Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Paula Quinn | Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
Uncategorized / March 17, 2008

Even as a child growing up in an Italian-American household, March 17th has always been one of my favorite days of the year. My dad loved to celebrate every holiday with a bang, and this day, celebrating the Irish culture, was no different. After donning our Kiss Me, I’m Irish buttons, we would head into downtown Manhattan to see the parade, and then go back home for dad’s famous corned-beef and cabbage. It’s a tradition I still carry on with my husband (who is, of course, Irish) and our kids. Imagine how happy I was when I discovered that this time of Celtic appreciation had been extended for a few more weeks. Tartan Week in Manhattan runs from the end of March to the beginning of April. Scottish pride abounds at such glorious events as the Dressed To Kilt fashion show, the Tartan Day parade, The Scottish Village in Grand Central Terminal, and the 10K Scottish run in Central Park. It was at the Scottish Village where I met the hero of my next Grand Central release, A Highlander Never Surrenders, in the flesh. His name is Chris Capaldi, model and former rugby star from Edinburgh. (Or as I now…

Deirdre Martin | Crushed
Uncategorized / March 14, 2008

I’m 46 and I still get crushes. I’m not talkin’ seeing a Russell Crowe movie and thinking,”Hootchie Mama, that’s one fine lookin’ Aussie.” I’m talkin’ lying on my bed mooning. I’m talkin’ trawling the internet for info and pictures. I’m talkin’ the full Tiger Beat treatment. And you know what? I think they play a pivotal role in my writing romance. I got my first crush when I was five. It was Davy Jones of the Monkees. Those big brown eyes. That British accent. Of course, if I’d known he was only 4’3″, I might not have felt the same. But when you’re five, you don’t wonder why your idol is the same height as you. Next? George Harrison. He had the best Beatle hair and I thought he was deep. I actually credit George with launching me on the road to writing romance. In sixth grade, I used to write G-rated stories about me and George. I still have them and they’re hilarious. Then came Pete Townshend of the Who. I know: His nose is so big he could smoke a cigar in the rain; but he’s so smart, with the most gorgeous blue eyes…. Keith Richards of the…

Maggie Marr | The Dirt: A Woman In Hollywood
Uncategorized / March 13, 2008

Like most women, I need my friends to sustain me but unlike a lot of women outside Hollywood, I also rely on my friends professionally. Making a film or television show is a collaborative process, and in Hollywood, it is often my friends who support my work. We work and play together. Do the lines get blurry? Yes, of course. But entertainment is The Industry where I found both the friendships that nurture me and the dirt that inspires me. Because to write Hollywood Girls Club and Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club, I needed both the friendships and the dirt. Friendship in Hollywood you say? Why that’s preposterous, unheard of, impossible. Those moviemaking madmen are a cutthroat bunch, an impossible lot. No friendship to be found there. But in Tinseltown, like anywhere, there are friends to be made and this undeniably Midwestern girl, did in fact collect a group of friends. On my first day of trudging through the long agency hallways, pushing my mail cart, dropping off letters (oh so glamorous the agency life in the beginning) I noticed two things. First, most agents were male and second, so were most their assistants. But I needed female friends….

Jenna Black | Too Stupid To Live
Uncategorized / March 12, 2008

We’ve all “met” her in romance novels: the heroine who is Too Stupid to Live (or TSTL, for short). I read a novel recently that I really loved–except for one scene where the heroine had a TSTL moment. The book was good enough, and the TSTL moment came late enough, that I was able to forgive the author and still enjoy the book. I’ll even buy her next one. But how I wish I could have been her editor for just a few minutes and convinced her to change that one scene. Often, a heroine has TSTL moments because the author needs to get her into danger for plot reasons. Perfectly understandable, particularly in suspense plots. But I think most of us as readers prefer the heroine to get into danger for reasons beyond her control. We want to think that she is too smart to make any of these kinds of mistakes–even though we know that even the smartest people do occasionally make mistakes. There is, however, one character whom I greatly enjoy who has constant TSTL moments. If you’ve read any of the Stephanie Plum books, you know that she’s often having battles between “Smart Stephanie” and “Stupid…

Sandra Hill | Can we talk?
Uncategorized / March 11, 2008

About book covers, I mean. Oh, I know, this is a subject that has been beaten to death, but I’ve had some experiences of late that make me rethink some of my previous preferences. I love the covers for my Jinx treasure hunting covers, including my current WILD JINX, but I am being told by the powers that be that the big buyers do not consider these good sellers. Huh? I think they’re beautiful, and the colors make them pop. But, no, they claim that, unless you are a huge name, readers want to know exactly what the book is about, and that means people. In my case, probably shirtless hunks. Yikes! Talk about a blast to the past. I’ve been published for fourteen years, and I have twenty-five books under my belt. For years I got hunk covers, sexy hunk covers, some of which were downright embarrassing. Not so extreme as the erotica ones today, but sexy nonetheless. A few of them I call my “bag over the head” covers…ones that I would have to wear a bag over my head if I were doing a booksigning in the mall. I couldn’t wait until I became a big star…

Lois Winston| Write What You Know?
Uncategorized / March 10, 2008

“Where do you get your story ideas?“ “Are any of your characters based on yourself or people you know?” The above are the two most frequently asked questions I hear from readers. The third most frequently asked question is, “How do you research your sex scenes?” This question is never asked by someone who has read my books, always asked by a male, and usually is asked each year at my husband’s company Christmas party. The question is always preceded by over-imbibing on the part of the buffoon asking the question (usually to the embarrassment of the long-suffering wife at his side) and is always followed by a wink-wink, nudge-nudge from said buffoon. Depending on my mood, I will either glare, scowl, look down my nose at the fool (not an easy task for this vertically challenged writer,) or offer his wife a sympathetic eye roll. But I digress (Can you blame me? What are those dimwits thinking???) Anyway, there’s a writing axiom that states, write what you know. To some extent this is a sound guideline to follow, but it’s also extremely limiting. I have a very good friend who writes stories populated with vampires, werewolves, selkies, and other…

Gena Showalter | What If?
Uncategorized / March 7, 2008

Do you ever wonder what your life would have been like if one thing in your past were different? Just a single thing? Like the movie Sliding Doors, what would your life be like if you’d missed the train home one day? Invariably that thought process always leads me to think about what my life would have been like if I hadn’t pilfered that first romance novel from my grandmother’s house. Silver Angel by Johanna Lindsey. That book changed my life. I remember staring down at it, intrigued by the cover – the heroine had long blonde hair, something this dark haired girl had always desired – thinking, Should or should I? I was about fourteen and if I got caught with it, I would have been in big trouble. But in the end, I did it. Snatched it up, and devoured it in a night.Before reading it, I was a girl who hated to read. A girl who was behind in every subject at school. A girl who had to be held back a year just to catch up. After reading it, I improved in every subject (my mother would insist I add: but math). I read every spare…

Anne McAllister | No Such Thing As A Loose End
Uncategorized / March 6, 2008

Thanks so much, Fresh Fiction, for inviting me to come and blog with you today. I love reading all the various blogs and getting to know writers (and thus adding to my TBR pile) in the process. I’ve been writing romance fiction since the mid 80s and am currently working on my 61st book. For quite a few years I would amuse myself on long car trips by seeing if I could name the books and the heroes and heroines in order. Then I started seeing if I could name them in any order. Now I just write the books and think fond thoughts about all those lovely men in my past. Sometimes, though, there’s one who doesn’t get his happy ending in one of my books and he turns up, rather like a bad penny, demanding one of his own. That was what happened with Flynn. Six years ago Silhouette published a single title of mine called The Great Montana Cowboy Auction. It was part of a series of books I’d been doing for them since the mid-90s called Code of the West. TGMCA ran to 97,000 words, which should have been long enough to give everyone in Montana…

Amanda Stevens| Legend or Folklore
Uncategorized / March 5, 2008

I’ve always had a fascination for the macabre, so I suppose my foray from romantic suspense into what I call ‘creepy, southern thrillers’ was a natural (or unnatural!) progression for me. I grew up in the foothills of the Ozarks, an area steeped in legend and folklore, and the stories I heard as a kid still give me goose bumps to this day. That same sort of breathless, shivery dread is what I hope to evoke with my own stories. My latest thriller, The Devil’s Footprints, was inspired by one of those old legend. On the morning of February 8, 1855, the townsfolk of Devon, England, awakened to find a series of hoof-like marks in freshly fallen snow. The U-shaped tracks continued throughout the countryside for over a hundred miles, traversing over houses, rivers, and haystacks—even through stone walls—as though no barrier could stop them. Panic and paranoia ran rampant through the area, and armed with pitchforks and clubs, some of the townspeople set out to track down the beast responsible. Various newspapers, including The Times of London, covered the story extensively, and as a result, numerous theories soon evolved, the most bizarre being that Satan himself was roaming the…

Anne Easter Smith | Research
Uncategorized / March 4, 2008

I’ve just come off my first book tour and for the most part it was a blast! The weather was my only real complaint. What a thrill to meet readers and hear first-hand how my two books have impacted them. As an historical novelist, the aspect of authoring that seemed to interest people and provoke the most questions was the research. “How much research do you do?” or “What percentage of your day goes to research and what to writing?” or even “Do you enjoy researching?” were common questions I was asked. Yes, I love the research – especially when it takes me to neat places like Lisbon, Bruges, Edinburgh and London. I usually spend two or three weeks before starting to write in Europe—you know, if it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium (and in my case that happened a lot for “Daughter Of York”)–and I have to confess it is tiring following in the footsteps of my characters. But without seeing the cities, churches, castles and landscapes that my characters would have seen, how can I give you a good idea of what it was to live there in those times? I need to look out of the third…