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Story Ideas by Kat Martin

November 4, 2019 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , ,

Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s hardcover, THE DECEPTION, a Romantic Thriller, was released on September 10th.


Story Ideas

I’ve always loved a good plot. People ask me how I come up with ideas for my novels, but the truth is, I really don’t know.

Sometimes the kernel of an idea grows out of a newspaper article or something I see on Facebook or just some old movie. Most of the time, it’s so long ago I don’t actually remember, but my mind does.

The novella, SHADOWS AT DAWN, blossomed the way most of my stories do, basically out of nowhere. Jaxon Ryker first appeared in THE CONSPIRACY, a former Navy SEAL, now a detective working for Chase Garrett, the wealthy owner of Maximum Security, an extremely successful private security firm in Dallas.

I liked Jax right away. He was definitely hero material, but at the same time, Jax was different, kind of soft-spoken, not arrogant, just a really nice guy. Unless you pissed him off.

Turns out Jax had a protective streak a mile wide and the sweet little receptionist at The Max was his weakness.

When Jax happens upon three men attacking her in the parking lot after work, his hero instincts kick in—big time.

Jax is convinced the attack isn’t random and that even after the fight that saved Mindy and drove the men away, she might not be safe. And no way is Jax letting anything happen to her.

I liked the two of them together from the start. These days, readers want kick-ass women, but there are other ways a woman can be strong. What Jax sees is a sweet girl he believes would never be able to handle a tough guy like him. But Mindy proves him wrong.

As the danger unfolds, Mindy and Jax are forced to work together to find the men who want her dead and figure out why.

I hope you’ll give this fun read a try and that you like Jax and Mindy as much as I did. If you do, you can also find them in THE DECEPTION, book #2 of my Maximum Security Series after THE CONSPIRACY.

Till next time, happy reading and all best, Kat 


SHADOWS AT DAWN

EXCERPT
Kat Martin

Finally satisfied with her progress for the day, Mindy shoved her round tortoiseshell glasses up on her nose, slung the strap of her purse over her shoulder, and headed for the door to the parking lot behind the office. She managed not to glance at Jax, but it wasn’t easy.

The early April weather was humid, warm but not hot, the last of a pinky gold sky fading to darkness. She spotted her little red Volkswagen Beetle, one of the few vehicles left in the lot, and started in that direction.

If she hadn’t been working for a security firm, listening to crime stories on a daily basis, she might not have noticed the white Chevy van whose motor sparked to life and began idling in the shadows not far from her car.

When her steps unconsciously slowed, she told herself she was being ridiculous, a paranoid response to the guys’ sometimes gruesome, often frightening tales.

Pausing to dig her car keys out of her purse, she took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart. When the effort failed, she forced her feet to move, closing the distance between her and her vehicle. She had almost reached her destination when the van doors slid open and three men dressed head-to-foot in black wearing black ski masks jumped out and started running toward her.

Terror struck. Mindy let out a high-pitched scream, dropped her purse, whirled, and started running.

Jax’s long day wasn’t over yet. Before he picked up a pizza and headed home for a couple of beers, he had a meeting with a client on the other side of Dallas, a cold case he had been working where the mother of a murder victim had discovered new evidence she believed would help find her daughter’s killer. The police weren’t convinced, but Mrs. Donahue had hired Jax to prove it. Or at least find out the truth.

He checked his heavy black wristwatch. If he wanted to make his appointment on time, he needed to get on the road. Grabbing his laptop off the desk, he headed for his dark blue Dodge Ram pickup, parked in the lot behind the office, his mind on the case he figured would earn him a nice fat fee—and maybe help bring a killer to justice.

He had just stepped out the backdoor when a blood-curling scream cut through the sticky night air. A petite young woman with long dark hair and glasses struggled with three masked men.

Adrenaline shot into his blood. Mindy! Even as he bolted into a run, Jax registered their appearance: one tall and lean, one average height and weight, one big and beefy, thick-shouldered and muscular. He was flat out running by the time Mindy spotted him and started screaming his name.

“Jax, help me! Jax!” Kicking and biting, she fought like a wild thing, but she was no match for the men. As they hauled her toward the open van doors, Jax grabbed the tall man and pulled him off her, pounded a fist into his face and slammed another into his stomach, doubling him over. A hard right sent the guy careening backward, hitting the ground on his back and sliding across the asphalt.

The second man, Mr. Average, stepped in and swung a punch Jax ducked. He shot out a kick, knocking the assailant into the side of the van, then heard the sound of a switchblade snapping open behind him.

“Jax, watch out!”

Whirling toward the threat, he dodged the flashing blade and shoved Mindy toward safety, then went back in for the kill. Rage burned through his usual calm. She worked with him, as far as he was concerned, was under his protection. More than that, she was kind and sweet and he cared about her far more than he should. Jax wanted to end the bastards who were trying to hurt her.

“Run!” he shouted. “Go back to the office and lock the door! Call 9-1-1!” The knife flashed. Jax dodged the sweep of gleaming silver wielded by a big, thick-fingered, extremely capable hand, jumped back from out of the way of another slashing attack as he and the big man crouched and circled each other. From the corner of his eye, he saw the tall, thin man back on his feet and rushing toward him.

Jax looked up to see Mindy swinging her purse like a ball and chain, smashing the bag into the side of the tall man’s head, sending him staggering, grunting as he landed on his hands and knees.

“Bitch! he screamed, shaking his head to clear it, providing the distraction Jax needed. He kicked the knife out of the beefy man’s hand and threw a punch that sent him reeling. Mr. Average had already climbed into the van and shoved the vehicle into gear.

“Come on!” the man shouted through the open passenger window. “Let’s go!”

The tall man turned and ran, leaping through the open van doors, and the big, muscular man shot in behind him. Tires burned and smoke rolled up from the wheels as the vehicle screeched away.


Shadows at Dawn

SHADOWS AT DAWN
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Reviews

“It’s a quick, easy to read, entertaining, action packed read and is just as amazing as the other books in the series!”

“Mystery, suspense, thrills and chills with a whole lot of action!”

“This story is a cute, sweet and steamy romance full of suspense, excitement and unexpected twists that keep readers hanging on to the edge of their seat.”


KAT’S WEBSITE

CONTEST LINKS

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More Books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

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BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

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BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

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BEYOND REASON

THE CONSPIRACY

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THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

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THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

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WAIT UNTIL DARK

SHADOWS AT DAWN

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SHADOWS AT DAWN

PIVOT

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PIVOT

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Creating A Page Turner by Kat Martin

August 29, 2019 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , , ,

“I couldn’t put it down!” Those words are some of the most satisfying comments an author can receive. Nothing pleases me more than a note from someone grumbling about staying up late to finish one of my books.


It’s music to my ears.


There are lots of ways to earn those precious words. Writing a fast-paced novel is one of them. It is certainly my goal every time I start a new book.

Beyond Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

My latest, THE DECEPTION, was no different. I knew I would be writing Hawk Maddox’s story. Hawk had been on my mind since he first appeared in a previous novel, BEYOND DANGER. I knew what he was like—strong, determined, tough as boot leather, and at six-foot-four, two-hundred-twenty pounds, a total beefcake hunk.


He was also a bounty hunter, which made him an interesting character with an interesting job. I always try to find the hero’s perfect match, and Kate Gallagher was just right for Hawk. Tall, blonde, and curvy, she loved country music and drinking tequila at the Sagebrush Saloon.


But that was her secret side. She also owned her own business consulting firm, so she was smart and hard-working.


I like to read books that draw me in and won’t let go, books I can’t wait to pick up again to find out what’s going to happen next.


There are lots of ways to do it. Pairing down description makes the story move faster—or as Elmore Leonard once said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”


A Hollywood movie trick is to jump right into the scene. Leave out the the Hello, how are you? I’m fine, how are you? and just start talking.


I try to use hooks at the beginning and end of chapter, though some authors end a chapter in the middle of the action to keep you turning the pages.


I’ve found I do a lot of characterization by showing how the hero, heroine, and sub characters react in a situation, rather than telling about their past. For instance, I don’t mention what the heroine did in high school unless it’s important to how she’ll solve the problem she’s facing.


These are a few of my techniques, though every author has his own style and there is nothing wrong with any of them as long as they work.


In THE DECEPTION, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she learns her sister has been murdered. Determined to find Chrissy’s killer, Kate hires lethal bounty hunter, Hawk Maddox. Working together, they follow a trail of clues that lead them deep into the city’s underbelly. Though Hawk warns Kate of the danger, nothing he says can convince Kate to walk away.


I hope you’ll watch for THE DECEPTION and that you find it a fast-paced, high-action page-turner.

Until next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat


Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


Books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT

0 0 Read more

The Kissing Index by Diane Sismour

August 13, 2019 by in category Guest Posts, Writing tagged as , ,

Do your kisses reveal the relationship between your characters to the reader—those delicious tastes of nectar shared between two people? Whether you are writing an innocent first kiss in Young Adult or a smoking-hot Romance, compel the reader to finish with believable splashes of magic.

You can keep the PG-13 rating and still turn up the heat by using all five senses to capture a first kiss. If she licks her lips nervously and draws his gaze to her mouth, the anticipation mounts. Are his fingers smooth or rough against her cheek as he brushes her hair back? Body temperatures rise and the simple scent of a shampoo is intoxicating in close proximity, triggering more reactions than just his pants becoming too tight. A shortness of breath and racing hearts all lead to the moment their lips meet for the first time.

A couple with time to explore each other engages in the slow lingering dance of tongues. Heighten sexual intrigue by adding tactile sensations to capture a scene and raise the hot factor. His lips are soft, tasting musky and very male. She bites hard into his neck, eliciting a deep moan from her lover that vibrates through her. She unzips his worn jeans and her body slides slowly down his legs with the denim. How can the rough plaster against her back feel so cold, while his hands are searing her skin? The story pace builds and the intensity between your characters drives the reader to a cover-to-cover read.

Passionate kisses exchanged between lovers should leave the reader squirming in their seat hoping no one interrupts them while reading the scene. The slow exploration is over—this is full body contact and clothes are flying around the room like a clearance sale at Feline’s Basement. While lip-locked, hands arouse responses hastening along all their partner’s sexual triggers. The hard tweak of a nipple evokes gut wrenching desire, fingernails raking across his hip and lower to mark claim has him pulling her closer, and the heavy musk of sex adds vivid tension to the scenes. She kicks a drink off the side-table, the glass shatters and neither notice. They are beyond caring about anything, but what’s happening between them and your reader is too.

So, how hot are your kisses? If they need work, remember to use your senses, take time to feel through the scene and it doesn’t hurt to practice. Whether the kisses are innocent nibbles or a toe-curling lip-lock there is always another level to compel the reader into your story.

Happy Writing

~ Diane Sismour


A READABLE FEAST

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A READABLE FEAST
FIRST IMPRESSIONS SECOND CHANGES

LET IT SNOW

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LET IT SNOW

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

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ONCE AROUND THE SUN

ONCE UPON A TIME

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ONCE UPON A TIME

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The Deception by Kat Martin

August 8, 2019 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , ,

Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


As I was finishing the last few pages of upcoming novel, THE DECEPTION, Hawk Maddox and Kate Gallagher’s story, I got an interesting phone call. I’m fortunate to be represented by a literary agency in New York as well as an agency in Hollywood.

Beyond Reason | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange


Since I love movies, I’ve always wanted to see one of my books made into a feature film. The Hollywood agency phoned about my novel BEYOND REASON. The story is set in Texas, an action adventure that revolves around the rivalry between Carly Drake, who inherits her grandfather’s failing trucking firm, and powerful, multimillionaire Lincoln Cain, her number one competitor.


Worse yet, Carly needs Linc’s help to find the men who are willing to kill to keep her from making Drake Trucking successful again. Big money is involved. And very big danger.


The transaction involving the rights was exciting from beginning to end, with David Haring at TinRes Entertainment making the offer, several agents negotiating the terms, and me thrilled to have a chance to see one of my books made into a film. Most likely, the story will be a made-for-TV movie, but it is also optioned with the possibility of a major motion picture or TV series. I would love to see 6’5” Lincoln Cain on a weekly TV show!


Once the deal was completed, I went back to work on THE DECEPTION, which is being released September 10th. I hope you will watch for it and that you will also keep an eye out for Linc and Carly’s movie. It takes years to complete a film, but I promise to keep you posted on details as they come in.


Till then happy reading and all best wishes, Kat


Media Links

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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW for THE DECEPTION

Martin revs the power from page one of this fast-paced romantic thriller, the second novel in her Maximum Security series (after The Conspiracy). After Kate Gallagher’s runaway younger sister, Chrissy, is murdered, she’s determined to find the killer, no matter what it takes. Bounty hunter Jason “Hawk” Maddox, a former Marine, doesn’t do relationships, but he’s quite willing to dance with Kate and start nudging her toward his bed; then she blurts out that her sister was killed. When Kate hires Hawk’s employer, Maximum Security, to investigate the murder, Martin immediately begins leading her well-drawn characters through a high-octane plot with hair-raising twists and turns, skillfully dragging red herrings everywhere. A subplot about a terrified, trafficked 13-year-old crackles with undeniable energy, as does the hot romance between Kate and Hawk. Even Martin’s most despicable characters (especially pedophile Denny Rayburg) are complex, adding to readers’ emotional investment. Fans of romantic suspense won’t be able to put this book down until the final page is turned, and Martin is likely to recruit thriller readers as well as romance fans with this snappy story. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Sept.)


Books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT

0 0 Read more

Researching Columbia by Kat Martin

February 8, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , , ,

Researching Columbia

Sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a novel turns out to be a whole lot of work! That’s what happens when you realize the idea you are now in the middle of isn’t going to work the way you thought it would.

In THE CONSPIRACY, I got the idea for a book that started in Texas, moved to the Caribbean, and ended up in Venezuela.  With all the trouble country is having, I thought it would be a great setting for a Romantic Thriller.

Unfortunately, after I was well into the book and started doing the necessary research for that segment of the story, I realized the geography I needed, and the rural setting didn’t exist in Venezuela.

I spent days digging around in South America, looking for a rainforest that could be reasonably reached from the Caribbean island of Aruba. Nothing worked.

The Conspiracy | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

Finally, I realized there actually was spot that exactly fit the image in my head. (This happens to writers all the time. No one knows why.) The spot was in Colombia, a place I had no desire to write about, but fit the story exactly.

So I went to work researching a remote area of Columbia accessible from Aruba.

Chase Garrett, the hero of THE CONSPIRACY, with the help of Harper Winston, the woman who hires him to find her missing brother, wind up in extreme danger in the Columbian tropical forest. It’s a very unusual place that required hours of research, but in the end, it was worth it.

I had my work cut out for me, finding which animals, reptiles, and birds lived in the area.  Reading about the customs of the indigenous tribes, and the politic. Rebel armies inhabit the forest, and they don’t like intruders.

The research made THE CONSPIRACY one of the most challenging books I’ve written, but hopefully it’s one of my most interesting. I hope you’ll look for THE CONPIRACY, the first of my Maximum Security series, and that you enjoy. Until next time, very best wishes and happy reading,

Kat

Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


A selection of books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT
0 0 Read more

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