A Conversation with… Maureen Child and Kate Carlisle (plus Contest)
Author Guest / November 30, 2011

Today’s guests, Maureen Child and Kate Carlisle, both have December 2011 books from Harlequin Desire: THE TEMPORARY MRS. KING and AN INNOCENT IN PARADISE, respectively. These sensual romances with Caribbean island settings add a healthy helping of warmth to your holiday season. Maureen and Kate will each give a copy of her book to a random commenter here today. That’s two winners! Don’t forget to check back at the end of the day to see if you’ve won. And be sure to check out their Tropical Christmas Giveaway contest right here on Fresh Fiction! Judging Books by their Covers Maureen: They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do it. Kate: I do. I mean, seriously. Look at these two covers for the Jane Austen classic, PERSUASION. Which one do you want to read? Maureen: The one on the right, for sure. But then, I’m a sucker for blood red lipstick. Of course, it makes me think that the book involves danger. Kate: A book cover, when it’s doing its job, should give us clues about what kind of story lies within. A great cover serves the publisher, the author, and the reader. MURDER UNDER…

Abby Gaines | Turning lemons into lemonade isn’t that easy…
Author Guest / November 30, 2011

You know the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s the ultimate optimist catch-cry. I’m an optimist myself (annoyingly so, I’m told!), which means my first reaction is “lemonade, yeah, absolutely.” But making the best of a bad situation isn’t always as easy as “making lemonade.” There are times when stuff happens that can’t just be mixed up with a bit of sugar and made palatable. If you’re in that kind of situation – and for some reason they seem to crop up more often, or maybe hurt more, as Christmas approaches – you have my sympathy. Feel free not to make lemonade, because there’s a time to wallow in lemons (a time to weep, as that famous chapter of Ecclesiastes calls it) and that’s perfectly ok. But, thank God (and I mean that), there’s also a time to laugh. I get my laughs from my husband, my kids, my friends. And from books. Not for me the gloomy or nasty story, I’m afraid. I like my fiction with only a small dose of lemon, guaranteed to end on a lemonade note. Give me a story that puts the characters in a sticky situation (not one that’s going…

Sharon Lathan | Allow me to introduce you to….
Author Guest / November 28, 2011

Welcome to part 4 of a series of blogs I have written for the MISS DARCY FALLS IN LOVE virtual tour that are a character analysis with excerpts from my latest novel. The idea was sparked by a question on the character of Georgiana Darcy, and grew into a fun sequence of posts. I hope you will enjoy this glimpse into a handful of the secondary characters enough to pop over to my blog where I have the links to the previous 3 posts where I focused on many of the other players, both major and minor. Some readers may be surprised to find that Darcy and Elizabeth are not present at all. There are, however, a few familiar cast members present in France with Georgiana. She is escorted by her uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Matlock, and once in Paris will meet up with her beloved cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and his wife, Lady Simone. Aside from these four – who have big parts to play – all the others are new. Allow me to introduce you to…. Lady Vivienne Butler: The soon-to-be Marquise de Marcov is the sister of my hero, Sebastian Butler, and the oldest of his…

Lynne Connolly | How do you learn to trust when you haven’t trusted anyone for years?
Author Guest / November 27, 2011

That’s the question I wanted to ask in my new book for Carina Press, named, appropriately, LEARNING TO TRUST. But in order to make that question a really valid one, I needed to ratchet up the tension and the stakes. I started by making my heroine a flawed human being. I don’t know about you, but it’s the flawed ones I root for most. Lina started life with everything—money, privilege, a gilded lifestyle, but underneath her life was empty. Then she found a friend, Byron Brantley, and then together, they found drugs. When their families threaten to force them into rehab, they run away, and end up in Rome. When the story starts, Lina has lost touch with Byron, and is working in Naples as a waitress. She’s off drugs for good, and is making herself a new life in this dangerous city. Jonathan Brantley comes to Naples to find out what is left of his brother. He has said goodbye to him years ago, once Byron made clear he wasn’t giving up the drugs. Most families of addicts know that at some stage they have to make the decision to do something drastic. A drug addict can’t give up…

Skye Savoy | The Healing Power of the Written Word
Author Guest / November 26, 2011

Surgical complications happen to everyone else, not to cosmically blessed people who work for the hospital where they’re having the surgery done. At least that’s what I thought before I woke up from elbow surgery with a wrist as limp as a month-old celery stalk. I went back to sleep immediately. I woke-up to a nightmare. I went in for surgery to repair a Nirschl Lesion (tennis elbow) and ended up with a stretched radial nerve. I could concentrate as hard as I wanted, but I couldn’t lift a finger on my right hand. Bad and double bad: Bad because I did everything with my right hand. Double bad because my left hand was about as useful as my pinky toe. My arm was numb. I felt, but not in the tactile sense. I felt almost every emotion in the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I got stuck in “denial” and never made it to acceptance. I had a busy healthcare marketing career where I spent seventy percent of my time typing and the other thirty percent on the phone or in meetings. My first published novel, FINDING HER PERFECT MASTER, was just released. I…

Gina Robinson | Black Friday Means … Escape to ???
Author Guest / November 25, 2011

It’s Black Friday. If you’re like me, you’ve been out shopping in the predawn hours. Fighting crowds. Enjoying the holiday atmosphere. Trying to get a bargain. Now you’ve arrived home with your packages, boxes, and bags and are feeling more like the Grinch than Santa Claus. There’s still so much to do—eat the rest of the leftover turkey and pumpkin pie, put away the fall decorations, pull out the Christmas decorations, finish your Christmas shopping, wrap it up, mail it, take a family photo for your Christmas card, make out your cards, get them mailed, put up the tree  . . . Right about now you probably feel stressed out and ready to scream. There’s too much to do and too little time to do it. And now it’s started to snow. Which will make travel nearly impossible, especially if you live in a city like Seattle, where I do, and they only have one snowplow and it never seems to make it to your street. At least not until that beautiful dusting of snow has turned into compact ice. What you really need is to escape into a wonderful romance novel. I have just the sunny destination for you—THE…

Tasha Alexander | Giving Thanks
Author Guest / November 24, 2011

I’ve been on road for the past few weeks, traveling from New York to Phoenix, Houston to Miami. Book tours are like no other part of being a writer. Generally speaking, novelists spend their time at home, noses buried in research notebooks, laptops threatening to become physically attached to them, rarely speaking except to the food delivery guy, with whom they have a love/hate relationship. Love because he brings food. Hate because he can’t remove the subsequent empty boxes that grow to fort-like heights as deadlines approach. There are lots of wonderful things about writing. You can work in pajamas. You don’t have to dig your car out of snow drifts to get to the office on time after a blizzard. You get to tell stories that turn out exactly how you want them to. But it’s isolating work. Sure, sometimes you talk plot points through with your editor, spouse, or friend. But for the most part, you work in your head. And then your new book comes out and everything changes. You head out on tour. Yes there are early flights (I admit that I could have used a few more hours of sleep when the car picked me…

Lisa Renee Jones | Bad Boyisms Win a Gift Basket
Author Guest / November 22, 2011

It’s almost Thanksgiving and I love the holidays. I have a big reason to celebrate this year with the release of first THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL and now THE STORM THAT IS STERLING. I was very excited to get my first Booklist review as well! Here is what they had to say: The exciting Zodius futuristic suspense series features soldiers enhanced by a GTECH secret military experiment. Sterling Jeter, who is assigned to guard Rebecca Burns, the scientist working on an antidote for the highly addictive and fatal drug ICE. But Rebecca is also the high-school dream Sterling was never able to realize. She has cancer and tangling with bad guys who want her science skills for their ends has left her an ICE addict, too. She wants to take advantage of her time left with Sterling, while Sterling wants to protect her. As danger mounts, they try to sort out who is trustworthy. The GTECH and science details can best be followed with the help of the index, but they do not overwhelm the appealing characters or action. Jones’ suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann….

Susan Edwards | Myth, Magic & Wonder: Discoveries
Author Guest / November 21, 2011

A couple days ago, I redesigned my banner for my website and sent it to my son who designed my website.  I loved what I did but knew he’d find fault.  After all, he is a programmer, which makes pleasing his sensibilities with my creativity nearly impossible.  And <sigh>, I was right.  He vetoed most of what I did. I have to wonder what happened to that creative little boy who along with his younger sister helped me discover my own creative writing talent. You see, I was not always a writer, unlike so many authors who say they’ve always loved writing.  Me?  I never wanted to write anything, except maybe chatty letters to friends or my great-grandmother (who loved receiving mail) or notes to pals in class.  Okay, I’ve dated myself here because I grew up without computers, emails, social media or text messages! I also absolutely hated writing, did not excel in English and thought history the most boring subject on earth!  So it’s rather strange and ironic that not only am I a writer but I’ve published 12 historical romances.  Well, back to my beginnings. When my son was in grade school, his teachers were very impressed…

Spotlight on Allison Brennan
Author Spotlight / November 20, 2011

Characters Are People Too! The hallmark of great books are characters. Not too-perfect heroes and heroines, or pure evil villains, but characters who feel so real we think we’d recognize them if we saw them on the street. Flawed characters with a past, who have doubts and dreams, hopes and fears, problems and solutions. Characters who are people just like us. A great hero is not one who is so perfect they have no fear, but a person who, in spite of fear, acts for the benefit of others. A scary villain isn’t someone who’s bad just because they can be, but a person with hopes and dreams and a reason for what they do. A truly “great” villain will be conflicted, and may at times show heroic qualities. But in the end, a villain will succumb to his weakness, while a true hero will overcome his failings. I first met Lucy while writing FEAR NO EVIL. She was an 18 year old high school graduate who, like many teen-agers, thought she was invincible. By the end of the book, I knew she needed her own series–one book wouldn’t do her justice. Now, Lucy is a 25-year-old FBI recruit waiting…