Laura Griffin | A love story: sweet, salty, and shaken…
Uncategorized / April 30, 2008

My favorite books are the ones that deliver pulse-pounding suspense and also touch my emotions. That’s why I love to read—and write—romantic suspense. This week I’m celebrating the release of my latest romantic suspense novel, ONE WRONG STEP. This story is a definite case of opposites attract. Long, tall Texan John McAllister is a woman-loving-and-leaving, adventure-seeking, adrenalin junkie. He’s an investigative reporter, too, and I must admit that he bears a striking resemblance to many of the guys I worked with over the years when I was a newspaper reporter. Celie, on the other hand, is like some of my best girlfriends—a “still waters run deep” type of person who also knows how to enjoy a good margarita. So what do Celie and McAllister have in common? An attraction that has been simmering beneath the surface for years, for one thing. And for another, Celie has a knack for getting herself into dangerous situations, and McAllister—with his nose for news—always seems to show up when things get interesting….Such as when Celie’s ex-husband comes to visit her and turns up murdered an hour later. That’s when Celie realizes that the police have their eye on her, along with an enraged drug…

Meg Waite Clayton | In Defense of Happy Endings
Uncategorized / April 29, 2008

Happiness is boring,” and “Riding off into the sunset is not true,” insisted a Noted Author at a symposium I attended earlier this month on the proposition that happiness simply cannot make good literature. And as I resisted – just barely – the urge to pull Sense and Sensibility from my backpack, he lobbed up this comment about Austen unprompted: She is “done for” because we’ve entered “a divorce culture.” One can no longer rely on one’s mate. I flipped to the back of the journal in which I was taking notes: Pfhew, the photo of my husband of twenty years was still there. “At home later, I Googled “happy ending”: what I got was nothing about literature and everything about a massage that … well … people do seem to like. As I sat in that symposium, though, I had only my own favorite books to stack up against the Noted Author’s no-happy-endings admonishment. Among the classics, five of my eight favorites qualified, I decided, for happy ending status: Pierre and Natasha, Princess Marya and Nikolay, and even young Nikolinka all leave us with a sense of contentment and hope in War and Peace, as do Dorothea in Middlemarch…

Kathleen Long | The Gifts of Writing
Uncategorized / April 28, 2008

I want to thank everyone here at Fresh Fiction for inviting me to blog today. I was sitting at my computer this morning trying to settle on an interesting topic for today’s blog. My new series? My future plans? My typical writing day? Instead, I found myself thinking about the gift of writing—or should I say gifts, plural. Writing has brought so many layers of good to my life—new friends, new challenges, new skills—that describing those gifts would take all day. Then, the best “gift” of my life announced she was awake for the day. That was the moment I realized a toddler’s chattering was the perfect place to begin—and focus—this blog. Did writing bring about my two-year-old? No, but my writing career taught me to work hard and chase my dreams. In life, just as in writing, there aren’t any shortcuts. Our daughter came into our lives after a ten-year pursuit of parenthood, and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of the journey. After all, each step brought me to this wonderful moment filled with alphabet songs and questions and belly laughs. My writing journey has been no different. Writing—like life—is about doing the legwork. Writing is about believing…

Shelley Bradley | Unintentional Voyeur
Uncategorized / April 25, 2008

It’s an occupational hazard. Authors don’t mean to spy and eavesdrop on people but it happens. Recently, I found myself at a restaurant for a Sunday lunch with my family. It was an upscale microbrewery/sports bar. All dark wood, brass, and plasma TVs everywhere. Great food, too. But even with all that going on around me, I was riveted by a couple two tables away. I couldn’t hear a word they were saying. But their bodies were talking- shouting. I just couldn’t help myself from “listening”. He was huge. I live an area that a lot of pro football players call home, so he may have been one. Regardless, he was at least 6’ 4”, blond ponytail, hulking shoulders. Gorgeous, frankly, with this interesting untamed air. Normally, he would have been enough all by himself to snag my attention. But he was sitting across the table from a woman. She was short and petite with dark, pixie hair. She had this interesting guarded expression. Gorgeous was leaning literally halfway across the table as he spoke, shoulders forward, eyes on Pixie. Whatever he was saying, he meant it. And his attention was nowhere but on her. She looked at her fingernails,…

Bloggy Giveaway Carnival — Win a hardcover copy of THE EX-DEBUTANTE by Linda Francis Lee
Guests / April 24, 2008

We’re participating in the Bloggy Carnival where all you have to do is to post a comment on a blog to be included in the pool for winners for different items. Since we’re FRESH FICTION, what better prize than a signed copy of Linda Francis Lee‘s latest blockbuster — The Ex-Debutante??? The Ex-Debutante When Carlisle Wainwright Cushing left her native Texas to start a new life in Boston, she had no regrets. The former Texas debutante, who never felt at home in her Southern skin, had found liberation–or so she thought. Until the day she gets an urgent call from her mother, reporting that: One, the Symphony Association Debutante Ball, which Carlisle’s family has sponsored for years, is about to be called off; Two, her mother’s divorce has the whole town talking; And three, the family’s good name is at stake and Carlisle is the only one who can fix it all. So Carlisle takes a leave of absence from her law firm and goes to Texas to help. Her fiance, who has no idea she’s an heiress, can’t know that she’s organizing the ball, handling the dramas of the girls involved, settling her mother’s suit–and coming face to face…

Celeste Bradley | When I Grow Up
Uncategorized / April 24, 2008

Why is there no period of perfection between zits and gray hair? Why can’t I ever be at the beginning of a trend instead of two years behind it? When exactly do I get to feel like a grown-up? When I grow up, I want to be that confident woman who smiles more than she worries and who is happy with her body because it is strong and healthy. I want to be the woman who gets dressed only once, who can wear a scarf with flair, who puts on paisley without ever considering if it makes her look just a bit like an overstuffed sofa. When I grow up I want to meet new people and remember their names and their jobs and what makes them laugh–and never ever stare at them the next year without any fragment of recognition. When I grow up I want to be on time for all appointments, wash my hair before it needs it and be on first name basis with everyone at the gym instead of the ice cream parlor. When I grow up I want to never be late with the light bill or lose a check or forget to give…

Karen Harrington | When a man loves a woman…who murders
Uncategorized / April 23, 2008

When a central character is still deeply in love with someone you and I would judge harshly, for, say, murder, that presents a challenge for the writer. How can readers be sympathetic to a misguided, love-struck protagonist? And does a writer necessarily have to sympathize with him?I know all about this challenge. In my debut novel JANEOLOGY, Tom Nelson is still in love with the woman who has destroyed his life. He misses her. He craves her. He wants to touch her. He wants to talk to her over a cup of coffee the way they used to as friends. But this is never going to happen. The story begins with Tom’s horrific discovery that his wife Jane drowned their toddler son. An act he feels is so out of character that it defies logic. Now, he judges himself harshly for still loving the woman he thought he knew. The world quickly vilifies Jane and urges him to join in their group hate. If that weren’t enough, prosecutors charge him with ‘failure to protect’ believing he should have known Jane was ill and shielded his child from her. This legal charge only makes Tom delve deeper into questioning his love…

L. J. Sellers | Taking the Plunge
Uncategorized / April 22, 2008

At the end of last year, I decided that 2008 would be different. I had several goals: 1) start a new novel 2) work on my novel first thing every day, even if I had to get up an hour earlier 3) find or create paying work that I enjoyed more than what I was currently doing to earn a living 4) sell my detective series to another publisher By March 1, I had accomplished the three things I had control over—although not the way I expected to. January first, I began to outline my new Detective Jackson novel with working title, SECRETS TO DIE FOR. I began getting up at five o’clock to write for an hour before I went to work. At the time, I worked as an editor for an educational publisher, a demanding job that left me too mentally exhausted at the end of the day to feel creative enough to fill blank page after blank page (which is how a novel comes into existence). Next, I started sending out letters to agents, publishers, and writers, announcing my services as a fiction editor. And I contacted some corporate clients and magazines about nonfiction editing as well….

Michele Dunaway | Home Cooking
Uncategorized / April 21, 2008

To celebrate the release of The Marriage Recipe, out this month from Harlequin American Romance, I’m celebrating a month of home cooking and made-from-scratch recipes. My heroine is a chef and the hero a lawyer (and also a single-engine pilot). Toss in falling in love with the boy-next-door and the girl who longs to return to the bright lights of the big city, you have a recipe for some craziness, kisses, and love. Writing The Marriage Recipe was a lot of fun. One of the most important areas of character development is what the characters eat and drink. Seriously. If I’m writing a character who’s from New Orleans, I bet he or she has had crawfish. If not, what does that say about him or her? My characters located in St. Louis eat toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake; while in Morrisville, where my characters live, they would drink “pop,” not soda. Knowing regional food tastes and verbiage helps build a character in subtle ways. This is why I always set my books in places I’ve lived or visited. That way they come across as real. Setting is also another character—could you imagine Pretty Woman taking place in Chicago instead…

Book Club Rewind – Susan Wiggs
Romance / April 19, 2008

Susan Wiggs was the Plano (Texas) book club’s author for our April get together. I was really looking forward to this month’s call because I had just read and enjoyed Susan’s latest book, Snowfall at Willow Lake. This is the fourth book in The Lakeshore Chronicles series, but don’t fear. Those of us who had read Snowfall at Willow Lake and not the other Lakeshore Chronicles did NOT feel like we had just landed in the middle of the series. We didn’t feel like we were missing any information nor were we trapped in a series summary for the first few chapters. The book truly stands alone…That’s not to say I don’t want more! But back to book club. Susan was super excited to be part of our book club. She had recently been to visit her publisher and been treated to the full Queen for day routine in Toronto and had not had a chance to rave about it to anyone. By Queen for a day routine, we’re talking about large flower bouquets, limo ride, 1st class seat during flight, 5 star meal out with publisher, etc. Of interest to Susan’s fans, the publisher expressed interest in a Lakeshore…