Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Kate Collins | Follow Your Bliss
Author Guest / February 9, 2015

I almost titled this Paralyzed by Fear, but that sounded too negative, and I want this to be a positively uplifting blog.  Just so you know, I’m using the word “bliss” to reference what makes us happy in life, what makes us want to get up in the morning, what fulfills us as human beings. Stalled careers are a big problem among writers both published and unpublished. I’ve met people who want to be published, who have the ability to write, but can’t bring themselves to send their work out to a publishing house for fear of rejection. I’ve met talented musicians and artists with the same problem. The only thing keeping them from achieving their bliss is fear. They are afraid to trust their talent. They’re afraid of how bad rejection will feel. They’re afraid they’ll be humiliated. Ask successful writers/artists/musicians about those fears and they will tell you they had to let go of them or they never would have made it. Being out in the public as much as I am, I encounter so many people who are stuck in a cloud of fear and negativity—from stalled careers, money troubles, relationship issues, parenting problems, and on and…

Lucy Arlington | Writing Real People
Author Guest / February 9, 2015

People often ask me if I use real people as my characters. Some ask with a bit of a grin and sly wink, as if to say, “You could use me, if you wish.” The answer is always no, and often receives a disappointed sigh from the person who asked. But using real people as characters could be libelous. And while everyone has some interesting aspects to their lives and/or personalities, fictional characters need a ton of fascinating traits to really hold readers’ attention. So, what I like to do is “borrow” a few of those attributes from the people around me and merge them into my fictional characters. For example, the lady who lives down the road and wakes at the crack of dawn every spring day to painstakingly clip the yellow heads off dandelions in her yard—all million gazillion of them—well, I find her fascinating. What motivates her behavior? (Besides the fact that she doesn’t like dandelions.) What type of person has the tenacity, or perhaps the compulsiveness, to do such a thing? What other compulsions might she have? And how does she feel about the guy who lives next door to her with the field of weeds,…

Sheila Connolly | Inspired by Ireland
Author Guest / February 9, 2015

At the heart of the County Cork Mysteries is the second book I ever wrote, set in a small pub in a very small town in southwestern Ireland. It was inspired by a real pub called Connolly’s, which I’ve come to know well over the past decade (especially after having tea with the owner in the back room, with her Irish Wolfhound by the fire and her cat in my lap). I chose to write about Ireland because I never knew my father’s parents, both of whom were born there (although in different counties), and I thought seeing the country might be a way to get to know them. My grandmother and grandfather came to New York separately, in 1911, and connected when he made milk deliveries to the back door of the house where she was a servant. They didn’t marry until 1918, and they had my father a year later. My grandmother was 38 at the time. They went on to have two more children. My father became a chemical engineer and earned a master’s degree. His younger brother was a nuclear engineer at Stanford, after getting a Ph.D. at Cal Tech. Their baby sister worked in television…