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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today's Special - - Lena Diaz


It's our pleasure to welcome Lena Diaz to The Romance Dish today!  Lena grew up a Navy Brat, but while two of her three siblings followed her father's footsteps and joined the Navy, Lena loosely followed her musically talented mother's footsteps by choosing a more creative path, writing.

Lena has had two novels published so far - HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT and SIMON SAYS DIE. She's won the TARA, the Daphne du Maurier, and was a finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® contest. Today Lena can be found in North Florida with her husband of twenty-plus years, and her two children.


Take it away, Lena!



Thanks so much for having me on The Romance Dish today! It’s always fun to discover new blogs and meet new people online. I’m old enough to still think the internet is amazing, but young enough to dive in and enjoy it too.

The internet has become a far more integral part of my life than I would have ever expected it to become. As an author, going online is the main way I meet people and spread the news about my books - like my new release, SIMON SAYS DIE. But I also use it for research.

What do I research? Settings for one. SIMON SAYS DIE is set in Savannah, Georgia. I LOVE Savannah. There’s just something about the name, how it rolls off the tongue like warm molasses, that makes me think of a lazy summer day sitting on a wrap-around porch watching barges float down the river. And that’s exactly what you can do in Savannah, watch the boats float down the Savannah River while you walk up and down River Street.

I’ve explored Savannah both online and in person, because it’s way too close to where I live (North Florida) NOT to visit in person. I had a ball when I went there on a research trip for my book. I rode a charming trolley through the historic district, walked along River Street, rode a paddle-wheeler up and down the River. I’ve eaten at Paula Dean’s, and honestly couldn’t tell a difference between their food and the good old southern cooking I grew up with. But hey, maybe that’s the point, share the southern traditions with people who didn’t grow up in The South.

When I set a story somewhere I can’t easily drive to, or if I just don’t have the time for a research trip, I use Google Earth to go there on a cyber-trip. Isn’t it amazing that you can actually see street-views of places on the computer, just as if you were there walking those very streets?

Besides researching settings, I research cool stuff like guns and forensics. I have no doubt I’m on an FBI watch list somewhere. In fact, after googling such things as ‘how to poison someone and it not be detectable’, I’d be disappointed in our federal law-enforcers if I wasn’t on a watch list. J

I’m grateful I can use the internet as a tool to help me do my job, but it has its downsides. The biggest downside is that meeting and chatting with new people on Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites can be addictive. I can lose hours, days, on those sites. And suddenly a writing deadline is looming and I wonder where all my time went and why I’m not further along in my book. (sigh)

For SIMON SAYS DIE, one of the online resources I used that was the most valuable was the crimescenewriter yahoo loop. This is a place where thriller writers, law enforcement experts, and medical experts get together to chat about questions authors have. It’s an amazing resource and just plain fun to be able to talk to police officers, FBI agents, US Marshals, EMTs, you name it. I’m forever indebted to this group, which was started by Wally Lind, a retired police crime scene investigator. I asked a question on that loop while writing SIMON SAYS DIE, and one of the members hooked me up with a knowledgeable medical expert off-loop. We brainstormed my crazy questions about cool ways to kill people (fictionally speaking of course).

In the end, it’s all a balancing act. The internet is an incredible way to get information these days, or take a trip ‘on the cheap’. It’s one of my tools in my author toolkit, but one that I have to use sparingly so it doesn’t steal all my time!

Obviously if you are reading this blog, you’re an internet fan of sorts just like me. If you know of some cool blogs (besides The Romance Dish of course!) that you think I should check out, let me know. Or if you’ve stumbled across some really awesome websites that a thriller writer might enjoy (hint - anything to do with law enforcement or forensics!), pass them along. I’d love to hear about your favorite internet haunts!

And while you’re on the internet, if you should happen to stumble onto an online etailer site and decide to pick up a copy of SIMON SAYS DIE, well, that would be pretty cool too. J

Below is the blurb for my new release, SIMON SAYS DIE.

Simon says: I'm watching. Simon says: I'm coming. Simon says: Die.
Madison McKinley knows someone is stalking her. The police tell her she's imagining things, and they're too busy trying to find the "Simon Says" killer to investigate. But day by day, hour by hour, Madison's terror grows stronger, and not even the return of FBI Special Agent Pierce Buchanan into her life can calm her fears. Besides, how can she ask Pierce for his help after the way she ended things between them?
Pierce still wants Madison's love, and his drive to protect her is more powerful than ever. He believes she's in danger, even if the cops don't. Finally, as more people start dying and the evidence mounts, the police turn their attention to Madison—as a suspect. Was Pierce a fool to trust her again, or are they both caught in a complex game that neither will survive?




18 comments:

  1. Hi Lena, I think I'll have to read this new book of yours just because you set it in my favorite Southern City, Savannah! Several years ago, just before our son started college we gave him a High School graduation trip of visiting several historic golf courses in the southeast. He played Pinehurst in North Carolina, Kiowa Island in South Carolina, and Sawgrass in Jacksonville.
    I agreed to the whole trip even though I don't golf, but I insisted on one stop just for me. It was not a difficult choice; Savannah has always facinated me from a historical and romantic perspective. Just as you say, "There’s just something about the name, how it rolls off the tongue like warm molasses, that makes me think of a lazy summer day sitting on a wrap-around porch watching barges float down the river. And that’s exactly what you can do in Savannah, watch the boats float down the Savannah River while you walk up and down River Street." I could not have said it better!

    We did all the things you did and came away with a very warn affection for the city. You can count on me to be reading this wonderful sounding new book!

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    1. Nice to meet a fellow Savannah lover! The city is so beautiful and interesting, so much history, and the people of course are as nice as can be. I love that you gave your son a graduation trip. Sawgrass is in my backyard - well, a few miles away anyway. Beautiful golf course and area right in Ponte Vedra.

      Have a great day. If you do pick up Simon Says Die, I hope you really enjoy it. Take care.

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    2. What a fun graduation trip!

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  2. Good Morning, Lena! Savannah is one of my favorite cities. I'm always drawn to books that are set there and I love romantic suspense thrillers. Sounds like your book and I are a perfect match! :)

    I lived in Jacksonville for eleven years and enjoyed exploring that region, both for my job and for pleasure.

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    1. Hi PJ! I practically grew up in Jacksonville. My dad was stationed at Mayport Naval Station off and on for years when I was a kid. That's my old stomping grounds.

      Thanks for visiting me online today. I hope you enjoy Simon Says Die.

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  3. Hi, Lena! I too live in Florida but in the southern part. You are right in that Savannah is such an interesting town that still retains the Old South flavor. Don't you just love the moss hanging from the trees? It always makes me think of southern plantations from which my mind and imagination move on stories like "Gone with the Wind." Sigh. I'm getting all mushy and southern here.

    I look forward to reading "Simon Says Die." Unfortunately, too many of the "good" people out there don't seem to get the assistance of the legal system like they should if they feel threatened or have been a victim of some crime. It seems the system is too busy dealing with the "rights" of the criminals. Uh-oh! Sorry about that. I guess I tend to get on my soapbox when I don't feel something is being handled fairly. Therefore, I shall step down and cross my fingers and hope to be a winner of "Simon Says Die" so I can see how this story turns out. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Hi Connie. I'm in total agreement about victims not getting enough protection and justice, but I still think our legal system is the best in the world. My heroine in Simon Says Die might not agree with me though. She gets put through a lot of turmoil when the justice system doesn't seem to be working for her. Thankfully she has a really strong and totally hot FBI agent on her side!

      Nice to meet you today!

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  4. Sorry to abandon y'all but the day job calls. I'll back later today to play!

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  5. I have not spent much time in the south. Your books sound fantastic must check it out.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. From your 'quilt lady' moniker, can I assume you make quilts? My mom makes gorgeous quilts. My favorite patterns are Drunkard's Path and Wedding Ring!

      I hope you'll try Simon Says Die. Take care.

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  6. I want to meet Madison and Pierce. Their sound sounds fun and exciting, especially considering the element of danger.

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    1. Ah, thanks so much! I love Madison and Pierce. I hope you will too.

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  7. Thanks for visiting with us today, Lena. I'm looking forward to reading your book. Love a good thriller, especially set in a great southern city that lends itself so well to mystery and mayhem. ;-)

    Have you ever taken the night ghost tour of Savannah? An experience I highly recommend to anyone visiting the city!

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    1. PJ, thanks so much for hosting me. Nope, I've never personally taken the ghost tour - just the normal during the day trolly tours. I definitely plan on doing so the next time I do an overnight stay there. I want to stay at one of the B&Bs next time too, instead of the regular hotels (like I usually do).

      Take care.

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  8. I'M GOING TO BE READING THIS ONE DURING THE DAYTIME. THAT'S FOR SURE.

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  9. The blurb was a good hook. Sounds good

    We finally went to Savannah last Dec. We stayed on Tybee Island but went into the city several times. We did a lot, but there is still so much more to see and do. I enjoy touring the old mansions and museums. We didn't make a ghost tour either, and I want to go back for one.
    The internet has made it easier to "visit" most places. You still can't beat hands on experience. I have read books set in places we have visited. If the author accurately depicts the setting, the book can be so much more enjoyable. I know it makes the story richer and deeper for me.

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  10. Hi Lena, I have been following you on your blog tour & want to read your new book & Congratulations!
    My favorite haunt is MurderSheWrites

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  11. I missed replying to a few of you and am sorry about that. Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments. It was so nice to be here.

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