New York, New York: A Kiss and Thrill reunion

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

Carey, Lena, Diana, Sharon, Gwen, and Sarah at the Death by Chocolate party Carey, Lena, Diana, Sharon, Gwen, and Sarah at the Death by Chocolate (Daphne Awards) party

Last week, eight of us—we missed you Manda!—attended the Romance Writers of America National Conference in New York City. Ostensibly, we went for the workshops on writing craft, business, personal development, and industry trends offered by some of the best in the genre. Not to mention the chance to network with authors, editors, and agents.

But mostly, I think we attended to be surrounded for just a few days by those rare people in this world who really get us: other romance writers (especially other romantic suspense writers).

There’s nothing as precious as the chance to reconnect with friends, and this year we managed to get nearly all of the Kiss and Thrill women together in one place at one time, some of whom have never met in person!

Rachel, Gwen, and Krista after the Golden Heart/RITA Awards ceremony Rachel, Gwen, and Krista after the Golden…

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An Excerpt from GOOD EARL GONE BAD!

Diana Belchase:

Manda Collins gives us a sneak peak at her newest book!

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

Good Earl Gone Bad (1)While the rest of the KaT gang is off living it up in NYC at the RWA Conference,  I thought I’d share some deets about my next book with you guys.

Good Earl Gone Bad is the second book in my Lords of Anarchy series,  only this time around the Lord of Anarchy is actually…wait for it…a lady! Lady Hermione Upperton to be exact!

But things aren’t so easy for the first female member of The Lords of Anarchy,  and soon she’s teaming up with the haughty gambler, Lord Mainwaring to clear her name when she’s accused of murder.
Coming October 6, 2015
ISBN-13: 9781250061072
ISBN-10: 1250061075

Audacious, extravagant, indulgent-the Lords of Anarchy live at top speed, with nothing to chase but pleasure…at every imaginable cost.…

TEMPTING FATE

Marriage? To a gambler? You must be joking! Yet Lady Hermione Upperton has never backed down from a challenge. When her spendthrift…

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Dark Secrets of the Chincoteague and Assateague Island Ponies

This summer, before you take your horse-crazy teenaged daughter to Chincoteague to see the pony swim from Assateague Island, there are few facts you might want to know. The story is dark, less than romantic, and a hard truth about how women are perceived by men yet today.

The wild ponies of Chincoteague belong to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department in a grant from the Federal government.  Each year the ponies are moved from Assateague Island to Chincoteague to allow vets to inspect them and to auction off animals that exceed the 150 horse herd limitations.**  The average price of a Chincoteague Pony, also known as an Assateague Horse, is about $1300, though prices as high as $11,700*** have been bid.  The money goes for a great cause, buying equipment for the volunteer firefighters. ****

The men who round up the horses are affectionately known as Salt Water Cowboys.  Many are from the fire department, but not all.  They are not only bound together in a brotherhood of spirit, but also of blood, as sons often follow in their father’s footsteps in this labor of love.

Notice I said men, fathers and sons?

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The Salt Water Cowboys appear to refuse to let a single female, no matter how qualified, into their tight knit group.

Perhaps the women and girls who go this year should bring picket signs with them asking where the female riders are?

If you check the internet, you will not find any reference to this possibly discriminatory practice – at least none that I could find.  The stories are romantically portrayed – the beauty of the horses, the wonderful charity and wildlife refuge supported by these men’s efforts.  However, my neighbor is one of these Salt Water Cowboys.  His twenty-year-old daughter is one of the best equestrians in the state.  This is a young woman who has worked in a landscape business moving trees with her bare hands during the day, and in the evenings and her days off, works her own business taking care of and training horses.  Not only is she knowledgeable and strong, with blue ribbons lining her bedroom, her sweet attitude and hard work make her one of the neighborhood’s most adored females.

I am extremely troubled when her mother tells me that this young woman has been directly and frankly informed that she will never be permitted to join the Salt Water Cowboys, nor ever ride to gather the herd and pen the horses, merely because she’s female.

DSC02229In a fit of compassion, this year, she was told she’d be allowed to muck stalls and clean tack – as if playing Cinderella to her often less accomplished male cohorts somehow makes things better!

What I’d like to know is how this potentially discriminatory practice continues in a society where we feel we’ve conquered the most overt forms of discrimination against women.  I’d also like to know why no news correspondent has jumped at the chance to cover this story.

To be fair, when I contacted the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department’s PR Spokesperson and member since 1992, Denise Bowden, she told me that “It’s not that females aren’t exactly not allowed to join, but there is a many years long wait list, and they are only allowing fire volunteers to join at this time.”  She did confirm, however, that there is not a single female currently riding among the Salt Water Cowboys.

Considering the number of qualified horsewomen in this area, and the long tradition of penning ponies, doesn’t this seem strange?

My neighbor lives more than three and a half hours, from Chincoteague.  It is unlikely he is an active member of that fire department.  In addition, quite a fuss was made about a young boy, Tyler Marks, being inducted into the Saltwater Cowboys at the age of 16 in 2010.*****  My neighbor’s daughter has been involved with the group as an observer and supporter since she was born.  How many years on the wait list does that account for?  Stories of fathers and sons abound, but not even the two token female officers, Denise Bowden, V.P. or Cathy Repsher, Asst. Sec.,****** the only women on the roster, currently appear to ride with the group.

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There are female firefighters throughout the country, are none of them qualified to ride with the Salt Water Cowboys?

In a July 2007 article in the Washington Post, group member, Eddie Thornton, was quoted as saying, ” There’s really no training.  I mean, you have to be capable of riding a horse and know how to control a horse.”  When reporter, Karen Hart, asked “So, if someone who wasn’t a part of the fire company wanted to be a saltwater cowboy, how would they go about joining the roundup?” Thornton replied, “They would have to talk to the pony committee chariman and tell them how long they’ve been riding.  And if they have an available spot, they may be able to go, they may not.”*******

Too bad Ms. Hart didn’t ask him whether or not they had to be male.

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The Newbery winning children’s book, Misty of Chincoteague (1947) inspired generations of girls to take up riding.  The 1961 film, Misty, based on that book, is still a favorite among girls today.  At the roundup onChincoteague during the last Wednesday and Thursday of every July, the number of women and girls far exceed those of males.********  They look on with glee, never knowing that the event will possibly forever mark them as different, as inferior and separate, by a band of men known as the Salt Water Cowboys of Chincoteague.71XzmB2j3ML._SL1000_

* Wikipedia

** Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company// Pony Penning History

***Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company// Pony FAQ

**** Wikipedia

***** “Youngest Salt Water Cowboy in First Pony Penning” by Misty Thornton and Robert Boswell, July 27, 2010, Enfold (wildpoytales.info/archives/1283) Island Life, Pony Tales

***** Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company List of Members (cvfc3.com/members/volunteer)

******* “A Cowboy of Cincoteague’s Pony Express” by Karen Hart, Special to The Washington Post, Sunday, Jully 22, 2007

******** “Chincoteague Island: “Saltwater Cowboys” Round up wild Ponies. (Local) by Erika Reif, Staff writer, The Virginian-Piolot, July 31, 1997.

Motorcycle Heroes and Bad Boy Assassins

Diana Belchase:

Lena Diaz’s newest book releases today and she’s celebrating by interviewing her hero among with Kay Thomas’. This is total fun with two great authors and the opportunity to win two fantastic books. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

Whether You Like Heroes on Motorcycles or the Bad Boy Assassin Type, Kiss and Thrill has You Covered Today.

First up, hero Bryan Fisher from EASY TARGET, the brand new installment by author KAY THOMAS in her Elite ops series with Avon.

FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BRYAN FISHER (aka Hollywood)

EasyTarget HiRes1. Growing up, I lived in California with my mom until I was nine years old. When she died in a car accident, I went to live with my grandmother in Springwater, Mississippi. The reason I love Dentyne gum so much is because my mom chewed Dentyne and always shared it with me.

2. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’ve never ridden a horse. But I love to ride motorcycles and I know how to surf. Yes, my nickname is Hollywood. And no, I don’t like to talk about how I got that particular “handle.”

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BRENDA NOVAK returns to Romantic Suspense!

Diana Belchase:

What a fantastic deal for readers and such a great way to raise money for Diabetes research. I hope you’ll all join in and help find a cure.
XO

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

HanoverHouse_800x1200He’d found what he needed. At last. After twenty years of waiting, of planning, of purposely blending in to escape notice, he had the thread that would lead him back to the only woman who’d ever really mattered in his life.

The only woman who’d ever been a challenge.

The only woman who’d ever gotten away.

Once his parents had finally gone to bed, and long after anyone would expect for them to have a visitor, Jasper Moore stared down at the envelope he’d recovered from his father’s desk. Inside was a letter from Evelyn Talbot’s father, pleading with Stanley and Maureen to come forward if they possessed any information on Jasper’s whereabouts. It said that Evelyn had been through enough. That the Moores should finally do the right thing and divulge any information they possessed.

But they never would. They were the ones who’d helped him escape in the…

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Locked, Loaded, & Lying with Debut Author Sarah Andre

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

Sarah Andre

Sarah Andre and I have been close friends (some would call us twins) and Golden Heart sisters for a long time, and it’s a friendship I treasure. So I am not exaggerating when I say I am so excited and proud to introduce Sarah and her debut romantic suspense novel Locked, Loaded, & Lying.

And check out Brenda Novak’s cover quote! “An impressive debut! This book has everything readers crave: believable, enduring  characters, an intriguing conflict, and plenty of heart. Don’t miss Locked, Loaded, & Lying.”

LockedAndLoadedFinal cover Click Cover to Buy

L3 (as I always think of it) is a blockbuster story intertwined with a beautiful romance and a fast-paced plot. And I can’t wait for you all to read it so we can talk about her hunky hero Lock Roane. (The heroine Jordan is lovely too, but Lock is hot, hot, hot!)

But since we have to wait to dish…

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Why We’ve “Fallen” for Carey Baldwin

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

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…

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