Friday, January 2, 2009

Kay Thomas and Better Than Bulletproof

by Suzanne Welsh
Today is champagne day in the Lair. Why? Because I get to welcome one of my closest and sweetest friends, Kay Thomas, to the Lair. I'm also celebrating with Kay and all of you the release of Kay's very first book, BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF!

Suz: Welcome to the Bandit Lair, Kay. Here's your champagne and please have a seat. First, the Bandits love call stories. Care to share yours with us?

Kay: Last year in mid-January, I was packing my family to get ready for a trip to visit my Dad for his 81st birthday. The phone rang and it was my wonderful agent Helen Breitwieser. She usually emails so I knew this was momentous news. She said Harlequin Intrigue really liked my story but it was too long for their line and would I be willing to cut my single title story to a category length. (This meant cutting about 80 pages of the manuscript.)

Was I willing to do that?

"Of course I can."

"Okay, let me call them back. I'll email you, it will probably be tomorrow before we hear anything."

Well, after that awesome call I had to get in the car and drive 8 hours to my parents' house. And let me tell you, it was a good thing we were almost packed because I don't think I could have remembered to pack underwear or shoes or anything, I was so excited.

We didn't really have a deal yet. Just a "Gee, we're interested." And I didn't know if they'd want me to do all that cutting first and see it before they made the offer or after. And I had a long drive to think about that, too. A very long drive.

When we got to my parent's house it was 2 am, and everyone was wiped out from the drive, so I didn't want to get into the news just yet. But my Dad has always been such a cheerleader for my writing. Growing up he always told me I could do whatever I set my mind to. When I went to tell my parents good night after the kids were finally in bed, I just had to tell my folks that I thought I "might" be about to sell my book. The looks on their faces were priceless.

I couldn't sleep after all that and I had to go online to see if there was any news. I really wasn't expecting any until much later that day. It was now about 3:30 in the morning and everyone was fast asleep but yes, there was the email from Helen! Harlequin had made an offer. I was shouting on the inside but I couldn't go wake anyone up to say it was finally real.

They'd all just gotten to sleep. But oh, that evening we got to celebrate my Dad's birthday with the rest of my extended family and my book sale. I don't think I could have given my Dad a greater birthday gift than telling him about my dream come true in person.

Suz: BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF is your debut novel being released later this month. Could you tell us the premise behind the story?

Kay: Sure, BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF is about a woman who gets caught up in the vaccine autism controversy when her sister disappears and leaves behind her autistic son. Gina Rodgers is an ad executive with no idea how to care for her nephew Adam and his overwhelming needs. She finds an unlikely ally in Adam's play therapist, Harlan Jeffries. He's a former Marine sniper looking for redemption in working with special needs children.

Suz: Your hero in BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF is Harlan Jeffries. He's my favorite kind of hero-big, strong, buff, with both a tender heart and a secret. Can you tell us more about what makes him tick?

Kay: Harlan is yummy, isn’t he? I had great time creating him. He is a Marine home on medical leave after being injured in Iraq. Haunted by all he’s seen and done there, he’s also trying to figure out what he’s going to do with his life now. While he’s working through all this, he’s working with Adam doing floortime. A type of play therapy for autistic kids that lay people can do. (Not a lot of special training required. You just have to like to play!) Yes, he does have a secret, but I hate to give that away here today.

Suz: What did you like best about Harlan? What drove you crazy about him?

Kay: Oooh, there were lots of things I like about him. He isn't perfect and even though he's very alpha, he doesn't necessarily have a big ego. In fact he's struggling with figuring out if he makes a difference anymore. He's sustained a terrible back injury and doesn't feel like a hero at all. He loves kids and he's very driven to help people. And of course, Gina doesn't want to be helped or saved in any way.

I really enjoyed showing him how much of a difference he could make in Gina's and Adam's lives just by being present, not necessarily by doing the physical things that he would normally consider heroic. Gina and Adam are the perfect people to show Harlan that he doesn't have to do anything special to make himself a hero. That whole idea of being loved for who you are, not for what you can do for someone.

Suz: Gina Rodgers, the heroine in BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF sees herself as a "screwup". How do you see her?

Kay: I see Gina as a woman who has struggled in the past to become independent from her family. She's now a competent and successful businesswoman, but thrown into the difficult situation of caring for an autistic five-year-old. While dealing with the emotional ramifications of that and looking for her missing sister, Gina feels all her old insecurities rising again. She has no idea how to care for her nephew. She needs help and she hates that she has to rely on Harlan for it.

She's also falling hard for Harlan whom she's not entirely sure she can trust. But she has to trust him because he's the only one who can help her when bullets start flying and it's obvious someone is after her and Adam. The situation pushes all her 'competency buttons' simultaneously so that she feels like she's losing control on every level.

Suz: Gina's nephew in BETTER THAN BULLTETPROOF has autism. It's a condition you are intimately associated with. Would you care to fill our readers in on that?

Kay: Yes, as you can probably tell from my answers above I'm rather passionate about this. Eight years ago my son was diagnosed with autism and we immediately dove into an intensive array of biomedical and traditional therapies for him. He worked hard and responded amazingly well. I will be forever grateful to a multitude of people that I can never repay for giving me back my son. People who worked with him, played with him, prayed for him and for my family. Incredibly generous parents I've met through autism groups online but never met in person who shared their hard won knowledge and advice when we got stuck in various stages of treatment. Doctors, teachers, therapists, and friends who gave so much over the years. It's a very long list.

Even with exceptional treatment, you don't always get the kind of results we did. It's been an extraordinarily humbling and overwhelming experience. Today I look at my son when he's yakking away (a miracle in itself), and I think about where we were 9 years ago. I'm completely awed.

Suz: If someone wanted to learn more about autism or become involved in helping where would recommend they start?

Kay: I'm so glad you asked. There are many great autism resources on the Internet now.

My favorite is


Their motto is "Think Autism. Think Cure."

They have fabulous resources for treatment options, conferences, and the latest news in the autism world. Practically every reputable autism site on the web is listed at NAA--Autism Research Institute, Talk About Curing Autism, Generation Rescue, Autism One. Please check them out.

And if you lose the address or can't remember it when you're chatting with someone, I have a list of autism resources on my website under links. NAA is at the top of the list.
Here's an article for more information:

Suz: Was there any special reason you wanted to write BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF?

Kay: BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF is very much the “book of my heart” because the subject matter is so steeped in autism and treatment. I struggled not to “tell too much” as I wrote and to stay focused on the characters—not getting too carried away on a topic which is so close to home. It’s my greatest hope that readers can enjoy Harlan and Gina’s story and be entertained by it as well as learn a bit about autism—an epidemic that is sweeping the country and stealing away some of the brightest children of a generation.

Suz: This is your first book for Harlequin INTRIGUE. Do you have any other up and coming books with them?

Kay: Yes! I have an April Intrigue titled BULLETPROOF TEXAS. The release date is April 14, 2009 and I had a blast writing it. BULLETPROOF TEXAS pulls in some of the characters from BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF.

Suz: Oooo, I love series books where secondary characters get to pop again! Can you give us a hint about it? When will it be released?

Kay: It's a romantic suspense thriller about a pharmaceutical research scientist and a brooding caving guide who are forced to work together extracting a cancer-eating bacteria from a flooding Texas Hill Country cave. As the sparks fly and the sexual tension increases, so do the dangers when a competitor decides this potential cure shouldn't see the light of day--and is willing to kill anyone who gets in the way.

Kay:Suz, thanks so much for having me here in the lair today. 2008 was a remarkable and exciting year for me. I can hardly wait to see what happens in 2009. I was wondering what you and your readers are most looking forward to in the New Year? What is it about January and new beginnings that you most enjoy?

Kay is giving away an autographed copy of BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF to one commentor today.
(By the way, Kay loves boston terriors, so this one came to drink champagne with us today! Isn't he cute?)


Helen said...

Is he coming back to my place

Have Fun

Virginia said...

Just missed that rooster. Congrats Helen, looks like he is spending the day with you!

PJ said...

Dang! You're too fast, Helen!

Virginia said...

Hello Kay, welcome to the lair. Your book sounds fabulous. I really love the intrigue line of books. Historical is my favorite and the romantic suspense comes next. I switch back in forth between the two. The intrigue line keeps you on your toes. I just love the suspense of them. I will be on the look out for your book.

Do you see yourself writing any historicals in the future?

Helen said...

I only have another 3 days left of my holidays before I have to go back to work so it will be nice to spend some time with him and all the grandkids before I am back to work.

Great interview Kay and Suz both the books sound really exciting great call story as well I couldn't imagine driving 8 hours thinking about the call.

Sounds like your son is doing really well I have worked with a couple of Ladies that have children with autism and it can be very hard to find people and ways to help.

Kay do you know if and when the book will be released in Australia because I would love to read it.

As for what I am looking forward to in 2009 firstly spending time with the grandchildren but in February I am going to Melbourne to the first Australian Romance Readers Convention there are going to be some fantastic authors there from Australia and The USA amongst them Anna Campbell, Stephanie Laurens, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Diana Love, Sara Bennett, Denise Rossetti,Susan Grant and many more I am sooo lookimg forward to it.

Congrats on the release Kay I will be adding this one to my must get list.

Have Fun

limecello said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen - and thanks for visiting with us, Kay! Sounds like an excellent read

What am I most looking forward to in 09? New books - wonderful books. And... well I don't know yet :P. New and exciting adventures? Winning the lottery? ;)

Joan said...

The War for the GR.

Helen and Virginia battle it out for top honors!

Film at ll (er, 12)

Kay I love the contrasts in your hero! Can't wait to read it.

I'm so glad to hear your son is doing so well. There is a young girl here in Louisville (Name just flew right out of my head) who is raising money for an Autism research center to be built in conjunction with the University of Louisville Medical school by making bead bracelets and selling them. (Michaela, I think?). She's been on Oprah and several other national shows.

Helen said...

I just pipped you Virginia but totally agree I do love me some seat of your pants suspense in a romance.

Limcello wining the lottery would be fantatic firstly I could retire then have more time for reading and I maybe could travel to the States and meet the Bankdits and Banditas in person that would be cool.

Sorry PJ hope must be your turn soon

Joanie never a war just lots of fun although he has been with p226 never know what new tricks he has learn't LOL

Have Fun

PJ said...

Welcome, Kay and congrats on your debut! I'm looking forward to reading it. I've worked with kids with autism in a volunteer capacity at a local school. As you said, it is indeed stealing away some of our brightest children and I pray that someday we will have a way to prevent it.

Congrats on nabbing the GR, Helen. He just can't stay away from those babies!

sarabelle said...

okay I am a relative newbie here please explain the rooster to me.

sarabelle said...

Congrats on the release Kay. I agree that your book sounds very intriguing. I understand some about autism, my son was in devolopmental classes for a severe speech problem for 2 years, and it just absolutely amazes me at the things these children can now accomplish.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Wow, that has got to be a fantatic book, I can see my little dollars flying out the window now but I must have it.
My son't illness is in the autistic spectrum, he has made stupendous strides, and just as you say, just hearing him talk is a wonder in itself. He was 4before he spoke anything at all.

Treethyme said...

This book is going to be a must-read. One of my critique partners has an autistic son, and she's been trying to shop an idea for a non-fiction book about her experiences. She'll want to read this book, too. Not just for the autism storyline -- it sounds really good!

Minna said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

Jane said...

Hi Kay,
Congrats on your debut release. Can't wait to meet Adam, Harlan and Gina. Are you only writing for the Intrigue line? Do you have plans for a full length novel? I'm looking for a happier and healthier 2009. I really hope I'll get to travel more.

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

Kelly Hunter said...

Kay, your debut story and the characters within sounds fascinting. Books of the heart are one of my favourite things (along with whiskers on kittens and brown paper packages and the like). Do you have an Aus release date for it?

Helen, is that *two* new grandbabies I see in your arms. Clearly I've missed something. Congratulations!

Helen said...

Yes Kelly they are my new grandsons born on 13th & 16th Dec Corey and Jake and they both are real cuties. I can't help myself LOL

BTW I forgot in my previous posts to say how much I love the dog I am sure he is going to enjoy it here a the lair champagne and all.

We are all going to sit and watch the new Indian Jones movie that I got for Chrissy on DVD I hope the GR enjoys it.

Have Fun

Maureen said...

Congratulations Kay on the new book! Your book sounds interesting to me since my daughter is a teachers assitant at an Easter Seals pre-school and her class is for autistic children. She volunteered as a helper when she was in high school and then was offered this job as she goes to college for her special education degree and from what she says, each small advancement with a child is cause for celebration.

MaryF said...

What an exciting call story! Best of luck to you!

Wendy said...

Kay, you know I'm going to be camped out at the B&N waiting for them to deliver your book ... it sounds amazing, and I know you're the one to tell this great story.

What am I looking forward to most in 2009? Honestly, more of the same! Life is good! And I do have a ton of friends with releases coming out this year, so I guess I'd have to add "more books!"

Terry Odell said...

Sounds like a great read. I love the not-so-super hero (must be why I write them). I admire anyone who can construct a story within the Intrigue word count limits -- my current WIP ended up at 115,000 words, and I'm trying to cut it enough for single title -- my agent wants it no more than 100K.

For 2009, I plan to roll with the punches and keep a positive attitude.

Christie Kelley said...

Welcome to the lair, Kay. I loved your call story. I would have had to wake my family up with that news.

Good luck with your debut book, it sounds wonderful.

Joan said...

Hi, Sarabelle!

Well, the Golden Rooster is the much sought after prize to the first poster of the day.

He is a stupendous (according to his autobiography)rooster of great importance who spends the day with the winner. He has an affinity for Australia many days, has spent time with various BB's evading their pre-schoolers, snatched keys to vans and scarfed down chocolate caches and on the occasions when
p226 has caught him been put through intensive military and covert training.

He's a well rounded bird!

(Pssst...don't call him a mascot. He doesn't like it ;-0)

chris k said...

boy y'all are an early bunch!! lol.

What a great interview and I can hardly wait to read the book - it sounds wonderful and the hero so yummy. :)

I think it's fabulous that you could incorporate something as near and dear to your heart as autism into your work - Brava!!

Is there a book number three percolating? lol.

Jennie Bentley said...

Great interview, Kay! Thanks for letting me know you were going to be here. Looking forward to reading the book!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning, y'all!

Congrats Helen on snagging the GR. Please put him to work today, so he'll start his new year off right!

Louisa Cornell said...

Who could resist those grandbabies, Helen? Certainly not the GR!

Congratulations on your debut, Kay. What a great call story!

I love the sound of your story! My cousin's stepson is autistic and we have all learned a lot about autism because of Sean. I love the idea of two people who think they are screwups finding out what they are capable of.

I'm looking forward to more writing, finding an agent and hopefully a publisher this year!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey, Virginia!

I find myself switching from historical to romantic suspense and back again, too. Occasionally I mix in a straight new favorite for that is Steve Berry. Kay's book is a real page turner. I had great trouble walking away even for dinner!

Suzanne Welsh said...


I'm looking forward to many things this new year. We are going to have another grandbaby in June! whoohoo!!

I'll also be finishing and submitting the erotica...fingers crossed some agent/editor will be interested in reading it.

And I have two trips planned. One with my friends from Texas to a lodge in May for a writers retreat weekend.

And then seeing all the Bandits at the National convention in Washington DC this summer!! whoohoo!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Congrats to you Helen for getting to go to that convention! I am very envious of you. Anna C. and Christine have been telling us all about it, and I would have loved a trip to Oz for it, but alas, finances prevent it. Have a grand time!

Lorraine said...

Hi, Kay! Congrats on the upcoming release of Better than Bulletproof! Can you share with us your signing schedule for those of us who want an autographed copy?

Can't wait to get my hands on it.

Jo Davis said...

Hi Kay!
Great interview! I can't wait to read BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF! I've heard so many wonderful things about your debut book, and Harlan sounds like a yummy hero!

Congrats, girlfriend! :)

Margay said...

Congratulations on your debut, Kay! This is one I will have to keep my eyes open for this one as I have a daughter on the autism spectrum (she was recently diagnosed with Asperger's), so it's something I have a special interest in. Good luck with it!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Limecello!

You and I have the same plans for the new that TBR pile!! So many books, so little time... :)

Suzanne Welsh said...


Harlan is yummy...he is sooooo good with Adam, and is sexy and strong to boot!

Kay Thomas said...

Good morning, Ladies and thank you for such a lovely welcome to the lair! I’ve been so looking forward to this.

Congratulations, Helen on the Golden Rooster! Okay, I get confused about the time changes. What time is it exactly in Australia when it’s midnight in the US?


I’m so glad you enjoy the Intrigue line. That “edge of your seat” feeling is just what the line is shooting for. I’ve written one historical that’s a single title romantic suspense with a dual time line / present day and historical combined. I’d love to sell that story one day.
: )

Kay Thomas said...

Helen: Are these your grandkids in the profile pic? They’re cuties. Yes, we were very fortunate in finding the folks who helped us with our son. And one of the cool things about Floortime therapy- it’s all about playing and anyone can be trained to do it in a very short time…even young people. My daughter who was 10 at the time was able to use some of the principles of it when she played with her brother.

The Australian Romance Readers Convention sounds amazing.
I’m checking about Australian availability for BTB. I’ll know a bit later today.

It’s wonderful to be here. I’m looking forward to great books, too. And winning the lottery would give me just the right amount of time I need to sit back and READ!! That sounds delightful. : )

Arkansas Cyndi said...

Hi Kay! Great interview. I'm about 1/2 way through BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF and am enjoying it greatly! I can highly recommend it. :)

Can't wait for your new one in April

Joan said...

Harlan is yummy...he is sooooo good with Adam, and is sexy and strong to boot!

Strong, sexy AND child friendly?

Can't beat that in a hero!

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks, Joan. I really enjoyed writing Harlan.
And yes, there are so many folks doing amazing things raising autism awareness and funds for research. It’s very encouraging.

Thank you for the congratulations and for the volunteer work you do at the local school. It’s not easy work. I know those children's parents appreciate you, too.

p226 said...

Hmm... I'm right at the starting line of one of the biggest "new beginnings" of my life. Maybe THE biggest. The thing is, this one started in August. So far, it's been a "purification in fire" kind of deal. So, January for me might well be my opportunity to rise from the ashes. But there's still plenty of smoke and flame, so I'm unable to predict my own outcome. Regardless, I'm fairly comfortable in predicting that January will be one of the most revolutionary "new beginnings" I've ever faced, for good or ill.

I wish I could be less cryptic, but you folks will just have to accept my apologies on that. The question is "what do we like" about January and new beginnings. For me right now, not very much. The only thing I can see to like about it is hope. And is hope not the silver thread in any new beginning?

There is hope. There is the possibility of greatness along with cataclysmic failure. To which should we cling in any new beginning? Hope for greatness or fear of the abyss?

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks, Sarabelle

I’m getting really excited about the release date.

I’m so glad your son was able to get help with speech. It’s incredible what speech therapists are doing now with the techniques they use and how hard the kids work. The kids are real troopers, aren’t they?

Suzanne Welsh said...

P226...That is sort of the way I feel when I start a new book, and I've been feeling along the way with this particular project. Sort of walking 2 inches from the edge of the abyss at all times...but I can't walk away until it's finished.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ah, Sarabelle...the Golden Rooster, (aka, the GR) is awarded to the first commentor of the day. He is a bird of mythical proportions, who has traveled between states, countries and continents in his quest to spy on the Bandits and their buddies!

Kay Thomas said...

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna

I’m so glad to hear your son is doing well! That’s wonderful. And encouraging for so many others who are just starting on this journey!

I hope you’ll enjoy BTB. Parents like you were behind the inspiration for me to write this story.

Liz L. said...

Great interview, Kay. I can't wait to get to know Gina and Harlan. I'm so excited for you. Like Lorraine, I want to know about any booksignings you've scheduled.

The picture of you is awesome, BTW.

My hope for 2009 is well, nothing big, just a book deal!!

Kay Thomas said...


I’m so glad this sounds like a “must-read” to you! : )

Best wishes to your CP on her proposal and with her son.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Jane:

It’s great to see you here. I can’t wait for you to meet Harlan, Gina and Adam, too!

Right now, I have the two releases coming out with Intrigue this Spring. I’m working on a single title idea and percolating some more Intrigue ideas. We’ll see what happens. ; )

Hmm…travel sounds very nice.

Donna MacMeans said...

Kay - Welcome to the lair and a clink of champagne glasses to your debut. Was it difficult cutting 80 pages? I would have a hard time, I think. Love your title. Congratulations!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Lorraine! Glad to see you today. We always love it when you drop by the Lair, even if it's just to say "hey"!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Yes, Chris, they do star early here in the Lair. Some of our regulars are in Australia, (like Helen), and some are just night owls!

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks for finding the characters interesting. Right now BTB can be found on all the Amazon sites. UK, Germany, France, Japan and Canada. It’s also on (My understanding is that’s a mail order site in India?) You can also find it on Fantastic Fiction. I’m still trying to find it on an Australian site. It won’t be released through eHarlequin Australia yet, but I’ll let you know if I find out more today. : )

Suzanne Welsh said...

And Jo Davis is in the Lair today, too? Wow! Good to see you, CP!!

TracyG said...

Good morning, Kay! I'm really looking forward to picking up my copy of BTB. What a great story!

Every January I look forward to starting again -- new stories, new everything. I always feel I can do anything on January 1. lol

Happy New Year, Banditas!
Tracy G.

Kay Thomas said...

So those are your two grandbabies. Wow! What a way to start the New Year. Congratulations.

I’m so glad you like that Boston terrier. Meet Jack, my writing buddy. He’s loving it here this morning and he’s taking it very easy on the champagne. Yesterday he was sleeping off his “steak bone hangover” from New Year’s Eve. Poor guy....

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks, Maureen
How wonderful that your daughter is getting her degree in special ed and is a teacher’s assistant in an Easter Seals autism class. You must be so proud of her!

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Mary
Thanks, it was very fun. I’m really excited that I’m going home again this year for my Dad’s birthday and a signing in my hometown.

Kay Thomas said...

Hey Wendy:
That’s so great of you. Now, bundle up! It’s cold in January!
Best wishes for a fabulous 2009…and some great reads!

Hi Terry:
Cutting is hard. I agree. I had to do mine fast…kindof like ripping off a Bandaid. And you better believe I saved that original file. : )
Best of luck with WHEN DANGER CALLS.

Virginia said...

Hey Kay, I just stopped back in for another glass of Champagne and I may be more awake now! First off let me congratulate you on your debut book it sounds wonderful. I loved the interview.

Your historical romantic suspense sounds intriguing I would love to read it sometime, so I hope you do get it published.

I do love those edge of your seat types of reads. I just finished reading one of Patricia Rosemoor and I didn't want to put it down.

Also I am so glad your son is doing so well! I am sure it takes a lot of time and patients, but it sounds like things are working out for him.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Just a little reminder to everyone, if you click on any book pictures in the blogs, or our Bandita sidebar book pictures, you'll go directly to to order the books!

(Just the Banditas doing their part to keep your TBR piles filled...hehehe)

Trish Milburn said...

Kay, I LOVE your call story! How incredibly special that you got the call while with your parents for your dad's birthday. I got teary just reading about it.

Your books sound fab. Will have to put on my TBR list.

And I'm so glad you've been able to find some therapies that work with your son. One of my best friends from high school has an autistic son, and I know they've worked with him a lot too.

Oh, and I agree with Liz -- that's a fabulous author photo of you.

Kay Thomas said...

Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here. And yes, it took great effort NOT to wake them up. I was glad to get to email back and forth with my agent (she’s on the West Coast) and it wasn’t so terribly late there. I don’t know if I would have been able to hold out if I hadn’t been able to at least "squee" on the keyboard. : )

Diana Cosby said...

Better Thank Bulletproof sounds amazing. Fabulous interview. I wish you every success on every level! *Hugs*

Diana Cosby
His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
His Woman/Duncan MacGruder - 4 star Romantic Times review
Title TBA/Seathan MacGruder - Date TBA
Title TBA/Patrik [Cleary] MacGruder

Suzanne Welsh said...

I have to agree with Trish. I would've been screaming so loud and woken the whole house! That's what I did when the Golden Heart call came. Hubby asked, "Is this a good scream or a bad one?" hehehe

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Chris K
It's good to see you here. Thanks so much for stopping by. Chris is one of my DARA chaptermates.

Yes, I am percolating on a couple of ideas and I'm looking forward to working on several new proposals in the New Year.

DeLyn Fisher said...

As a Kindergarten teacher, I've had experience with autism. My niece was recently diagnosed with a mild case of autism. I say mild because she can communicate unless her emotions get in the way, then she has trouble and cries and points like a two-year-old, even though she's nine. My oldest daughter, who is 3 1/2 years younger than her, started talking first. We knew then that something was up, but didn't actually get a diagnosis until a couple of years ago. I just love stories that aren't all about wealthy people in perfect lives. The "real" factor counts for a lot, wouldn't you say?

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks Jennie
I appreciate your stopping by. Y’all, Jennie just made her debut in November with her book from Berkley called FATAL FIXER-UPPER. It’s the first in a “do-it yourself home renovation” cozy mystery series.
It's in my TBR pile and I can't wait to dive in.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Louisa
Thank you. I know your cousin appreciates your support with Sean. It’s so great when family understands comes alongside to help.
Best of luck in your writing this year.

Allyson Roy said...

HI Kay!
Congratulations on BTB! Can't wait to read it. I love heroines who think they're screw-ups and find out they're not.

And thanks for letting me know you'd be here today. Great interview. This looks like a really fun blog, so I now have another place to check out regularly!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Tracy G! Glad to see you in the Lair today. You keeping warm up there?

Tracy Garrett said...

Hi Suz!
I am staying warm, at least for the moment. The sun is out and it's supposed to be almost 50 today--before the rain starts and we go back into the 30s. Gotta love winter in the midwest.
Tracy G.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Suz

I’m having such a good time. Thank you for having me!

Another grandbaby?! Woo-hoo! If nothing else happened you’d be having an exciting year, yes? Congratulations. Now about that Grandmother name. Have you settled on one yet?
I still think G.G. (Goddess Grandma) or something along those lines would work here? No?
Hmm… : )

Nancy said...

Suz and Banditas, thanks for the wonderful interview with Kay!

Kay, I can hardly wait for BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF! I'm thrilled about your next release, too, and wish you a long and lucrative career!

I also love your passion for autism treatments and The Cure! May the cure come soon!

Nancy Haddock
La Vida Vampire
Last Vampire Standing

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks, Margay
I’m so glad this sounds interesting to you. Best wishes to you and your daughter. And in your writing in the New Year.

Kay Thomas said...

Hey Lorraine:

Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for asking about my signing schedule.
I can’t wait to read "Between the Devil and Desire."

Right now, I have two individual signings scheduled for BTB.

Sunday, January 18th – Carnegie Public Library in Clarksdale, Mississippi at 2pm

Saturday, January 24th – Legacy Books in Plano, Texas from 2:30-4:30pm

If you’re in either area, please come and bring a friend!

And please check my website for directions and more dates to be added soon.

Kay Thomas said...

Jo Davis!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I can hardly wait for UNDER FIRE, the next book in your firefighter series. Wow, talk about yummy. Hmm…is it getting warm in here or is it me?

Kay Thomas said...

Arkansas Cyndi!
Thank you and I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! I appreciate your coming by to say so! It's good to see you here. : )

Joan said...


You have become a friend to the Banditas, touching us with your insights, causing marvel at your obviously innate creative abilities and making us LOL at your humor.

We care about you and hope whatever this new beginning is, know that we are here for you.

Sorry to have interjected on the blog....but wanted to let our resident GR trainer know

Helen said...

Congrats Suz on the new grandbaby due in June it is truly a wonderful event.

It was about 4-00pm on Friday afternoon here in Australia when I posted the first comment, time differences often confuse me it is now 6-35 am Sat morning.
The more I hear about Harlan and Gina the more I want to read this book.

Have Fun

Kay Thomas said...

Hey Liz!

Thanks for coming by. I hope you’ll enjoy reading Harlan and Gina as much as I did writing them. Oh, and I just remembered one more signing that’s a very special group one. I’m very privileged to be signing with these ladies who just happen to be here today, too!

The Dallas Area Romance Authors group signing is Saturday, February 7th at Legacy Books in Plano, Texas on Dallas Parkway from 2-4 pm.
Signing will be:

Tracy Garrett
Lorraine Heath
Jo Davis
yours truly and several others.

Kay Thomas said...

Okay, Helen…I see you are waaay ahead of me time-wise…it’s almost 2 in the afternoon here….but it's still Friday? I can't quite wrap my head around that. lol!

I wanted to let you and your Australian folks know I just heard from another Intrigue author who went hunting for my release date in Australia. (Thank you, Kerry Conner!) Here’s what we found.

“According to the Harlequin Australia website, the Australian edition of your book is being released in March, which means it'll be
available on their website next month.”

Helen said...

Excellent thank you Kay I don't have too long to wait but I will be getting it and look foward to reading it.

Have Fun

Minna said...

I can't wait to read your book!
Most about January I'm looking forward to seeing the sun a bit longer than just couple of hours a day.

ddurance said...

I love Boston Terriers too. I have one named Gazzy. They are just the most adorable and pig-headed dogs. LOL


Kay Thomas said...

Cheers, Donna!

Initially I was nervous at the thought of cutting so much from my work. I mean I had it just the way I wanted it before I submitted it the first time, right?

A very wise friend said, think of it as hacking off branches…not trying to take out just a twig here or there.

So I initially took out a subplot. Then I took all that “live action” and made it happen off page. That got me about 2/3 of the way there. Then I got to write tighter. And tighter. And tighter.

I rewrote many of my opening paragraphs to each scene or rather cut them, realizing I took about two paragraphs too long to set scenes up. That wasn’t necessary for the line and at this point, one to two extra paragraphs was a big deal.

Yes, it was a challenge but when I was done, I had learned a lot about my process and writing style that I never would have learned otherwise. I also learned a lot about letting go and writing tight (and I thought I was fair at that before.)

Of course, as you can see here today. I don’t write too tight when I’m just chatting …. I’m a "yakker!" : )

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, hide the Tim Tams!

Kay and Suz, lovely interview! Congratulations on your sale, Kay! I love your call story. How fantastic you got to share it with your dad who'd always stuck by you and your dreams. Book sounds great! I bet it will be a huge hit!

Kay Thomas said...

Tracy Garrett

My wonderful, wonderful beta reader and proofer. Thank you for being here today.
I’m so excited for your new release, TOUCHED BY LOVE. That cowboy on the cover leaves me feeling a bit parched.

Kay Thomas said...

Hey thanks, Virginia
I think I’ll join you in another glass, too! I’m still fanning myself over Tracy G’s cover.

I hope to get that historical published one day, too. It was such fun to write.
And Patricia Rosemoor writes terrific suspense, doesn’t she?

Thanks for the well wishes for my son. We feel very, very blessed in his progress and prognosis. He has had a great year. We’re hoping for good things in 2009 as well.

Crianlarich said...

Best wishes on the debut, Kay!

There's nothing quite like the thrill of seeing that first book on the shelves. Here's wishing you much success.

Cuddle the wee doggy for me. I'm partial to terriers, too.

danie88 said...

Hi Kay!

I have your book "Better Than Bulletproof" on my wishlist! :)

What I'm looking forward to in 2009 is doing a lot of posting on my new book blog which just launched yesterday! Also looking forward to finding new to me authors and making new friends and of course, hanging out with everyone here on the great Romance Bandits blog! Woohoo! Cheers to 2009!

Kay Thomas said...

Hey Trish!
Thank you!

It was very special to be there with my Dad. I’m real excited about getting to have a signing there on his birthday this year. There’s some kind of serendipity about that. I didn’t really stop to think about it falling that way with the first signing a year after “the call” until I was answering Suz’s questions.

I know your friend from high school really appreciates your keeping in touch. Your support is invaluable to her.

Thanks for your kind words about the picture. I had a great photographer who made me feel like a rock star. It was lots of “smoke and mirrors”– truly.

Pat Cochran said...

Hello, Kay, Nice to have you with
us today! Thanks for the great
interview, ladies! The autism
links will come in handy for the
family since one of our grandsons
is autistic. Paul, who is 14 & was
diagnosed when he was 3, has been
described as "high-functioning."
Our prayers always include those
affected by autism, wherever they
may be.

An aside to p226: Hang in there,
friend! Your friends in the Lair
care about you and are here for
you! Who else would be able to
handle that "wily wooster" and
put him through his paces!!

Pat Cochran

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks, Diana!
I appreciate your stopping by. I’m so very excited for you with your new release of HIS WOMAN from Zebra and congratulations on your two new sales! And on Christmas Eve! Wow...what a fabulous way to start the New Year.

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Kay! Better Than Bulletproof sounds wonderful and Harlan sure sounds like my kind of hero ;-)

I'm looking forward to so much this year but I guess what I'm looking forward to the most is writing new stories. I just finished two proposals and I'm really excited about them and I have an idea for YA series that should be a lot of fun to write *g*

Thanks for sharing your wonderful call story with us!

Kay Thomas said...

Hi DeLyn

I’m so glad your niece is getting help. A lot of times families suspect something isn’t quite right but don’t know exactly what to do. There are so many great resources out there today. Best wishes to you and your family as you look at the various treatment options for her.

I like love stories about real people, too. I think readers crave that. I know we all want a certain element of escape in our love stories and HEA are a must for most. I think we also want the characters to be people that we can relate to, identify with and root for, too. I like them to struggle with stuff I've struggled with.

I don't want to feel jealous or inadequate because they have the perfect life, job, wardrobe or body.

A really simplified example is the heroine struggling with that last 15 lbs that won’t come off and who thinks her rear looks too big. The guy she meets and falls in love with, loves her for her. Not her rear. That’s the kind of hero I want to hear about and a relationship I'll root for.

Kay Thomas said...

Allyson Roy
Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad enjoyed the interview and that you’ve gotten to meet these wonderful folks here at The Romance Bandits. Y’all, meet Alice and Roy. A husband and wife writing team and authors of a terrific debut novel called APHRODISIAC– a comedic romantic suspense involving perfume, a sex therapist, a bad boy boxer and murder.

Kay Thomas said...

Thank you, Nancy! It’s wonderful to see you here.
I’m so looking forward to your new release, too. Last Vampire Standing...That’s such a great title. I'm awfully partial to Francesca's name, too. : )

And yes, so many strides are being made in autism treatment and awareness. It's very encouraging.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Minna:
I’m so glad you want to read it.
Hmm…More sunshine. That does sound nice.

Hey Deidre:
Yes, you’ve described Jack to a tee. "Adorable and pig-headed at the same time." I love your dog’s name – Gazzy. Sums up their energy and personality.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Anna Campbell
Thank you. Suz has made this so easy and fun.
It’s great to be here with you and all the Banditas today.
Hey, I’m looking forward to your upcoming release this month, TEMPT THE DEVIL. Congratulations to you on your RT top pick and 4 ½ stars!

Kay Thomas said...


Yes, it’s starting to seem very real. I got the author copies last month and got to actually hold one in my hands. Wow!

I hope I don’t make a spectacle of myself when they actually hit the shelves in the bookstore. I don’t think I’ll act very cool. I’m gonna squeal like a 10-year-old the first time I see it.

Jack (the boston terrier) is snoring in his favorite chair in my office as I type. (Too much cyber champagne after all!) I’ll definitely give him a cuddle from you when he wakes up! : )

Kay Thomas said...


Thank you for putting BTB on your wishlist!
Best of luck with your new book blog. That’s very exciting.
Cheers to you, too!

Kay Thomas said...

Thanks, Beth
It’s great to be here. I appreciate y’all having me. I’ve really enjoyed the day.
And I’m so glad Harlan sounds like your kind of hero.
: )

Best of luck with your proposals and your upcoming April release – "A Not-So-Perfect Past." I’m looking forward to that!

Tammy Yenalavitch said...


Another great interview and now I can;t wait to read your book. And I do plan to buy your next book.

Kay Thomas said...

Hi Pat

I’ve had a great time here today and I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview.

Please do check out the NAA site and their links. They have tons of resources there. The other sites listed at NAA are a wealth of information – doctors, therapists, conferences, resources from all over the US and in some cases the world.

My best wishes to you and your grandson, Paul, and his parents. It can be a long, challenging road – even with high functioning autism. I know his parents appreciate all the support and prayers you give him.

Kay Thomas said...

Sorry, I had a typo..

Tammy- Hi!
Wow, thanks for stopping by. I can't wait to hear what you think! Your copy should be there early next week. ; )

Y'all, Tammy was my blog winner earlier this week on The Intrigue Authors' December Blog Blitz.

I'm gonna take a break, but I'll be checking back in later this evening. Thanks again for a lovely day.

Diana Cosby said...

Kay Thomas wrote:

Thanks, Diana!
I appreciate your stopping by.

~My pleasure. I'm ultra thrilled for your release of Better Than Bulletproof!

I’m so very excited for you with your new release of HIS WOMAN from Zebra and congratulations on your two new sales! And on Christmas Eve! Wow...what a fabulous way to start the New Year.

~It is truly a blessing. The best is that I donate 10% of my royalties to a charity of my choice. I'm excited in that I'm that much closer to my ultra goal, sponsoring a house for Habitat for Humanity. How cool will that be!

I'm so proud of you, and what a special gift to have sold on your grandfather's birthday. Definitely an amazing life moment. I'll be cheering you on every step of your career!

Diana Cosby
His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
His Woman/Duncan MacGruder - 4 star Romantic Times review
Title TBA/Seathan MacGruder - Date TBA
Title TBA/Patrik [Cleary] MacGruder

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Kay. That was a huge thrill! I feel RT really has a feel for what readers like. Hey, and don't worry about acting uncool when you see your book on the shelf. I think it's an occupational hazard. I squeaked like a wiggly wheel when I saw CTC on a shelf in America for the first time. It was in Barnes and Noble on Broadway and it was just before 4th July 2007 when I was over for the RWA conference. Made QUITE a fool of myself! And I was so happy, I didn't care! You'll have exactly the same experience, I'm sure! We work so hard for that moment and go through so much heartbreak and disappointment, I think it would be sad if we weren't excited!

Virginia said...

Hey ladies, I know Helen had the GR today but I made him today in my kitchen. I going to be after him for tomorrow, because my hubby has to go back to work and I need some company.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Kay! I've been trying to get here all day long to say hello to my ITW buddy!! Looks like you've had a long, crazy day in the Bandita Lair but I know Suz kept the cabana boys and margaritas moving. :-)

I can't wait to read Better Than Bulletproof. What a wonderful premise and Harlan sounds like a hero to die for!

And I got all weepy reading your call story, too. How lovely that you got to share the news with your parents--but I would've gone slightly batty if I'd known at 3am that I'd sold but couldn't tell anyone! LOL

Helen, congrats on snagging the GR! What a way to start the new year!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Kate!

It was a pretty busy day here in the Lair, and yes I had those cabanna boys working hard with those tays of champagne and margaritas! And Kay told me just how much fun she had with all our regulars and drop by commentors!!

Thanks for making my friend so welcome, y'all!!

Kay Thomas said...

You’re absolutely right! We need to be excited and celebrate those big moments. I love your story about seeing your book at the B&N on Broadway.

How cool about your plans for your charity work and Habitat for Humanity. That’s such a worthy cause. I think your readers would be thrilled to know that they’ve helped make that happen.

Those are some good looking cookies…you sharing?

Kate Carlisle:
It’s so good to see you here, too! Yes, Suz has kept the champagne flowing but I confess, I didn’t see many cabana boys…..Suz? You have cabana boys here? How’d I miss that? Was I talking too much?

Well, Kate, I’ll be sure not to miss HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER. I’m really looking forward to your release next month.

flchen1 said...

Just wanted to say hi, Kay! I have quite a few friends with autistic children, and I can see how this latest would be a book of your heart--I'm glad it's come to publication for the rest of us! Best wishes for continued success!

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

Kay Thomas said...


Thank you for those encouraging words. I know your friends appreciate your support, too.

Kay Thomas said...


I've had such an amazing day. Suz just told me where the cabana boys were...and yep. I'm afraid I didn't notice who was handing me my champagne. I was too busy visiting with all my new friends.

Thanks for having me here in the Lair and making me feel so special.

My very best wishes to you and yours for the New Year. May 2009 be filled with good friends, good fortune, good health, and good books!

Kay Thomas

Scarlet Pumpernickel said...

Kay! Congratulations on your success! I found your story inspirational.

Scarlet Pumpernickel

Anna Campbell said...

Kay, thanks for being such a great guest and best of luck with your debut release! Raising a margarita to wish you a smashing success!

Joyce Ann said...

Hi Kay,
I just want to say "Hi" and wish you great success on your book. And the very best in the New Year.