Amy Lane Interviews Karen Rose – Special Exclusive Interview

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Lane who is visiting with us to celebrate the recent release of Red Fish, Dead Fish, which is currently on sale for just $0.99!

Suspense that comes up Rose’s
by Amy Lane

Okay folks—so, I’m here today to promote Red Fish, Dead Fish, my latest story in the Fish Out of Water series.  Now, usually in a blog tour, we talk about ourselves and our newest book until we can’t hardly stand it—but this time out I decided to do something different. I’m going to talk about other people’s books—because I know some amazing romantic suspense authors, and I wanted to celebrate them instead. So Red Fish, Dead Fish is out on Amazon, it’s the second in the series, and I think you’ll like it very much a lot! That being said, let’s talk about Karen Rose!

When Karen Rose e-mailed me last year to say she enjoyed my work, nobody was as surprised as I was. I had just bought the first three of her books (and now I’m on like, the tenth!) because she writes romantic suspense and that is just my favorite candy of all times. So to see that she had read me first? I was all aflutter.

She is possibly the dearest person I’ve ever met.

You would not expect that from someone who rips her characters apart and puts them through the wringer and then pounds them on the head and then brings them back for their own book, but she’s absolutely lovely. She believes that a HEA is possible for everybody—but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to hack through the blood and the bodies to get it.

Her thrillers are tense, intricate, exquisitely plotted and full of the most amazing details—but always, always they come back to character. People come first with her—both in her life and in her wonderful, gritty, tense, angsty, fantastic crime thrillers that will captivate and enthrall you.

Genre expectations are fairly important–in YOUR words, what are the differences between romantic suspense, mystery suspense, cozy, noir, and thrillers?  Which do you feel you write–and why?

I’ve always seen thriller/suspense/mystery as concentric circles, like a target. The mystery is in the center and the unknown can be who, why, or even how the villain will be brought down and how many victims will he take before his defeat? Suspense is an additional layer, the heart pounding nearness of the villain or the danger to the hero, heroine, or someone in their sphere. A thriller is the mystery and suspense, but with elements of action – car chases, fights, bombs, or bullets – or all of the above.

A cozy is a mystery in which the personal stakes don’t feel as intense. Normally there is no explicit sex or gory violence. Low body counts (if any). Noir evokes more of a gritty, menacing mood – it often features hard boiled private investigators, gangs and molls, good and bad cops and cynical, snappy dialog.

Any of these can be mixed with romance. I consider myself an author of “romantic thrillers,” but, truthfully, I use “romantic suspense” almost interchangeably. For me, it’s a nuance.

The most important factors for romantic thrillers/suspenses/mysteries are: 1) the happy ending (or else it’s NOT a romance); 2) the relationship between the hero and heroine – they must work together to solve the mystery and to avert whatever disaster is pending. They grow together as a couple as well as individually, becoming – by the end of the book – stronger than the villain. Both should participate in the villain’s downfall. And to be a true romantic thriller/suspense/mystery, the romance has to be so integral to the plot that removing it creates a different book.

What do you think is the most delicious part of a suspense novel or a mystery?

When the killer is SO CLOSE that he could touch the hero and/or heroine and they HAVE NO IDEA. But the reader knows. It’s ever more delicious if there are elements of betrayal, i.e., the villain is a friend or confidant who has both proximity and information that can cause the hero/heroine the greatest pain.

Of course, the unveiling is the best part – that can be the identity of the killer or his motivation if the reader already knows who he or she is.

Tell me about body counts–seriously. How many corpses make a good suspense novel, and why?

My villains normally have at least a dozen victims by the last page. There at least has to be one, in my opinion. The villain creating a path of destruction and loss as he/she moves through the story is one way of ratcheting up the tension and portraying the depths of the villain’s true evil nature.

Dish about TV shows–which ones do you love and which ones do you hate from a suspense POV? Which TV show/movie do you most want your books to resemble?

I am a long-time fan of Law & Order and I mourned the passing of Jerry Orbach (Lenny Briscoe). Cold Case is one of my favorites as it delves deep into the motivation and emotion of all the characters – police, victims, families, and the villain.

When you read outside your genre, what’s your candy? (I ask everybody this–I think it’s fascinating!)  

I rarely read suspense and never horror. (Gives me bad dreams!) I love romances – paranormal, LGBT, and fantasy. I find many of these have a suspense theme running through them, though. 

Have you ever freaked yourself right out by writing a suspense scene? Which scene, and do you think it made the book better?

I’ve frightened myself a few times. One that comes to mind was YOU CAN’T HIDE (2006) in which the villain hides cameras in A/C vents. I was writing the book in a hotel room in Reno (during the 2005 RWA conference, actually), and there was a broken A/C vent. I kept staring at it until I finally had to climb on a chair and check for cameras. There weren’t any. Whew.

Thanks, Karen!!

For more interviews and author close ups for Romantic Suspense, check out the rest of the blog tour—

July 28 – MM Good Book Reviews Amy Lane
July 28 – Alpha Book Reviews (Just a little about Jackson in Fish Out of Water)
July 31 – Open Skye Book Reviews Andrew Grey
August 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed Kim Fielding
August 2 – My Fiction Nook Rayna Vause
August 3 – Tammy’s Two Cents Ava Drake
August 4 – Happily Ever Chapter Melinda Leigh
August 7 – Long and Short Reviews Karen Rose
August 8 – Love Bytes Charlie Cochet
August 10 – The Novel Approach Tere Michaels

They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

About the author: Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Website

Buy the book at Amazon or Dreamspinner Press.

The Man in Manny by Amy Lane – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Love as she tours with her latest book Manny Get Your Guy.

The Man in Manny

On second thought, with three books written, two released, and one more to go, I might—might mind you, be not the greatest person to write books about mannies.

I mean, other than the word itself, I don’t find them particularly funny.

When my parents split up, my father asked me who I wanted to stay with. (I was seven.) I said “You, Daddy.” There was no question. My mom was not a suitable parent, and my dad was. He couldn’t cook, he knew nothing about child rearing and less about little girls—but he knew the basics.

Food is good.

School is good.

Being on time is good.

Clothing is good.

Bathing is good.

Kids aren’t stupid.

Do your best.

He did his best. It got better after he met my stepmom, but he understood how things worked. He could run a vacuum cleaner and do dishes. He didn’t destroy clothes in the laundry. Sure, he forgot when picture day was, but he remembered health insurance. In short, he was competent.

I really don’t like the media image that men are incompetent parents.

My oldest kid is twenty-four. Even way back then, a quarter of a century ago, when I left my son with my husband, it was not babysitting, it was parenting. And my husband felt the same way. He was capable of parenting chores—food, clean diapers, baths, car seats. He was capable of playing with the baby and acknowledging a schedule. If he was helpless, I wouldn’t have married him.

Now, it’s true that some men don’t always get glitter, princess dresses, or long hair. They weren’t socialized or taught how to braid hair or why a princess dress is important, so sometimes they get things wrong. It’s no more boneheaded than my “hunh” when my son and daughter are explaining Overwatch. It’s quite simply a test not studied for—not proof that the test taker is an idiot. That doesn’t mean that a good dad won’t try, and if princess dresses aren’t his thing, and soccer or softball aren’t his kids’ thing, odds are good they’ll find a happy medium. It’s just like living with any other human being—shared interests can be found.

So I don’t buy it. I don’t buy the “men are idiots about childcare” myth. I don’t buy women being hypercritical because a guy can’t match his daughter’s outfit, and I don’t get men’s time is more important than his wife’s time so she should be the one dressing the kids, so a guy with a job of “manny” is funny. It does not compute.

So seriously—I’m not going to be the one writing the hapless inept manny story. My guy is never going to be covered in baby powder with this morning’s breakfast in his hair holding a despondent toddler who lost her doll unless, of course, we’ve seen a woman be that parent, and the woman is willing to share the story.

But I have had my share of mishaps as a parent—so some of those will probably be part of the mix.

When I show guys in childcare, I’m not going to go for the slapstick angle. I’m going to go for the real angle. The guy who cooks pancakes for the masses and eats a breakfast bar himself because he needs to go to the grocery store. The guy who makes jokes that the kids don’t get and then laughs at the ones they tell him. The guy who’s more interested in how the kids are doing in classes and activities than in what people think of him being involved. That guy.

To me, that’s a childcare provider. That’s my father and my husband. That’s my sons, as they grow older and make children their first priority at a family gathering, and hopefully, someday, in their families.

If I’m going to write a manny, I’m going to make man the operative word and let that man do his job with resourcefulness, dignity, and the same panic that women have been experiencing for years and years and years.

So is some of it going to be funny? You betcha. Kids are a laugh riot. They are small human beings with struggling perceptions and they are gonna do things that give your sense of humor whiplash.

But is the guy going to be a total loser I wouldn’t trust near my own kids without a preschool teacher and a behavior management professor as supervisors?

No. The guy who can’t watch kids isn’t sexy to me. Why would he be sexy to my readers? I’m going to show a guy who can plan the crap out of a family outing, and schedule the kids like a champ, and knows when to give them all a break in the cool of the house with a cartoon.

That’s my kind of guy. That’s the kind of guy Tino was in The Virgin Manny, and it’s the kind of guy Taylor is in Manny Get Your Guy. It’s Cooper and Sammy in Stand by Your Manny, and it’s going to be Quinlan in A Fool and His Manny—someone you can trust with kids is someone you can trust with your heart.

We’re gonna trust these guys to fall in love.


The Mannies

Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

About the Author:Amy Lane has two kids who are mostly grown, two kids who aren’t, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Website | Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon or Dreamspinner Press.

A Cat and a Fish by Amy Lane – Guest Post

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Lane whose newest book Fish Out of Water releases today.

A Cat and a Fish
By Amy Lane

So I’ve got a thing for animal metaphors—sue me.

I think it’s only natural, though—we tend to anthropomorphize animals and give them human traits and human motivations. Why wouldn’t we practice zoomorphism on the humans we know? (Yes, that’s a real word—I swear!)

We have the vocabulary built into our every day, right? We slink like a cat, hiss like a snake, prance like a pony and swim like a fish, an otter, or an eel. A sycophant is a loyal lapdog, a leader is an alpha wolf, and a formidable female opponent is a dragon lady. It seems that the more human people are, the more we need animals to help describe them!

In the case of Fish Out of Water, both the characters are the fish—but only one is the cat.

Ellery Cramer was born well off. He became a defense attorney so he could—in his mother’s words—do an acceptable job that allowed him to be of service. He’s used to defending guilty clients—but he’s also used to interacting with lawyers, court officials, and judges.

Jackson Rivers throws him for a loop—and so does the client Jackson brings him.

For one thing, Kaden is unequivocally innocent.

And for another, they’re both from the crap side of town.

Kaden—who has spent his entire life trying to do better for his family—is okay with his poor roots, but Jackson, who was a cop, is a little bit defensive.

So Ellery is out of his element when dealing with Kaden and Jackson, and that makes him a fish out of water.

Jackson, on the other hand, deals with judges, law enforcement, lawyers and criminals all the time—even though he never thought he’d find Kaden on the wrong side of the law, Jackson is in his element. Right up until Ellery starts showing some serious affection.

And this is where Jackson becomes our fish—because nothing in his life has prepared him for a lover who’s serious—and who won’t take Jackson’s relationship avoidance without question.

So Ellery doesn’t understand all the players in his bowl but Jackson doesn’t understand the rules of the pond, and that makes things interesting.

It’s not made any easier by the fact that, before Jackson was a fish, he was a total and complete tomcat.

Now the things that motivate Jackson’s promiscuity are understandable—but I don’t think I’ve ever written a character who’s taken quite so much pride in sleeping around, either. Jackson’s foil is his beloved cat, Billy Bob, who, like Jackson, pretty much fucks anything that moves. (Yes, I know—Jackson needs to get the damned animal fixed—that becomes a theme of the story!) So Jackson is an unapologetically slutty kitty—who is now swimming with an affectionate shark.

Yeah—this only works with metaphors, I get that, but it’s sort of fun to think about, right? Of course it’s even more fun when the people I’m writing about shed their fishy and furry metaphors and become human.

Suddenly the metaphors are symbolic of the armor both of them wear to keep the world from hurting—and when they’re skin to skin, they’re no longer a fish and a cat, they’re hurt human beings who suddenly need each other.

And while the shark and the cat might not work in the natural world, the needy humans are the stuff of romance books.

So while this book has a great deal of murder and mystery and mayhem in it—and I’m not going to lie, I had fun writing about bullets flying and car chases and Jackson beating the crap out of bad guys—at it’s heart it’s about a fish and a cat.

Who are really two people with a more complicated than usual route to falling in love.

7_29 amy lane book coverPI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.

Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.

Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.

About the Author: Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness. Feel free to visit her at www.greenshill.com or www.writerslane.blogspot.com, where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press or Amazon.