Blog Archives

Why We’ve “Fallen” for Carey Baldwin

Today I’m speaking with my blogmate and “Best Books of 2014” author, Carey Baldwin. Carey’s book, Judgment was just named a Daphne du Maurier finalist and her newest book, FALLEN, debuts this week! Going with the theme of things that fall, I had a few questions for Carey.

Diana: How many times have you “fallen” in love?

Carey: I don’t really know how many times I’ve fallen in love, but I do believe that we have the capacity to fall in love an infinite number of times. Of course, I had my schoolgirl crushes- I can even remember feeling lovesick in the first grade. I wanted to call the object of my affection and invite him for a play date, but then my aunt explained “Girls don’t call boys.” I was six! Thank goodness times have changed.

But the real loves of my life are deep and many. My husband, my children, my parents, my friends, my patients…Life would be so sad if we were only allotted one love, I think. But, Bill, honey, don’t misinterpret, there’s no “hall pass” in your future! 🙂

Diana: What do you think makes a girl fall in love or you “fall” in love.  

Carey: Intimacy. I think the more I get to know the “real” side of someone, the more likely I am to love them. Okay, let’s be honest though. A hot body never hurt!

Diana: Have you ever “Fallen: from a height? What was your worst fall?

Carey: Luckily, I haven’t yet had a truly bad physical fall. And I’m not afraid of heights, though I’m cautious. I love experiencing the thrill of that grand view you get from the top of a mountain, or a zip line. I think my favorite “fall” is the Tower of Terror at California Adventure. There’s something thrilling about a taking a dive when you know you’re safe. And that’s partly why I like to read and write thrillers.

Diana: How does the theme of Fallen people balance with redemption in your book? We have those that fall from grace, from windows, and into love — how do they, or do they, all find redemption in your book?

Carey: Great question, Diana! I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I will tell you that one person who could be considered “fallen” by most standards, triumphs over not only fear and the evil that’s pursuing her, but also over her own shortcomings. She finds out she is a lot stronger and braver and more unselfish than she ever knew.

Diana: Here’s the blurb from Fallen. I can tell you, it’s a fast-paced, can’t put it down, kind of read with characters you’ll remember long after you finish.

A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard. 

When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet. The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer—a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

The killer has raised the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets—or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins. With time running out, Spenser and Cassidy will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up the next grotesque tourist attraction.

For an excerpt, please click HERE.

Sign up for Carey’s newsletter here and connect with her on facebook here.

GIVEAWAY ALERT:

careybaldwinphotocropped

As a thanks to readers Carey is offering a $10 Starbucks gift card to one lucky commenter. Falling in love is risky. Tell us what would make you willing to take a chance on love?

Nancy Allen, Witness Impulse Author : Ten Tips to My Teen Self

Giveaway alert: One lucky commenter will win a ten dollar Starbucks gift card and Nancy’s latest legal thriller.

Nancy AllenI’m super excited today to be hosting my good friend and fellow Witness  author, Nancy Allen. Not only is she a sweetheart, to know her is to be awed by her! Nancy has just received a 2015 Missouri Lawyers’ Women’s Justice Award. She practiced law for 15 years as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. She has tried over 30 jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses, and is now a law instructor at Missouri State University. Her first novel,The Code of the Hills, was published by HarperCollins in 2014. A Killing at the Creek, the second book in the Ozarks mystery series released on February 17, 2015.

I’ve already had the pleasure of reading her latest: A Killing at the Creek and I absolutely loved it. A Killing at the Creek provides an authentic peek into the life of a criminal prosecutor in small-town Missouri. Elsie Arnold, though whip-smart in the courtroom, is all too fallible in the social arena, making her a supremely relatable protagonist. Nancy infuses the story with the flavor of the Ozarks so deftly that the setting seemingly becomes another character in the book. Then she tosses in lively dialogue and an unputdownable murder mystery to create a compelling read that will keep you turning pages late into the night. I think you’ll really enjoy this one and be surprised by how engaging a legal thriller can be.9780062325969

Okay- that’s enough from me. Without further ado, here’s Nancy:

 ♥

Ten Pieces of Advice I’d Give to Teen Nancy

By Nancy Allen

We’ve all said it, right? “If I knew then what I know now.” I’ve been thinking about this lately, for several reasons. The antagonist in my latest book, A Killing at the Creek, is an incorrigible teen; and my main character, Elsie Arnold, sometimes acts out like an incorrigible teen; and I have a teenage daughter (not the incorrigible type, thank goodness).

So exactly what would I tell my teenage self, if I had the power to go back and offer advice? I have a pretty good idea of ten things young Nancy would benefit from hearing.

  1. Go to class, damn it. Those college professors will teach you something you don’t know. And you’re paying cash money for it.
  2. Do not go on crash diets. Ever.
  3. Enjoy the time you have with your mother. Relish it, revel in it. It won’t last forever.
  4. Yes, a lot of people are shorter than you are—so what? Stand tall.
  5. Don’t bother with a lot of makeup, and don’t worry about name brand clothes or accessories. Youth is an ornament.
  6. Do not permit yourself to hanker after a boy who shows no interest in you.
  7. Never let your friends tell you what people say about you behind your back.
  8. Read your textbook before exam time. In fact, just keep up with the reading over the course of the semester. Maybe you’ll avoid being awakened later in life by the college anxiety nightmares.
  9. Never fake it, or try to be someone else. Plenty of people will like the real you. Be with those people.
  10. You will stumble. Own it. Use it. Grow from your mistakes.

codeofthehillsHaving just read over my list, it occurs to me that a number of those suggestions are still works in progress. Aaahhh, hell—what can I say? Some people never learn. I think I’m one of them….

 

 

Now it’s your turn. What advice would you give your teen self if you could go back in time? Remember, one lucky commenter wins a Nook or Kindle copy of A KILLING AT THE CREEK and a ten dollar Starbucks gift card. 

You can find Nancy here:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

 

Criminal Profiling: Art, Science or Both?

brainWhen I set out to write my upcoming release, JUDGMENT, I knew I had a lot of research to do, since the male lead is an FBI profiler, and it’s very important to me for my stories to be as authentic as possible. So I read more than a dozen books on profiling and the FBI, attended the writers’ police academy, made myself a pest on the crime-scene writers’ loop, and interviewed my local law enforcement resources. Then, armed with my pre-research, I went straight to the source- the FBI- for fact checking. You may or may not know that the FBI has a bureau of public affairs that provides specific avenues for writers and other artists to help them get their facts straight. Pretty cool, I think.

The real profilers, or more accurately, criminal investigative analysts, are a dedicated and courageous group, comprised of some of the brightest minds in the FBI. Most criminal investigative analysts start out as field agents before moving on to profiling, so they have experience and street smarts that round out their analytic skills.

But contrary to popular belief, profiling didn’t start with the FBI. Many consider New York psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, to have created the first criminal profile. Dr. Brussel astounded the police and public by providing a detailed psychological and forensic portrait of a serial bomber who had been terrorizing New York City. Burrows used deductive reasoning, psychological theory, and crime-scene analysis to come up with a finely tuned description of the culprit. When the Mad Bomber was apprehended, he fit the profile well, reportedly down to the buttoned up double-breasted suit he was wearing. One might speculate that the profile was so accurate, there might have been a little magic mixed into the process.

Which brings me back to the question. Is profiling an art or a science? John Douglas (one of the first FBI criminal profilers) and others have now developed standardized analytic techniques and a classification system, based on both their experiences and on data gathered from the study of serial murderers. But there is no doubt that the scarcity of serial killers available for analysis and the retrospective and subjective nature of the case studies, create major obstacles to verifying the scientific validity of claims made by profilers.

Nevertheless, FBI profilers are highly sought after by law enforcement to assist in their most baffling cases. The proof of their value can be seen in their high success rate. What impresses me most about these intrepid men and women is their willingness to burrow deep into the darkest recesses of the human mind. I find both the profiler and the process fascinating.

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

In JUDGMENT, I hope to convey a glimmer of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a criminal investigative analyst. I loved writing this book, and I hope you’ll enjoy the series. You can read an excerpt of Judgment or sign up for my newsletter at CareyBaldwin.com.

The human brain fascinates me. What fascinates you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Manda Collins upcoming Christmas novella, ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS KISS on release day. Winner’s choice of e-book or print.Once-Upon-A-Christmas-Kiss

Debra Webb and The Faces of Evil

debra webbToday I’m thrilled to welcome USA Today Best Selling author Debra Webb. We’ve got a fascinating interview followed by a giveaway for you, but first I’d like to turn my spotlight on Vicious, the latest in Debra’s Faces of Evil series. I LOVED Vicious! So often we talk about a book that you just can’t put down, but in reality, those books are hard to find. Vicious grabbed me from the first page and I found myself putting off many other things, like say…eating and bathing…because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. This story weaves a fascinating, dark tale involving a very strange definition of art. Find out what’s really on this serial killer’s canvas in Vicious. Here’s the official blurb below, followed by the interview I promised you.

Serial killer Eric Spears is far from done. He has chosen his next victim and Deputy Chief Jess Harris knows it’s only a matter of time until he comes for her.

The murders are vicious, the killer relentless. Has Birmingham’s major crimes team run into its most baffling and deadly case yet?

Carey: Debra first, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s such an honor to have you with us. Your Faces of Evil series is an amazing journey for readers. What inspired the series?

Debra: Thank you! It’s great to be here! The Faces of Evil was inspired by a study I watched several years ago about the scale of evil by Dr. Michael Stone. I was so enthralled. I couldn’t get the concept out of my mind. I decided to write a series where the same heroine solves cases that climb the scale of evil! I started with Obsession and Vicious is the most recent release. Vile is coming in March, Heinous in July and Depraved in December!

Carey: You have two protagonists who appear throughout the series, Jess Harris and Dan Burnett.  Please tell us what makes these two tick.

Debra: Jess and Dan have a long history. They were high school sweethearts with big dreams who went off to college together. But not all dreams come true and four years later Dan returned to Birmingham while Jess went on to become a celebrated profiler with the FBI. (You can read interviews with both Jess and Dan at Faces of Evil) Her return to Birmingham, along with an obsessed serial killer determined to haunt her, has turned both Jess and Dan’s lives upside down. No matter, the fact that they have always loved each other continues to triumph. I’ve really enjoyed watching their relationship evolve over the past seven books.

Carey: Is there something you can tell us about Jess that she’d never want Dan to learn, and vice versa?

Debra: We’ve been through some of that in the first six books! Jess is very independent and determined. I think she wouldn’t want Dan to know how much it really bothers her that his mother dislikes her. She doesn’t like anyone to see her weaknesses. Dan is the epitome of a good guy. But he has a few secrets of his own. A couple of those secrets are about to start haunting him and he would rather not have Jess learn about them.

Carey: Okay, you’ve got me determined to find out what Dan’s secrets are! I can’t wait to find out. Which of the Faces of Evil series was the most difficult book for you to write and why?

Debra: Ruthless, definitely. A serial killer known as the Man in the Moon abducted and murdered many, many children before he was caught. The abductions took place in the past so I didn’t have to put any of that on the page, which made it a little easier. I cried all the way through the scene where the remains were found. It was a very emotional story for me.

Carey: I can imagine how difficult that must’ve been. Sometimes the most powerful subjects are the hardest to write (and read) about. What’s up next for you?

Debra: I’m working on a follow up book to BONE DEEP. The story was so well-received, I decided to write BONE COLD which revolves around Special Agent Tom Cuddahy, a secondary character from BONE DEEP. Don’t miss my Faces of Evil short story in the My Evil Valentine thriller collection available now!

Carey: Has anyone ever given you a great piece of advice? What was it?

Debra: As long as you love what you do it will show in the work.

Carey: Your passion for storytelling certainly comes through in your books, so I’d say that was good advice. I’m sure many authors have inspired and supported you along the way. Can you tell us about one of them?

Debra: There are so very many! How about I name a few instead of one.

Vicki Hinze for her undying determination and sage words.

Peggy Webb for her incredible insights into life and invaluable friendship.

CJ Lyons, Cindy Gerard, Toni Magee Causey and Allison Brennan for being the best cheerleaders!

Regan Black for always having my back.

Kathy Carmichael and Rita Herron for always being happy to just listen.

Carey: A wonderful list! Ready for the lightning round? It’s easy- just name your favorite:

Fast Food Joint – Sonic

Vacation Spot – Anywhere in New England

Television Show – Rehab Addict

Song on your iPod (what’s the most played?) – Make a Memory by Bon Jovi

Valentine’s Day Gift – Roses

What’s the last book you read on your e-reader? Down and Dead in Dixie by Vicki Hinze

Carey: Ha! Debra, believe it or not Make a Memory by Bon Jovi is the second most played song on my iPod!

Connect with Debra: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Mailing List.

Readers do you have a question or comment for Debra? She’s giving away a Faces of Evil tote bag and a copy of Vicious to one lucky commenter. Fire away and good luck!

Life and Death

The other day, I got to do something I never do.

Reflecting Pool DC

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

My dear friend came into town and we took one of those double decker bus tours.  You know how it is, you live in a tourist place like D.C., and you don’t really get to see it until guests arrive from out of town.  What a treat.  Someone else did all the driving, we were deposited literally in front of every important monument without having to hike a million miles or search for a parking spot.

Even better, from the top deck, on this incredibly warm winter day, we had an elevated view and a tour guide narrating what we saw.

Heaven.

Heaven a top a tour bus

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase View from bridge crossing into Arlington National Cemetery.

The best part was that we were able to spend time together without either one of us fussing.  No one was cooking, or scrambling to do dishes, or trying to figure out where to go.  We just went, and did, relaxing and laughing together.

Arlington National Cemetery

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

By the time we reached Arlington National Cemetery, I was too exhausted to move.  I guess my back isn’t what it used to be, and I told my friend to go ahead while I waited for her.  After all, I’ve seen the place before and why should she miss it because of me?

There in the stillness, the tombstones almost seemed to speak.  Husbands and wives buried next to each other, some men lying all alone.  Every now and then, a child was buried there, too.  All of them were so darn young.

Lively teens at Arlington National Cemetery

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

A plaque from the French declared, “N’oubliez jamais.”  We will never forget.  But so many of these people are forgotten.  Their family tree dies out, and they blend into an amorphous group representing a time of sacrifice and courage.  And we, like the French, often forget what they sacrificed to make us the “Greatest Nation on Earth.”

Just before closing, a group of teenaged students came barreling down the road.  Their youthful energy was astounding.  Leaping, laughing, running — there in the cemetery .  It wasn’t that they were being disrespectful, they were just so full of life.  I’m sure even the specters that haunt the place envied their vivacity and smiled at their hijinx.

Geese over Arlington

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

After all, isn’t this why all these brave people gave up their lives?  So future generations could run and play and thrive? Believing theirs was the war to end all wars.  Believing their sacrifice could make it better for generations to come.

Maybe that is why so many of us here are obsessed with writing and reading suspense and mysteries.  We face horror squarely, deal justice in a world that is not always just, and we laugh at death as our characters go on — against supremely terrifying odds — to live, to succeed, and to love.

And the winner of Rebecca York’s Harlequin Intrigue, Her Baby’s Father, is … Rolynn Anderson!  Please contact me within 10 days to collect your prize.

Up next is our Scrivener-famous Gwen Hernandez interviewing Ella Grace on Tuesday.   Ella Grace is the pen name for NYT Bestselling Author Christy Reece.  Find out why she’s got a new name and about her new series!

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 DianaBelchase.com, too.)

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

The Sparkle Abbey Writing Team

We all love our pets, but how many of us are willing to name ourselves after them?  Find out where the writing team of Sparkle Abbey got their names and how their pets fit in to their mystery series.  Plenty of laughs and interesting facts about cats and dogs that paint, plastic surgeon transvestites, and beauty queens who fight over inheritances and men.

I know you’ll enjoy!

And if you leave a comment telling us about why your own pet (or your neighbor’s pet, or your imaginary pet) should be included in it’s own book, THREE lucky commenters will win a copy of one of the books below!

DesperateHousedogsCover Get Fluffy - screen Kitty Kitty Bang Bang Cover

Cherry Adair in Person!

Who doesn’t love Cherry Adair books?  She’s an incredible writer, the prolific author of over 32 bestselling, suspenseful action adventures.  In print interviews, she’s fun — but in person?  Well, this firecracker is hysterically funny, will keep you on your toes, and is absolutely not to be  missed.

Cherry sat down with me a few months ago to tell me a little about her books, her life, and how she got both her wonderful Montana accent and a life coach named Murgatroyd.  Remember to leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of Ice Cold!

Hope you enjoy her as much as I do!

So, today’s question is do you have a secret person, real or imaginary who gives you that boost — or should I say kick you know where — when you need one?

  Thanks Cherry for stopping by!  Don’t forget everyone, to leave a comment below. One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of Cherry’s newest, hottest release in the T-FLAC series, Ice Cold! (See the trailer Here.)  So make sure you’re entered by commenting!  Cherry will be stopping by today and tomorrow to answer questions, too!

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