Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
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…

Dianna Love | Walk the Land
Uncategorized / June 6, 2008

Research is the strength of all stories, regardless if it is contemporary, historical, fantasy or futuristic. So how does an author create real settings in all of these worlds? I like to walk the land every time I can to pick up details we don’t see in a casual passing or on the internet. When Sherrilyn Kenyon and I were writing our new romantic-suspense story PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT (Pocket/June 10, 2008) last fall, we spent time in New Orleans (NO) surveying areas specifically for the story in spite of our joint knowledge of Louisiana. Sherrilyn knows New Orleans well since her Dark-Hunter series is set primarily there, KCON (Kenyon Convention) is in or around the French Quarter each year and she lived in NO at one time. I had family in Louisiana at one time and still do in Biloxi, Mississippi, plus friends in NO. I’ve fished from many of the coastal Louisiana towns along the Gulf of Mexico and had a business in NO at one time, so Louisiana has been a favorite location of mine for many years. Even with all this background, we spent time there last fall “walking the land” so we had fresh images…

Susan Lyons | I Hate Research – Except When I Don’t
Uncategorized / May 15, 2008

Personally, I’m not a big fan of research, and after 10 years of university I’d hoped my research days were behind me. Not so! But at least when I’m writing fiction, I can choose topics that interest me. Firefighters, for example. I decided that the hero of HOT IN HERE (the 2nd book in my Awesome Foursome series, which is a kind of “Sex And The City” series set in Vancouver, BC), would be a firefighter. Now there, let me tell you, was one tough research assignment! Drinking tea in a Vancouver fire hall kitchen with a group of hot firefighters; visiting a firefighter training centre in Reno; having a couple of Queensland firefighters dress me up in full turnout regalia, then catch me when I promptly toppled over! Not all research is that much fun, unfortunately. Sometimes it’s a matter of a quick or lengthy internet search or reading a stack of library books. That’s great for getting the factual info. I’ll usually start there. Then, if possible, I’ll set up an interview or two. Hearing people’s experiences and insights adds so much flesh to those factual bones. Personal experience is the best thing, of course – it gives…