Blaize Clement | Why Pets Are In the Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series
Uncategorized / January 31, 2008

The first time somebody asked why my Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series includes pets, I was a little taken aback. I mean, Dixie Hemingway is a pet sitter, for gosh sake, so there had to be pets. But when I thought about it, I realized it had been my choice to make the pets equal in importance to the human characters. Not with human characteristics or psychic abilities or super strength, but just regular pets like regular people have. So I gave it some thought, and finally came up with an answer. Every culture has mythic tales of a golden age when humans and animals lived as friends. In The Illiad, when a warrior was killed, his horse hung his head and wept. In The Ramayana, an army of brave monkeys rescued Princess Sita from an evil kidnapper. When the Buddha left his father’s palace to seek enlightenment, his horse wept too, when he had to return to the palace alone. And then there’s that serpent in the Garden of Eden who told Eve the truth about eating of the tree of knowledge. In all those old stories, animals represented wisdom and courage and loyalty, and the friendship between humans and…

Jenny Gardiner | And They Lived Happily Ever After
Uncategorized / January 30, 2008

In one of my favorite films last summer (Paris, je t’aime, which is actually a series of short films about love, set in Paris), there is a vignette in which a long-married man is about to leave his wife for his mistress. Years of mutual apathy have rendered the couple’s marriage stale and wilted. All of the little idiosyncrasies that he once found charming and endearing about his wife have become irritants that make his skin crawl. He fairly loathes the woman. Nothing short of an injection of a serious dose of “I actually give a care about you” could save it. But (without spoiling it!) the husband learns something that completely alters his approach to their relationship. As their relationship evolves, the narrator intones, “Once he began to act like a man in love, he became a man in love.” I love this line, and the concept behind it. It is, in fact, this very kernel of an idea that grew into my novel, SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER. So I found it interesting to hear it verbalized in the movie. There is, to me, such a simple truth to it. Most everybody starts out in a marriage happy (I…

Melody Thomas | Happy Endings find us all happier. What could be wrong with that?
Romance / January 29, 2008

Some years ago I sat in a movie theater watching, The Perfect Storm. I must have been the only one present who did not know this was a true story, therefore the ending set in the proverbial stone of historical fact. Up until the point all three of the heroes perished, I had been waiting for that miraculous intervention, anything that would save them. When the movie ended, I was so aggravated that I had sat through the entire movie and had nothing but a sense of doom to show for my time. So my question to you is: what is the point of a movie or a book if it does not end with at least the hope that the characters we suffer with will be happy when the story ends. This is one of the reasons I don’t trust mainstream fiction or movies that are supposed to have a meaningful message to us poor, beleaguered souls of humanity. Too often, such entertainment leaves me depressed. In addition, because I am a writer, I have concluded that it is a lot easier for an author to give a book or a movie a sad ending than it is for…

Kerrelyn Sparks | Where Would You Hide?
Uncategorized / January 28, 2008

The Undead Next Door, which releases January 29th, tells the story of a French vampire named Jean-Luc Echarpe. Jean-Luc has done many things since his transformation in 1513. He’s been a knight, a musketeer, a lieutenant-colonel in the Great Vampire War of 1710, the owner of a fencing academy in Paris, and the Coven Master of Western Europe. That’s him on the cover. What a hunk! Having lived through many different styles of clothing, Jean-Luc knows fashion. So much so that he began designing evening wear for vampires in 1922. By the 1930’s, he was secretly designing evening wear for the Hollywood elite. In 1975, he expanded his business into the mortal world and became a great success! What a great life! He’s a celebrity, surrounded by beautiful models. What more could a guy ask for? Unfortunately, the media has realized that Jean-Luc hasn’t aged in over thirty years. They’re following him everywhere, hounding him with questions. There’s only one thing Jean-Luc can do—go into hiding. He’ll disappear for twenty-five years, then return to his beloved Paris, posing as his own son. He’s too recognizable in Paris or Milan, New York or Los Angeles. Where can he go where no…

Cover Cut Ups to California Cops to Knitting Clubs to Southern Crazy
Guests / January 27, 2008

January brought a slew of authors to Dallas and I had the opportunity to check them all out! First we began with the visit of Thomas Allen author of UNCOVERED. Thomas has a special connection to books, especially pulp fiction books, He likes to CUT THEM UP! Yes, he takes old paperbacks, cuts out the figures on the covers then poses them in title suggestive ways and photographs them. It’s fascinating, beautiful and to an avid reader and collector, TERRIFYING! Thomas gave a presentation that showed some of his work over the years (not really that long, but he did start with his father’s photography before he was born) including book covers and magazine works. Gwen loved his illustrations for New York her primo magazine of the time. Next up, we went South, to the New South filled with crazy ladies, southern food, barbeque, garden parties … and did I mention crazy women? And Michael Lee West came to town before heading up to be part of The GirlFriends Weekend in Jefferson, a tiara wearing, big-hair celebration of womanhood. She was so comfortable she sat down with the readers and gave us the “story behind the tales” of her amazing…

Gemma Halliday | In Search of Prince Charming…
Uncategorized / January 25, 2008

Dating is hard. I mean, way harder than writing a book. Way harder than getting published. Even harder than walking in five inch stilettos. Mostly, I’m convinced, due to the inordinate amount of frogs out there trying to pass themselves off as Prince Charming. Some of my recent forays into Toadville: a man who, after three weeks of dating, admitted to me he was actually married, a guy who committed a felony (While on a date with me! Hiding from the cops – not my idea of foreplay.), a man who learned English from watching old Seinfeld reruns (If everything in your life relates back to Kramer, you have a problem.), and Hairy. Nope, I didn’t spell that wrong. The man was a walking wookie. But, the one that capped it all off, my favorite amphibious fellow, the man with one leg. That’s right, just the one. Not one to discriminate (Hey, love comes in all shapes, right?), I went out with him anyway. Until he dumped me. That’s right folks, I was dumped by the guy with one leg. See, what I mean? Dating is really hard. So, as I set out to write my latest story, I’ll admit,…

Mary Vine | The Blonde Writer
Uncategorized / January 24, 2008

Do blondes have more fun? Having had two or three other hair colors over my lifetime, I should be a good judge as to whether a blonde has more fun than a brunette. However, I haven’t been able to see any difference. I do know when confronted with something beyond my immediate understanding, I can point out that I’m blonde or say I’m having a blonde moment. I am always granted a smile and unbelievable understanding and patience. The truth be told, I tried to make it as a brunette, but it just didn’t work because people expected me to know things. To be honest, this blonde writer’s ignorance doesn’t have to do with hair color as much as the fact that I’d never befriended an author and hadn’t a clue of what being a writer entailed. Without a writer’s group in the early years to steer me along, I had to learn things the hard way. I set out to write the perfect inspirational book. I had a hard time thinking about changing anything I’d written as it came to me upon inspiration. Which is all well and good, but was told after my first critique that people didn’t…

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….

Anna Campbell | What a Beauty Is This Beast!
Romance / January 22, 2008

Great romances often have a mythic underpinning that adds depth and resonance. So a road romance can echo The Odyssey or a Harlequin Presents can hark back to the universal themes of Cinderella. I believe readers, even if not consciously aware of these patterns, recognize the structure in their subconscious minds. So the satisfaction we get at the end of The Ugly Duckling when the duckling after all his trials turns into the beautiful swan is the same satisfaction we get at the end of a great love story where the plain governess snags the fabulously glamorous Regency rake who recognizes her inner beauty. One of my favorite fairytales is Beauty and the Beast so it’s no surprise it’s behind a lot of my stories. Beauty is a lot gutsier and more proactive than many fairytale heroines (I mean, Sleeping Beauty basically…sleeps!). Although she’s sure it means her death, Beauty offers herself up as the Beast’s prisoner to save her father. She’s also got some great values although perhaps a financial adviser mightn’t go astray. Still, it’s a lovely moment when after the sisters have asked for everything that walks and talks from their father, Beauty asks for nothing more…

Sasah White | What makes you feel sexy?
Uncategorized / January 21, 2008

What is it about the tease that’s so hot? You know what I’m talking about. That tingle you get between your thighs when someone exciting catches your eye, or when you catch his. The lingering looks, the hair toss, the silent communication. That time when your blood heats up and your body awakens as you feel the magic of “what if?” It’s almost … intoxicating. I used to flirt a lot. Men used to flirt with me. Then I got married. I haven’t gained weight or let myself go, but somehow, I’ve changed. I know it, and they know it. I think it’s because the chase is over. The magic of flirting, the heightened awareness that arcs between two people, the building of anticipation… it’s gone. And I don’t know exactly when, or how, it disappeared.The sad thing is, it also seems to have disappeared between my husband and me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. Grant is still very attractive in every way, and leaving him has never occurred to me. I’d never cheat on him, either. Yet, I can’t deny that a certain restlessness has been building in me for some time. That was the…