Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Uncategorized / February 13, 2009

“The decision to become a courtesan is not to be made lightly. A woman must be willing to make her own choices . . . and pay for them.” “–from the memoirs of Mlle. Blanche La Tour Thanks for the chance to guest blog here at FreshFiction. For those of you who’ve been following my blog tour, I hope you’ll bookmark this site. FreshFiction is fabulous. When I started writing VEXING THE VISCOUNT, I wanted to play with the idea of my heroine masquerading as a courtesan. But I knew Daisy Drake wouldn’t be convincing unless she had some inside information, so I allowed her to discover the memoirs of Blanche La Tour, a French “woman of pleasure.” Which meant I needed to research the life of an 18th century courtesan. Here’s a little of what I discovered: Move over, Britney! Eat your heart out, Paris! Courtesans were the original prey of the paparazzi. These darlings of the London tabloids provided the cartoonists of their day with juicy on dits and outrageous exploits to lampoon. Top-tier ‘birds of paradise’ demanded and received generous stipends, clothing allowances, jewels, houses, a box at the opera and endless diversions from their well-placed protectors….

Donna Russo Morin | Characters are the soul of the plot; plot is the receptacle of the soul.
Uncategorized / February 9, 2009

That’s the answer I give whenever asked the timeless question, “which is more important, character or plot?” And invariably I get a look of skeptical confusion. But to be truthful, we must recognize that not only can one not exist without the other, but that one cannot be successful without the other…a good character can not carry a book without a stirring story to breathe in. When we fall in love with a character, it is not only his or her instinctive traits that endear them to us, but their responses to the situations in which they find themselves. Quite frankly, Scarlett O’Hara (one of my favorite heroines of all time) would simply have been deemed a demanding diva if she acted the way she did under normal circumstances. If the war hadn’t broken out and if her struggle did not become one of survival for herself and her family, she would have become a character worthy of reality show depiction and abhorrence. Jeanne du Bois, the protagonist of my recent historical fiction release, THE COURTIER’S SECRET, would have been considered no more than a spoiled brat were her father not a controlling and abusive man, did she not live…

Lauren Willig | Driving by Misdirection, or Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Romance / February 5, 2009

Most things in my life happen when I’m trying to do something else. I don’t even mean the big things, like planning to write a dissertation and coming out with a series of romance novels instead (ought I to get an RD for that? I like the sound of Romanciae Doctor), or the fact that if I meant to go right, I usually walk left (I find all sorts of new and interesting places that way). This happens to me in my writing, too. What I wind up writing is seldom exactly what I intended it to be. Take my first book for example, the lengthily titled Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I very firmly told my agent that what I had produced was a “traditional Regency romance”. My agent is a very kind, patient sort of person. Instead of making snorting noises, he said, very gently, “Are you sure?” I was quite sure. “Um…” he said, flipping through the mental filofax for Tactful Ways to Deal With Deluded Authors. “Are you really sure?” That’s how I found out that what I’d really written was Napoleonic-era historical fiction/ romantic suspense/ mystery/ chick lit. No can quite agree on what…

Mary Nichols | Writing Historical
Uncategorized / February 3, 2009

I love writing historical romance, researching the backgrounds and working out how my hero and heroine are going to resolve their dilemmas. Although the majority of my books have Regency backgrounds, I have also used the English Civil War, the Jacobite Rebellion, the building of the railways (Working Man, Society Bride) and the outcry for and against building the Crystal Palace in Victoria’s reign (A Desirable Husband). Romance can be found in the most unexpected places. For instance, the conflict between Roland, the Earl of Amerleigh and Charlotte Cartwright in The Earl and The Hoyden, just out in the UK, involves a quarrel over the ownership of a Shropshire lead mine. Click To Read More Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Kat Martin | Trapped in the Past
Uncategorized / January 7, 2009

Trapped in the past for nearly two years, I have written four historicals in a row! I much prefer to mix in Contemporary Romantic Suspense, but contract obligations made it impossible. The good news is, when you are writing in a certain time period, you begin to get a feel for that period. Mostly, my historicals have been set in the Regency Period, but a few years ago, I got an itch to move on, and so I set The Heart Trilogy: HEART OF HONOR, HEART OF FIRE, and just released, HEART OF COURAGE, in London in the 1850’s. The books are all set around the London ladies’ gazette, Heart to Heart. I chose the period because it was a time when women were beginning to be involved in activities outside the home. They worked, they owned businesses, they were becoming more outspoken. I thought this time would give me an opportunity to explore a broader range of stories and I think it has. Currently I am immersed in The Bride’s Trilogy, books about three brothers, also set in the Victorian period. The first, ROYAL’S BRIDE, will be out next September. In the meantime, I hope you will watch for…

Diane Gaston | A Regency Christmas
Uncategorized / December 19, 2008

As an author of Regency Historicals, I love to imagine myself in Regency England. At this time of year that means imagining a Regency Christmas. The Regency (1810 – 1820) was the time period of the Napoleonic War, of literary greats such as Jane Austen and Lord Byron. Many familiar Christmas traditions–decorating Christmas trees, singing Silent Night, waiting for Santa Claus–did not emerge until the later Victorian times, but a Regency Christmas did have other traditions still celebrated today. Regency families decorated their houses with holly and ivy and evergreens of fir and pine. Mistletoe was hung and the tradition of a gentleman and lady kissing beneath it would have been part of a Regency Christmas. With each kiss the gentleman plucked a berry from the mistletoe. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses. Christmas was mainly a religious holiday during the Regency. Gifts were exchanged, church attended, and guests might be invited to Christmas dinner. At Christmas dinner a goose or turkey would be served. A Regency household would also serve a Christmas pudding that was made on Stir Up Sunday, the Sunday before Advent, and served on Christmas day. The pudding was a porridge of sugar,…

Uncategorized / December 11, 2008

No, I don’t write vampire novels, but I do write both contemporary and historical fiction. For the last ten years of my twenty-five-year writing career, I have written one romantic suspense novel and then one historical novel—back and forth. I have a writer’s split personality since it takes different skills and research techniques to do both. I love reading and writing in two genres and in two times, but it does have its challenges as well as its rewards. For my contemporary romantic suspense novels, I can visit the settings for my story and interview people who live there or have the same careers as my hero and heroine. For THE HIDING PLACE (Nov. 2008), I spent a week in the Rocky Mountains outside Denver. I was able to interview men with dogs trained as trackers. I took two classes to learn about how my female P.I. would work, one class from a tracer who looks for lost people, and one from a female private investigator. When I write my Elizabethan novels (most recently, THE LAST BOLEYN and MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE), I can, at least, still visit my settings. Nothing like a research trip to England! The Tower of London, Hampton…

Steve Berry | The Mystery of Charlemagne
Uncategorized / December 10, 2008

Charlemagne is a historical figure you don’t see a lot of in thrillers. Katherine Neville is the only writer I can recall who’s made good use of him. But he’s fascinating. He ruled for 47 years, and lived to be 74, at a time when kings rarely reigned more than 5 years, and people died long before age 40. He unified a continent, laid the groundwork for the formation, centuries later, of a modern Europe, and many of his policies and practices became proven models for western civilization. He was a visionary who surrounded himself with smart people and, for the first time, placed the needs of his subjects before royal ambition. He was so progressive that it begs the question—did he have help? Was he privy to special knowledge? Both questions spurred my imagination. Within The Charlemagne Pursuit I utilized an actual artifact known as the Voynich Manuscript. It’s preserved in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University . Supposedly created sometime in the 15th or 16th centuries, its folios are penned in a language that no one has ever been able to decipher. In addition, there are a multitude of colorful, odd drawings. By general…

Cathy Maxwell | The stress of the holiday season is already upon us!
Uncategorized / December 3, 2008

And it has always been that way. Not because we are doing anything stressful. What can be stressful about seeing family and friends? Okay, let me rephrase that—what can be stressful about seeing friends? The truth of the matter is that it isn’t a bad thing to try and do too much. It isn’t bad to push ourselves a bit or do a little extra. These shorter days beg for us to do something especially cheerful. But what is bad to not take our time and enjoy the doing of it. One of the ways I de-stress is with books. Hey, books are the best entertainment bang for under twenty dollars—many times less than five. If you go to your library, they are free. Reading helps you keep real worries and fears in perspective or gives you insights into other people’s lives that you can apply to your own, even in fiction. Perhaps I should say most always in fiction. I always feel revitalized after spending time with characters I love. Plus, I’m one of those read-at-bedtime people. It’s “me” time at the end of a long day. Right now, I’m helping Sid Halley solve a murder in a Dick…

Karin Tabke | The Holidays Are Here!
Uncategorized / December 2, 2008

And I’m still full from my turkey induced coma of last week, have done no shopping and don’t plan to. What am I going to do this holiday season? Read. And read some more. Funny thing that. Thanksgiving night I was going a bit stir crazy wanting a good book. One with a hot alpha, who had hot alpha friends, and who meet up with a heroine who was like no other woman any of them had ever encountered. I was stumped because this story also had to have mad passion, conflict and angst. I looked over my to-be-read pile and still could not quite find what I was looking for. Then I looked down at the box that had arrived from my publisher Simon and Schuster the day before. I knew what was in it, and I smiled. There in that box was a true love story that still haunts me almost 8 months after I wrote it: MASTER OR TORMENT, book two in my Blood Sword Legacy series. This story is of Sir Wulfson and Lady Tarian Godwinson. It is without exception a story of my heart and soul, and it transcended the pages. Reviewers love this story,…