Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Blair McDowell | On Casting THE MEMORY OF ROSES
Author Guest / November 30, 2013

A friend of mine is a film editor. She has worked on a number of major films, including one of my all-time favorites, Under the Tuscan Sun. She kindly offered to read my manuscript and make suggestions on THE MEMORY OF ROSES at the point where I was readying it for submission to publishers. She was helpful in a number of ways, principally in helping me to thinking visually, rather than only in words. What I enjoyed most in the exercise I did for her was “casting” my book. If it were to be made into a movie, who would I want to play the various parts in in? My heroine, Brit, would be a beautiful young actress I’ve only seen once—Claire Forlani who was the lead in Shadows in the Sun. She’d be quite perfect. Ian McQuaid, Brit’s father, would be Sean Connery as he was twenty years ago. Maria, Ian’s lover, Maybe Jennifer Lopez, but not quite. She needs to be younger, more innocent, more vulnerable. John Meyers, Brit’s attorney, would be Hector Elizondo (the hotel manager in Pretty Woman). That’s perfect casting. Emmanuel would be Vincent Riotta (the estate agent in Under the Tuscan Sun) Again I…

If We Could Turn Back Time… Eliza Knight, Terri Brisbin and Claire Delecroix
Author Guest / November 29, 2013

Once upon a blustery fall day, three bestselling romance authors got together to create a boxed set of stories that traveled far beyond our times, and deep into the hearts of our characters… Thus, the THREE TIMELESS LOVES boxed set was born! We often get asked why we write time-travels, so today we’re here to share with you our answers! Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of THREE TIMELESS LOVES—but make sure you answer our question! If you could travel back in time, where would you go? ELIZA: When I was eight, I stood in the center of the courtyard at Versailles Palace and stared up at the ornately carved and gilded statues. I imagined kings and queens and princesses having walked there. Wondered what it would be like if I’d been a princess back in those days, walking through the gardens in a satin, bejeweled gown, and running my fingers through the water of the fountains before a ball. Thus began my fascination with history, and wishing I could travel back in time. Guess what? I am a time traveler. I have traveled through time—in books. One of the reasons I love historicals is because…

Barbara Longley | Writing: Is it a choice, or a compulsion?
Author Guest / November 29, 2013

A coworker recently discovered I’m not just a teacher, but also a published author. He asked me what “made me” decide to become a writer. I had to think about it for awhile. I don’t recall ever making a conscious decisions to write. It’s just something I’ve always done. I do recall the day I decided to pursue publication, but that’s not the answer to his question. During my angsty adolescent years, writing was my way of processing all the drama (mostly manufactured in my own head) going on in my life. You know, the boy I had a crush on who didn’t feel the same about me, the fight with my best friend—the tragic fact that I had to share a room with my younger sister while dealing with two younger brothers and an older sister. Plus, I wrote about the trauma of moving frequently and always feeling like the new kid in school. I went through quite a few notebooks, believe me. As I matured, writing became a way of working through issues, sorting through my thoughts, values, beliefs and relationships. I began writing poetry and children’s stories at about the same time I started my own family….

Paula Altenburg | Ten TV Shows that Top my List
Author Guest / November 29, 2013

I’m not really much of a television watcher. I have commitment issues. If I get into something in the evenings, it tends to be episodic and funny and no-strings-attached. I like the Big Bang Theory for that reason. If I miss an episode I can catch up with no problem. I’ve tried to make Black Widow Demon, the second book in my Demon Outlaws trilogy, standalone for that reason. Nobody likes the middle book in a series. And nobody likes having to read books in order. My husband is the TV junkie in the household. It’s a good thing I’ve got him or my brain might turn to total mush. He watches Discovery and Oasis, and I tune in and out between reading and Facebook because I like looking at the pretty HD images. Now that I’ve discovered NetFlix, however, that’s all starting to change. I can binge watch at leisure. Mind you it’s Canadian NetFlix so my choices are limited, and that’s just as well. Thanks to social media, my attention span is shot. But I do have my favorites. My Demon Outlaws series is set in a dystopian future with a Wild West setting. Because of what I…

Mark Henry | Um…What? How PARTS & WRECK Came To Be
Author Guest / November 27, 2013

When I tell people that my first paranormal romance, PARTS & WRECK, is set amongst the vivisectionists of a secret organization that repossesses demonically infected transplant organs they do tend to give me a double take and then they ask, “What’s a vivi-who?” It’s basically someone who cuts into a living person or animal, usually for the purpose of research, but not always. The premise is intended to bring to mind that urban legend of tourists waking up in bathtubs with plenty of ice cubes but far fewer kidneys. Which doesn’t sound very romantic, but that’s where you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. So the next question is, invariably, “How in the heck did you come up with that? Well, when the opportunity to write a romance for Covet (Entangled Publishing’s paranormal romance flagship), I knew I had to do something very different. I’d always incorporated elements of romance into my urban fantasy stories but never used the romance itself as the central story. I had to rise to the challenge without watering down my weirdness. If you’ve never read my zombie comedy series (Happy Hour of the Damned, et al), you need to be aware that there’s a ton of…

Kristina McMorris | THE PIECES WE KEEP: Inspired by true stories
Author Guest / November 26, 2013

It all started with a televised news segment. At the center of the story was a young boy who frequently suffered from physically violent night terrors about dying in a plane crash. His knowledge of obscure historical facts eventually convinced his skeptical parents that, in a past life, he had been a WWII pilot who perished in battle. For personal reasons, the account instantly piqued my interest. Not only had my oldest son suffered from night terrors as a toddler, he also used to speak about a grandmother who didn’t exist. No doubt, it could have been merely the creative ramblings of a youngster. And where I stand on the topic, I couldn’t tell you for sure. But the news story did cause me to wonder: What would I have done if my own son had spouted historical details he couldn’t possibly know? And, from a literary view: What if those details were secrets other people wanted to keep buried? In completing the premise of my novel, I soon recalled a declassified report a friend had once shared with me—a case of Nazi saboteurs who were dropped off by U-Boat on the East Coast of America in 1942. As I…

Jared C. Wilson | Digging Up the Bones of a Novel Given Up for Dead
Author Guest / November 25, 2013

I began writing my first novel in 1997, the year my wife and I moved from Houston, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee. I have wanted to be a published writer since the first grade, evidenced by the blank next to the question What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up? in my elementary school progress book, in which my six year-old little hand scrawled the word “author.” Throughout adolescence I was a prolific writer, churning out short stories and school newspaper articles and lessons for my church youth group and the like. My dream all along was to write a novel like the ones I enjoyed so much as a kid, and in my dreamy imagination I knew I could work some idiosyncratic literary alchemy with proportionate parts C.S. Lewis and Stephen King. The conditions seemed right in ’97. I had a few months free before resuming studies at a university in our new state. Having left the comfortable familiarity of our hometown struck the right creative chords too. So—pouring decades of ambition, years of mental composition, and months of between-homes angst onto the page—I eventually produced my first full-length work of fiction, a supernatural thriller titled OTHERWORLD. Things…

Lisa Carter | When Setting Becomes a Character ~ Comment To Win
Author Guest / November 25, 2013

Aloha from the 50th state and the land of a thousand rainbows. Have you ever read a book with not only a terrific storyline, but where the setting of the novel comes to vibrant life and becomes a character in its own right? Maybe you’ve read about different locales and dreamed of traveling there. But short of time travel or culture hopping, you may never be able to personally experience an 1864 Civil War battlefield or dystopian sci-fi adventure. But these worlds are to book lovers as easy to access as picking up our e-readers or the latest paperback. Because the best novels transport readers to a vivid place and time, becoming almost a character in and of themselves. Some of my favorites include: Mitford in the Jan Karon novels; and the world of Narnia created by C.S. Lewis. Creating captivating settings is half the fun for me. Last year, I reunited with a college friend, who shared with me how she’d located her birth father in Hawaii and how a wonderful, new chapter in her life had opened. Through a difficult personal journey, she and her family had come full circle. And that very day, the seed of ALOHA…

Amy Matayo | The Wedding Game
Author Guest / November 24, 2013

Would YOU marry a stranger for two million dollars? I totally would not. Definitely wouldn’t. No way, not happening. Not in a million years. Certainly not for something as trivial as cash. Unless… I could finally take that trip to Fiji I’ve wanted to take since watching The Blue Lagoon when I was an inappropriately underage pre-teen girl. But I loved that movie. Loved it. Fantasized about wearing a loin cloth and traipsing around carefree though lush foliage and abandoned caves. Dreamed of swimming underwater Brooke Shield’s-style with seriously cute Christopher Atkins (I might have been ten years old, but I noticed). Whatever happened to him, anyway? He was adorable in a permed-hair, blonde, native islander kind of way. Or if… I could hire the housekeeper I’ve dreamed of hiring since buying my first home fourteen years ago. I’ve basically lived in the slums since then. Okay, not really. But things would very likely be one-hundred percent better if someone would clean my toilets a little more often than I manage to do them myself. And don’t get me started on my windows. I’m pretty sure there’s a sun shining outside most days. It might be nice if I could…

Ginger Garrett | What Did the Squid Say to the Turkey?
Author Guest / November 24, 2013

On Thanksgiving Day, I’ll find out. The Basques are descending on my home for the holidays. My husband’s family is from the Basque country in Spain, and ten of them are coming for Thanksgiving. They love to eat Squid’s Ink Soup (it’s black) and clams with rice. My own family, which hails from Texas and Oklahoma, prefers the traditional turkey and cornbread dressing. We like beer; they like red wine. But on Thanksgiving, we’re all family. We will celebrate being together, even if we don’t share the same tastes. Fiction readers are like that, too, aren’t we? Some of us love dark mysteries, some prefer gentle romances, and some want to explore space or history. (Personally, I like to explore the lives of notorious women in history, like Jezebel.) Yet we’re all family. We can hang out on the same blog and celebrate what bonds us together: a story, well told. Readers and writers long for the beauty that a great story delivers. We all appreciate words and their power. That’s why this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you. We may share the same tastes, or we might not. Either way, words have made us a family. And whenever a…