Louise Penny’s Night with the Monks: The Beautiful Mystery

The amazing, fantastic, incredible, Louise Penny sat down with me and let me into the secrets behind her Agatha Winning novel, The Beautiful Mystery. This is one of my funniest interviews — due entirely to Louise’s dry, wonderful wit.

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During the time it’s taken me to edit and post this interview, Louise has come out with not one, but two more books.  I know you’ll love them: The Beautiful Mystery (read an excerpt), How the Light Gets In (read an excerpt), and The Long Way Home.












The Fine Art of Tea

Today is Miss Dolly’s birthday! And to celebrate, you’re invited to a tea party — one that Miss Dolly Yates is hosting herself, as she explains what goes into a proper English tea.  So please join us as we discuss everything from tea cups, to lemon curd, to the actual types of tea itself. I know you’ll enjoy Miss Dolly in the video below as much as I do!

(If your video doesn’t run, please update your Adobe. Also, to see the full frame hit the large square box on the far right of the bottom black bar (to the right of YouTube) Thanks!)

Dolly Yates started her new career as a writer at the age of 90, and now has three books in print. She also tours the country giving inspirational speeches and is loved wherever she goes. Her three books are, Tales from the Teapot, One Heart Two Countries, and Share My Gold. 

I am so proud to call her my friend.

Happy Birthday, Darling!

Stay tuned for more from Miss Dolly coming soon.




A Journey to Thailand


Living in Washington is wonderful.  The city is a museum, culture is everywhere, and politics often makes sleeping pill prescriptions totally unnecessary.  Sometimes I lose sight of how interesting and different our city is, but events like the one I attended on Friday night shake out complacency.


Yes, I was a guest at the Royal Thai embassy in Georgetown.  The food was sumptuous, the Ambassador and his staff gracious, and the entertainment divine.  I had such a good time, two days later my cheeks still hurt from smiling so much. Here’s a snippet of the entertainment for you to enjoy.

The cherry on the cake truly was the Thai Masked Dance Khon Troupe from Bangkok.  For over an hour they danced, fought, joked, clowned, and displayed aspects of the Thai heritage.  The men wore brilliant golden costumes, the women dripped dozens of orchids from their hair.  Each movement — practiced over decades — seemed effortless, yet I couldn’t fathom getting my fingers into the artistic backward curving gestures or moving with such precise grace.


I’d like to thank His Excellency, Ambassador Vijavat Isarabhakdi for his kind generosity during the evening.  He reminded me of my husband’s and my trip to Bangkok a few years ago — and a place and people so lovely, I cannot wait to visit there again.



Disrespectful in Digital or Cool in Cyberspace. You Decide.

Am I too old-fashioned?  While Kindles are wonderful, the idea of using a digital copy of the constitution, or the Bible, to swear anything, just doesn’t seem respectful in some ways.  This is a major-moment, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.  Would the ambassador have come to it in torn jeans and a dirty T shirt?  Would she have driven to Vegas and gotten sworn in by an Elvis impersonator?

In one way it’s cool that the ambassador is tech savvy enough to realize that ebooks are the way of the future, but some traditions, in my lil’ ole opinion, shouldn’t be lost.  I’d like to know that her oath is more solid than the momentary digital impression of words on a Kindle.  What do you think?

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Allison Brennan: let’s talk books and TV shows!

Diana Belchase:

A great guest post by darling Allison Brennan. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

Brennan_official_photocred Brittan Dodd We welcome back one of the modern day Romantic Suspense Greats: Allison Brennan! Besides being a wife and raising 5 children, she’s presently writing 3 separate series. 1)Her best-selling Lucy Kincaid novels, 2)A new series featuring Max Revere, a spunky investigative reporter and 3) the Moreno and Hart Mysteries collaboration with colleague Laura Griffin. Crash and Burn cover

Therefore, it’s a quite an honor she took time out of her busy schedule to write this:

I am thrilled to once again guest blog here at Kiss and Thrill!

Sarah asked me to write something totally fabulous. There’s nothing that kills the muse faster than expectations. Which got me thinking about reader expectations for Romantic Suspense.

Romantic Suspense is a broad and thriving genre where any of us can write a story about two worthy people battling against all the odds to defeat the bad guy and live happily ever after. Any way you get there is a…

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There’s Something About a Man in Uniform

Diana Belchase:

A great Memorial Day tribute by my blog mate to our Air Force Special Ops guys!

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

640px-Pararescuremen_extraction_-_081016-F-5957S-919Military romantic suspense is a wildly popular subset of romantic suspense (one of my favorites to read and write). But why are men in uniform so attractive? I know why I love them so much (especially the one I married), but I was curious what other readers thought, so I asked at a Facebook party a few months ago. Below is a list of the most common reasons the readers I chatted with cited for loving a military (or ex-military) hero:

  1. Self-sacrificing. This was number one, no contest. Apparently a brave man who’s willing to die for his beliefs and to save those he loves makes us weak in the knees like no one else. This probably also explains the popularity of other heroes in uniform like law enforcement and fire fighters.
  2. Intense/determined. Readers love a man who will stop at nothing to save the day (and the heroine). Oh…

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Losing Mary Stewart, Auction for Diabetes, and Winner

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


courtesy MaryStewartNovels.com

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

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


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

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

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


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