Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Bella Andre | The one where she becomes a romance writer….
Romance / April 30, 2009

My mother and I don’t always see eye to eye, but the one thing we always have agreed on are romance novels. We absolutely love them. One of my main memories as a child was going to the library with my mother every Sunday, where she’d exchange her stack of hardcover romances for a new stack of books. As soon as I was old enough to have run through the Judy Blume books, I made my way over to romances. And was hooked. Little did I know that I would be writing them one day. (And that my mother would be reading them. But that’s another article, entirely!) Like many writers, I took the long way around to becoming an erotic romance author. I graduated from Stanford with an Economics degree in 1994, but really, I knew I was never going to become a management consultant. No, I wanted to be a rock star. So I recorded 4 CDs, played 1,000+ shows throughout North America, had a turn at being a star in Brazil, and then said, “Okay, what’s next?” Somewhere along the way when my bank account was looking worse for the wear, I worked as a Director of…

Jennifer Ashley | Unusual Heroes: Who Do You Love?
Uncategorized / April 29, 2009

As most readers know by now, my May 2009 release, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, features an unusual hero. Ian Mackenzie has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is considered to be high-functioning autism. Traits include the inability to make eye contact, trouble with nonverbal cues and subtext, obsession with detail (but missing the “big picture”), and others. Not everyone who has AS exhibits the same traits, and the syndrome tends to present differently in men than women. I’ve been recently praised for the risk I took writing Lord Ian. Which surprises me a little (though I don’t mind the compliments!), because when I sat down to write the story, I never thought: “Hey, I’m gonna go out there and take a risk! I’m going to do something different.” Click here to read the rest of Jennifers blog, leave a comment and enter her blog contest. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Kathryne Kennedy | What type of shape-shifter are you?
Uncategorized / April 28, 2009

A reader commented that after finishing one of my books, she started looking at people differently. Started noticing that many people reminded her of certain animals. And then she had fun guessing what type of shape-shifter they might be. So let me back up for a moment. My Victorian fantasy romance series, The Relics Of Merlin, features all shorts of shape-shifters. In Enchanting the Lady, my hero is a were-lion. In Double Enchantment, my hero is a were-stallion and his sister is a were-swan. In my newest release, Enchanting the Beast, the hero is a were-wolf, and my heroine’s assistant is a were-snake. Click to read the rest of Kathryne’s blob and to leave a comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Trish Milburn | The Power of Music
Uncategorized / April 27, 2009

It’s amazing how much emotional power can be packed into song lyrics. I admire anyone who is a good songwriter, creating a story out of a few short lines. I like to incorporate music into my stories to show a character’s feelings or to set a mood. Though I’m careful not to venture into copyright infringement by using actual song lyrics, I do reference them. For instance, I was recently working on a young adult story (Winter Longing, Razorbill, Summer 2010) in which my heroine has experienced a significant loss. As teens often do when they’re hurting, she listens to certain music over and over. For my heroine, Winter, it’s the songs of Breaking Benjamin, a band that I like and whose lyrics really speak to what she’s experiencing. Winter is enduring a loss, so when she hears Breaking Benjamin’s “Breathe,” the lyric “You left a hole where my heart should be” really packs an emotional punch. Later, it’s the band’s song “So Cold” that takes on new meaning when heard in the new context of her life. Though I don’t quote the lyrics, it’s the lyrics “You’re so cold, but you feel alive; Lay your hands on me one…

Sara Reyes | Adventures in World Building, or Let This World Go!
Saturdays with Sara / April 25, 2009

Books I read this week, all good for me: Buy Your Copy todayOrder Your Copy todayPre-order Your Copy today This week it seems everyone’s been talking about “series” or “trilogies” or “quartets” or something implying a bunch of books all taking place in a world created by an author. Not necessarily one in outer space, but it can be. Or it could be a historical world, as in Mary Balogh‘s Regency period, or it could be contemporary-historical-futuristic hybrid, as in Jayne Ann Krentz‘s “Arcane Society”. Or it could be international as in Karen Kendall‘s “Take Me” world. It could be contemporary with paranormal flavors such as Christine Feehan‘s “Drake Sisters. Or thrilling contemporary as in Alison Brennan‘s “Prison Break.” Each author manages to create a “universe,” populates it, makes a set of rules and then invites us in to enjoy. Recently some favorite authors seem to be forced into making a series instead of sticking to what they do best — write a self contained world for a single book. One of our topics of book club conversation is that some authors are very good at “world building” and others not-so-much. We are talking about really good and favorite authors…

Sandi Shilhanek | Retail Therapy
Sundays with Sandi / April 24, 2009

On Tuesday I let my emotions get the best of me and stormed out of my job in the direct vision of my boss, and quite possibly other employees. Did I care? No, not really. Was I thinking sanely? More than likely I wasn’t. What did I do next? What any self respecting woman/bookaholic might do I took myself out for some retail therapy. Where else would a self proclaimed bookaholic go for retail therapy, but to the bookstore? My reason for going to the bookstore was really twofold….one in my haste to leave school I had left my book, and two who knew what new treasures might be awaiting me? I went to Half Price Books, a chain store that sells used books, music, DVD’s etc. If you’re just going to wander and don’t have a specific title in mind you might be able to spend hours and hours in the store. If however you want a specific title and don’t find it your disappointment might be so overpowering that you leave the store almost immediately. The book I was hoping to find a replacement for was Behind The Shadows by Patricia Potter. Unfortunately for me they didn’t have…

Christy Reece | How a Wish Became a Series
Uncategorized / April 24, 2009

People often ask writers where they get their ideas. Many can answer about how a particular incident or thought popped into their head and they were able to create an entire book from that. With the first three books I wrote, before I sold, the idea always started with a comment in my head. A character, usually my future heroine, would say something and I’d wonder why she said it. The conversation would expand and I would create the story from there. That’s one of the wonderful things about imagination. Being able to take something so small and seemingly insignificant and create characters, a story and sometimes an entire world. When I started writing RESCUE ME, my debut book, it wasn’t because of some conversation I heard in my head. It was an event. I’m a self-confessed news junkie. Even when I’m writing, I often have the news playing in the background because I never know what might spur an idea. Something that always intrigues me are missing persons cases. Tragically most of these cases don’t have happy endings. Many are found dead, some return on their own. But the few that never return, the ones who disappear without a…

Jina Bacarr | When you can’t get a character out of your mind…
Uncategorized / April 23, 2009

When I received my author copies for my latest Spice release, Cleopatra’s Perfume, I re-read it all over again from beginning to end, reliving the heroine’s sexual obsessions and romantic interludes with the men in her life, the angst and horror of World War II when she becomes a spy for the British Foreign Service and the fascinating story behind the mysterious perfume in the title (and yes, I enjoyed the sex, too!). When I came to the end of the story, I realized I had unfinished business with the heroine in my book, Lady Eve Marlowe. Before she married a member of the British peerage, she was a cabaret dancer in Berlin during the wild days of the Weimar Republic during the erotic 1920s. What were those years like in pre-war Berlin? I wondered, intrigued. Eve came to Berlin with an all-girl revue in 1928 looking for love and adventure. Instead she found a city bathed in lust and sex. Click here to read the rest of Jina’s blog and to leave a comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Kimberly Lang | Hero Characteristic
Uncategorized / April 22, 2009

One year at the RWA National Conference, I had coffee with an editor (not my editor) who told me that if you read an author’s books closely, you’ll be able to see that all of her heroes will share some common characteristics. Maybe it’s a core value or just their sense of humor, but it’s often unique to that author’s heroes and it shows up over and over again. And, she says, if you get to meet the author’s husband, you’ll often see that same quality in him. It makes sense – after all, the author has to fall in love with her hero before the heroine or the reader can. The same qualities the author loves in her real-life hero are going to be what she wants her fictional heroes to have as well. When I told my husband this, he got a cute little worried look on his face. He quickly ran down a list of common characteristics my heroes have: insanely rich, powerful, successful, tall, muscular, athletic. He figured he could claim “tall.” Click here to read the rest of Kimberly’s blog and to comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Jane K. Cleland | Plotting in Your Sleep
Uncategorized / April 21, 2009

The great American author, Edna St. Vincent Millay, once wrote that she couldn’t get the woman onto the porch. What she meant, of course, was that she couldn’t figure out an organically sound reason for the character to do as the plot demanded.I struggle with this situation all the time. Plotting a mystery is, for me, a combination of architecture and sleight of hand. I lay the foundation, plan the structure, and use language to entice my readers to pay attention to something over here while something else is happening over there, unnoticed. In order for this complex process to flow seamlessly, I need to create characters whose actions mesh with the plot’s development. Click to read the rest of Jane’s blog and to comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.