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Author Lena Diaz Breaches FBI Security!

It wasn’t easy, but I persevered and got inside an FBI field office. What I saw was…

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AMAZING! It was so cool to be there! And it was like breaching Fort Knox to get inside. Seriously.

I was part of a tour group from my local Sisters in Crime chapter, a non-profit organization of lovers of mysteries and thrillers (both readers and authors.)

Weeks before the planned visit to the Jacksonville, Florida field office, I had to fill out forms giving the FBI permission to perform a full background check on me. Since they approved my visit, I’m guessing they totally missed my questionable internet searches such as “how to kill someone and make it look like an accident.”fbi

At the appointed time for the visit, I was told to leave my cell phone and anything that contained GPS tracking technology in my car. So, after divesting myself of all of my clandestine spying equipment, I went into the maximum security prison office visitor’s booth.

All the walls inside were glass from about waist-level up. A security guard was behind a thick Exit Strategy High Rez Finalwall of glass to my left and was apparently too scared to come out, because he stayed behind that wall the entire time. He spoke to me by talking into a phone on his side. His voice came through a speaker in the ceiling on my side. First order of business, “The Speech”–the warning about leaving my guns and weapons of mass destruction at home.

Then he instructed me to open a heavy, thick metal door in the bottom part of the wall and to place my purse, my notepad, and my Driver’s License inside the little cubby area behind the door. Once I did that and my door was closed, he opened a door on his side and took my belongings out.

NoExit Cover-Final-HighRezI was then instructed to pass through a metal detector while the guard sent my belongings through an airport-type of scanner. He also instructed me to pass through to the next glass-walled room, after buzzing the lock to open the door for me.

Next was “The Search”. He checked every nook and cranny inside my rather large purse. He felt it up so much that I’m fairly certain there will be dozens of baby purses in my home nine months from now.

Once satisfied that I wasn’t hiding any evil clowns, he placed the purse, my notebook, and a temporary ID into another metal cubby inside the wall. He kept my Driver’s License hostage until the tour was over. Once the door was closed on his side of the cubby, he again directed me through the phone/intercom to open the door on my side to get my belongings.

Armed with my temporary ID (okay, it was just a name-tag sticker, but it did say Federal FinalExit-HighRez
Bureau of Investigation on it), I was then permitted to exit the next door–after the guard buzzed the lock.

After all of that, I had finally achieved access to…the courtyard outside the actual FBI building. (sigh) Did I mention the entire facility is surrounded by super-high black metal fencing that could probably stop a tank?

From there, I had to go through another series of security measures. Here’s the short version.

  • FOUR FBI agents escorted our tour group of nine people the whole time.
  • EVERYTHING is secured and requires codes typed into keypads.
  • Before going through a door, the door behind you has to be closed and locked.
  • If one person needs to go to the bathroom, we all go to the bathroom. The tour group stays together no matter what.

What did I see while inside the building? Here are some highlights.

  • Guns. LOTS of guns. Some of them on the hips of FBI agents. Others in an armory.
  • I got to hold a Tommy gun. It was HEAVY.
  • I got to hold some bullet-resistant vests. The one the FBI SWAT team wears is super heavy. I could barely hold it up.
  • There is a Samurai sword in the armory. Don’t ask me why.
  • There are bomb blast doors inside.
  • They have commercial washers and dryers inside for the ERT (Evidence Response Team) and others to use. Why? Because when you go to crime scenes in really grungy areas you don’t want to bring the roaches home with you (shiver).
  • There was a presentation from a special agent who was on one of the ERT teams sent to Orlando to investigate the night club shooting.
  • The gun guy showed us all of those guns. Did I mention they were heavy? Oh – and he was CUTE.
  • Best part of the tour? The gym. There were two very special agents working out when we went inside. VERY special.
  • We met the Special Agent in Charge. How cool is that? He’s the top guy. In case you didn’t know.
  • There was a presentation by a female FBI Special Agent who talked about her specialty, white-collar crime.
  • Then we got to ask questions. Crazy questions. And they answered us without even blinking. Which is kind of scary if you think about it.
  • Oh, and I forgot to mention. The FBI had a photographer following us around the entire time, taking tons of pictures. To what end, I have no idea. But we did get one picture to take home with us (thus the picture posted on this blog.)
  • At the end of the tour, we got to go to a very important last stop–the FBI gift shop. I am now the proud owner of a set of handcuffs and lanyard that say FBI on them. I do have to say, their gift shop was a bit disappointing. Very small without a lot to choose from. I highly recommend the gift shop at the LAPD Police Academy instead. But that’s another blog post.
  • My hijacked Driver’s License was returned to me at the visitor’s booth at the end of the tour in exchange for my temporary FBI badge/sticker. Bummer. I wanted to keep the sticker and would have gladly forfeited my license in exchange.

giftshopOh, and did I also mention that when anyone leaves the FBI fortress compound employee parking lot, they have to punch in a special code to get the gate to open? I guess if you forget the code you have to live in the field office forever.

If I had to describe the visit in one word, I’d say INTENSE.

Lena Diaz

Now I’m off to correct the myths and errors in my current novel that includes some references to the FBI.

Lena Diaz is an award-winning author of romantic suspense for both Harlequin and Avon. Her books have been translated into French, German, Norwegian, Turkish, and Japanese and are sold in many countries around the world. With fifteen books published so far, she has three more scheduled to come out in 2017, and two (so far) scheduled to release in 2018. Lena lives in northeast Florida with her husband of 30 years, her son, her daughter, and her daughter’s cat–Weasley (yes, he’s named after a Harry Potter character.)

Learn more about Lena Diaz by visiting her website.

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:

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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?

Blessed Are Those Who Weep

Giveaway alert: a Nook or Kindle copy of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP and a Starbucks card are up for grabs.

Today I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderful friend and fellow Witness author, Kristi Belcamino, to the blog. Kristi has a fascinating and heart-wrenching story to tell you, so I’ll let her do most of the talking, but I just have to say a few words about her new release BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP.

This story grabs you by the throat from the beginning and never lets go. The heroine, Gabriella Giovanni, leads you through a maze of compelling characters and twisting events until you arrive at an ending that will leave you breathless. But it’s not the heart-pounding ending you’ll read for. It’s Gabriella herself. A heroine who’s brilliant yet vulnerable, brave yet all too human. Pick it up today, then kick back with a glass of red wine, a hanky, and a do not disturb sign.

Here’s the blurb:

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni stumbles onto a horrific crime scene with only one survivor—a baby girl found crawling between the dead bodies of her family members. Reeling from the slaughter, Gabriella clings to the infant. When Social Services pries the little girl from her arms, the enormity of the tragedy hits home. Diving deep into a case that brings her buried past to the forefront, Gabriella is determined to hunt down the killer who left this helpless baby an orphan.

But one by one the clues all lead to a dead end, and Gabriella’s obsession with finding justice pulls her into a dark, tortuous spiral that is set to destroy everything she loves …

The Story That Did Me In

By Kristi Belcamino

I’ll never forget the story that did me in.

The one that slayed me and changed my career path entirely. The one that ultimately led me to quit my job as a newspaper reporter.

It was about the perfect family destroyed — shattered — by tragedy.

As a crime reporter, I had been blithely cruising through other people’s tragedies for years. I was moved and haunted by many of the stories I covered — some which caused me to drink and smoke too much — but I was still able to do my job and more importantly, I still loved doing my job.

My two close friends at the paper were just like me. We thought nothing of talking about “floaters” and “decomps” and those words were sprinkled into our ever day conversation.

Not much rattled us. Dead body? No problem.

In fact, I’ll never forget how excited I was one day to get a new copy of a homicide investigator’s manual in the mail. It was chock full of graphic photos of various modes and manners of death, including close-range gunshot wounds to the face and explosions and people crushed to death. Not pretty.

But that didn’t stop my friend C and I from taking the book to a Chinese restaurant and flipping through it over lunch.

C also had seen more autopsies at our county morgue than probably any reporter in the history of our newspaper. She was soft-spoken, drop-dead gorgeous, and fearless.

I only saw one autopsy. A guy about my age who overdosed. I can recognize the smell of a dead body to this day.

C and I were regular visitors at the morgue and I soon got a reputation at the newspaper. Every time an intern started, the editors would tell me to take them to the morgue that first week.

I wonder how many interns were traumatized by the experience? I took one young woman on a day when a young man who died in a motorcycle crash was on the slab as we walked into the room. The first thing we saw was the giant chunk of his skull that was missing at the top of his head.

But none of that bothered me. Not really.

Then I gave birth.

The flood of hormones transformed me into another person. Suddenly, everything I reported on was much too close to home.

All the evil that I had kept at arm’s length seemed to follow me home at night.

I would immerse myself in the seediest, darkest part of life and then come home to the very definition of innocence in my baby. I was having a hard time reconciling these two worlds, but then it got worse.

Right before Christmas, a mother in a wealthy suburb and her two children, who I think were less than a year apart, were walking on a beautiful fall day to get ice cream. They were on a parkway, where a wide sidewalk was separated from the road by a patch of grass.

The kids were either in front of or behind the mother when a suspected drunk driver went careening off the road and plowed into the kids, killing them both.

Not long after, the parents invited the press to talk to them in their luxurious home in a rich subdivision. I sat with other reporters in their living room and looked around at the beautiful couple in their beautiful home.

The mother, who I had imagined would be curled up in the fetal position with dirty hair and slobber on her wrinkled clothes, looked more put together than I ever had in my entire life.

She was gorgeous. Her husband was gorgeous. Without knowing their story and looking at them in their fancy home, you would think they had everything.

And yet, they had nothing. Not anymore. Some drunken fool had taken away their life.

The million dollar house was empty and hollow, haunted by memories of children playing and laughing.

Later, my editors asked me to do a story about what this couple’s Christmas was like. I refused. Or rather, I simply kept forgetting to do it.

I couldn’t force myself to call them. I knew what their Christmas was going to be like. Or at least I suspected. It was going to be a hellish nightmare, just like the rest of their days were right now.

So, I suppose it could have been any story that fall — any tragedy that struck me to the core — but that was the story that did me in. Suddenly as a mother, I couldn’t dip into and out of other people’s tragedies anymore. I just couldn’t do it.

I had always cared about my job and cared about the victims of tragedies and tried to do them justice in the best way I could, but I couldn’t do it anymore. When I became a mother, the emotions struck too sharp and too deep for me to continue doing my job properly.

I quit my job a few months later.

But I am forever changed by my former life as a reporter. I have seen things that help me put everything into perspective.

Luckily most of the people I know live very sheltered lives. When they complain — and cry — about trivial things, I try to understand. II tell myself they don’t know. They don’t understand.

They don’t know how lucky they are. They have a little bubble around their lives. They feel invincible. And maybe it is necessary to feel that way to go on day to day.

But I know something different. I know that bubble doesn’t protect them from tragedy. Tragedy is not picky. It is not discerning. It has a laissez-faire attitude in who it strikes. There is no rhyme or reason.

That’s one thing I know.

I’ve sat in too many living rooms of people who know the same thing.

This knowledge may seem like a burden to some. And in fact, up-close knowledge of that as a crime reporter was more than I could handle as a new mother.

But with hindsight, I realize this knowledge is not a burden, but a gift.

It is a gift because it reminds me to pick my battles, put minor setbacks in perspective and to never, ever take one moment of this precious life for granted.

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and crime reporter who also bakes a tasty biscotti.

As a reporter, she’s flown over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, and attended barbecues at the morgue. Her first novel was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer.

During her decade covering crime in California, Belcamino wrote and reported about many high-profile cases including the Laci Peterson murder and Chandra Levy’s disappearance. And because of her police sources, she was one of the first reporters in the country to learn that the passengers on Flight 93 had fought back on 9/11. She has appeared on Inside Edition and local cable television shows. Her work has appeared in such prominent publications as the Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and Chicago Tribune. She now works part-time for the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a police reporter.

Connect with Kristi on her website, facebook, or twitterprofilecowboy2

Readers leave a comment or question for Kristi. One lucky person will win an e-copy of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP and a $10 Starbucks card. Good luck!

 

 

COULD YOU BE A KILLER?

Today we welcome back multi-published author, Stacy Green. And since I’m in the chaotic stage of unpacking hundreds of boxes after moving from Houston to FL last week, I asked Stacy to come up with something intriguing that captures the tone of her newest release: ALL GOOD DEEDS. Take it away, Stacy!

StacyFall1pressCOULD YOU BE A KILLER?

This question planted the seed for my newest character Lucy Kendall, a former CPS worker turned private investigator and vigilante killer of sex offenders.

The criminal mind is a fascinating place and oftentimes a mystery for investigators. Bundy, Gacy, Lucas–the worst of the worst–are almost easy to understand. They just aren’t wired right. Add a dose of lousy nurturing, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

But what about the outliers? The people who are good by society’s standards and then one day just snap? Did they have it in them all along? Do we all possess that shadow side that lurks, waiting for something to turn us bad?

I think any one of us are capable of killing someone–or at least doing serious bodily injury–if the circumstances are right.

Some of these are pretty straightforward: someone hurting our kid, our pets, our career. People have snapped over less.

But what about something that isn’t personal? Something that doesn’t directly affect you but is a sore on society? What would make you risk your freedom, and how would you do it?

Lucy Kendall snaps when a child killer walks free. But she doesn’t lash out in a clumsy, unorganized way. She thinks things through, figuring out the best method to do her work AND keep herself out of jail. And even as she figures out the most efficient way for her to end someone’s life, she doesn’t believe she’s a killer.

Her targets are men who have destroyed kids lives and will do it again. Lucy believes with her whole heart sex offenders can’t be cured, and her actions take care of a problem the justice system and society simply can’t–or won’t.

I believe that most if not all of us possess what Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called the Shadow Side.

The shadow exists as part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts and shortcomings…These latent dispositions are present in all of us, Jung believed, although people sometimes deny this element of their own psyche and instead project it onto others. SOURCE

This theory was a major influence on developing Lucy Kendall. Although there is tragedy in her past, she is a normal member of society. But her shadow side has seeped through her veneer until it now rules her choices and ultimately, her life.

She’ll have to come to terms with being a killer, her real motives, and answer the ultimate question: now that she has fully engaged her shadow side, is she even capable of not killing?

Does her choice of victim make her exempt? If she’s caught, is she a hero or a villain?

Or does her methodology make her just as evil as the famous serial killers we have such a fascination with?

I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I do know that as I get older, I realize more and more that life is not black and white. Our systems are flawed and need changing, but whether or not there are any good alternatives remains to be seen.

I think any one of us could become a Lucy Kendall if the circumstances are right, and I will further argue that instead of moral code, it’s fear of punishment that keeps most of society in check. Score one for the penal system.

What about you, thriller readers and writers? Is life black and white? Should there be exemptions? And what would it take for you to administer Lucy Kendall Justice? Comment for a chance to win a copy of my new release, ALL GOOD DEEDS!

ALL GOOD DEEDS by Stacy GreenAllGoodDeedsEbook

Lucy Kendall lived her life in a strange mixture of carefully calculated moves and impulse decisions. Cracking the skull of the man who molested her sister and attacking her was impulse. Spending half her teenage years drinking and acting out were calculated cries for attention from her narcissistic mother followed by impulsive rages at her lack of concern.

The decade spent working in Child Protective Services before becoming a private investigator taught her two truths. One, CPS failed miserably in protecting children. Two, Lucy was more than willing to do it for them, meting out her brand of dark justice in spite of her own fear of death. But Lucy’s crusade is compromised when a self-proclaimed sociopath offers to help—and leaves her no choice but to accept it.

When eight-year old Kailey Richardson is abducted, it sets off a chain of events linked to Justin Beckett, a suspect in a life-changing case in Lucy’s past. The path she’s chosen since dealing with Beckett has been dark and terrifying—but she has no idea just how deep she will go or where the twisted road will take her.

She’s about to find out.

About the Author

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

Thanks for being our guest today, Stacy! You raise some interesting points and questions. Readers: For more information on Stacy Green here are her links.

Website: www.stacygreen.net

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Stacy Green, Author

Twitter @StacyGreen26

Winner Announcement: And the winner of ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS KISS by Manda Collins is Patti Straight. Congratulations Patti! Please use our contact page to claim your prize and let us know if you prefer an e-book or print on release day. Please include your email and snail mail addy (if you want print). 

 

Working Girls… Do It For Thrills ~ 6 Author/6 Book Bundle

As a reader, my favorite kind of book is a thriller that features a strong, smart professional woman whose work opens the door to adventure, mystery, and sometimes romance, so it is with great excitement that I share with our Kiss and Thrill readers that CONCRETE EVIDENCE is part of a book bundle with just these types of books. It’s a thrill to see my title included with these great books by fabulous authors!

Available only for a limited time, you can get WORKING GIRLS which includes 6 complete novels for just $0.99!

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When stakes are at their highest, these working girls draw on the tools of their trades to kick butt, take names and make a difference.

 IRREPARABLE HARM – Melissa F Miller
Someone’s using a smartphone app to bring down commercial airliners and only attorney Sasha McCandless and the federal air marshal she’s teamed with can prevent more disasters. When the madman’s killing spree takes a personal turn, Sasha will need both her legal skills and her Krav Maga training to stop him.

GUARANTEED JUSTICE – M A Comley
Retired Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins is happy running her new animal rescue centre with her husband. But when sisters Linda and Fiona Carter come to her desperate to adopt a guard dog, Lorne takes up the mantle of Private Investigator when she learns the reason. Linda was brutally raped by a serial rapist — who’s named Fiona his next victim.

BLACK DIAMOND DEATH – Cheryl Bradshaw
On the slopes of Park City, Utah’s newest ski resort a woman is found dead. Accident — or murder? Private Investigator Sloane Monroe is on the case when a second dead body is found. Now the killer is tracking Sloane’s every move, and her life depends on uncovering the truth before he strikes again.

CONCRETE EVIDENCE – Rachel Grant
Accused of stealing artifacts from a shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. An undercover job with the buyer of the missing antiquities puts her close to her goal. Until a sexy, charismatic intern with secrets of his own shows up, placing her heart — and her life — in jeopardy.

BADWATER – Toni Dwiggins
A terrorist has stolen radioactive material, leading forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws on a perilous hunt through Death Valley. The unstable atom — in the hands of an unstable man — is governed by Murphy’s Law. Whatever can go wrong, will. And when it does, field skills won’t be enough to save them.

SECTOR C – Phoenix Sullivan
A pair of seemingly unrelated outbreaks — a rise in human stroke-like cases and a rapidly spreading animal disease — lead a CDC analyst and a veterinarian to a shocking discovery at a big-game compound. But even if they can escape with the secret of Sector C, it may already be too late.

In the WORKING GIRLS book bundle, the heroines are: an attorney, two private investigators, an archaeologist, a forensic geologist, and a veterinarian. Today’s question for our readers: what is your fantasy adventure career?

One commenter will win a print copy of BODY OF EVIDENCE and an ebook by one of the other WORKING GIRLS authors – winners choice!

WORKING GIRLS
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Deadly Darling: Kylie Brant

bio_pic2The first time I met Kylie Brant I was struck by how friendly and sweet she was. It didn’t surprise me to learn she was a teacher, because she was so smart and nice. It didn’t surprise me to learn she wrote romance because we were at a romance writers’ conference 🙂 . But what did surprise me was to learn that behind this lovely, kind, and fun woman lurked the devious mind behind some truly twisted and sexy suspense. Her books are dark, fantastic, and wildly popular. But I won’t spoil the story. I’ll let her tell it herself. Please help me welcome the fabulous Kylie Brant!

Carey: Kylie, you and I have some things in common. You live in an old Victorian—I wish I lived in an old Victorian. You write ten pages a day—I wish I wrote ten pages a day. See how much we have in common?

Kylie: You’re too funny :-).  During the school year my only days to write are the weekends, so those ten page days don’t add up very fast!

Carey: I’m truly amazed by the balancing act you manage. I know you have a very rewarding and demanding day job and a wonderful family. Before we talk about your writing, can you tell us a little about your work and family life?

Kylie: I have five kids—four boys and a girl.  Men and women now, actually.  But when I started writing my kids were 12, 11, 7, 4 and 4.  So I had to learn to write amidst chaos.  That was the natural state of things around here, back in the day!

I’m also a special education teacher, working with students with learning and behavior problems.  It’s challenging, incredibly rewarding and never ever boring.

Carey: Incredible, that with all those demands, you have managed to write twenty-five romantic suspense books for Silhouette and six dark romantic thrillers for Berkeley. I know you think I’m going to ask about those series (and I am) but first I want to know…what are those Harlequin parties really like?

Kylie: They’re the best party in town at RWA, hands down. Some might rave about their decadent dessert tables, but I’m more a fan of the open bar and dancing <g>.

Carey: Now that we’ve got the important stuff covered, how did you begin writing for Harlequin? Do you have a favorite from among your Silhouette series?cover_012009

Kylie: I always say I started writing because my favorite writers couldn’t write fast enough to keep me in reading material.  The Romantic Suspense line got its start as Intimate Moments, and I cut my teeth on early books by Linda Howard, Erin St. Claire (Sandra Brown) and Elizabeth Lowell.  When I decided to try my hand at writing I wrote the kind of book I liked to read…emotional with a good suspense to go along with the romance.  I was lucky enough to sell the first book I wrote, but it went through several revisions first.

I wrote several series for Silhouette.  My favorite was probably the Alpha Squad SWAT trilogy, if for no other reason than I loved the research for it.

Carey: Kylie, what inspired you to write your fabulous Berkley Mind Hunters series? How do you write so authentically and wonderfully about a subject that is far from your life experiences?

Kylie: So you’re assuming that my personal experience doesn’t include planning serial murder and de-fleshing skeletal remains?  Glad I get the benefit of the doubt :-).  My husband always says if something happens to him the cops should first look at my extensive research library, LOL.

I love dark suspense with lots of twists and turns.  And despite my absolute lack of knowledge regarding anything the least bit interesting I am quite adept at research.  I find forensics, with all its myriad sub-categories, endlessly fascinating.  I’ve been fortunate enough to find experts to help me with the plot-driven details needed for my stories.

Although I’ve never been a fan of the CSI shows (they’re factually inaccurate), I do love a good cop/detective story.  I’m on a lot of loops with law enforcement types and they all agree that there are no perfect crimes, just limited time and resources for the police.  So I began wondering what would happen if the law did have infinite time and resources on their side…add in cool forensic experts and The Mindhunters were born.

Carey: Does the reader need to start with book one, WAKING NIGHTMARE?  Or can they start anywhere in the Mind Hunters series, which includes WAKING EVIL, WAKING THE DEAD, DEADLY INTENT, DEADLY DREAMS, and DEADLY SINS?

Kylie: I’m told the books stand alone well.  They’re tied together because the characters work for the same company, and their enigmatic boss, Adam Raiker, appears in each.  The Deadly series does have an over-arching suspense plot involving Raiker, and probably is a bit more interwoven than the first three.cover_092009

Carey: Can you choose one of heroes and one of your heroines from the Mind Hunters and tell us what makes them tick?

Kylie: I was surprised by the amount of reader mail I got from the very beginning on Adam Raiker.  When I began the series I never intended that he’d be more than a secondary character who comes in at the end of each book.  But readers (and my editor!) demanded that he get his own story (Deadly Sins).

Raiker is a legendary former FBI profiler who was caught by the child killer he was trailing and kept for days and tortured.  He ended up escaping and killing the villain, but he’s disfigured by the incident.  He wears a patch over his lost eye, has scars across his throat and hands, and nearly lost a leg, so he walks with a cane.  He’s tenacious, a bit irascible and ferocious when cornered.  He’s also carrying a torch for the woman he loved—and lost—seven years earlier.

Carey: I heard a rumor that you have a new series coming out in 2013. Can you tell us about Circle of Evil?

Kylie: Circle of Evil is a dark romantic suspense trilogy I’m going to be self-publishing, beginning in May.  The three books take place in Iowa and follow characters working for the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation.  Although each book will feature a different hero and heroine, the suspense plot will be inter-linking throughout the three books.

Chasing Evil begins when DCI agent Cam Prescott discovers that someone has been burying bodies atop recently dug graves in small county cemeteries.  Each of the victims has been horribly tortured…and each is numbered.   Touching Evil will be available in October and Facing Evil in 2014.  The books will be available in both print and digital.

Carey: Oooh! Sounds positively…EVIL. Beyond your next series, we’re all curious to know what your plans are. What’s in store for Kylie Brant fans?

Kylie: In addition to my new series, I have a couple straight suspense projects currently being considered by publishers.  Hope to have some news soon!

Carey: We look forward to hearing that news and please come back and share it with us! Thank you so much for being here today. I know our readers have comments and questions for you, so I’ll open it up to them now.

Kylie is a midwestern school teacher with a secret life writing dark, sexy, suspense. Do you have a secret life, or is there something most people would never guess about you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of DEADLY SINS – your choice of print or e-book!deadly_sins

To learn more about Kylie visit her at KylieBrant.com

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!

The winner of a book by Sherry Foley is . . .

Sherry Foley

The Kiss-and-Thrill ladies had a blast hosting author Sherry Foley this week. Her debut novel, SWITCHED IN DEATH sounds creepy good!

Now . . . drum roll please . . . the commenter who has won a copy of SWITCHED IN DEATH is . . . Sarah Elle Emm (April 24, 2012 at 11:02am)!  Congratulations!

To redeem your free book – please email your snail mail address to contact@kissandthrill.com (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days. And you must provide a US or Canadian address to qualify or another winner will be chosen.

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?

Tuesday, May 1st, Kiss and Thrill’s Lena Diaz welcomes author PATRICIA ROSEMOOR. Many of you know her as a Harlequin Intrigue author, but Patricia is going to reveal a brand-new exciting project she did all on her own. Join us Tuesday to learn about SKIN! You won’t be disappointed.

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