Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Christie Craig | Questions I Generally Get Asked
Uncategorized / July 21, 2009

Where do you get your ideas? I sometimes tell people I go to the idea store and rummage through the clearance racks to find a jewel I can make my own. Something a little different. Maybe even a bit like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, something no one else would think about taking home. But I just know if I add the right elements to this discarded idea, I can make it sparkle. Another way I answer this question is to explain that the idea fairy flew by and accidentally dropped something and I found the treasure stuck to the bottom of my tennis shoe like a piece of gum. You know that ABC gum that is so hard to get off? Well, sometimes it’s as if some fallen idea gets stuck in my head, and my first reaction is, “Oh, hell, no way! Get outta here. There’s a reason the idea fairy dropped your butt. You are a complete reject!” But the idea hangs on and on, until I begin to see the value in it. Now, neither of those answers are lies. Because heaven knows that sometimes it feels just like that. But I suppose the answer closest to…

Susan Andersen | Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve
Uncategorized / July 20, 2009

Susan wants to know: Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? Or is it just me? I confess. I’m an emotional slob. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nobody’s pushover. But every darn time I try to express how proud I am of someone I love, tears invariably well in my eyes. And wouldn’t it be grand just once to have a disagreement where I make my argument in a calm, logical manner? But, no. Right when I want to look my strongest, I usually end up crying and looking weak and girly instead—a particularly annoying habit when my argument is rock solid. But, hey, if someone puts me down I always have the perfect comeback . Tough luck if it’s an hour, a day, or a week too late. Click to read the rest of Susan’s blog and to leave a comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Sandi Shilhanek | Daydreaming…If I Were An Author I’d Have the Perfect Office!
Guests / July 19, 2009

This week while I was driving and trying to entertain myself I decided that if I were to be a writer I’d want to have a wonderful place to write in. What would it look like? I know it certainly wouldn’t be an old-fashioned typewriter setting atop a doghouse ala Snoopy in the Peanuts cartoons. It would probably have a nice state of the art computer that I could never learn to fully use, and lots of shelves to hold all the research books, whose soul purpose would be to sit there and make me look scholarly and to collect dust. Of course I’d have to have a nice polished desk, and plenty of office supplies; reams of paper, highlighters in all colors, pens, pencils, and a rainbow of sticky notes in all shapes and sizes! Now, I’d be officially a writer wouldn’t I? What, you mean in order to be a writer I have to have a story idea and the talent to extend it into several hundred pages that are written coherently and would attract the attention of some great literary agent or publisher and actually get my story to you my overeager fans. So now you know…

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Guests / July 18, 2009

I’ve been a reader for half a century. There you go, guys, you get to do the numbers and calculate my age, but it’s true, I’ve been reading FOREVER since dirt was new! And it never ever gets old. What? Well meeting my favorite authors. I’m very fortunate that I’m able to meet some of the goddesses (and gods) who channel muses and create wonderful and imaginative worlds for me to enjoy. And this week is like reaching a stage of nirvana or whatever is really a special place. It’s the annual conference of Romance Writers of America. So many authors in one space. Wow! So, if you’ve been following on our Twitter or on Facebook you know a wee bit about what we’ve been doing, who we’re meeting, and books we’re getting. But I wanted to talk about what it means to me as a reader, an addict to books if you will. It’s like being surrounded by friends I’ve known for years, creators of worlds with characters who have aided my education, stories that gave me a few hours away from stress and sadness to keep going, examples to follow that inspired me to success and sometimes just…

Maxine Paetro | Collaboration
Uncategorized / July 17, 2009

When I was the creative department manager of several top ad agencies, the part of my job that I found most rewarding was hiring creative talent. Among the 25,000 copywriters and art directors I interviewed was a talented junior copywriter with a portfolio that I critiqued. Over time, this junior writer became the Worldwide Creative Director of J. Walter Thompson, a huge advertising agency that was winning awards for Kodak, Burger King, Ford and other first-class clients. His name was James Patterson. In addition to supervising two hundred creative people and writing much of Thompson’s award-winning work, Jim Patterson wrote killer-thrillers in his spare time and developed an adrenaline-charged style that really connected with the reading public. His novels rocketed to the top of the best sellers lists every time. Years passed. Click here to read the rest of Maxine’s blog, leave a comment and enter her contest. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Allie Pleiter | Cry me a keeper…
Uncategorized / July 16, 2009

So, why is it we love to see our characters go to the brink of misery? Follow them to the loss of their most treasured people, dreams, and possessions? The answer is because it makes for the best reading. Drama is the stuff of great books, and drama is built on loss, conflict, stress, and any number of other nasty elements. Let’s face it; make up kisses are always the sweetest. We cheer for the couple that falls scarred and wounded into each other’s arms because deep down, we know the redemptive power of love. When a romance restores a soul, it affirms our deeply held belief that love really can conquer all. That it transforms, redeems, and changes lives. You could comb the Bible and find scores of verses that talk about love’s power. It’s the stories, though, that stick with us. The books where all seems lost and you can’t imagine how the hero and heroine are going to make it back to each other–those are the best ones. Because it means that anything can get better! Cameron and Dinah go through their share of misery in Bluegrass Blessings. They learn things, down in that dark hole, that…

Karen Kelley l Remembering the Hippie Days
Romance / July 15, 2009

Headbands, bell-bottoms, love beads, and Janis Joplin. Don’t worry about tomorrow, enjoy today. Getting back to nature, organic food…. I don’t know, maybe it’s the economy or something, but Karl and I planted a garden this year. We planted plenty of squash, peppers, and tomatoes because we figured some of the plants would die. They didn’t. Our freezer is almost full of squash (we have a small chest size freezer), but the tomatoes are getting ripe now. I’ve put squash in stir-fry, soups, spaghetti, and pizza. I’m going to need some more squash recipes. I’ve been wondering about squash wine. What do y’all think? The strangest thing has happened, though. I’m losing weight. By “bulking” up my food with lots of veggies, I don’t get hungry nearly as often. Crazy, isn’t it? Okay, now I have something to control my appetite, I wondered what would happen if I started exercising, just a short workout on the treadmill. I started out at 15 minutes, and that was pushing it. I’m a writer, and I sit on my butt every day so I have no exertion level. Zilch, none. I’ve lost 15 pounds! I’m empowered, look out world! Click here to read…

Louisa Burton | Confessions of a Research Slut
Uncategorized / July 14, 2009

When I first set out to write stories about incubi, succubi, and vampires, all I really knew about them was that they were mythological beings known for ravishing humans—a good premise, I thought, for a series of scalding erotic romances. Being an obsessive-compulsive researcher, I read everything I could find on the subject in order to build a world for my characters: a Babylonian succubus, a brooding djinni, a cheerfully lusty satyr, a tall, babe-alicious Nordic elf, and the occasional bothersome bloodsucker. It turns out that, until fairly recently, most people, no matter how learned, regarded “sexual demons” as real (in fact, a surprising number still do). St. Augustine (354-430) wrote that “…sylvans and fauns, who are commonly called ‘incubi,’ had often made wicked assaults upon women, and satisfied their lust upon them.” Nine hundred years later, St. Thomas Aquinas explained that incubi could actually beget human beings, “not from the seed of such demons… but from the seed of men taken for the purpose; as when the demon assumes first the form of a woman, and afterwards of a man.” Hmm… Digging deeper, I found a 17th century treatise by Father Ludovicus Maria Sinistrari de Ameno, in which he…

Betty Hechtman | Crafts and Murder
Uncategorized / July 13, 2009

Writing a craft mystery series is the best. I get to mix my love of making things with my love of mysteries. Like lots of other people, I got hooked on mysteries by reading Nancy Drew books – the originals. Who didn’t want to be her with all the adventures and cool little car? I was thrilled to find out I do have one thing in common with her – we both drive roadsters. My love of mystery grew as I read Agatha Christie’s books. I guess I ended up with a little something in common with her, too. Her Miss Marple knits and my character, Molly Pink, crochets. And just like you don’t have to know how to knit to enjoy Miss Marple’s stories, you don’t have to know how to crochet to read my series. Though I have heard from people who were inspired to pick up the hook after reading my books. Actually mixing in crochet grew out of my own desire to learn the craft. I have a degree in Fine Arts and have always sewed and done different crafts, but always wanted to learn how to make granny squares. I ended up using a children’s…

Sandi Shilhanek | Wow…Everyone Was SO Right! This book is terrific!
Sundays with Sandi / July 12, 2009

Last week we talked about books that we had heard a lot of hype about and that disappointed us, so I thought this week we’d discuss the books that got a lot of hype and we loved! A few years back I was seeing a lot of stuff about Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard. Everyone was just raving about it, and it was in my TBR so I decided to go for it. Well, I absolutely loved it! If I were a keeper I would have kept Mr. Perfect. All these years later I can’t tell you anything specific about Mr. Perfect, but I do remember thinking it had the perfect combination of suspense, romance, and humor. There are of course other books I’ve read because of the hype and loved but Mr. Perfect is the one that sticks in my mind because it’s one of the rare books that the DFW Readers all agree on. So what book did you read and enjoy because of the hype? Until next week happy page turning! Sandi Shilhanek DFW Tea ReadersReaders ‘n ‘ritas… celebrating literary obsessions Click here to read more… Visit to learn more about books and authors.