Posted by Diana Belchase
The Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense nominees are in! This has to be one of the biggest awards in the book business, and we at Kiss and Thrill are excited that three of this year’s past guests are on the list! So a big round of applause to:
Allison Brennan for her book Kiss Me, Kill Me.
Cindy Gerard for her book With No Remorse
Roxanne St. Claire for her book Face of Danger
Just remember you heard about these books here first! Do we know how to pick them or what? LOL.
Kiss and Thrill wants to congratulate all the authors in both the published and unpublished divisions of the Daphne. We’re rooting for all of you!
According to the MSW team, Guns and Roses is “a collection of ten never-before published short stories and novellas, each penned by a MurderSheWrites blogger, inspired by our mutual love of suspense and romance. Some of them are dark and tense; others are light and wild and might give you a few new laugh lines. Most are loosely connected to existing popular series, yet all stand entirely alone. Many will make you chuckle, one or two might make you cry, and there are a few that will require the use of a fan and cold water.
We are the authors behind the long-running (and, we say humbly and happily) quite popular MurderSheWrites blog. Started in 2005, the MSW blog has always enjoyed a large and lively audience of readers, writers, and publishing industry experts.
All of us are primarily, but not exclusively, writers of romance and suspense, enjoying a wide spectrum along both those popular bands. Among us, we have over 150 published novels, numerous appearances on the New York Times Bestseller lists, dozens of industry awards, and, yeah, more than twenty kids. Thanks to amazing and palpable synergy, we are also close friends who love, respect, admire, and depend upon one another.
Sharon: I have so many questions, but since our readers can’t wait to hear more about Guns and Roses, I’ll keep them short. First, who came up with the idea for the anthology or was it done through a virtual early morning latte chat?
MSW Team: Allison mentioned it first about a year ago and we were all like, yes! I believe we had been drinking that day! Then life and deadlines got in the way. Lori/Lorelei or was it Laura? One of L’s brought it back up this past fall. We decided now or never and let’s really push ourselves and shoot for a Valentine’s Day release! We missed it by a week, but when you read Guns and Roses, you’ll see that the quality is tops and well worth waiting the extra week. We’d just like to mention that Guns and Roses can stand beside anything New York produces and kill it!
Sharon: Who got to pick the fabulous title?
MSW Team: Miss Lori Armstrong aka Lorelei James came up with that killer title.
Sharon: Who did the cover and which author had final say on the design?
MSW Team: Designer Kim Killion did an amazing job! We all had the final say. LoL. I can still remember the ten of us voicing ten different thoughts and opinions. Oh, the flurry of emails that ensued. Luckily, we had a very patient designer, and in the end, Kim came through. One thing all of us agree on is: We LOVE the cover!
Sharon: How did you decide the order of the stories? Alphabetical? Age of oldest child or pet? Cup size?
MSW Team: We did the cup size thing first but there was some boob envy getting in the way. But for the most part, Allison came up with good reasons for the order. Then we ran it by our editor, Charlotte Herscher for some advice on the matter. She liked what was suggested and we ran with it. We start off with Rocki’s wonderful Bullet Catchers and wrap up with the indomitable Bobbie Faye, with all kinds of goodness in between!
Sharon: Did you have an outside editor read through Guns and Roses before publishing?
MSW Team: Absolutely. We’re pros, but not perfect; we hired one of the best in the business, Charlotte Herscher. She did an amazing job! Our copy editor, Debi Murray was quick and efficient, and our proofreader and formatter Amy Eye has the eagle eye for details. She was amazing. And ever so patient. Ever ever so patient. We heart her.
Sharon: How long did Guns and Roses take you all from first concept to upload?
MSW Team: Roughly three months. And the work involved was Herculean. But put ten amazing brains attached to ten driven writers, and we made it look easy. It was a lot of work. But a happy chore, executed with passion and friendship. We’re all still friends!
Sharon: How will you measure the success of Guns and Roses?
MSW Team: The first and most important benchmark is we’re all still talking to each other! Secondly, we learned a lot through the process, so next time it will be a breeze! But at the end of the day, sales will play the biggest part in the equation. While we know we produced a unique quality product, we need people to buy it so we’ll want to do it again. And so far the sales look good.
Sharon: Thanks so much. Now on to the good stuff. All the sexy and exciting details about Guns and Roses!
PI Julie Collins trails cheating lovers, which leads to questions about her relationship with Tony Martinez.
Sex crimes detective Selena Black puts her career and life at risk to prove that high-profile attorney Greg Keller is the brutal River City Rapist before he strikes again.
“The Housewife Assassin’s Bloody Valentine”
CIA contract assassin Donna Stone’s idea of Valentine’s Day?A couple’s massage with her mission’s leader Jack Craig—not breaking out of a Mexican prison, then stopping a massacre by an international terrorist cell.
“Bobbie Faye’s Whacked Out, No Good, Really Sucky, Hot Mess of a Wedding”
Bobbie Faye Sumrall, Cajun Contraband Days Queen, gun expert, and ultimate professional in being in the wrong place at the wrong time, absolutely, positively does not want to go through with the wedding that Trevor’s forcing her to agree to, but she soon finds out she has more important things to worry about—like surviving the plot to make her disappear when she’s set up as a fall guy for the theft of a priceless religious icon.
“Blood and Roses”
When insurance investigator Anastasia Miller sets out to retrieve the rose-hued pink diamonds stolen in a recent heist, she finds herself working alongside former flame, deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Monroe—the man she loved enough to leave behind.
Alone on an icy road at nightfall, Holly Henriksen puts her trust in a charming stranger and soon discovers he is keeping a dangerous secret.
“King of Hearts,” a Rough Riders short story
Deputy Cam McKay deals with a murder/suicide case on Valentine’s Day.
“A Punishing Night”
While investigating the stabbing death of a student at his own alma mater, Detective Joe Bashir confronts painful memories and makes an intriguing new acquaintance.
“Pick Your Poison,” A Bullet Catcher Novella
When Bullet Catcher Benjamin Youngblood sets out to track and trap an assassin, he’s forced to trust a sexy flower farmer who could be as dangerous as her homegrown poison.
For Detective Cash Cantrell, hunting down a University serial killer is as routine as strapping on his gun each morning. Until he comes face to face with meddlesome coed, Rebel Yell Culpepper. He doesn’t know if he should arrest her or kiss her, but one thing Cash knows for sure, Rebel is key to finding the murderer, and the killer knows it too…
Thank you for sharing the Guns and Roses‘ success story today. We wish all of the MurderSheWrites authors the best of luck. And for our readers, if you leave a comment you will be eligible to win a FREE copy of Guns and Roses! Check back tomorrow to find out who won.
The Kiss and Thrill ladies would like to thank Roxanne St. Claire again for visiting our site this week. We enjoyed hosting her and we hope she comes back soon, especially once her next book is released!
Now, it’s time to announce the winner.
(Note: Only commenters with a U.S. mailing address are eligible, so if anyone announced below does not provide a U.S. mailing address, we will choose another winner.)
The winner of one e-copy or hard copy (winner’s choice) of SPACE IN HIS HEART is: Trish J!
CONGRATULATIONS! To redeem your free book – please email your snail mail address and preferred email address to firstname.lastname@example.org (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days.
Thank you all so much for commenting! We hope you will bookmark KissAndThrill and visit often or better yet, subscribe!
What’s next you ask?
Join us Tuesday, January 17th when our very own Rachel Grant interviews Elisabeth Naughton.
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.
And for one lucky commenter, Elisabeth will be giving away a copy of her latest release WAIT FOR ME.
We also have an exciting line-up of author interviews in January and February including our very own Manda Collins, Tara Janzen, Shiloh Walker, Dawn Brown, Nina Bruhns, Carla Neggers, Debra Webb, and Robin Perini. We all look forward to seeing you there!
Today we’re excited to welcome Roxanne St. Claire to Kiss and Thrill.
Roxanne St. Claire is a New York Times bestselling author of twenty-seven novels of suspense and romance, including her most recent release, Space In His Heart. The author of two popular romantic suspense series (The Bullet Catchers and The Guardian Angelinos), Roxanne is launching a brand new contemporary romance series in 2012, called “Barefoot Bay” and set on a fictional island off the Gulf coast of Florida. In addition, her first young adult novel, Don’t You Wish, will release in July, 2012.
In addition to being a five-time RITA nominee and one-time RITA winner, Roxanne’s novels have won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense for two consecutive years, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, and many others. Her books have been translated into dozens of languages and are routinely included as a Doubleday/Rhapsody Book Club Selection of the Month.
Roxanne lives in Florida with her husband and two teenagers (and one adorable Australian Terrier) and can be reached via her website, www.roxannestclaire.com, Twitter @roxannestclaire, or on her Facebook Reader page, www.facebook.com/roxannestclaire.
Thank you so much for having me today! I love to stop by blogs like this, chat with the readers, and talk about books. Fire the questions away and feel free to ask more in the comments! I’ll answer anything!
SHARON: Great! So I’ll ask my favorite question first. What’s on your TBR pile?
ROCKI: LOTHAIRE by Kresley Cole, which is releasing this week. While I’m waiting with the rest of the world for that fabulous book, I’m deep into a classic Francine Rivers (I know, talk about yin and yang – Francine is Inspirational; Kresley is inspirational in a whole different way.)
SHARON: I can’t wait to read Lothaire either! What other genres of fiction do you read?
ROCKI: I read everything, especially “outside” of contemporary and romantic suspense. I went on a YA reading binge a few years ago — just couldn’t get enough. So, it’s probably no surprise that I wrote one (DON’T YOU WISH, coming out this summer from Delacorte Press!). I also read a lot of non-fiction and biographies. I love to read about people who overcome obstacles.
SHARON: What made you decide to publish SPACE IN HIS HEART independently?
ROCKI: SPACE IN HIS HEART is my first manuscript, originally drafted ten years ago. It never sold, but Pocket Books asked to read it after I sold them my second manuscript/first book, TROPICAL GETAWAY. While my editor was reading what I lovingly called “my astronaut book,” tragedy struck the space shuttle program and Columbia was lost. Since that accident eerily mirrored the suspense in the book, I pulled the manuscript from consideration and, quite honestly, didn’t think about it for years. During that time, NASA and the space shuttle program changed so much, I felt the book couldn’t possibly be relevant anymore and I’d gone on to write two different series and other types of books. Then, a few months ago, the shuttle program officially ended and I decided that the book could be revised as a flashback to the glory days of NASA. When I re-read it (and, honestly, I tried to sell it for a few years, so it had been heavily revised and critiqued), I fell in love all over again. The characters are two of my absolute favorites, the romance never fails to bring me to tears, and the added dimension of “nostalgia” for space really makes the book special. I couldn’t be happier with the story, and am overwhelmed that so many readers feel the same.
SPACE IN HIS HEART is an emotional “feel good” story about a PR superstar who has a plan to make NASA “popular” again and the astronaut who sends her heart to the moon. I’ve been getting such amazing emails from readers, I know that something about this story has hit a chord. It’s only $3.99 as an ebook, so treat yourself and let me know what you think!
SHARON: Will there be any more books about the Guardian Angelinos or the Bullet Catchers? Do you miss writing about them?
ROCKI: I do miss writing romantic suspense, as I’ve spent most of the last year writing a new contemporary series (Barefoot Bay, launching in April, 2012) and young adult. But the change of voice and genre was really good for me creatively. However, today I started a Bullet Catcher novella and that will be in a future anthology and, wow, was it ever fun to get back into that world. I very much want to write a book that combines the two series (Gabe as a Bullet Catcher??). I’m not sure when I’ll write that book — I have to meet contractual obligations this coming year. But I will write more of those series, I promise.
SHARON: I’m very relieved! Any more Silhouette Desires in the future?
ROCKI: Not for the foreseeable future, but one of my favorite Desires, THE SINS OF HIS PAST, is being re-issued as part of anthology called “KISS ME, I’M IRISH” that hits stores this March. My co-authors, Jill Shalvis and Maureen Child, are awesome writers and I’m sure readers will love all three stories. My first single title contemporary novel, BAREFOOT IN THE SAND, comes out in April, and, in many ways, it has the tone and heart of some of my old Desires, only longer with lots more characters and subplots. But no dead bodies or surprise villains, a change that was both fun and challenging.
SHARON: Have you ever wanted to write a historical romance?
ROCKI: Um…no. Love to read them, would die if I had to do that kind of research.
SHARON: I loved your editing course you offered at the WRW retreat. (I swear that’s why I finaled in the GH last year!) Are you going to teach it again anytime soon?
ROCKI: Yay! Congrats on the final and what a great compliment! I’ve got a half-day version of that workshop (called How Do You Mend A Broken Scene) that I give at RWA chapters around the country. Writers like that class because I expose the soft underbelly of my rough and ugly first drafts and then walk through how and why I revised every line. I think people are encouraged to learn that all writers have to revise! Some of us even LOVE to revise! Email me if you’d like me to come and talk to your group!
SHARON: Can you name one (or more) book(s) that changed your life?
ROCKI: Wow, what a great question. Like so many of my peers, my earliest romance novels were penned by Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Danielle Steele, and they taught me a true appreciation for what some might call “the trashy novel.” As I got older, I discovered Sandra Brown, LaVyrle Spencer, and Nora Roberts, and then, about twelve years ago, I read a book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips called NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE. I closed that novel, wiped my tears, and decided right that moment I wanted to write a book that would make someone else feel the way I felt that moment: transported, satisfied, weak-limbed with love. I started writing what is now SPACE IN HIS HEART a few days later!
SHARON: Victoria Holt is still one of my all-time favorite authors! What is your favorite movie?
ROCKI: There are too many to name but my “comfort” movie of choice is Overboard — adorable! I love a movie that just makes me feel so joyous at the end — and that’s probably why I write a “feel good” book.
SHARON: Have you ever spent the entire day writing in your pajamas?
ROCKIE: Have I ever NOT spent the entire day writing in my pajamas is a better question.
SHARON: LOL! Okay, now for the three-part question because I can’t wait to read your debut YA novel DON’T YOU WISH.
Was that a huge change for you or something you’d been thinking about for a while?
Did having teenagers make you decide to write a YA?
When is the movie DON’T YOU WISH coming out!?
ROCKI: Talk about a feel good book — that is my feelgoodiest of all! Yes, WISH was a huge change, definitely brought on by the YA reading binge I mentioned earlier and helped along by having teenagers of my own. The story was inspired by a question my daughter asked me, one that, while contemplating the right answer, hit me with a bolt of creative lightning. I started writing like a crazy person that very day, and had a 20 page synopsis done in record time. (In first person!) I sent it to my agent, she loved it, and we sold it with just three chapters. Before I’d written another word, I had an offer to option the book for film, which was one of the most exciting things ever. I finished the manuscript and then got to help consult on the movie script. Right now, it’s being “shopped” and I say a lot of prayers that it lands on the right desk in Hollywood!
SHARON: How important has blogging become to your career?
ROCKI: I didn’t think I’d like blogging as much as I do! I held off for a while, thinking I didn’t have much to say that wasn’t going in my books, but then the wonderful ladies at http://www.murdershewrites.com asked me to join their blog. The beauty of a group blog is that we have new content every day, but with ten of us, we only have to create that new content twice a month. I’ve discovered I love the platform to use my “real” voice to talk about so many aspects of the writing life. I’m sure I’ve picked up a few new readers along the way, but I love to blog because it’s a creative outlet and a chance for me to really discuss this rollercoaster ride of publication. And motherhood…I write about raising teenagers a lot, too. One job is crazier than the other!
SHARON: What is your preferred source of caffeine? Coffee, tea, soda?
ROCKI: Coffee, light and sweet and plentiful!
SHARON: Do you have any time management secrets you can share?
ROCKI: To do lists are a busy girl’s best friend. I also like to get the “hard stuff” done first thing in the morning and have been known to physically deactivate my internet in order to stay focused on writing. I write about three books a year — that takes a lot of discipline and the ability to resist the siren call of Twitter. (Which I love! Follow me at @roxannestclaire!)
SHARON: Thanks again, Rocki. I can only imagine how busy you are and I appreciate your time and participation.
ROCKI: Thank you! It’s an honor to be here and a pleasure to meet new readers! And I’m giving away a copy of SPACE IN HIS HEART – either an ebook or print – to one commenter.
SHARON: So, what questions do you have for Rocki? We’d both love to know. And don’t forget to come back tomorrow to find out who the winner is of Rocki’s latest release SPACE IN HIS HEART!