Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Uncategorized / July 7, 2009

This summer, the 9th Bones book, GREEDY BONES, will be released by St. Martin’s Minotaur. I’m hard at work on the 10th book. People often ask me if I grow weary of the characters in Zinnia. After all, I’ve been in relationship with them for ten years or better, which is longer than many marriages. I never get tired of the Zinnia gang. They’re old friends to me. Trusted friends who share wisdom, laughter, shenanigans, and a zest for life that I often find in my real life friends and in the letters of many readers who’ve written to me. Sarah Booth, Jitty, Tinkie, Cece and Millie bring out the best in me, I think. One of the most interesting things is how much these characters have grown and changed over the books, exactly as real people do. Click to read the rest of Carolyn’s blog and to leave a comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Dianne Emley | Ten Commandments of Fiction Writing
Uncategorized / March 13, 2009

Thank you, Fresh Fiction for inviting me to blog today! I’m Dianne Emley, author of the L.A. Times bestselling Detective Nan Vining “thrillogy”: THE FIRST CUT, CUT TO THE QUICK, and, just out, THE DEEPEST CUT. These three are a thrillogy because they have an overarching storyline in which Nan Vining obsessively pursues the man who attacked her and left her for dead, the creep who Vining and her teenage daughter call T.B. Mann—The Bad Man. The Nan Vining series continues! I’m working on the fourth which will be out in 2010. I’ve learned a lot about the art and business of writing since the first book hit the shelves. I’ve become not just smarter, but wiser. I’ve developed a few rules that I strive to follow when I’m writing and editing a book and some that govern my behavior when the book is out. I’d like to share these with you. Herewith: Dianne Emley’s Ten Commandments of Fiction Writing1. I shall heed good editorial advice, shun bad advice, and learn how to tell the difference. Click to read the rest of Dianne’s Commandments! Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Cindy Keen Reynders | Appreciating Family
Uncategorized / December 22, 2008

As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and get away from home. I thought my brothers and sisters were annoying. I thought my parents were straight from the Stone Age. After high school, I went to college, got married, then I was off and running. I lived in Texas, Japan, South Dakota, Colorado, moved back to Japan, then back to Colorado. Finally, twenty-two years later, I moved home to Cheyenne, Wyo. which is full of my relatives. After all those years and all those places, you’d think I’d sit down and write a book about my travels. Somehow I became fascinated by the dynamics of the home folks; the ups, the downs—everything. So I wrote a book about an off-the-wall family in the small, fictional town of Moose Creek Wyoming. I focused particularly on sisters Lexie Lightfoot and Lucy Parnell. In my book, The Saucy Lucy Murders and its sequel, Paws-itively Guilty, Lexie has moved back home after a divorce. She finds that with age, she and Lucy have mellowed. Nevertheless, the sisters still manage to backslide into the roles of bossy, older sibling and younger, rebellious sibling. After several mysterious murders occur in town, Lexie decides the…

Karen E. Olson | SHOT GIRL
Uncategorized / December 17, 2008

My fourth Annie Seymour mystery, SHOT GIRL, came out on Election Day. So far, reviews and comments from readers have been good. All are saying it’s the best in the series. It was the hardest one to write. I decided to do something different with SHOT GIRL. With each book, I embrace a different style. My first book was a traditional mystery, the second is what I call my Mafia book, and the third is much more fast paced and thriller like. In SHOT GIRL, Annie is an unreliable narrator. I had a friend express surprise that I would do this in the fourth — and last — book in the series. Wasn’t it a risk? she asked. Sure it was, but I wanted to see if I could do it, if I could pull it off. When I’d started writing the book, I’d just finished reading Scott Turow‘s PRESUMED INNOCENT, in which he masterfully portrayed an unreliable narrator. Could I do that with Annie? I thought. It was worth a shot. My goal was to have the reader ask throughout the book: Is Annie telling me the truth? What is she keeping secret? I know she’s not telling me…

Cynthia Baxter | The Importance of Creating a Compelling Main Character
Uncategorized / November 6, 2008

What goes into writing a good mystery? While it’s critical to have a compelling plot filled with twists and turns, I’ve always believed that the book’s heroine – and the development of her “real life” – was at least as important. When I started writing the Reigning Cats & Dogs mystery series, I wanted the focus to be my protagonist, Jessica Popper. Jessie is a veterinarian with a mobile services unit, essentially a clinic on wheels. I chose to make her practice mobile instead of based in a regular office because she needed an excuse to go out into the community every day, talking to suspects and ferreting out clues. But since I love to incorporate humor in all my books, I wanted her to be sassy, independent, and strong-headed, as well as someone who was battling a few demons. The main one is her conflict over commitment, which provides the ups and downs she experiences with her boyfriend Nick. (I tried to model their relationship after the sparkling repartee in those wonderful old Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy flicks – or one of my favorite movies of all times, It Happened One Night.) The Reigning Cats & Dogs series was already…

Vicki Lane | No Manolos, No Makeup, and the Romantic Interest is Bald
Uncategorized / June 17, 2008

“She flowed into his arms and they stood silently for a moment: two middle-aged people, much encumbered by heavy winter outerwear and vintage emotional baggage, but, for the moment, in perfect harmony.” So, I get the invitation to blog on Fresh Fiction and I accept joyfully, especially since the kind folks here have named my recent release In a Dark Season “Pick of the Day” (5/25/08). I start checking out some past blogs and then I see the covers of featured books. Hmmm. Flowing hair, heaving bosoms, and more six-packs than a convenience store. Oh dear! This isn’t what I write – do they really want me? Mind you, I have nothing against tempestuous heroines and hunky heroes – I’ve drooled my way through a Judith Krantz title or two before this. But when I began to write in 2000 – at the age of fifty seven – I’d already spent about ten years, looking around for role models — older women who were aging in the way I hoped to. It seemed as if the media was crawling with gorgeous twenty-somethings and the occasional cute, feisty old lady and in real life there was a great middle ground of…

Rhonda Pollero | Finnley is soooo not me!
Uncategorized / February 4, 2008

I’ve heard that a lot since the debut of my of the Finley Anderson Tanner series. I can’t attest to how much she and I are alike. Yes, Finley and I share the same sense of humor and I suppose her moral code mirrors my own. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. Well, excluding the fact that she’s blonde and short. That’s a function of practicality. Being blonde and short myself, I know how to dress Finley (fairly high heels are important) and the physicality of the character’s actions reflect the fact that unless she started dating Michael J. Fox, she’d never know what it felt like to dance with her head resting on a guy’s shoulder. In all other aspects, Finley and I couldn’t be less alike. She’s a shopper, something I personally loathe. I’d rather remove a kidney than go to a mall. The whole idea of window-shopping makes me want to stick pencils in my eyes. Finley’s also heavily in debt, another personal taboo of mine. But the biggest difference is that she’s an underachiever by choice. I’m so much of an overachiever that I probably could benefit from lengthy therapy. Crafting a character is never…

Hank Phillippi Ryan | Keeping Mom Happy
Uncategorized / January 23, 2008

My mother is so mad at me. She’s in the midst of reading Face Time, the newest Charlotte McNally Mystery. It’s just been named a Book Sense Notable Book, and it’s on the Boston Globe Best Seller list. I say: Hooray. And I expected the same reaction from my mother. But Mom, who has only read the first ten pages or so, actually said: “I’m sure that’s lovely, dear.” You have to imagine the “Mom” tone. Maybe you’ve used it a time or two yourself. Or perhaps, you’ve heard it. I’m thinking all daughters have. Turns out, Mom is unhappy with Face Time. To be sure: Mom is terrific. She’s almost 80, and is absolutely beautiful. An artist, a reader, a wonderful intellect. (She doesn’t have a computer, so she’s not reading this.) I’m her oldest daughter, and any psychologist will tell you that can cause some friction. So anyway. Why is Mom mad? She thinks I’ve “used her for art.” It’s true: Charlie McNally’s mother in Face Time is a bit—persnickety. She’s opinionated. She thinks, for instance, that Charlotte might want to give up her very successful 20-year TV career to marry some tycoon and become a tycoon wife….

Sheila Lowe | Between the Lines – Forensically Speaking
Uncategorized / January 9, 2008

Are you a CSI buff? Do you watch every episode of Cold Case, Forensic Files, Law & Order and all the spinoffs? Then you are one of the people who have turned forensics into a hugely popular field. These days, DNA, fingerprints, and all that technical stuff makes fantastic (or more correctly, realistic) fodder for fiction. So what better time to introduce a new kind of forensic expert? I’ve been in the field of handwriting analysis for forty years and occasionally, I testify in court cases as an expert witness. My practice includes working on cases of forged wills, anonymous letters, and all sorts of legal chicanery, as well as behavioral profiling. And my clients have never been as savvy or as interested in what their handwriting says about them as they are today. At the same time, there are some who believe that in an age of Ipod, BlackBerry, and text messaging, handwriting has lost its relevance. But the truth is, your handwriting–chicken scratch though it may be–remains an important form of personal expression, and it paints a true portrait of your personality. The way you arrange your handwriting on the page, the style you use, and the rhythm…

Lois Greiman – Fantasy Freebies!
Uncategorized / October 30, 2007

Hey, I have a new Christina McMullen UN-mystery (Unmanned) coming out at the end of the month, so…in honor of Christina and her less than stellar dating history, I ask: Who’s your fantasy freebie?Okay, I understand that some of us have husbands/boyfriends/significant others who wouldn’t agree to a freebie even if the seven horsemen of the Apocalypse were thundering down on us from the sky. But if you could spend the night with anyone free of guilt, blame, and venereal disease, who would it be? Christina and I discussed this at some length. It was a difficult task, sitting around with my imaginary friend, thinking about hot men, debating their various attributes/body parts, but for you Fresh Fiction readers…anything. Anyway, we came to the conclusion that while physical appearances can hardly be discounted (let’s be honest–we’re all shallow here) there are actually other factors which might be more important. Attitude, for instance. Personality. Then there’s that strange inexplicable thing I’ll simply call the ‘wow’ factor. After this long cerebral discussion, Christina was rather chagrined to admit that her choice would be Colin Farrell, because even though she’s an intelligent woman with a PhD, she has a thing for bad boys…