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Diana Miller Winner!

We’ve had a fun, busy week at Kiss and Thrill! First I want to thank Diana Miller and Shelley Coriell for joining us, and say to Krista Hall how much we all enjoyed being part of her cover reveal!

Before we get to our winner, here is a Golden Heart® Fun Fact – between the 3 women featured this week at Kiss and Thrill, they share 14 Golden Heart finals and 2 wins!

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The winner of a $25 Amazon gift card from Diana Miller is:

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To claim your prize, please contact us within ten days.

Rosie 7The excitement continues next week here at Kiss and Thrill, when Sarah Andre interviews Krista Hall for her debut release BROKEN PLACES. Fingers crossed there will be more puppy pictures!

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The News: Shelley Coriell’s Apostles Series is here!

THE AUTHOR

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No one was more excited than the authors at K&T when we heard The News that our Golden Heart sister Shelley Coriell  was writing a romantic suspense series. The first book in the series THE BROKEN has finally arrived in the stores, and more importantly, on our bookshelves. And even better still, Shelley is spending the day at K&T to talk about The Apostles series. Before I introduce her, let’s start with The Buzz. And don’t stop reading before you find out about The Giveaway. Shelley’s Book Birthday Bash and Book Giveaway is AMAZING!

THE BUZZ

“… the suspense is top-notch, with so many twists and turns that even the most astute reader will be riveted to the stunning conclusion.” — Publishers WeeklySTARRED REVIEW

“TOP PICK, 4.5 Stars. Coriell’s latest grips the reader from the first page. A definite must-read.” — RT Book Reviews Publishers Weekly — Best Summer Books 2014

THE BOOK

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THE BROKEN (Apostles Series #1)

He took her life, but left her alive.

Three years ago, reporter Kate Johnson was the first victim-and only survivor-of the Broadcast Butcher. Scarred both physically and psychologically by the brutal serial killer, Kate lives life on the run, knowing that one day, he will find her and finish what he started.

In the pursuit of justice, you sometimes have to step outside the law.

Agent Hayden Reed spends his life chasing monsters. The only way to stay sane is to detach, but the second the Broadcast Butcher case crosses his desk, Hayden knows this is the case that might just cost him his soul. To catch this vicious murderer before he strikes again, Hayden must find Kate and earn her trust. For it’s her darkest secrets that hold the key to stopping this madman once and for all . . .

THE INTERVIEW

KH: Congratulations on such stellar reviews, Shelley! How did you come up with the idea for the maverick team of elite FBI agents called the Apostles? Did you do any special research for this story?

SHELLEY: I kept writing stories about law enforcement officers who weren’t afraid to break a few rules when it came to fighting evil. Since my hunky crime fighters worked outside the box and at times outside the law, I knew they wouldn’t fit in with the Blue Suits at the FBI. That’s when Parker Lord popped into my head. A childhood friend of the president of the United Sates, he’s a legendary FBI agent who is now wheelchair bound and living as a semi-recluse along the rocky cliffs of Northern Maine. Over the past five years, Parker has hand-picked a select group of agents who, like him, are a little maverick, a lot broken, but in the end, fierce champions of justice. As for research, I went through an eight-week citizens police academy where I trained in everything from fire arms to crisis negotiations to forensics. That’s also where I learned how to throw a 250-pound man over my shoulder in hand-to-hand defensive training.  Take that, bad guys!

KH:  Why did you start the series with Agent Obscenely Thorough aka Special Agent Hayden Reed?

SHELLEY: Hayden is a world-renown criminal profiler who “sees everything but feels nothing.” I loved the idea of creating a romance hero who spent so much time in his head that he wasn’t in touch with his heart. Early in the book, one of the minor characters—Detective Lottie King—likens Hayden to peanut brittle, “all shiny and polished, hard as hell, too. In order to get to that stage, you got to boil the shit out of it. So I figure you’ve done some boiling in your life.” It was fascinating to see Hayden’s pains and past, and eventually his heart, revealed.

KH: You have a colorful cast of characters in THE BROKEN. Which one was the most fun to write? Which one ended up surprising you?

SHELLEY: Detective Lottie King was hands-down the most fun to write. She’s a sixty-something grandma and homicide detective with no filter. She and her four-inch stilettos have walked some rough roads, and she swears like a trucker. Lottie is raw and honest, has a giant capacity for love, and is key in softening the heart of my guarded-heart hero, Hayden. She was such a strong voice in my head that she now has her own series of short stories.NewShoes_small

As for surprises, heroine Kate Johnson threw me for a loop. Kate had a rough childhood and stabbed twenty-five times by a serial killer. She’s broken and scarred, BUT she has a great sense of humor, which you see through her interactions with the cantankerous but lovable Smokey Joe. Then I got to thinking, Why should I be surprised? Humor and laughter are great healers.

KH: Lottie was one of my favorite characters too. I didn’t realize, however, that she was wearing Louboutins 😉 Way to go, Lottie! Where did the idea for Agent Reed’s custom painted silk ties come from?

SHELLEY: I needed an anomaly, something in marked contrast to Hayden’s exquisite custom suits, fancy Italian shoes, and Egyptian cotton shirts. And because Hayden is such a “head guy” I knew this “something” needed to come from the heart, such as art. Hand-painted silk neckties were a perfect fit.

KH: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

SHELLEY: I’m a former restaurant reviewer, food retailing magazine editor, and avowed foodie. I love everything about food. I haunt local farmers markets, go to wine tastings, putter in my kitchen, and adore sharing good food and great wine with people I love.

KH: Tell us about your rescue weimaraner? (Then I’ll have an excuse to tell you about my puppy Rosie.) What makes her the world’s neediest dog? Rylee_

SHELLEY: We rescued Rylee four years ago from a local weimaraner shelter and were told up front that she had “issues.” She had fear-based aggression while on a leash, abandonment anxiety, and health problems. At least two adoptive families had already returned her. During a home visit, Rylee charmed us. She was sweet-natured, adored our three teen-age daughters, and knew basic commands. We had hope. We moved forward with the adoption in part because I work out of the home so Rylee wouldn’t have to be alone during the day. Long story short, we’ve been working with her for four years, but she still has issues on all fronts, especially with being alone. If she gets lonely while I’m working at my desk, she climbs into my lap…all 65 pounds of her, and when my husband and I are gone, she sneaks into bed with one of the girls. She’s clearly a dog who had a good deal of trauma in her early life, but at least now she has love.

Okay…now you, Krista, we all need Rosie details. And pictures! Rosie 7

KH: How wonderful that you found each other–the magic of three. Rylee meet Rosie. She’s a 4-month-old chocolate Lab puppy with one white paw. Twenty-five pounds of pure energy! The word that best describes her is: beguiling. But I digress.. How many books do you plan to write for The Apostles Series?

SHELLEY: That is very much up to readers. I have three Apostle books under contract with Grand Central Forever. Hatch Hatcher, the team’s crisis negotiator, is featured in THE BURIED, and bombs and weapons specialist Evie Jimenez gets her time in the spotlight in THE BLIND. If the series takes off and readers want more Apostles, I have at least five more elite crime fighters who’ve popped into my world, including a missing and endangered child specialist, gem and jewelry specialist, forensic artist, forensic linguist, and a sharp-shooting assassin.

KH: I’m excited to see that smooth-talking, southern charmer Hatch Hatcher is front and center in book 2 THE BURIED. How long am I going to have to wait to get my next Apostles-fix?

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SHELLEY: Six months. THE BURIED comes out on Oct. 28, 2014. But Hatch is so worth the wait. Gotta love a man who lives on a 35-foot sail boat called No Regrets. I’m equally thrilled about Evie’s story, THE BLIND (January 2015). Evie is the “kid sister” to all of my yummy Apostles, but as a bombs and weapons specialist, she holds her own and then some. I have never had a character take over a story like fiery, big-hearted Evie. The world has been warned.

THE GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of THE BROKEN, Shelley is giving one lucky reader TEN SIGNED books from her favorite thriller/romantic suspense authors with new releases from Lisa Gardner, Allison Brennan, C.J. Lyons, Sandra Brown, Laura Griffin, and Kiss & Thrill authors Carey Baldwin and Rachel Grant! Enter to win at Shelley’s Book Birthday Bash & Book Giveaway.

THE QUESTION

Shelley’s heroine Kate Johnson is a justice-seeking investigative reporter, but readers quickly discover she’s also an artist. She designs and sells tourmaline jewelry. Art also plays an important role in Hayden’s past (hint – it has to do with those hand-painted silk neck ties). If you could create any type of art and do it well, what art would you chose? Anything is game…fine art, performing art, technical arts!

See, I told you Shelley has an awesome giveaway! Thank you for joining us at K&T, Shelley. I know our readers will love your new series as much as we do!

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and novels for teens. Her debut romantic thriller, THE BROKEN, was named one of the Best Romances of Summer 2014 by Publishers Weekly and a Top Pick/4.5 Stars by Romantic Times Book Reviews. An avid foodie and former restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner.

Connect with Shelley

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Diana Miller Braves the Actors Studio Questionnaire

Today is a special week here at Kiss and Thrill as we celebrate three fabulous romantic suspense authors with a special connection: all three are 2011 Golden Heart® finalists.

FatalTrust_final-200x300We host a lot of Golden Heart finalists here at Kiss and Thrill, but there is something really special about hosting women from the same year (and six of our K&T ladies finaled in 2011 together), because everyone who has finaled in the GH discovers that the true prize in this contest is the friendships that form with the other finalists. Diana Miller, Krista Hall, and Shelley Coriell are the best example of why—incredible authors and wonderful people I am honored and thrilled to know.

You may remember today’s guest, Diana Miller, from her visit to Kiss and Thrill with her debut novel Dangerous Affairs. I loved Dangerous Affairs and gave it five bubbly bathtubs for being a perfect sink-in-the-tub-and-enjoy read. Today I’m so thrilled to have Diana return so I can tell our readers how much I enjoyed her latest release, Fatal Trust, another wonderful 5-bathtub read.

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Fatal Trust has everything I love in romantic suspense: a smart heroine, a strong hero, wonderful chemistry, and lots of surprising twists. It’s a rare book that will keep me up until two AM, and Fatal Trust was one of those. I will read anything Diana Miller writes and am eagerly awaiting her next release. (Seriously, Diana, send it to me. Now. I’m not above offering bribes.)

For this interview, Diana opted to face down my James Lipton impersonation and answer the questionnaire from Inside the Actors Studio, and she gives one of the best answers to the last question I’ve ever heard, on or off the show.

Today Diana is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Please check back on Friday to see if you are our winner!

Diana MillerWhat is your favorite word?  “Schokolade” (pronounced “shok-oh-lah-dah”) which is one of the few words I remember from high school German. It’s fun to say—actually sounds a little sexy—and it means “chocolate”.

What is your least favorite word? Phlegm.

What turns you on? Kindness (preferably accompanied by great pecs and a tight butt).

What turns you off?  Assholish behavior.

What sound or noise do you love? My daughter’s voice, although now I hear it mostly over the phone since she lives 1500 miles away and is getting married this summer, so she won’t be moving back. Trust me, they really do grow up too fast!

What sound or noise do you hate? Microphone feedback, especially from a microphone I’m using (public speaking is already painful enough without adding that).

What is your favorite curse word? At the risk of sounding like a writer, I think the perfect swear word depends on the circumstances and setting and how upset/angry/agitated I am (which is another way of saying that now that I no longer have young, impressionable kids around, I swear too much, especially when I’ve got a deadline).

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I always wanted to be a soap opera star—you get to wear great clothes and shoes and spend your time with hot men, and you’ve got writers who make sure you never suffer the frustration of thinking of the perfect comeback five minutes AFTER the conversation ends. Unfortunately I have no acting ability, so I had to be satisfied making the heroine of my debut novel DANGEROUS AFFAIRS a soap star.  As a  (slightly) more realistic career option, I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a luxury hotel and resort critic.  Getting paid to stay in, enjoy, and evaluate places I can’t afford (preferably ones that feature fabulous restaurants)—how great would that be? And how do you get a job like that?

What profession would you not like to do? I’m claustrophobic, so my idea of hell is working as a coal miner or at any other job that requires being underground or in tight, windowless quarters.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “I’m so happy you’re here. I want you to write my memoirs.”  FINALLY I’ll write something no publisher will dare reject!

To enter the drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card, tell us what profession other than your own would you like to attempt, and don’t forget to check back on Friday to see if you are Diana’s winner!

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When she was eight, Diana decided she wanted to be Nancy Drew. But no matter how many garbage cans she dug through, conversations she “accidentally” overheard, and attics she searched, she never found a single mysterious letter, hidden staircase, or anything else even remotely mysterious or suspenseful. She worked as a lawyer, a soda jerk,a stay-at-home mom, a hospital admitting clerk, and a conference host for events ranging from Lutheran music to the International BB Gun competition. She spent long hours volunteering in a nineteenth century mansion allegedly full of secrets and a few ghosts. Still no luck.

Diana ultimately decided the only way she was going to inject any mystery or suspense into her otherwise satisfying life was by writing about it. A five time nominee for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award, she’s thrilled to be releasing her Golden Heart winner Dangerous Affairs, a romantic suspense novel that shows not everyone in her home state is Minnesota Nice.

As a way to avoid avoid housework, Diana mastered gourmet cooking and once roasted an entire turkey for her daughter’s kindergarten class. She now works out while watching the Food Network as motivation. In addition to food, Diana loves music, history, old movies, and traveling with her Norwegian-born husband.

Diana lives in the Twin Cities with her family and a Wheaten terrier puppy. She’s still on the lookout for some real life mystery and suspense.

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