Jeaniene Frost | For love or money?
Uncategorized / December 31, 2008

When I was twelve, I was bitten by the reading bug. It wasn’t long after that when I decided to write my own book. I’d already written lots of poetry and short stories, so the idea of making the leap from those to writing and selling a novel seemed easy. Yes, I had a lot to learn. Fast forward around fifteen years to the day I told myself, "quit procrastinating and do it already." And so I finally did take one of the many ideas churning around in my head and wrote a novel from it. What I found out after I’d typed The End was twofold: one, I’d accomplished something I’d dreamed about by finishing that novel. Two – and equally important, in my opinion – was that I loved writing. That doesn’t mean pursuing a career as an author was as easy as finally writing that first novel. In fact, if I could rewind the clock and talk to former self on the day I’d finished my first book, I’d say, "Great! Now comes the hard part." Huh? you might think. Isn’t writing a book the hardest part of pursuing a career as an author? Well, for me,…

Sandi Kahn Shelton | Finding Characters
Uncategorized / December 30, 2008

One of the most fun things about writing a novel (or as my uncle put it, “telling lies for profit”) is coming up with characters. People are always asking writers where the characters come from — it’s the #1 question when you go for readings and signings — and I’m afraid they always seem disappointed by the truth, which is, “I have utterly no idea.” With my new novel, Kissing Games of the World, the main character, Jamie McClintock, showed up one morning when I was taking a bath. I was lying there concentrating on keeping the tub filled to the top with hot water using only my big toe (a delicate balance of draining and refilling which practically requires a degree in engineering and physics to keep it just right), when I noticed somebody wafting around over by the shower head, explaining to me about how she was an artist and a single mom raising her 5-year-old boy, Arley, who had asthma. They lived in a farmhouse in Connecticut with Harris, an older man famous in town for his rascally womanizing, who was now redeeming himself by raising his 5-year-old grandson, Christopher, whose father had run away. I really…

Gemma Halliday | Best Wedding Stories…
Uncategorized / December 29, 2008

My latest book, Mayhem in High Heels, follows fashion designer turned amateur sleuth, Maddie Springer, as she investigates the death of a wedding planner. Unfortunately, hers. As the killer closes in and wedding disasters from hideous bridesmaid dresses to incontinent doves pile up, Maddie’s race to the altar quickly becomes a race against time. Sounds fun? Post a comment here today and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of your own! Since this book is about weddings, one of my favorite things about writing it was collecting wedding stories. Some made me laugh, some made me cry and go “awww”, but my absolute favorite one came from a young woman who posted hers on a wedding forum. I laughed so hard I think I pulled something the first time I heard this story. Here’s what happened at her wedding: She was just 19 when she got married, and the night before her wedding she let her husband-to-be borrow her car to go to his bachelor party. Only it he didn’t come home that night. The next morning he still hadn’t brought the car back, and the bride was beginning to worry. Finally, an hour before the wedding is…

Sandi Shilhanek | 2008 Reading
Sundays with Sandi / December 28, 2008

As the year begins to wind down I thought it would be interesting to reflect back and share with one another how our reading year was. Let’s start with did you discover a new author this year? As I looked at my list I believe I read about two dozen new to me authors this year. I was pleasantly surprised with Shadow Of Turning by Valerie Hansen as it is a Love Inspired Suspense, and that’s not a line I normally read. I also was totally hooked on Running Scared by Cheryl Norman. Of course there were a couple of books in the new author tryouts that didn’t please me much, but I’ve decided to only focus on my favorites. What book do you think was the best one you read this year? Can you really limit yourself to only one? I of course cannot name just one. I loved everything I read by Susan Wiggs, and Robyn Carr. Both had books that had moments that made me cry. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs was a discovery that I wish I had been warned about because it also had me crying. Can’t even think about closing out…

Sara Reyes | Christmas Eve…
Uncategorized / December 24, 2008

The year is winding to an end and what a year it was! So many good and bad things happened I don’t even want to begin to mess with listing them all! But as I rush to get ready for Christmas, I’d like to wish you all very happy holidays. And here is a little gift from our book club, the DFW Tea Readers Group. Watch out, it has sound and of course my dogs! Remember if you’re ever in Dallas or North Texas, let us know! We’ll do tea or lunch or dinner or drinks or just hang out! It’s always lovely to meet friends from online! Make a Smilebox slideshow Sara ReyesDFWTea.com Visit FreshFiction.com to learn more about books and authors.

Diana Estill | The Story behind Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life
Uncategorized / December 23, 2008

Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life is my second book of humorous essays. I like to think the book has earned the “Divine” part of its title—as in Divine Intervention—but I’ll share more about that in a minute. Deedee is the nickname my oldest granddaughter gave me when she was a toddler. I added the “Divine” part. And then the character became my alter ego and sort of took on a life of her own. She made several appearances on Youtube. The next thing I knew, she was hijacking my columns. So I just got out of her way and let her have the book title too. For several years I wrote a monthly humor newsletter. But thanks to all the new improved spam filters, many subscribers were unable to retrieve their copies. Eventually, I switched from writing the newsletter to maintaining a blog. There I receive many comments each day. Unfortunately, a number of them are from someone named “Cheap Viagra.” Some suggested that I should wait for a better economic climate before releasing my new book. But after much contemplation, I realized that it’s during difficult times that people most need the healing power of laughter. Humor…

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…

Sandi Shilhanek | Is Christmas really Thursday?
Sundays with Sandi / December 21, 2008

Christmas is Thursday. Can you believe that? Are you ready? Is the tree decorated to perfection? The presents bought and wrapped in such a way that no one wants to unwrap the gorgeous packages, or if they do they go so slowly in an effort to save the packaging just to get crumpled in the attic later? Is the grocery shopping done, and the meal preparations begun? If the above describes you in any way then I need an invitation to spend the day at your house! My house has no tree, and the only reason I have any sort of decoration up is because I just bought some new ones, and as I unpacked them to show my husband he strung them on the credenza and china cabinet. I also have no Christmas baking happening as I’m so not a cook, and therefore there will also be no lovely smells coming from the kitchen on Christmas morning. So you may ask what have I done since I’ve so obviously done nothing? I entertained my friend Yvonne from England. We scoured the bookstores, had some great meals, and went to see ICE at the Gaylord Texan. Now she’s gone, and…

The Best Gift Books for 2008 according to Fresh Fiction Staff Members
Fresh Pick / December 20, 2008

Every day Fresh Fiction has a new “Fresh Pick,” a book recommended by readers not necessarily reviewers although I think there are a few reviewers opinions sought during the process. But the cool thing–does that age me — is a group of readers sit down and come up with the best books for a theme. The books are usually fiction but sometimes a cook book or self-help will creep in. I’ve heard the arguments that most self-help and cookbooks are works of fiction anyway. Could be the non-cooks complaining and I won’t even touch the bit about the self-help since I’m rather fond of those myself. Anyway, for the past few months the looming days around the end-of-year holidays is always a hot topic. Like what are the books you read to get into the mood, when do you start reading, is Halloween too early? What do you like to read, something uplifting to raise spirits, something fluffy to get away from all the stress? And gifts. What do you give someone — gasp — who doesn’t read? Or someone who only reads a certain genre. Everyone knows someone so prejudiced, you buy them a contemporary when they only read…

Diane Gaston | A Regency Christmas
Uncategorized / December 19, 2008

As an author of Regency Historicals, I love to imagine myself in Regency England. At this time of year that means imagining a Regency Christmas. The Regency (1810 – 1820) was the time period of the Napoleonic War, of literary greats such as Jane Austen and Lord Byron. Many familiar Christmas traditions–decorating Christmas trees, singing Silent Night, waiting for Santa Claus–did not emerge until the later Victorian times, but a Regency Christmas did have other traditions still celebrated today. Regency families decorated their houses with holly and ivy and evergreens of fir and pine. Mistletoe was hung and the tradition of a gentleman and lady kissing beneath it would have been part of a Regency Christmas. With each kiss the gentleman plucked a berry from the mistletoe. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses. Christmas was mainly a religious holiday during the Regency. Gifts were exchanged, church attended, and guests might be invited to Christmas dinner. At Christmas dinner a goose or turkey would be served. A Regency household would also serve a Christmas pudding that was made on Stir Up Sunday, the Sunday before Advent, and served on Christmas day. The pudding was a porridge of sugar,…