I call Margret his ‘other woman’ because she’s the one who gets to go on all the car rides with him :o).  We also have 2 house cats – Buddy and Sly.  One or the other is usually napping on my lap or the corner of my desk when I work.  Tom was never a cat person before these two felines found their way into our house through Margaret’s doggie door a few years ago.  Actually, neither was I.  But we LOVE these 2 cats and can’t imagine life or our home without them now.  A couple of years ago, I bought 2 fish – 2 betas – and kept them in a divided bowl for some time.  Then I bought them a 5 gallon tank and last year about this time, I added a 30 gallon fresh water aquarium to the mix.  This fall, I added a 90 gallon to my office.  So – as you can see, I’ve gotten bitten by the ‘aquarium’ bug.  I love my fish.  They’re beautiful and serene and so much fun to watch.  My hubby also has 3 quarter horses – Too Tall, Diamond, and Gus.  When I get a birthday card – which I did just last week :o) – it was signed by every critter on the place LOL.

Carey: Happy birthday, girlfriend!

On a personal note, I know you love a good adventure, whether it’s hiking the Grand Canyon or hanging with your BFFs in Spain. What adventure is next on your list?

Cindy: The next big adventure involves the kids.  We are taking them on a trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios in the spring.  It will be a HUGE adventure for all of us traveling together and the thought of getting on a roller coaster is already making me a little nauseas.  But, I’ll give it a go.  Maybe…..

Carey: Finally, can you tell us about your classic Love Swept titles? Any more re-releases in the works?booktn_august2012

Cindy: Thanks for asking about that.  WORTH DYING FOR was released last August and is a reissue of 2 of my Loveswepts in one volume.  I love that those stories have been brought back.  Next summer, WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES YOU will be released – another 2-fer volume of my favorite classic Loveswepts.  The reaction to these special e-book volumes has been wonderful.  I have 4 more stories that I plan to release at some point and will be sure to let everyone know when that happens.

Carey: Cindy, I can’t tell you how much I admire you both personally and professionally. Thanks so much for joining us today and for your generous giveaway. We’re all excited for the One Eyed Jacks! Readers, you can find Cindy at Don’t forget to stop by and get the 411.

home-cover-lntCommenters, tell us your favorite pet story or what you plan for your next big adventure. One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of LEAVE NO TRACE and a signed copy of KILLING TIME from Cindy! Good luck, everyone!Killing Time by Cindy Gerard

Kat Martin talks about AGAINST THE ODDS and mining for stories

Kat---Ventura-Star-(275by20I’ve been a Kat Martin fan since I first picked up NOTHING BUT VELVET in 1997.  Her historicals always had a well-crafted suspense element, which must have made it natural for her to switch to writing contemporary romantic suspense.  If you’ve never read one of her suspense novels, you are in for a sexy, fun, thrilling treat!  As a long-time fan, I’m delighted to host Kat on the blog today.

Kat is giving an autographed copy of AGAINST THE ODDS to only lucky commenter.


by Kat Martin

Odds-Cover-(300by450)All year long I am searching for a new and interesting story.  Each year, they seem more elusive.  Tomorrow, AGAINST THE ODDS, the seventh book in my Against Series that started with AGAINST THE WIND, will be released.  As I began to conceive the story, I knew that Alex Justice and Sabrina Eckhart would be thrown together in a tale of greed and murder, but I wasn’t exactly certain how the story would play out.

Or who would be the villain!

I first met Sabrina and Alex in AGAINST THE SUN, where they showed up as friends of Jake Cantrell and Sage Dumont, the woman Jake was hired to protect.

I liked Alex and Sabrina right away, but it wasn’t until SUN was well underway that I realized Sabrina and Alex just had to have their own book.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to put them together, but little by little, a plot began to unfold in my head.

Even half way through, I was still finding my way, trying to figure out who the real bad guy was.

I was particularly happy to be able to write both Alex Justice and Ben Slocum’s stories (Ben’s is AGAINST THE EDGE, book eight of the Against series), since I fell in love with them as I was writing AGAINST THE SUN.

As AGAINST THE ODDS begins, Sabrina receives an inheritance from her uncle–an abandoned silver mine in the West Texas desert.  Running out of money, Rina is determined to find the mine and make it productive, even if it means putting up with the cocky jet jockey she is determined to dislike but finds ridiculously attractive.

G.Q. handsome and obscenely wealthy, Alex is a private investigator and an ex-Navy pilot.  Alex is just the man she needs to fly her safely into the desert in search of her late uncle’s property.  It’s a sexy tale of survival, murder, betrayal, and intrigue that kept me writing long after I should have been done for the day.

I hope you’ll watch for Alex and Sabrina in AGAINST THE ODDS, out in time for Christmas on December 18.

Have a wonderful holiday,


P.S.  What gifts will you be shopping for this Christmas?


Links:  ExcerptBook Trailer | Kat’s Contest |PW Review

Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Leave a comment for Kat and you’ll have a chance to win a signed copy of AGAINST THE ODDS!  Check back on Wednesday to see if you are our winner.  Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address and contact us within ten days to claim the prize.

Wendy Corsi Staub ♥ New York

Another sleepless night…NYT bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub‘s newest psychological thriller will not only keep you up at night, but also keep you guessing till the end as she takes you on a dark, twisty journey on the flipside of normal. Wendy joins us to talk about NIGHTWATCHER, the first book in her New York trilogy (Harper, August 28, 2012).

“In memory of the thousands of innocent souls lost on September 11, 2001, and in honor of my beloved New York, the greatest city in the world.” NIGHTWATCHER Dedication

Krista: Why did you choose New York City on September 11, 2001 for NIGHTWATCHER’s setting?

Wendy: The initial premise came to me within a day or two of the attacks, when I heard on the local NYC news that crime was drastically down all over the city—robberies, assaults, murders, etc., were all but nonexistent as people came together in an unprecedented way. But there was absolutely no way I was going to write about it when it was all so raw.  I promised myself that I would wait at least a decade to revisit the plot, and that is exactly what I did.

Krista: “Anything is possible” is the optimistic philosophy of NIGHTWATCHER’s 24-year-old protagonist Allison Taylor, a Midwestern transplant working as a style editor for a NYC fashion magazine. After the attacks on the Twin Towers, these words take on a more ominous tone as her world view shifts. How did 9/11 change your view of the world?

Wendy: New York is my world—I fell in love with this city on my first visit with a school group at thirteen, moved here out of college, and have lived here (now in the suburbs) for over twenty-five years. In fact, I once worked in one of the twin towers. So in a way, I’ve found myself thinking, “there but for the grace of God…”  On that  particular morning, my husband was headed for a meeting in a building adjacent to the WTC, and I was on my way to meet my editor, who worked in the Woolworth building a few blocks north. The planes struck before I left home, and before my husband left his midtown office, so we were safe. But on that ordinary morning, thousands just like us, people who were going about their daily business, people who never dreamed that they were in the path of a deadly terror attack, lost their lives. For me, the random luck people experienced on that day—good and bad—drove home the cliché about living every moment to the fullest because you just never know.

But one of my favorite things about New York—and New Yorkers, and Americans, really—is a resilient, gutsy spirit. After the initial period of jitters and fear, I was, like most New Yorkers, determined to proceed with life as I knew it. If the first responders and the people who escaped those burning towers and the people who lost loved ones could get up in the morning and start a new day, the rest of us had no choice, did we? Of course we don’t—we can’t—ever forget, but we can—and must—go on with business as usual, living wholeheartedly and taking elevators to high floors and boarding planes without hesitation.

Krista: The serial killer in this book is called the Nightwatcher which sounds scary and threatening in the context of the novel, but I remember another nightwatcher in those months after 9/11: the US Military. The constant drone of fighter jets circling Washington, especially at night, brought me a sense of safety. Did you think about the duality inherent in the term Nightwatcher when you chose it for the first story of your new trilogy?

Wendy: I’d love to be able to say yes, of course, that’s absolutely it. But to be honest, I had originally entitled the book NIGHTCRAWLER. The sales team vetoed it at the eleventh hour and I needed a new title, pronto. I was brainstorming with my husband as we were driving somewhere that day, and our then-thirteen-year-old piped up from the back seat, “How about NIGHTWATCHER?” It was perfect. It was also too late to give him official credit in the book, so I’m proudly doing so here. And of course, it works well on so many levels, particularly the one you cite.

Krista: In your thrillers, you peel back the public façade of families to examine the ugly underbelly of private dysfunction and illness. What is it about families that interests you as a writer?

Wendy: Most of us have a family of some sort; most of us have someone who means the world to us, someone we would stop at nothing to protect. Nearly all parents, for example, have a powerful primal instinct to keep their children safe from harm. And nearly all of us feel safest when we are at home. That theme works its way into all my thrillers—danger crossing that sacred threshold, violating the safe haven, threatening all that my characters hold dear. Thus, the walls come down: my readers find it possible to step into my characters’ shoes, and to think “this could happen to me.”

Krista: NYT bestselling author Lisa Jackson wrote, “If you like Mary Higgins Clark, you’ll love Wendy Corsi Staub!” I read recently that MHC has her own profit line on Simon & Schuster’s operating budget. How does it feel to be compared to the grande dame of the psychological thriller?

Wendy: That was a pinch-me moment, to be sure—Mary Higgins Clark wrote the first two thrillers I ever read, in sixth grade: WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN and A STRANGER IS WATCHING. I already knew I wanted to become an author at that point, but had never read a suspense novel. Thanks to her, I was instantly hooked on the genre, and went on to devour every book she wrote. Flash forward a couple of decades, when, as a New York Times bestselling author myself, I was a finalist at last year’s MWA Edgars for the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark award. I had met Mary a few times at that point, always briefly at industry events, and had found her to be a gracious class act. But on awards night, we really got a chance to talk.

I got to tell her what an inspiration she had been since my childhood, and she told me that she had read LIVE TO TELL and found it “absolutely terrific.” THAT was probably the biggest pinch-me moment of my life—and there’s photo evidence! 

Krista: I read on that you hate—I mean strongly dislike—chocolate. For real? So what is your guilty pleasure?

Wendy: Believe me, I have too many to count. A sweet tooth just doesn’t happen to be one of them, and chocolate, in particular, gives me a headache and makes me nauseous. Ugh. Other than that, name your poison: Wine? Coffee? Salty-crunchy anything? Rare red meat? Sushi, Chinese food, Italian…Bring it on!

Krista: Tell us a bit about the next two novels of the NIGHTWATCHER trilogy: SLEEPWALKER and SHADOWKILLER. When they will be published?

Wendy: The very last scene of NIGHTWATCHER is a twist that opens the door to SLEEPWALKER’s plot, and the same is true of the final twist in SLEEPWALKER, which leads into SHADOWKILLER. Like NIGHTWATCHER and my other thrillers, these books feature elements my readers have come to expect from me: villains hiding in plain sight, multiple viewpoints, and of course, plenty of surprises.

SLEEPWALKER goes on sale just weeks after NIGHTWATCHER, on September 25. The novel opens on the ten-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Allison is now a happily married mom living in the suburbs, but the shadows of the past are never far off. A new series of murders bear striking similarity to the NIGHTWATCHER—same MO, same signature–but he can’t have committed them. Only a few people know the details of the original crimes: most notably Allison—and her husband, who has been sleepwalking lately with no memory of his nighttime escapades. Because this book was set in a real time frame of fall 2011, and was written before those months came to pass, I found myself having to rewrite the book to reflect reality: Osama Bin Laden had been killed, an earthquake and hurricane had struck New York, a suburban blizzard canceled Halloween. All of those events served to enhance my plot—particularly the storm-related power outages!—but by the time I had rewritten for the third or fourth time last fall to reflect reality (a major part of the plot unfolds around Halloween), I was praying for an uneventful November, both in real life and fiction!

SHADOWKILLER comes out a few months after the first two books, on January 27, and is written in two parts. The first half flashes back to the year 2000, when we meet our main characters in the “past” and follow the paths that led their lives to collide for better or worse. Seemingly minor plot points from NIGHTWATCHER and SLEEPWALKER will now catapult into the action, and there are some twists that will have careful readers slapping their heads in the old “I never saw that coming—but I should have!” The second half of the novel picks up in 2012, with Allison and her family picking up the pieces from the SLEEPWALKER plot.

Now it’s your turn to ask Wendy questions about her new trilogy. What was the first suspense novel you ever read? Wendy is giving away an autographed copy of NIGHTWATCHER to one lucky commenter. Check back on Thursday to see if it’s you!

Please take a moment to remember….

And the winner of the Joyce Lamb drawing is…


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Americans love an underdog. Whether it’s the downtrodden hero in a movie, the come-from-behind win of a loser team or our kick-ass attitude in the Revolutionary War, we root for the small guy! Especially if said guy is unassuming, passionate and relentless in the face of horrible odds.

   Meet the 2012 literary version of an underdog: Murder By The Book Bookstore in Houston, Texas. Their website states it’s one of the oldest and largest specialty bookstores in the nation, having opened their doors in 1980 and stocking over 25,000 books.

   Despite that formidable pedigree, MBTB is unassuming. Situated in a tiny strip center the interior is dim and cozy, jam-packed with new and used hardbacks, paperbacks, T-Shirts with cool literary sayings and comfortable old armchairs. At MBTB you are welcome to hang out, read, explore and not feel like you have to keep buying expensive lattes. (But if you want one–the coffee shop is next door.)  

   Passionate? You bet. Ask about any book and the staff can lead you to the exact location in a far corner bookshelf. Want to know when Author X is coming out with Book Y? They’ll know and chances are they’ve already booked Author X for a book signing.

   Last year alone MBTB hosted more than 200 of America’s favorite mystery, crime, suspense, science fiction, fantasy and romantic suspense authors. And I mean BIG names. Lisa Gardner, Tami Hoag and Lisa Scottoline all appeared within 6 weeks of each other (I know this because I went to all 3!) How about P.D. James? Sue Grafton? Harlan Coban? Yep, all have signed books in the little Houston bookstore. Many times.

Relentless? Check. Murder By The Book is one of the most aggressive ma & pa bookstores to take on the giant e-book sites and has no plans to surrender. In fact they keep coming up with ingenious ways to stay competitive and capture reader attention, even if you don’t live anywhere near Houston!

   Meet the leader of this scrappy underdog team: John Kwiatkowski, Publicity Manager for Murder By The Book.

   Welcome, John and thank you for being here! If a reader has a Nook/Kindle e-reader and loves the convenience of the click-to-buy read, how can an “Indie Bookstore” like MBTB stay afloat in 2012?

   It’s easy with a Nook.  You can purchase eBooks from the Murder By The Book website and load them onto your Nook. 

   With Kindle it’s a little bit trickier.  The Kindle Fire will allow you purchase eBooks from other retailers, but the original Kindle does not.  

   In most cases, we’re selling our ebooks for the same price as most other retailers. 

   We’re always happy to walk you through the process.  More info about how to use Google eBooks with different types of eReaders can be found on our website. 

   How does the resell work with e-Google? (Meaning where do readers go to shop and how do they get it downloaded to their specific e-reader?)

   With Google eBooks, customers can purchase and download eBooks directly from the MBTB website. 

   In the bottom left-hand column of our website there’s a box that allows customers to search or browse for eBooks that are available from us. 

   Google eBooks work with just about any kind of eReader and we have the instructions for each type of reader linked on the website.

   I know most of our suspense readers would love to browse in your store or buy from you online. But they also enjoy other genres (ex., historical romance.) Is that something they could still buy from you?

   One of the wonderful things about our partnership with the ABA and Google eBooks is that any book that is available as a Google eBook is available for purchase from our store.  It doesn’t have to be a mystery. 

   We’re also always willing to order any book (regardless of genre) for our in-store customers.  We may require prepayment if it’s not something we would stock on the shelves, and we can usually get it within a week. 

   How is the American Booksellers Association (ABA) helping indie bookstores like MBTB?

   The ABA has helped us out immensely.  Without the help of the ABA it would be almost impossible for small stores like us to get into the eBook game.  They’ve set up all the infrastructure that allows us to be able to compete in the eBook business. 

   Without their help, we would have had to find a reseller and develop a high maintenance website that would allow us to deliver the books to customers.  Thanks to the ABA, we’re able to focus on selling books and not the logistics of being able to do so. 

   Tell us about your idea to Skype during book signings.

   We’ve done several Skype events this year.  Our first was with Alan Bradley, the author of the Flavia de Luce mysteries.  Bradley lives in Malta, so a tour wasn’t possible at the time.  It was wonderful to welcome him into the store even if it was just through a webcam. 

   Our most successful Skype event was with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  We had Preston in the store, and Child was able to join via Skype.  Since Child doesn’t travel, it was a unique opportunity for fans to see them together. 

   When possible, we’ve also tried to arrange for signed copies of the author’s book when we’re hosting them for a Skype event. 

   Do you have e-book signings?

   We haven’t started doing eBook signings yet.  Realistically, the profit margin on eBooks is so low that it would be tough for us to sell enough eBooks at a signing to warrant the additional cost of staying open and staffing the store.  It’s not something that we’re ruling out, but not something we’re actively pursuing right now. 

   Tell us why buying novels (either hardcopy or electronically) from MBTB and other indie bookstores is more customer-oriented than large brick and mortar chains or online sites?

   We spend a lot of time getting to know what we have in the store.  It doesn’t stop when we go home for the night.We’re still reading new releases or discovering old gems that might have slipped by us. 

   While we might not have read every book in the store, we can usually offer some insight about most titles, whether it’s from trade reviews or other customer feedback. 

   Each staff member has their own “Staff Picks” shelf, and the remaining shelves in the bookstore are filled with handwritten recommendations.  We really strive to get the right book into the hands of a reader that will love it. 

   We also host a variety of events in the store.  We have a series of luncheon events and have hosted authors like Lee Child, Charlaine Harris, Michael Connelly, and Anne Perry.  The luncheons offer a more intimate feeling than our regular events at the store. 

   We host evening events at the store for a wide range of authors from established bestsellers to debut authors just starting out. 

   We also have two books groups that meet here in the store. 

   In addition to author events, we also host Murder By The Book Recommends events where the staff talks about their favorite recent reads. 

   Earlier this year we hosted an eBook open house where we encouraged customers to bring in their eReaders and we would walk them through the steps of purchasing eBooks from us.

   Basically our goal is to provide an experience, whether it’s meeting your favorite author or discovering someone who could become your favorite author.  That’s missing when you’re just ordering a book from a website. 

   Whew! That’s really creative! Online sites have discounts and specials. Tell us how you fight that?

   We have several promotions that we run throughout the year.  We typically have a used book sale during the summer and the last week of the year. 

   In recent years, we just started offering gift bundles.  We take some of our favorite books from the past year and create gift sets to satisfy any type of reading tastes.  We try to pick lesser known titles that people might not have picked up on their own. 

   Last year some of our giftsets had themes like Private Eyes Are Watching You, Southern Gothic Gems, Supernatural Cozies, Excellent Espionage, Southern Humor, and more.  We love helping pick out books for gifts!

   Can a reader download an e-book from you if they do not have a Kindle/Nook?

   They can.  If you still want to read eBooks or eOriginal short stories but don’t want to invest in an eReader, there is a program called Adobe Digital Editions that allows you to open and read eBooks on your desktop.  The program is free and can be downloaded here:

   Who’s the most amazing author to have held a book signing and why?

   It’s so hard to pick a favorite.  We hosted over 200 authors in 2011.  Our biggest surprise lately was being able to host Anne Rice in the store.  Her publisher was extending her tour and we were thrilled to be one of the stores that was asked to host her. 

   We had over 500 people in the store over the course of the evening and had such a great time!

   Huge events like that are always fun because everyone is so excited about being here.  It’s impossible not to have a good time when you’re surrounded by that many people who can’t wait to meet an author that has meant so much to them. 

   A huge percentage of your clients are in other states and countries. Why is that, given that there are certainly bookstores in those places?

   A large part of it is because of the signed books that we’re able to offer.  With so many authors visiting the store, we offer a chance for customers to order signed books from us.  We can get them inscribed. 

   As long as a copy of the author’s newest book is purchased from us, we even allow people to send in other books by an author to get them signed as well. 

   What question should I have asked that you want readers to know?

   People always want to know how our in-store signings work.  For large events, (famous author names) we give out first-come-first-serve line numbers with the purchase of the author’s newest book.  (The line numbers become available the day the book goes on sale.)  And the number you get is your actual place in line after the author-talk and Q&As, when the actual book signing begins.

   The talks are always free to attend, but to get anything signed the author’s newest book has to be purchased from us. 

   We’ve got a complete listing of our signing policies on our website.

   Well America, summer is here and books abound! Why not take a chance on an Indie Bookstore and electronically download some great reads for the same prices as the giant e-sites? Permission given to pass the blog interview or information to everyone in your social network. Let’s get the word out and do our part to help the cozy ma & pa underdogs!

Receive a $25 gift card to Murder By The Book, to use in-store or electronically!

Simply leave a question or comment for John anytime today and you’re automatically in the our Kiss and Thrill drawing. The lucky winner’s name will be posted on Thursday, May 31st, so check back!

Visit John and the rest of the MBTB staff at

Please don’t forget to bid on the amazing items in Brenda Novak’s 2012 Cure for Diabetes Auction! ONLY 2 DAYS REMAIN!

Carla Neggers: Carey spotlights the New York Times best-selling author

Carla Neggers, Photo by Julie Ireland

Hang on! There’s an interview with the New York Times best-selling author of more than 60 novels, Carla Neggers, and a chance to win autographed print books, e-books, and a t-shirt!

But first I want to talk about those books.

SAINT’S GATE is a complex suspense involving a murdered nun and a missing painting that holds the key not only to a series of current day thefts and homicides but to past mysteries as well.  In this book, Carla lives up to her reputation for delivering atmospheric romance by transporting the reader to small-town Maine, as well as Dublin, Ireland. If you are a lover of rich, lush detail and multi-level storylines, I think you will truly enjoy this.

The romance between the main characters, Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe, is strong enough to bear up in the midst of a big plot. I feel not only the sexual sparks, but the deep emotional connection resonating between Colin and Emma.

A cast of fascinating secondary characters, in particular, an Irish priest with quite a story of his own, rounds out the book.

The story is complex and satisfying, and all the threads are tied tightly into a satisfying knot. But I was left wondering- Carla, what the heck is a bean-hole dinner?

SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER.  I can only reiterate that Carla Neggers is a master of atmospheric romance. This contemporary love story will transport you to Knight’s Bridge Mass.  where Oliva Frost is renovating a historic home. Enter the owner of the dilapidated neighboring home, Dylan McCaffrey, and the journey to discovering secrets of the past begins. Another strong cast, a satisfying mystery, and of course a love story, spells another win for Carla Neggers.

An interview with Carla Neggers,

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?

Carla: I have so many writer friends! I’d pick one of them. Preferably all of them. I have lots of authors from the past that I’d like to meet, but too risky on a desert island if they turn out to be…well, not someone you’d want to be stranded on a desert island with.

Carey: LOL. Sounds like there’s going to be a full-out party on your island. What is your favorite book?

Carla: I don’t have one favorite book but I often turn to Mary Stewart and Rex Stout for a “comfort” read. I remember discovering a musty copy of The Moonspinners in our town library. Loved it. And Nero Wolfe…I especially love his early cases and the depictions of New York in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

Carey: Nero Wolfe is one of my favorite detectives too, but I haven’t read any of the books in a long while. I’ll have to revisit one soon. Do you have a favorite song?

Carla: No one favorite song, either. It depends on my mood. Right now I’m into Irish music. I love the traditional musicians like the Chieftains, but I also enjoy the Young Dubliners, especially their album All Due Respect, and Dropkick Murphys—nothing like The Meanest of Times for a jolt of energy!

Carey: How did you come to write your first manuscript?

Carla: In a tree! I was a kid. I grew up in the country with six brothers and sisters, and I’d go off on my own and climb a tree with a pad and pen and write. I had several manuscripts by the time I graduated high school…all still safely out of public view! I continued to write fiction through college and finally submitted a manuscript to an agent shortly after my first child was born. The agent took me on, and I eventually sold that book.

Carey: I love that story, and I am amazed that you had several manuscripts completed before finishing high school. A sign of a born writer. Do you have a personal hero?

Carla: My husband is one of the finest men I’ve ever known.

Carey tries to refrain, but then gives in to saying, “Awww!”

Carey: Which of your series or which of your books is your favorite?

Carla: I’m afraid I’m not any good at these “favorite” questions! To me, each book and each series stands on its own, and I’m always excited about the book I’m writing.

Carey: Which of your books would you suggest for a reader if they could only read one?

Carla: Whichever one appealed to him or her! I’d read the first few pages and go from there.

Carey, sheepishly:  Do you have a favorite among your female protagonists and why?

Carla: Again, I don’t think in terms of “favorites.” I’m enjoying writing about Emma Sharpe, an art crimes expert with the FBI who happens to be a former novice from an isolated Maine convent. Emma’s full of surprises! We meet her in SAINT’S GATE, out now, and then again in HERON’S COVE, due out in late August. Order SAINT’S GATE here.

Carey: You write so convincingly about the art world in Saint’s Gate. Do you have a background in art?

Carla:I don’t have a formal background in art but it’s long been an area of interest and study for me. I studied music at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and roomed with artists who became lifelong friends. And my son’s a graphic designer!

Carey asks, and then ducks for cover: Do you have a favorite among your male protagonists and why?

Carla: That “favorite” word again! Colin Donovan, a deep-cover FBI agent, is every bit Emma’s match in SAINT’S GATE and now HERON’S COVE…and he has three hard-headed brothers.

Carey: I noticed all those brothers! I hope that means a long series of Donovan books. I know Saint’s Gate is the first in a new series for you, can you tell us some secrets about what’s in store for Colin Donovan?

Carla: Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe return in HERON’S COVE (September 2012), when his world as an undercover agent and her world as a Sharpe—a family of art crime experts—collide.

Carey: Please tell us about your upcoming release, Secrets of the Lost Summer.

Carla: SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER marks my return to contemporary romance…but, of course, there’s a puzzle to be solved. Olivia Frost gives up a career in Boston to return to her little hometown to turn a historic house into a getaway. Just up the road is an abandoned house with junk in the yard. A real eyesore. She tracks down the absentee owner to clean up the place…but Dylan McCaffrey has never heard of Olivia or the town, or even knows he owns a house there. Turns out his treasure-hunter father left it to him. But why? Dylan heads to New England, and the fun goes on from there. Lots going on in this story!

Carey: What motivated you to go back to your roots in contemporary romance for your latest release, Secrets of the Lost Summer?

Carla: Simply put, the idea. I was gripped by it. I often write about small towns, secrets, adventures…SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER has all that…and a jewel thief! I’ve appreciated how readers have embraced the story. Order SECRETS here.

Carey: Is there a story you are itching to write, but haven’t done so? Do you foresee yourself ever writing that story and under what circumstance?

Carla: SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER was a story like that. It was a bit different, and I was itching to write it…and I did! Now it’s turned into a series, and I’m writing the next book, THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE.

Carey: Your novels are noted for their strong atmospheric elements. What draws you to a particular setting, and how do you make that setting come alive for readers?

Carla: For me, the setting is almost like another character, and I enjoy bringing it to life for the reader. SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER is set in a fictional town near where I grew up on the western edge of the vast, beautiful Quabbin Reservoir (which plays a key role in the ‘secrets’!). SAINT’S GATE and HERON’S COVE take place in Maine, Boston and Ireland…three of my favorite places. I’m going back to Ireland soon to research DECLAN’S CROSS, the third in my Sharpe & Donovan series.

Carey: I love this You Tube where you talk more about SECRETS and the setting that inspired you. Readers will be interested to know that you took most of the photos used in this video.

Carey: And finally, Carla, I’d like to ask if you have a special cause that is close to your heart?

Carla: I’ve been doing what I can to help people here in Vermont to rebuild after the catastrophic flash floods that struck our mountainous state in late August. Two of the little covered bridges at the bottom of our hill were casualties, but the detours are minor inconveniences compared to the jobs and homes lost. There’s progress every day, and Vermont is definitely open for business. Come visit!

Carey: Carla, thank you so much for being with us today and for putting up with all those favorites questions! Now let’s open things up for questions and comments.

Commenters: Don’t forget to stop by Thursday and find out if you are a winner! One lucky commenter wins an autographed copy of  SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER, SAINT’S GATE and a t-shirt from the lovely Carla Neggers! A second commenter wins an e-copy of SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER and SAINT’S GATE! 

BRENDA NOVAK: What I’m Reading

Kiss and Thrill welcomes New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Brenda Novak!

Brenda Novak is one of my all-time favorite romantic suspense authors. Her books grab you by the throat from page one. Her stories consistently deliver a suspenseful, riveting thrill ride with an extremely emotional love story. Her characters are so genuine, you’ll think about them long after you put the book down.

I wanted to spotlight one of her books as my favorite, but I love them ALL! So, without further delay, I present Brenda Novak.

What I’m reading…

I gained my enthusiasm for reading when I was in the fourth grade and discovered an entire row of classics in the Liberty School library. Previous to this point, I hadn’t liked reading at all. Maybe it was that boring Dick, Jane and Spot stuff, because THE SECRET GARDEN, OLIVER TWIST, REBECCA, JANE EYRE and GONE WITH THE WIND showed me the real possibilities. Knowing my mother would set me to some task if she saw me, I used to hide from her so that I could read one glorious story after another without being disturbed. I’ll never forget how disappointed I was when I finished everything on the classics shelf and started on the next shelf down only to discover that not all books are created equal.

In junior high, I began reading John Jakes and his fabulous revolutionary war series (and then I went on to NORTH AND SOUTH). In high school, I discovered romance and devoured everything by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jane Austen and Jude Devereaux. I also found my first Sidney Sheldon novel when I was a sophomore, which served as my initiation to mystery and suspense.

Today, I’m an eclectic reader. I love true crime (Ann Rule), straight historicals (Philippa Gregory, Brenda Rickman Vantrease), legal thrillers (John Lescroart, John Grisham), romance (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Mallery, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jennifer Crusie), mystery (Janet Evanovich, Elizabeth Peters), popular fiction (Elizabeth Gilbert and Jodi Piccoult) and romantic suspense (Karen Rose, Roxanne St. Claire, Allison Brennan, Linda Howard, Sharon Sala and more). The only thing I don’t read is science fiction/fantasy. My reading “diet” is so varied that it’s difficult to restrict a list of favorites to any one genre, but here are a few books I’m either reading or have read recently:

1. KILL FOR ME by M. William Phelps. This is a true crime book I picked up at Bouchercon last year and am only now getting to. It’s about a man who had someone murder a woman about to testify against him in a rape case. I have yet to find out who actually committed the deed, but I’m hoping the guilty party pays for their crime. I always find it fascinating to read about how criminal cases really go. It certainly isn’t like the movies. It’s actually a bit depressing. The criminal has everything stacked in his favor. Very sad/difficult for the victim.

2. FALL FROM PRIDE by Karen Harper. I’ve been hearing that Amish romances are the new hot thing so I wanted to try one. After reading CHILL FACTOR by Sandra Brown (excellent plotting and interesting characters and situations) and KILL FOR ME (the true crime book above), this story is VERY tame, but it’s supposed to be.

3. A WALK ACROSS THE SUN by Corban Addison. This book is by a debut author, an attorney down south. It was recommended to me by my agent, and I really enjoyed it. It deals with the international sex trade as seen through the eyes of two orphaned sisters.

4. ADRENALIN by Jeff Abbott. Abbot has a lean writing style, engaging characters and a very quick pace. I’m only one-third in but definitely plan to finish.

5. THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE. Just started a mini-book club with a friend who wanted to bone up on thrillers. He suggested this book be first up, since we both owned it. Again, I’ve just begun, but I’ve been promised that I will love the story. Can’t wait to see for myself….

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has a brand new small-town contemporary series starting in 2012. Come meet the long-time friends who have made Whiskey Creek the “Heart of Gold Country,” with WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, to be released in September. Also, don’t miss her latest romantic suspense trilogy available now–INSIDE, IN SECONDS, & IN CLOSE. Brenda is a three-time Rita nominee. Her books have won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Holt Medallion and many others. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at To date, she’s raised over $1.3 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life. 

Available Now!

Available Now!

Do any of you have questions, comments or want to share your favorite Brenda Novak novel with the rest of us? 

***All commenters with a U.S. mailing address are eligible for the Thurday, 12/8 drawing!  Brenda is giving away one copy of each of the following: The Perfect Couple, The Perfect Liar, and The Perfect Murder.  Check back to see if you’re the winner!

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