Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Alexa Aston | The History Behind the Lawmen of the West Series
Author Guest / September 22, 2021

As a former history teacher, I enjoy the research aspect when plotting and writing my Regency, Medieval, & Western historical romances. I have researched topics such as falconry, herbs, archery, the waltz, dime novels, food, and clothing of the various eras I write in. I can tell you the correct way to address a duke and the different positions men rode driving cattle to market. My recent Lawmen of the West series made for uncovering some fascinating facts, though! For Ballad Beauty, I visited the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame Museum in Waco, Texas (after a stop at Magnolia Bakery, of course). I viewed different kinds of weapons and uniforms on display and recorded the oath each potential Ranger took. I also researched Irish ballads for this romance, as the heroine was tracking a treasure her Irish father had hidden. He provided clues to its location using songs he sang to her as a child. Blind Faith had me studying bullet wounds and blindness, which my US marshal suffered during a mission to rescue a kidnapped senator and his son, while I delved into 19th-century painting since my heroine was a landscape artist. I like to think she was just…

Ella Quinn | Regency Research
Author Guest / April 14, 2021

Hello everyone and thank you to Fresh Fiction for having me on their blog! I’m Ella Quinn and I write fun, smart, spicy Regencies. Normally, I’d talk about travel, but with the year we’ve had that would just be cruel. Here in Europe, even the vaccinated have to follow all the mask and social distancing mandates. So, let’s discuss research. As you can imagine, writing historical novels requires a great deal of research. Fortunately, I love it. Years and years ago, I’d get lost in the library stacks. I was majoring in Political Science, and I remember one time I found the letters of James Joyce to his wife just down the aisle from what I was researching at the time. My husband-to-be was in the Army and deployed, and for whatever reason Joyce influenced my letters (this was pre-email) to the man who has been my husband for thirty-seven years. But I digress, which in itself is part of doing research. For example, I write with the Oxford English Dictionary online open so that I can make sure that the words I use were used at that time and in the right context. Recently, I discovered that eyeglasses were…

Cate Holahan | Researching One Little Secret
Author Guest / July 8, 2019

The detective first took me to her Captain’s office.  A long-time veteran of the force, the man was older than my escort, his once dark hair bleached silver by some combination of years and stress. He considered the detective the way a grandfather might look at a particularly studious kid, his eyes betraying admiration with a touch of amusement. She was a hard-working investigator and she was being interviewed by an author. He’d known her as a beat cop. Detective Shonah Maldonado, for her part, regarded her boss with a mix of respect and gratitude. He’d believed in her when few on the force had thought the junior female officers would rise much further than patrol. Her appreciation, however, was about more than his giving her a shot. The man was smart. He’d correctly identified a need for more female detectives to handle the kinds of crimes that were all too frequently crossing his desk: domestic abuse, sexual assaults, and child endangerment. Some female victims—and perpetrators—only opened up to women. And Maldonado, with her empathetic smile and patient demeanor, was just the kind of cop who could get folks talking. That day, though, I was at the station to get…

Opal Carew | The Confessions of an Erotic Romance Author Or How I Research my Erotic Romance Books
Uncategorized / January 27, 2010

Do I do all those things I describe in my books? As an erotic romance author, I find that people seem to be fascinated with how I research my novels. It is the most frequent question people ask me — usually with a wink and a grin. At a recent signing at a show called Sexapalooza in my home city of Ottawa, Canada, many people asked if it’s personal experience. I glanced around at the piles of books (6 different novels) and winked, telling them I’ve been a very busy lady. (My husband of over 25 years just chuckled! Um, yeah, I was about 2 when I got married!) So how do I do my research? Well, I’ve found that there is an unexpected wealth of information all around us. At a family gathering, my niece, who has studied hypnotherapy, told me about an intriguing concept called erotic hypnosis. That inspired me to write a scene where one of my heroines (Hanna in BLUSH) enjoyed a very hot erotic fantasy with a plethora of sexy, leather-clad bikers. What I loved most was that I could really push the limits because it was a guided flight of imagination. To read more…

Louisa Burton | Confessions of a Research Slut
Uncategorized / July 14, 2009

When I first set out to write stories about incubi, succubi, and vampires, all I really knew about them was that they were mythological beings known for ravishing humans—a good premise, I thought, for a series of scalding erotic romances. Being an obsessive-compulsive researcher, I read everything I could find on the subject in order to build a world for my characters: a Babylonian succubus, a brooding djinni, a cheerfully lusty satyr, a tall, babe-alicious Nordic elf, and the occasional bothersome bloodsucker. It turns out that, until fairly recently, most people, no matter how learned, regarded “sexual demons” as real (in fact, a surprising number still do). St. Augustine (354-430) wrote that “…sylvans and fauns, who are commonly called ‘incubi,’ had often made wicked assaults upon women, and satisfied their lust upon them.” Nine hundred years later, St. Thomas Aquinas explained that incubi could actually beget human beings, “not from the seed of such demons… but from the seed of men taken for the purpose; as when the demon assumes first the form of a woman, and afterwards of a man.” Hmm… Digging deeper, I found a 17th century treatise by Father Ludovicus Maria Sinistrari de Ameno, in which he…

Kyle Mills | Research: The Art of Not Making Things Up
Uncategorized / March 26, 2009

I’ve learned a lot about novel writing in the more than ten years I’ve been doing it, but most of those lessons came with my first, Rising Phoenix. People really care about the books they read. And I love that. Unfortunately, I wrote Rising while I was working full time, so there was no way for me to scout the exotic locations I included. And the Internet didn’t exist yet, so casually clicking my way to enlightenment wasn’t an option. I did the best I could with magazine articles and encyclopedias until the excitement of finding a publisher made me completely forget the stuff I’d glossed over. Click here to read the rest of Kyle’s blog and to leave a comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Anne McAllister | Where do you get your ideas?
Uncategorized / December 15, 2008

The most common question writers are asked is: Where do you get your ideas? Generally the people asking it are perplexed because they can’t quite fathom how such ideas come or how they are different from other ideas or what writers can possibly do with them when they do turn up. Usually I say, “Ideas are everywhere.” But that doesn’t really help. So in case you’re wondering how things come together, let me just illustrate with my January Harlequin Presents, Antonides’ Forbidden Wife. It certainly didn’t come as a full-blown story. No IDEA (in capital letters) popped up in my head. In fact, it wasn’t supposed to be a story at all — because PJ Antonides is not what is commonly considered “a Presents hero.” He was a surfer, for heaven’s sake! He made an appearance in an earlier book. As the younger brother of the uptight, determined, severely responsible hero, PJ was by turns annoying, misunderstood, breezy and charming. Pretty much everything his brother was not. He also didn’t own any multi-national corporations on the side. He was also, in that book, called Peter because that’s my husband’s name and I called him that because I wanted a name…

Lindsay McKenna | Researching blog
Uncategorized / November 29, 2008

I love research. It gets me out in the field and I meet some of the most remarkable people in those professions. Research, to me, is more fun than writing the book! I get to travel, learn something new and look at what I’m being educated about and how it might fit into a brewing plot in my head. Every writer, in my opinion, should write what she or he knows. No matter how much your experience, you’re going to run out of books based upon your life knowledge. And then, moving to topics that make you salivate, is the next step. For example, using DANGEROUS PREY, my HQN that is coming out in December, 2008, will give you some helpful information. It is a book where the hero is a raptor rehabilitator. I can tell you that I’m not an expert on raptors or how to help them when they get injured. Sometimes kismet occurs and a writer gets lucky. I’m a member of the Flagstaff, Arizona Arboretum . I was up there about two years ago to do some photographing of their flowers. Imagine my shock and surprise when I saw this gorgeous blond haired woman with a…

Deanna Raybourn | Writer’s Passion
Uncategorized / September 19, 2008

As a writer of historical fiction, I am frequently asked about research. Specifically, readers—and aspiring writers—want to know if it is necessary for me to visit the sites I write about. On this point I always give a firm and unequivocal yes. And no. Contradictory, I know, but hear me out. Developing a historical novel means creating a dual setting; it means creating a specific time and place for your reader to inhabit. They are a tourist in your world, and you must give them a guidebook of essential details to help them get around. In order to do that, you have to know the neighborhood at least as well as they do—and preferably better! In preparation for writing Silent in the Grave, I traveled to England. (Technically, I tagged along on a school trip as a chaperone—a maneuver I only recommend to the truly desperate or masochistic.) I had planned that Grave would be a Regency effort, light and sparkling and frothy as a syllabub with just a spot of murder to spice the pot. But once I began writing, I realized the book needed Victorian London, a city of foggy streets, shadowed by industry and populated by Jack…

C. C. Harrison | Strong Women
Uncategorized / June 23, 2008

I admire strong women, don’t you? I’m not talking about famous women who have made important world changing contributions to science, literature, medicine or other areas of our culture. I’m talking about the young women of today who set goals, plan their lives, and make intelligent decisions for themselves. Women like Amanda, Tricia and Melissa, the three college students who were with me on the Navajo Indian Reservation as VISTA volunteers. They were smart and sharp, knew what they wanted, and deliberately set out to get it. But I’m also talking about fictional women. My favorite is Scarlett O’Hara. I read GONE WITH THE WIND scads of years ago, but I will never forget the feeling of empowerment that came over me when time after time, Scarlett stood firm and met seemingly impossible challenges while everyone around her was going to pieces. Remember when she stood in that weather-ravaged potato field swearing she would never go hungry again? It gives me a thrill even now. And I loved all the fictional heroines of those wonderful gothic novels of the seventies written by fabulous authors like Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Norah Lofts, and Phyllis Whitney. When the women in their stories…