Category Archives: suspense

Spice, Spice, Baby! Interview with Harlequin Nocturne Author Mina Khan

Hello, everyone!  Suze here.  Business first:  the winners of Joan Swan’s giveaway are:  Amazon gift card: Jennifer Mathis.  Gorgeous bookmarks: Ashley, Nancy, Jamie Pope, Kristan Higgins, and Highland Love Song.  Congratulations!

The Djinn's Dilemma -- Hot, Hot, Hot!

Today I’m thrilled to bring you another debut author, Mina Khan, whose novella THE DJINN’S DILEMMA was published by Harlequin Nocturne Cravings.  Welcome, Mina!

How do you battle the doubt monster? Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid, and no one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.
When I’m plagued by the Doubt Monster, which is often, I take a deep breath & remind myself that I wouldn’t have the life I have if I hadn’t trusted myself: travelling half-way across the world from Bangladesh to America, venturing out to West Texas by myself, marrying a cowboy, daring to have a second child after I almost died the first time, and writing despite the Doubt Monsters and Naysayers in my life.
Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t gone before.
Each story is unique and I’m always surprised by how different each one is. For example the second Djinn/genie story I have turned in to my editor is so different, it scared me. LOL. But in the end I had to trust my gut feeling that it was a good story, this was how it was meant to be written and send it in.
What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?
It’s a story that has haunted me since childhood and I hope one of these days I will have the courage to write it down. I think it will be a quieter, more literary story.
What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?
I always expected to sell a food-related book before fiction, so when THE DJINN’S DILEMMA sold…I was ecstatic but surprised.
What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?
I’d own a small café and cook to my heart’s content
They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?
I don’t give up on stories. I may put them aside and focus on growing myself as a writer and then come back to them. I have been writing since third grade, so I have quite a collection under my bed , including the book of my heart and a screenplay.
Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book. How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?
I cull down to the very emotions of the experience and try to incorporate that into my writing. Also, my food writing slips into my fiction from time to time, so Rukh, the hero of THE DJINN’S DILEMMA, tastes like dark chocolate!
Mmmmmmm, chocolate. . .   Tell us about THE DJINN’S DILEMMA. What’s it about, and where can we buy it?
THE DJINN’S DILEMMA is a paranormal erotic romance where an otherwordly assassin falls for his human target.

Rukh O’Shay, half-djinn and assassin, is used to taking out the bad guys. But his latest assignment, Texas Journalist Sarah White, is nothing like he expected. A glimpse of her bright aura reveals her gentle spirit, while her beauty makes him long for only one thing—to taste her.

Sarah shares the raw desire to connect with Rukh. He can turn her on with a glance, and satisfies needs she didn’t even know she had.

But Rukh had been hired to kill her—and the only way to save her is to find out who wants her dead before someone else finishes the job….

You can buy THE DJINN’S DILEMMA on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBook, and Harlequin’s eBookstore. Last time I checked both Amazon and Harlequin were giving a discount

What is your junk food of choice?

Chili-Cheese Tots …um, yes they are as dangerous as they sound.

What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

Not saying “I love you” back when the love of my life said it to me…I had to know exactly, truly, how I felt and for that I needed some time. Fortunately for me, he stayed around and eventually even asked me to marry him.

Author Mina Khan

That’s so sweet!  What is your guilty pleasure? {Remember: this is a ‘PG’ rated blog! 

Sriracha Hot Sauce ( Lol, I like my food & my fiction Spicy!)


Mina Khan is a Texas-based writer and food enthusiast. She daydreams of hunky paranormal heroes, magic, mayhem and mischief and writes them down as stories. Between stories, she teaches culinary classes and writes for her local newspaper. Other than that, she’s raising a family of two children, two cats, two dogs and a husband. She grew up in Bangladesh on stories of djinns, ghosts and monsters. These childhood fancies now color her fiction.

You can find her at :

Twitter: @SpiceBites

Thanks for being here, Mina!  Questions, anyone?  You want to know about that cowboy husband, don’t you?

Police Procedures and Author Sandra Orchard

Hello all, Katy Lee here. First off, on this tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, my appreciation and prayers go out to all of our law enforcement and first responders. Thank you for keeping our towns and cities safe every day. God’s blessings to you all.

Now, as writers, we can only depend on research to get the story right, and today I have Sandra Orchard, a fellow Inspirational-Romantic-Suspense author, here to discuss how she came by her research for her Undercover Cops series and novel, DEEP COVER. FYI- One lucky commenter will be drawn tonight at11:59PM (ET) for a free copy!

Sandra attended a writer’s police academy, and I just had to have her here today to share a few of her hair-raising experiences with us all.

But first, can you tell us a little bit about DEEP COVER and your main characters?

Thanks for having me here, Katy Lee. The hero of Deep Cover is undercover cop Rick Gray. Fifteen months ago he let the woman he loved walk out of his life, rather than expose her to the dangers of his job. Now, he’s back with a new alias, posing as a foreman on a development project to bring to justice the man who caused his partner’s death. That man is the heroine Ginny’s uncle. And the project is a group home for her mentally challenged sister—a group home Ginny is very much involved with seeing built. Only Rick’s mission could destroy that dream and her family, and he can’t tell her what he really is, or why he’s there for fear of jeopardizing the case. But someone else wants to make her uncle pay, too. And Rick must face his worst nightmare—that someone he cares about will be killed because of his job.

I have had the pleasure of devouring this book, and it had me on the edge of my seat from page one. Great read, Sandra!

Now as a writer, I want to dig in to how you came by your research. Can you explain to us what WPA means, how this experience helped you revise Deep Cover, and shape the subsequent books in your series?

WPA stands for the Writer’s Police Academy. It offers hands-on, interactive and educational experiences to enhance the writer’s understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics. Every imaginable kind of police and rescue vehicle and equipment are on display with knowledgeable officers answering questions. You can choose from a variety of workshops from fingerprinting and arson investigation to the gruesome details of autopsies or undercover operations. The event takes place at a police college, and one morning, they actually staged a school shooting, complete with lockdown, real police officers doing exactly what they’d do in the actual scenario and EMTs dealing with the casualties afterward. For my series, the most enlightening class was presented by a former undercover officer. Not only did he share many of his experiences, he gave us glimpses of what went on in his head and heart during that time, which is where the real meat of my heroes’ stories lie.

Can you share one eye-opening tidbit you learned from WPA that gave you a whole new perspective on what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer?

I participated in Fire Arms Simulation Training, FATS for short. We were given Glocks and faced with a floor to ceiling screen that showed videos of shoot and don’t shoot situations. When we took a shot, the hit would show on the screen. We were surprised more than once by the post-simulation explanation of why we should have or shouldn’t have taken a shot. The most adrenaline-pumping moment for me was when I had to face a hostage taker alone in an office (depicted on screen). A disgruntled employee had his boss in an arm lock and was waving a gun. I was telling him to put down the weapon, he really didn’t want to do this etc. to no avail, all the while training my own weapon at his head—the only part of his body visible past the hostage. The instant he lifted his gun to the guy’s head, I took the shot. His brains splattered on the screen behind. The officer in charge of the simulation turned to me and said, “Great shot.” I pretty much freaked out on him, saying I could have hit the hostage. I was shaking, heart pounding. It was unbelievable. It certainly gave me a whole new perspective on the split second decisions officers are called upon to make and the emotional havoc it can wreak afterward.

Wow! What an amazing experience. As a suspense writer, that sounds like an event I’d love to attend. Where can writers get more information on one of these experiences?

WPA is organized by author (and former policeofficer) Lee Lofland. The 2011 academy is September 23rd to 25th in Jamestown N.C. The FATS training portion is already sold-out, but there is still time to register for the conference. Members of Sisters in Crime are being offered an incredible discount. I am so disappointed I’ll miss it this year, because ACFW is the same weekend. This year some lucky participants will get to go on ride-a-longs with on duty NC police officers! You can learn more at:  

Sandra, how can readers keep in touch with you on the web?

Visit my website ~

Visit my personal blog ~

Connect on Facebook Page ~

Subscribe to my newsletter ~

All right, Readers, I’m opening the floor up to you now. Do you have a similar law enforcement experience you would like to share? Do you have a question for Sandra about hers? Do you have a question about her new Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, DEEP COVER, and let me remind you, one lucky commenter will receive their very own copy of Sandra’s book delivered right to their door!

So comment away!

Creating Villains You Love to Hate

Hello, Katy Lee here. As a romantic-suspense writer, my stories would take a serious nosedive without a well-developed villain. Someone who stands in my protagonist’s way to finding their happiness. Someone who drips with anger and evil; who lives for the sole purpose of another person’s destruction. Someone who is a real-life monster.

It seems kind of fun to create such a dark character, doesn’t it? But, in all seriousness, wouldn’t it be considered a bit…um, like overkill?

The fact is unless you are writing a horror novel or perhaps, some fantasy, your villain needs to be human. They and their cause need to be believable. Sure, psychopaths do exist in the real world, wreaking havoc on innocent people for no apparent reason, but they don’t always make for a good nail-biting, heart-tugging, emotionally-gripping read.

These come when your reader can relate a little bit to your villain. Perhaps recognize a little bit of the villain’s darkness in themselves. Or even better, when the protagonist in the story can.

In my current manuscript, Real Virtue, there comes a point when my heroine must look her villain in the eye and come to grips with her own wrongs….because she recognizes them in him. It’s an eye-opening experience for her, and without it, he’s just a boring psychopath. And she has learned nothing.

One of my favorite villains whom I love to hate is good old Darth Vader. And it’s got nothing to do with his deep breathiness. Here is a darker-than-night individual. A person whose temptation for power overcame him, extinguishing any goodness he had in him…or did it? In the end, he saves the day. There was still some good in him after all. He was not all dark. He had depth that I think we all could relate to. And that’s what made him a good villain. Without it he was just a boring, breathy psychopath.

The Unlocked Secret: When creating your villains, visit the deepest, darkest part of yourself. The part you keep hidden and under control. The part no one sees. I read on a Tweet that author, Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia) said, “If you can’t find yourself in your villains, rewrite.” It is in your own darkness that you will find a villain readers will love to hate.

Question: Where do you find your inspiration for creating your villains? Are your villains people? Or are they inner struggles your characters must wrestle with before finding their happiness, or at least some resolution?