Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Faye | When All Looks Lost
Author Guest / October 14, 2014

Sometimes life has a way of throwing up so many roadblocks at once that certain aspects of life can seem utterly hopeless. I know. This happened to me with my writing career. I almost gave up the pursuit because I gave up the hope that one day I’d be sitting on my front porch writing this blog about my name being on the cover of a new book that’s about to hit store shelves. 🙂 My love of reading and writing started as a young child, but it wasn’t until 2007 that I decided to pursue my dream in earnest. My husband and I made the decision that I would quit my day job and work on my writing full-time. It was a scary step—walking away from a job I’d held for many, many years. But most ventures are scary at the beginning. It takes courage to follow your dreams. I started off entering contests…lots of RWA contests that had a Harlequin editor as final judge. I learned so much from that experience. By 2010, I entered the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest but didn’t final. However, I won an editor critique. I was thrilled. I was so certain…

Miranda James | Miss Marple Hooked Me
Author Guest / October 14, 2014

I have always had a predilection for female amateur detectives, ever since I first discovered Nancy Drew over forty years ago with The Secret of Shadow Ranch. That was the first mystery I read, and when I graduated to adult mysteries, I discovered Agatha Christie and her spinster sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. I was hooked. As much as I have enjoyed Dame Agatha’s Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple is still my favorite. Perhaps the root of my preference lies in my upbringing. My mother had four sisters, all of whom I knew well growing up. Then there were my paternal grandmother and her sister, my three paternal great aunts, and of course my maternal grandmother. They were all strong Southern women with inquisitive minds, and I learned many an interesting tidbit about human foibles and misdeeds by playing quietly by myself in the corner while these ladies chatted. (Or gossiped, whichever you prefer.) Spinster detectives – or “little old ladies” as they are sometimes called, not necessarily affectionately – have been part of the mystery genre since 1897, when Anna Katherine Green introduced Miss Amelia Butterworth in That Affair Next Door. Miss Amelia established the essentials for the amateur spinster sleuth…

Mary Sullivan | The Fishbowl of Fame
Author Guest / October 14, 2014

My eleventh Superromance, NO ORDINARY HOME, is currently on bookstore shelves. I can’t believe I have eleven books out and ideas for more stories continue to pop into my head! One of the themes I explore in this book is the question of how much of themselves celebrities owe to the public. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a celebrity? To be so famous that most people would recognize you when you walked down the street? I know I would find it a nightmare to live in that kind of fishbowl, and to have paparazzi follow me everywhere I go. I can understand why some child stars have trouble navigating through tumultuous teen years into adulthood…and why so many of them lose their way. Unfortunately for them, their breakdowns are all too public. The media seem to relish exposing their flaws. My heroine, Gracie Travers. has experienced the nightmare of living in a fishbowl and has gone to great lengths to preserve her privacy and sanity as an adult. In the end, through the hero, Austin Trumball, she just might lose it all. Her fear of exposure is tangible. In her own words… “Do you…

Anjali Mitter Duva | Music and Movement in Writing
Author Guest / October 14, 2014

Music is at the heart of FAINT PROMISE OF RAIN. The setting for the story—16th century Rajasthan in Northwest India—had already been laid down by multiple visits to that stunning part of the world, where temples and fortresses rise up from golden sand, where textiles are jewel-toned, and the sky is devastatingly blue. Take away the power lines, and everything else looks much as it must have five hundred years ago. The next story layer came in a very different shape: a class in kathak dance, a classical storytelling art from North India. The moment I set foot into the dance studio, I was smitten. Jingling ankle bells, syncopated rhythms of the tabla (drums), precise footwork, lightning fast turns punctuated by perfect stillness. The moments of silence in music sometimes speak more than the notes themselves. In kathak, the dancer becomes an instrument. In addition to studying dance technique and compositions, the dancer must become intimately familiar with the cycles in which Indian classical music is structured—the 16 beat cycle (tintal), the 14 beat (dhammar), the 10 beat (jhaptal) and many others—and develop an awareness at all times of where in the cycle she finds herself. Much as a writer…

Heather Heyford | A Birthday Toast to A TASTE OF CHARDONNAY
Author Guest / October 14, 2014

Last December while I was balancing on a rickety ladder to hang a string of lights above my fireplace mantel, I got ‘the call.’ I almost didn’t answer. I’d left the phone lying over on the kitchen counter—within sight, but out of reach. I told myself by the time I scrambled down and dashed over there, whoever it was would probably have already hung up. But what if it was New York? (It was never New York, but still, that’s what I’d been hoping and praying for ever since sending my manuscript out weeks earlier.) When I left teaching, there was already a fully formed story in my head, begging to be put into words. So what if I’d never taken a writing course? I had a master’s degree. I could do this! For the next two years, I wrote and I wrote…making every mistake a writer could possibly make along the way. I was clueless. When a fellow member of my local Romance Writers of America chapter asked me what genre I wrote in, I replied, “genre?” The manuscript was rejected a dozen times, and rightly so. Only then did I realize that there’s an actual craft to putting…