Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Erica Cameron | Why Fantasy?
Author Guest / November 8, 2018

One question I get asked the most is, “Why of all the genres did you choose to write a fantasy series?” I have always loved the fantastical. Epic adventures captured my imagination. Impossible magic enthralled me. Dragons, mermaids, fairies, and monsters thrilled every time I met them. One of my earliest book-specific memories is my father reading The Hobbit to me and my younger sister chapter by chapter every night, beginning to end. Twice. My first favorite author—at least the first I discovered for myself—was Tamora Pierce who gave children of the 80s and 90s female knights, demigods, and heroes, and from her, I branched deeper into the science fiction and fantasy section of the library and the bookstore. It was basically a given that when I committed myself to write a book, I wanted to create a fantasy world. It took me about fifteen years between the first attempt and first published fantasy novel. It took me a little longer than that to truly understand all the reasons why writing the book was so hard as well as why I loved fantasy for far more than the layer of magic on its surface. Speculative fiction—which includes fantasy, science fiction,…

Jeffe Kennedy | A Square Peg in a Round Hole
Author Guest / October 11, 2018

One of the early reviews of THE ARROWS OF THE HEART notes that the heroine, Karyn—while appearing to have been the meek and obedient daughter—has actually always been a square peg in a round hole. When I asked my fan group on Facebook (Jeffe’s Closet) what they’d like me to talk about, one reader suggested Karyn’s unconventional upbringing. It’s true that, in my fantasy world society known for its oppressive conventions, especially regarding the role of women, Karyn af Hardie has grown up in an unusual way. On the surface—especially when she appears in earlier books in the series—Karyn has always seemed like a conventional Dasnarian woman. Her rank in the Dasnarian Empire is very important to her. She clings to her arranged marriage with tenacity because, for a Dasnarian woman, her husband is everything. Since women in this culture cannot handle money, and usually aren’t taught to read or count, having a husband, or father or brothers, to protect and care for them is critical. It’s a matter of survival. Also, like all women of her station and upbringing, Karyn has been carefully taught to defer to men in every way. Defiance is not an option. See again: a…

Christopher Krovatin | Five Questions to Ask Yourself While Writing Paranormal Fiction
Author Guest / October 11, 2018

Writing my latest novel, FREQUENCY, was a blast. The book is a YA retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale that’s steeped in music—hard rock and EDM, primarily—so it gave me a chance to get weird and imaginative with how different forms of music affect different people in a supernatural way (plus, any chance to reference Motörhead in a novel is a gift from the universe). But one obstacle I kept encountering is that paranormal stuff allows for laziness. How does the hero escape the clutches of the villain? Magic! How does the villain know about the well-laid scheme against them? Werewolf! You get the idea. All these tricks are easy and played out, and as a reader, I hate books where paranormal elements were conveniently placed because the author obviously wanted to knock off early for lunch. So if you’re writing paranormal literature, here are a few questions to ask yourself to keep your writing challenging, entertaining, and grounded in just enough in reality to create real conflict. 1. “What if there was no magic?” The most important question. Back when I was brainstorming worlds for a sci-fi publishing imprint, I had a colleague who asked this all the…

Shanna’s Road Journal | Exploring ‘Suburban Fantasy’
Uncategorized / November 17, 2009

I’ve been on a deadline, so I’ve barely left the house lately, which rules out being “on the road,” and I haven’t even been around much online, but there was a panel topic from FenCon back in September that’s been churning around in my brain ever since then. The panel was on “suburban fantasy,” and that’s brought up some thoughts about where contemporary fantasy novels take place. The current “urban fantasy” genre seems to draw heavily from the hardboiled detective novels, with a somewhat outsider hero (or heroine) who is tough and street smart, dealing with the underworld. In urban fantasy, that hero usually has some kind of supernatural powers or status, and the underworld is the world of the paranormal. But what about contemporary fantasy stories that don’t use the city as a setting? The suburbs would seem like an ideal place to explore the idea of the “other.” In our culture, we think of the suburbs as a place of sameness and conformity. The houses all look alike, and every shopping area has the same national chain stores and restaurants. Anyone who doesn’t quite fit in can be made to feel very left out. Now multiply that by…

Heather Long | Shelf Wars: Science Fiction and Fantasy Strike Back
Uncategorized / September 9, 2009

My husband and I share similar tastes in books. Granted, he likes some authors that I just can’t get into and vice versa. But our last few trips to the bookstore haven’t been fruitful for him. Why? Because the plethora of urban fantasy and paranormal romance seem to have staged a coup on the science fiction and fantasy shelves of the bookstore. This is not to slight these wonderful books, not at all. For I am a huge fan not only of reading them, but of writing them. But my husband is floundering his way through the section looking for some solid science fiction in the flavor of David Weber‘s original Honor Harrington book: On Basilisk Station or Peter F. Hamilton‘s universe spanning Reality Dysfunction. For pure fantasy, he’s still enjoying Jim Butcher‘s Codex Alera series (which I have to confess, I haven’t started reading yet!) I love Jim’s Dresden books and my husband does too, but I’ve not been as into the high fantasy in a while. Luckily, I have the whole series on the shelf so far, so when I do get to reading it, I will have it. So, here is my dilemma. Finding the kind of…

Rita Herron | THE DEMONBORN: DARK HUNGER
Uncategorized / August 5, 2009

Myths and legends and the paranormal world When I first conceived of the idea for the Demonborn series and Dark Hunger, I knew I wanted to write about strong men, demons, crime fighters and the battle between good and evil. Next, I needed to build my paranormal world and make it different from all the other paranormals out there. What could make mine unique — fresh? The answer to that for me was to write about a world that intrigued me, a setting that I felt at home with, but one that naturally lended itself to a dark, eerie atmosphere that enhanced my story lines. I also thought having the paranormal creatures appear in the normal world was even more terrifying than to have a completely fantasy world. What if demons actually existed on Earth? Born a Southerner, spooky stories about ghosts, local legends, cemeteries, and odd things that go bump in the night filled my childhood. Since my series is a dark, gritty romantic suspense filled with evil demons and murder, my setting had to reflect that same creepy feeling. Click here to read the rest of Rita’s blog, leave a comment or enter her blog contest. Visit FreshFiction.com…

Jade Lee | TORTURED PRO NEEDS HELP. A lot of help…
Uncategorized / April 6, 2009

Some book are written from inspiration. Some books are written because there is a contract. And then there are books that simply won’t shut up!!!!! I write historical romance. That is the core of my career. Historicals set in the Regency era. Historicals set in China. Historicals set wherever my muse and the market wander. And then, because it’s fun, I’ll write contemporary sexy (as with my Blaze books) or paranormal (as with Crimson City or These Boots were Made for Stomping!). But those are just fun books and come along when someone offers the possibility to me, not because I go out searching for them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good books, but they are written because the opportunity found me, not the other way around. As you may imagine, the above keeps me very busy. So the last thing I needed was a fantasy romance series. Sure, I grew up reading Tolkien like everybody else, loved the Thomas Covenant chronicles (talk about an anti-hero!), and wrote my undergraduate thesis on Narnia. I have adored fantasy for years and mourned the absence of a decent love story in all those coming-of-age-with-magic books. But…and I’m going to put this in…

Christine and Ethan Rose | YA Fantasy: It’s Not Just for Kids
Uncategorized / December 16, 2008

As we tour around the country signing our book, Rowan of the Wood, we are frequently asked this question: “What age group is your book written for?” It’s a very difficult question to answer because we write for young readers of all ages. The content is appropriate for younger readers but it’s enjoyed by young and old, alike. I learned to read at the age of six. A year later, I read Gulliver’s Travels. By the time I was ten I was reading Frank Herbert‘s Dune, and now, at the age of 40, I consider Tove Jansson‘s Moomin books some of the best ever written. I read nearly as many young adult books as anything else. Many of the books I read in childhood were not fully understood by my younger self, but I enjoyed them anyway. They also helped me get a jump start on many difficult subjects that I would have to wrestle later in life. The mind of a child is much more curious and agile than that of an adult, as well as being infinitely more creative. It should be fed to the limit of its capacity. Good stories, well written and enthralling, are a great…

Lori Handeland | Where do you get your ideas?
Uncategorized / November 21, 2008

By far the question I’m asked most often is “Where do you get your ideas?” Not only by interviewers but by readers and by friends and family. I get the impression that those who know me best can’t believe I come up with all the creepy, violent “weird” stuff without some help. Which I guess is a compliment. I get my ideas in several ways. For instance, from something I’ve read. The concept for Any Given Doomsday came to me several years ago when I was researching another book and came across the legend of the Grigori, and it fascinated me. How the Grigori, or fallen angels, came to earth to watch the humans, then mated with the daughters of men and produced a supernatural race known as the Nephilim. I bought a bunch of books on prophesy, Revelation, angels, demons and read them whenever I had the chance and an idea started to nag at me—one of those ideas that captures an author and won’t let go. In the world of The Phoenix Chronicles, the Nephilim have been here since the beginning of time, wearing human faces, but beneath they are the monsters of legend—vampires, shape shifters and more….

Jennifer Lewis | What’s your fantasy destination?
Uncategorized / September 9, 2008

Inventing your own country is a lot of fun. If you like hunky Mediterranean men, you can make sure it’s densely populated with them. Naturally all your favorite foods feature prominently in local cuisine. And if you’d like to take a sensuous mental dip in the warm waters lapping against the crystal sands of your imaginary locale—who’s to stop you? I had all this fun and more in creating the nation of Caspia for my new book Prince of Midtown. It’s the third book in Silhouette Desire’s “Park Avenue Scandals.” The editors at Silhouette chose a different Desire author for each book in the series and gave us the plot and characters to make our own. In my case they also gave me a country. I was handed the name Caspia and informed that it was in Europe and “like Venice.” It came complete with handsome prince Sebastian Stone, a spirited playboy in desperate need of reform by the love of a good woman: namely his down-to-earth American assistant Tessa Banks. I’m the kind of writer who likes to know ALL the details, even if they don’t actually end up in the book, so first I had to figure out…