Allison Pang | Instant Love? ~ Win A SLIVER OF SHADOW
Author Guest / February 29, 2012

One of the main differences between writing an Urban Fantasy vs a Paranormal Romance is the inclusion of an HEA (or Happily Ever After.)  PNRs need to have it, UF’s don’t.  Most PNRs are about a specific couple, whereas a UF might have a couple, but that couple doesn’t have to stay together. The heroine can hook up with the hero…or not. When I first wrote A BRUSH OF DARKNESS, it was definitely a PNR. I had a completely different ending in mind, but after I sold I was asked to turn it into a UF and bring in another potential love interest for A SLIVER OF SHADOW. I wasn’t sure about that at first. At the time I had my head fairly wrapped around the HEA concept, but the more I thought on it, the more I realized my editor was right. It’s hard sometimes – as an author I can spend years with my characters. Even though a book might span a timeframe of a few days or weeks (or hours, even) – it can feel like a lifetime for me. So I have trouble sometimes with not “rushing” the romantic elements. (Obviously, if the characters have some sort…

Fresh Pick | THE SMOKY CORRIDOR by Chris Grabenstein
Fresh Pick / February 29, 2012

Haunted Mysteries August 2011 On Sale: August 9, 2011 Featuring: Zack 323 pages ISBN: 0375865101 EAN: 9780375865107 Paperback (reprint)  Add to Wish List Childrens Buy at Amazon.com Mysteries are for kids too (SleuthFest Guest of Honor) The Smoky Corridor by Chris Grabenstein With the help of his stepmother, his dog Zipper, and new friend Malik, Zack Jennings faces ghosts and zombies at his new middle school, which is said to house a lost Confederate treasure. Zack is about to start at his new school, and in addition to homework, school lunches, and bullies, Zack must also contend with a ruthless hit man seeking a lost treasure, a voodoo savvy ghost waiting to take possession of a new body, and a soul-sucking zombie in the basement. Suddenly homework doesn’t seem so bad. Once again Chris Grabenstein proves his mastery of the frightening and funny tale. Young readers, especially reluctant ones, have found an inspiration to read in Grabenstein’s quirky characters and deadly situations. Previous Picks

Samantha Grace | Schooling a Scoundrel
Author Guest / February 28, 2012

Hi! I’m Samantha Grace, debut author of the regency historical romance, MISS HILLARY SCHOOLS A SCOUNDREL. February has been a whirlwind month with the release of my book and blogging tour, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m especially happy to be at Fresh Fiction today in what will be one of my last guest stops. I’ve had some fun questions come up along the way, such as “Did you pick the guy on the cover?” No, my publisher deserves all the credit. “Do you mean I can find your book at Barnes & Noble?” And most any other place books are sold. “Will the guy on the cover be at your book signing?” Um, no. “Do you know the guy on the cover?” Okay, enough already about the hot cover model. “Do you think I should hit the gym again?” You’re perfect just the way you are, honey. Now, could you please let someone else ask a question? I’m just kidding, of course. My hubby didn’t ask those questions. Actually, his only response to the cover was “I’ll never wear a puffy shirt.” Now I want to find a puffy shirt to test his conviction. Here’s another question…

Debra Mullins | The Juggling Act
Author Guest / February 26, 2012

Most women know it’s hard to juggle career and family. We all do it; we manage our time between the kids’ school and athletic activities, make sure there’s food in the house and that the bills are paid, take care of the pets, give some attention to the husband and—oh, yeah—some of us have careers, too. And yet somehow we manage to do it. We figure out how to allocate our time (you don’t really need to sleep, do you?) so that we can somehow juggle all these important things and not let any of the balls drop. Women are good at that. We seem to be natural multi-taskers, and sometimes men don’t understand that. A lot of men are single-task oriented people: they do one thing, they do it well, and they move on to the next thing. This is the dynamic I used in my Western historical, DONOVAN’S BED. Jack Donovan is looking for a wife, and he’s hot for Sarah Calhoun. Seems simple, right? But Jack has this idea in his head that his wife needs to be the type of woman who stays home all day, cleaning and making cookies for him and riding herd on…

Avery Aames | The Joy Of “Cheese” Cooking
Author Guest / February 25, 2012

When I started writing mysteries, I spent a lot of time researching the gritty underbelly of society, but when I was given the opportunity to write A Cheese Shop Mystery series, all of a sudden I had to spend more time in the kitchen. Why? Because I wanted the stories to make you hungry for more than just the mystery; I wanted the stories to titillate all of your senses. I wanted the moment you entered Fromagerie Bessette (what the locals in quaint Providence, Ohio call The Cheese Shop) to be a moment that you experienced on many levels. That kind of detail requires research. My mysteries include a literal feast of foods: cheeses, as well as meals devoured at homes, the Country Kitchen diner, and the local pub. I would find it difficult to write about these moments if I didn’t experience them for myself. Sometimes I make myself hungry when I insert food and cheese descriptions into a chapter, but it’s the sacrifice I make for my art. [Can you hear me laughing? Such a sacrifice! Lucky me.] FROM THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE: However, when I treated her to a taste of Tuscan Tartuffo, the ultimate in Italian…

Fresh Pick | TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY by John Le Carre
Fresh Pick / February 24, 2012

Karla Trilogy #1 October 2002 On Sale: October 1, 2002 Featuring: George Smiley 400 pages ISBN: 0743457900 EAN: 9780743457903 Kindle: B005ZOCFCW Paperback (reprint)  Add to Wish List Suspense, Suspense Spy Buy at Amazon.com Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre George Smiley must use a lifetime’s worth of espionage skills to ferret out a spy who’s gotten too close for comfort British Secret Service agent George Smiley has a world-class problem: he has discovered a mole–a Soviet double agent who has managed to burrow his way up to the highest level of British Intelligence. Smiley must use a lifetime’s worth of espionage skills to ferret out a spy who’s gotten too close for comfort. John le Carre’s classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge and have earned him — and his hero, British Secret Service agent George Smiley — unprecedented worldwide acclaim. A modern masterpiece in which le Carre expertly creates a total vision of a secret world, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” begins George Smiley’s chess match of wills and wits with Karla, his Soviet counterpart. It is now beyond doubt that a mole, implanted decades ago by…

Shana Galen | The Best Thing about Writing Romance
Author Guest / February 24, 2012

First of all, thank you so much to Fresh Fiction for hosting me today. This is one of my favorite sites. I especially love the contests. In fact, while you’re here, check out mine listed on the contest page! If someone had told me, when I was eighteen and going into my first year of college, that I would be a romance writer, I would have laughed. I didn’t even know writing was a career. I mean, I knew Stephen King and Anne Rice wrote books for a living, but I didn’t think of them as real people. To me, they were like Mark Twain or John Steinbeck—very far removed from my real life. Of course, this was in a different time. The internet was only just beginning to become widely available and lots of people didn’t even have computers. I didn’t. If I wanted to use the computer, I went to the computer lab. And if I wanted to surf the ‘Net, I used Netscape and didn’t have a clue what to search for because I didn’t know what kind of stuff was even out there. Oh, and email. You pretty much had to know programming code to email….

Robin Lee Hatcher’s Contest Honors Caregivers’ Hearts Of Gold
News / February 24, 2012

Bestselling author Robin Lee Hatcher knows it truly takes a heart of gold to provide loving care to those who need it. That’s why, to celebrate the Valentine’s Day release of her new book, HEART OF GOLD, she’s sponsoring a national contest that recognizes caregivers—professional and volunteer—for all they do. “Being a caregiver is a difficult job, so I’m excited for this opportunity to recognize and thank those who give so generously and lovingly of themselves,” said Hatcher, who knows from firsthand experience what sacrifices a caregiver makes. Hatcher cared for her ailing mother, as well as relied on a family member for her own care after suffering a fall in 2010. The idea for Hatcher’s contest came from the pages of HEART OF GOLD, her 35th novel. In the inspirational romance from publisher Thomas Nelson, a southern belle uprooted from Virginia during the Civil War is transplanted to the rough- and-tumble, gold rush town of Grand Coeur in Idaho Territory. There she finds her greatest satisfaction serving as a volunteer caregiver to the ill and injured—and conveys a strong message about accepting others. The Christy Award-winning novelist invites anyone who has a special caregiver in their life to nominate…

Kelly Gendron | Bad Boys all grown up…
Author Guest / February 23, 2012

Who doesn’t want a bad boy? Hmm… I prefer to let them bake for a while. Those misbehaving boys will rise to be irresistible, dominant, and experienced men. When cooked at the right temperature they’ll still taste disobedient, but with the right amount of heat they’ll become succulent and tantalizing. Bad boys may have once fulfilled our whimsical hearts, but as women it takes more than a sexy little smile to get our blood pumping. Sure, your Mama might have warned you about bad boys, but she certainly kept those all grown up, sexy, and naughty men to herself. Nevertheless, I did eventually find them nestled between the pages of my romance novels (thanks to all you wonderful authors!). After years of reading about these magnificent men, I wanted a chance to introduce the world to my all grown up bad boys. But like their aging process, from boys to badly behaving men, my aging process has taken my men, who were once nestled between paper pages, to the 12 point font of the ever-rising eReader. Hey, at least now they’re just one click away! No more need to purchase them at the store, wait for them in the mail,…

Coffee Trivia by Elisabeth Staab
Author Guest / February 22, 2012

Like many of us, I take my caffeine very seriously. I had my first cup of coffee when I was twelve. I don’t remember if I liked it but I guess I must have. I haven’t been able to function without it since. Seven years ago I quit smoking with little difficulty. My longest run without coffee? About two weeks during college, and I’m pretty sure I cheated during that stint with the occasional Red Bull and vodka. While editing KING OF DARKNESS, my favorite coffee flavor was Caramel Vanilla Cream. While finishing the sequel, Golden French Toast. If I don’t have my daily jolt, I can’t really make with that whole stringing words together business that I rely on for my livelihood.  I probably wouldn’t pass a field sobriety test. Next to getting dressed, it’s the most important part of my day.  Sometimes there’s growling and biting, and I don’t mean from my vampire characters. So as I am writing this post from my favorite local Starbucks and hugging my beloved Blonde roast while I type, I thought I’d do something a little lighthearted. Today I bring you coffee trivia: Coffee, as a world commodity, is second only to…