Blog Archives

Darynda Jones: Snarky Sayings and Grim (Reaper) Secrets

Darynda Jones is giving one reader who leaves a comment below, here or at KissAndThrill.com, an ARC — yes that’s right — an ADVANCE READER’s COPY of her book number 8!  

Eighth Grave After Dark isn’t out until May, and though you might have to wait a bit to get the ARC, you’ll be in the know with reviewers across the country who get the book months in advance!   So leave us your best bit of snark, or tell us why you love Darynda, or why you want to read her book, and we’ll let you know who won next week. 

And don’t forget to click on the View Original link at the bottom of this post to see the VIDEO interview with Darynda! 

UPDATE: The contest is now closed. Congratulations to Nymerias, winner of Darynda Jone’s ARC for Eighth Grave After Dark. Please contact us within ten days to collect your prize.

DIANA BELCHASE

Darynda Jones has a secret. On paper, her alter ego Charley Davidson is snarky, sex-mad, able to kick paranormal foes DJONES001-2in their paranormal behinds. In real life, Darynda is probably one of the sweetest people you’ve ever met. She has a humble, self-deprecating humor, she’ll tell you all her writing secrets as if they don’t amount to much, and she’s more likely to talk about her kids than her books.

Is it no wonder I love this gal?

Here are some things you might not know about her:

*Awards: Darynda has won 11 awards, including the Daphne du Maurier, the RITA, the Bookie Award (three times!), 2 HOLT Medallions, the Golden Heart, the GOTCHA, The PASIC, and the Rebeca (LERA).

*Genre: Darynda has written in a ton of genres, even though they’re not all published, including historical!

*Education: She’s a Summa cum Laude graduate and has a BA in Sign Language…

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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!

 

Carey

 

Losing Mary Stewart, Auction for Diabetes and Winner!

Sad news.  The woman who pioneered the genre of Romantic Suspense, Mary Stewart, died this month at the age of 97.  While that’s a ripe old age for most, Mary’s loss to those of us at Kiss and Thrill is immeasurable.  Lady Mary Stewart was one of the first authors to write female-centric novels that involved both mystery and romance.

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courtesy MaryStewartNovels.com

She inspired all of us here at Kiss and Thrill and we know she inspired millions of readers and authors worldwide.  If you get a chance to read one of her delightful books, like Madam Will You Talk?, Touch Not the Cat, This Rough Magic, or Nine Coaches Waiting, and the Merlin Chronicles, I believe you’ll find her books not only inspiring but a whole lot of fun.  You can find out more about her life at MaryStewartNovels.com

On another note, please remember that we at Kiss and Thrill have assembled an auction basket for the Brenda Novak Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research.

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This is a cause near and dear to our hearts.  So many of our family and friends here at Kiss and Thrill have been affected by this terrible disease.  So please go and bid on something — from jewelry to books to exciting vacations, there is something for everyone.

Our own gift basket features $125 in gift cards (including cards for jewelry, books, and starbucks), two items of clothing, two audio and seven print/digital books from Kiss and Thrill authors, a character naming, and a wonderful tote to carry everything in.  You can find our basket HERE.  

Finally, saving the best for last, the winner of  Don and Renee Bain’s novel, Close -up on Murder is Bella!  Congratulations.  I know you will enjoy it very much.

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Join us next Tuesday when our own Gwen Hernandez will be writing about military romance and special forces.  Gwen’s book, Blind Fury, is fabulous, and being married to a military man, this is something she knows a lot about.  I can’t wait to hear what she says.

Until then, have a super Memorial Day weekend! See you Tuesday!

 

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Why Earl’s Fall in Love Winner!

Thank you so much, Manda Collins for such a great piece on the importance of setting in a book.  After reading both the book and Tuesday’s post, I felt as if I’d had a mini-vacation, away from the stresses of my life.  Bath sounds so lovely — I cannot wait to see it in person someday.

We had an amazing turn out for Manda’s release of Why Earl’s Fall in Love.  The winner of a copy of this latest installment in the Wicked Widow’s series is:  Diane Sallans!  Please contact us within ten days to claim your prize.

In the meantime, the rest of you — perhaps not lucky enough to win — are still lucky enough to be able to go out and read this great book.  For an excerpt, click HERE or on the photo below.

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Pretty, practical Georgie is nothing like the women Con usually woos–especially since she seems blind to his charms. But his elderly aunt is so fond of her that Con is determined at least to be sociable…with the occasional flirtation thrown in just for fun. But things take a serious turn when a dangerous figure from Georgie’s unhappy past appears and threatens to bring her harm. Con will do whatever it takes to keep Georgie safe. And if he can show her that all men are not menaces, he might be able to keep her in his arms and never let go…

* * *

Author Erica Monroe joins us on Tuesday to tell us about her Rookery Rogues series. Read on for a sneak peak at what people are saying about her debut book:  A DANGEROUS INVITATION.

Dangerous Invitation Cover

“Dark and atmospheric. . . Erica Monroe delivers a different kind of Regency Romance. Weaving suspense and romance, A Dangerous Invitation takes you on a ride through London’s rookeries and into a unique new series.” – Deb Marlowe, Award Winning Author

“Fabulously researched with a fantastic love story and page-turning adventure. This promises to be a great series!” -Darcy Burke, Bestselling Author

The Midnight Confessions of Ella Grace

Manda hbio-picere. You may not know this about me,  but one of the romantic suspense hero types that really cranks my tractor is the small town sheriff. So when I picked up the first book in Ella Grace’s new trilogy set in Midnight, Alabama and saw that the hero was…a small town sheriff, I was SO there. And when I realized that Ella Grace is the alter ego of Christy Reece, who writes angsty, nail-biting international romantic suspense, I HAD to know more.

So, being the Nosy Nellie that I am, I invited Ella to K&T so I could get the real scoop for me and for all of you out there who read and loved her Last Chance Rescue books as Christy Reece and who are well on the way to adoring every word that Ella Grace puts on the page. Without further ado, let’s welcome to the K&T lounge, the delightful, Ella Grace!

MC: Welcome, Ella! I’m so glad you’re here. I first started reading your Last Chance Rescue series cover_rewardunder your Christy Reece name and became a fan. That you’re also an Alabama girl just cements it!

EG: Hey Manda! Thanks so much for having me over. I’m excited to be here. And I always love talking to another Alabama girl.

MC: Bama gals have to stick together! Only we know how grateful to be for the existence of Mississippi! Speaking of locales…Your Last Chance Rescue series feels global in scope, with many of the stories taking place overseas, and the headquarters of the Last Chance Rescue organization calling Paris home. Your new Ella Grace stories are set in small town Alabama, which is about as far from Paris as you can get. What are the challenges of writing about people and places that are so narrow in focus? Do you prefer one over the other?

EG: At first it was a struggle to go from an international setting to a place that could be my own back yard. I love the exotic excitement of international settings. Depending upon how far you want to go in making the setting a part of your story, it can add a lot or a little extra flavor. My LCR characters are sophisticated, street smart, and somewhat edgy. They wouldn’t fare well in a sleepy little southern town, no matter how many murders take place there. So I felt the need to tone down the ‘world-weary toughness’ of the characters but still make them comfortable if danger came calling. Which it does.

When I first started writing the series, I wanted to stretch myself creatively so I worked to keep Christy’s voice out of Ella’s writing. My Christy Reece books tend to be dark and angsty. I don’t think I was totally successful, because there’s quite a bit of angst in the first two books and the third one is shaping up to be even more so. However the blend of Christy and Ella’s voice began to work quite well and became a good fit for the series.

When the town of Midnight finally came alive for me, so did the book. The story wasn’t really working until I finally named the town. I was going for a Southern sounding name but could never find one that I liked or wasn’t already a real city or town in the South. Then I noticed that certain monumental, life-changing events kept occurring around the midnight hour. That’s when the name Midnight struck me, and suddenly the town and it’s citizens came alive.

hcover-midnight-secretsTo create it further, I drew on my knowledge of small southern towns. I grew up in a small Alabama community where whatever you did was scrutinized and talked about almost before you did it. And I’ve lived in small southern cities where shady dealings of law enforcement was known and accepted as a way of life. Having lived in the South most of my life, I felt comfortable creating the characters, from the quirky and loveable Aunt Gibby, the nosey Inez, the humorless but somewhat mysterious Faye, to the hideous red neck characters of the Daytons and Hensons. At some point in my life, I’ve met them all.

It was so much fun creating this pretty little south Alabama town. I’d love to live there–well, except for the murders. 🙂

I can’t say that I prefer one setting more than the other. However, I do have to get in a particular mindset to write each series. And in its own way, it’s freeing to be able to ‘switch gears’ voice-wise.

MC: Midnight Secrets the first of your new series set in Midnight, AL introduces the reader to the Wilde triplets whose parents died under mysterious circumstances when the three girls were children. Midnight Secrets is Savannah’s story which reunites her with her high school boyfriend Zach. Reunited lovers is one of the most popular tropes in romance. What do you think draws readers to these stories? Do you have a favorite?

EG: I adore reunited lovers stories. Four of my LCR books are reunion romances. There’s just something about having that history, the remembered heat of passion. Reigniting the spark and watching it flame out of control is so much fun to create and watch. You know I love angst and what’s more angsty than past hurts or betrayals and working to overcome them?

MC: Choosing triplets as your heroines for this series is a bold move, and I love it. What was your reason for casting this series with triplets instead of just sisters? Was there something about the bond between multiples–and especially identical ones that intrigued you?

EG: I really wish I had an intelligent, well thought out reason for making the sisters triplets. I don’t. From the moment I sat down to write Midnight Secrets, I knew the sisters were triplets. However, once I got into the story, I realized how much fun I was going to have with it. The sisters are identical in appearance but how they reacted to their parents’ deaths became such a wonderful personality and character study. Savannah turns inward, becoming shy and bookish. Samantha hides her pain behind her popularity, letting no one know what’s going on behind her bright smile. And Sabrina rebels, making each issue that comes her way a battle she must fight and win.

And I do love the bond that they have. It’s not psychic or supernatural. It’s pure, untainted lovehcover-midnight-lies between siblings. I didn’t want the typical strife one might see between sisters. I wanted the girls to be best friends. When the world comes crashing down around them, they have each other. No matter who’s against them, they always have each other’s backs. Their relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the series.

MC: The second book in this series Midnight Lies, is Samantha Wilde’s story. What kind of trouble is on the horizon for this sister, the cop? Who is her hero?

EG: Samantha is a homicide detective in Atlanta, dating Quinn Braddock, who she thinks is the ‘most perfect man on earth’. However when his ex-wife is murdered and he’s found standing over her body, she begins to wonder if the perfection she thought she saw in him was a facade. She’s never really dealt with her parents’ deaths and all of that comes crashing down on her, making her question her judgment.

Quinn is an ER doctor and has been betrayed repeatedly by the people in his life. However, if there’s one person he knows he can count on, it’s Samantha Wilde. Imagine his surprise when he realizes she’s not sure of his innocence.

After their break-up, Samantha returns to Midnight and Quinn follows her. But all isn’t rosy. They’ve hurt each other badly and their earlier relationship put more emphasis on their physical attraction than it did on getting to know each other. This is something they have to rectify if they’re going to move forward. Into the mix comes another murder and once again Quinn is considered a suspect. This time Samantha stands by her man, unaware that the killer has set his sights on her as his next victim.

MC: Who are some of your influences? Your favorite authors, romance, suspense or otherwise?

EG: I grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. (MC: Hi fives! Always love meeting other Nancy Drew fans!) I loved the excitement and fun of puzzling out the mysteries. Some of my favorite romance and suspense authors are Linda Howard, Karen Rose, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood and Allison Brennan.

MC: Do you have any more projects underway? Tell me about them!

EG: Yes, I’ve started a new series called Grey Justice. The first book, Nothing To Lose, features a young woman who has everything she’s ever dreamed of and then loses it all because of one family’s corruption and greed. She’s determined to see that they pay. Enter a mysterious man who offers to help her in her quest but has his own agenda and another man who’s number one goal is to save her from herself, even if it costs him his life.

I’m also continuing my Last Chance Rescue series, with at least three more books planned. And another book in the Wildefire series for Sabrina Wilde, the third triplet.

MC: Ella, thank you so much for visiting us today! I can’t wait to read your next book, no matter which of your personae is writing it!

To learn more about Ella Grace and her Wildefire Series or Christy Reece and Last Chance Rescue, check her out on the web, on her LCR Facebook Page, her Ella Grace Facebook Page, or @EllaGraceBooks on Twitter.

So, gentle readers, do you like your Romantic Suspense with an international flavor or a downhome flair? Tell us which one you like best, and give us an example! One lucky reader will receive a copy of Ella Grace’s latest Wilde Sisters book, Midnight Sins.

Lena Diaz Dragged Out in Public & Forced to Speak!

Breaking news …

Diana and Lena

Diana Belchase and Lena Diaz at last year’s Golden Heart Awards

Multi-award winning author, Lena Diaz, was dragged out of a conference in Anaheim last summer and actually forced to speak — on film, no less — by the audacious Diana Belchase.

Despite her fervent protests, Lena was beaten into submission in the most terrifying and horrific manner by her blogmate.  Subjected to the greatest inequities, deprived of food and water until she capitulated, you, the viewer, will see here, the abject misery and torment to which an author can be subjected — not only by the nature of her profession, but in the name of so called friendship.

We ask you to judge, both the perpetrator and the victim.  Leave your verdict in the comment section and for your efforts, one of you will win an e-copy of Lena’s newest release, Explosive Attraction, for your effort.  But be warned — if you consider this a bribe, and the verdict turns unduly in Lena’s favor, Diana has vowed to retaliate — by searching out and videoing each of you… (insert loud menacing echo here).

MUUHAHAHA

Okay, now that that’s over (I just couldn’t resist!), I do have real news.  At a recent conference, it was heard that Lena is a new rising star who not only is doing phenomenally in the states but is taking Germany by storm as well!  All I can say is YIPPEE!

I can’t think of a more deserving person — after all this is the gal who went to the finals for the Beacon, the Golden Heart, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, and  WON both the TARA and the Daphne Du Maurier awards  — and she is an amazing person, too.

Lena Diaz, with author Robin Perini, and Diana Belchase during a tour of the LA Police Deptartment

Lena Diaz, with author Robin Perini, and Diana Belchase during a tour of the LA Police Deptartment

What do I mean by an amazing person?  Well, a top mother who fights for her kids in every way, someone who works to spread the message about diabetes and raise funds for research, a friend who always has your back, someone who, while working full time, donates her off-hours to her community and fellow writers.  On top of all that, she’s so modest I could barely get her on camera!  LOL.  Oh, and she still manages to find time to turn out the most incredible fiction I’ve ever read.

ExplosiveAttractionsmlTake her newest book, Explosive Attraction, Lena starts with the hero and heroine and a serial killer on page one and doesn’t stop.  Each page is filled with plot twists, sexual tension, and a story that will keep you riveted until you get to the very end.  Not only that, but it’s written beautifully.  Take a look at this excerpt:

“Even with heels on, Darby had to stand on her tiptoes for a good view of the picture. In the middle of a large, empty room, a man sat in a chair, his posture stiff and oddly strained. The low quality of the photograph reminded Darby of one of those cheap, do-it-yourself picture-printing machines found in drugstores. She squinted, wishing the exposure wasn’t so dark. “He looks familiar.”

“You know him?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe.”

She reached for the picture but he pulled it back.

“Fingerprints,” he reminded her, holding the edges with his gloved fingers. When she lowered her hands, he held the picture in front of her.

She tapped her nails against her thigh. “Why would he have his picture taken sitting in the middle of an empty room?”

“That’s a concrete floor. And those are industrial-style windows across the back. Probably a warehouse.” His jaw tightened. “And he’s not sitting there because he wants to.” He pointed to the arms of the chair. “He’s tied up.”

She let out a gasp and leaned closer to get a better look. Recognition slammed into her, stealing her breath. Was this some kind of joke?

“You know him,” Rafe said, not a question this time.

“Who is he?”

“An attorney, Victor Grant. He used to be in private practice, but he made assistant district attorney last week. I saw him at the courthouse just yesterday.”

He set the photograph down to reach for the envelope again. When he pulled out the watch, she realized it didn’t have a wristband connected to it. Rafe’s eyes widened and he let out a vicious curse. He grasped the watch in one hand and yanked his cell phone out of his jeans pocket with the other.

“What’s wrong?” Darby hated the alarm in her voice, but what had seemed like a harmless prank a few minutes ago now seemed like something far more sinister.

Rafe issued rapid-fire instructions into the phone to someone named Buresh. In answer to Darby’s earlier question, he held the watch down where she could see it.

A stark, digital readout flashed against the white background, displaying 00:00:15. The last number was decreasing—fourteen…thirteen…twelve…”

This is a book you do not want to miss, so please remember to enter  our prize drawing by leaving a comment below  The winner will be posted on Thursday when Lena returns, this time to interview author Angi Morgan and hear about Angi’s newest release.

Mary Kay Andrews’ Murderous Secret Identity

Mary Kay AndrewsMary Kay Andrews books are transformative.  When you’re done with them, you think twice about your life decisions, and you feel as if you’ve found long-lost sisters.  She takes you down the back roads of America — to little towns and places where traditions and secrets run deep, and friendship runs even deeper.  Her heroines are the kind of women I want to be — brave, able to deal squarely with their problems (okay it might take a few chapters) and move in new directions.

(If you’re having trouble viewing the video, please update your adobe flash player)

But if you’re as much of a fan as I am — you might notice that there is always an element of suspense or mystery buried within the pages of her novels.  Well, the reason is finally made clear as Kiss and Thrill reveals that Mary Kay is also mystery writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck.  What a scoop!  Take that all you fancy reporters at CNN.  <smile>  And an even more recent scoop — Mary Kay just bought her dream house, Ebbtide, the one that was featured in her book Summer Rental!

I love Mary Kay’s dual identity more than I can say, because I also write both suspense and women’s fiction and can tell you, Mary Kay is exactly who I want to be when I finally grow up.

irisheyeseverycrookednannyTell us who you want to be when you grow up and you might win a copy of Spring Fever by Mary Kay!  SpringFever

Today we’re giving away as prizes TEN COPIES of her newest women’s fiction novel:  Spring Fevera fab read I know you’ll enjoy.  Don’t forget to leave a comment or ask a question to be entered!  Mary Kay is going to try to stop by and answer as many as possible.

(Please make sure you contact us within ten days of  us posting the winners or you’ll forfeit your prize.  Chances of winning depend upon number of people entered.  Winners will be chosen from those that leave comments today and tomorrow at both Kiss and Thrill and Diana Belchase’s website, and you are invited to post comments on both sites for an extra chance to win.)  Good Luck!

Limos, Champagne, and Bestsellers: Robin Perini’s Golden Year

National Bestselling and award wining author, Robin Perini, gave me a behind the scenes scoop on her first year as a published author.  While her experience is far from ordinary, it’s beyond delightful that someone who is as nice as Robin, and has worked as hard as she, finally was able to reap her just rewards.  So enjoy the interview, and remember Robin is giving away both a copy of the first book in her series, In Her Sights, and a signed (and very collectible) ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of her newest book, Behind the Lies, to two lucky readers who leave comments below!

I wanted to catch up with Robin since the video and asked her what was new.

Robin:  In my ‘writing’ life, I’ve completed two more novels.  The first is Behind the Lies.  I just love Zach Montgomery.  What a hero!  Montlake will have his story out in April.  I also completed another Harlequin Intrigue called Undercover Texas which will be out in June 2013.  This is a Carder Texas connections book and you’ll find out about some of the characters readers met in Christmas Conspiracy.

Diana:  And I “heard” there is more good news about the first book in your series?

Robin:  Yes, In Her Sights, came out in audio this past December.

Diana:  <sighing>  Most of us are waiting for books to get published in digital format and pine for print.  You are already in audio.  Can I rub your book for good luck?

Robin: <blushing– pushes her enormous stack of published books toward me>  Thanks so much for having me on Kiss and Thrill.  I’m so very blessed and thankful for all the readers who have stopped by, too.

Diana:  Our pleasure Robin.

Now, don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us who your favorite hero is.  Two lucky people will win a copy of either In Her Sights or Behind the Lies (an extra special ARC not available to the public for a book that doesn’t come out until April!  So if you like to get things before your friends leave a comment!  <G>)

 

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