Erin McCarthy | College Years – Best or WORSE?
Author Guest / May 31, 2013

Dear Reader, I was talking to a friend last night at the wine bar and I was mentioning writing a college age heroine, and she just sighed and said, “Wow, college was the best and the worst time of my life.  I had a blast, made awesome friends, partied, crushed on the wrong guy, then fell in love with the right one and had him break my heart.”  She went on to say those four years still influence her now in her early thirties. For me the opportunity to write about those years was too exciting to pass up, because like my friend, that transitional phase of my life altered the course of it.  I almost failed out of college, I defied my parents, I ran off and got married.  It was all crucial to me discovering who I really was, how to manage my freedom and my responsibilities, and to accept that sometimes love can be so intense it’s painful.  All of those feelings went in to TRUE, my May release. When Rory Macintosh notices that Tyler Mann is suddenly paying attention to her, she just thinks the tattooed bad-boy feels sorry for her, the shy girl.  But she…

Angela Ruth Strong | Writing Real
Author Guest / May 26, 2013

There are some taboo subjects in the Christian writing world—some that just don’t get discussed as if they don’t exist. Honestly, if you look at the inspirational book section at Wal-Mart, you might think we’ve all turned Amish. Women in the church today get boob jobs. Men struggle with porn addictions. Abortions are kept secret. And ministers have been known to cheat. It’s the truth. So I wrote about it. But, as my former agent would say, I wrote it in a way that “makes the tragic entertaining.” Yeah, Bethany is struggling with forgiving her father for running off with his church secretary. And yeah, she starts to fall in love with her own pastor who is counseling her to forgive him. But instead of focus on her own issues, she gets into an assortment of embarrassing experiences while trying to fix others—splitting her pants at a cosmic bowling alley and exposing her white underwear beneath the black lights, running into her crush when trying on maternity clothes over a fake baby belly, and overdosing on fruit punch when fasting with the results of acting drunk. It’s a humorous look at the lengths Christians can go to in the effort…

Ginger Garrett | Climbing Out of the Trash Can
Author Guest / May 26, 2013

I researched the novel on Jezebel’s life, REIGN, for two years. Then I had to throw the first draft in the trash. When I threw that in the trash, after two years of research and writing, I thought I was getting a fresh start. This next attempt to tell her story, I thought, would be so much better. I was wrong. That draft ended up in the trash, as did the next. Three times I started fresh, and three times I had to admit that the final product stank. I had not yet figured out why the story was so hard to write, and I needed a faithful friend and editor to point out my blind spot. So why does bad writing happen to good writers? (If I may be so bold to include myself!) There are perhaps a thousand reasons, but I ultimately what I know is this: writers need community. We need other people to show us our blind spots and push us past our comfort zones. A great editor can do this, but I can never assume that I will be assigned a great editor. For me, a critique group has become a major saving grace, an…

Erynn Mangum | My Garden Is Made of Ice Cream
Author Guest / May 26, 2013

My husband and I have owned our house for about four and half years and in those four and a half years, we have redone our backyard approximately 92 times. We have ripped up xeriscaping and added grass. We have pulled out trees and added flowers. We have scraped back rock and laid down pavers. And every time we declare the yard “DONE”, we have no sooner gone back inside before we’re planning the next addition to the yard. I have no idea what is wrong with us. This year, we’ve decided to build a raised garden bed. And as my poor husband has slaved under my Pinterest board inspirations for what this garden should look like, my two-year-old son and I have been planning what vegetables to plant. “How about green beans?” I asked him the other day. He thought for a minute and said, “I don’t like green beans. I think we should plant an ice cream garden, Mom.” My eighth novel, PAIGE TORN, just released May 1st and friends, I have decided that writing is exactly like owning an ice cream garden. It takes months — sometimes years — of hard work. Even just the preparation that…

The Secret Life of Lecia Cornwall
Author Guest / May 26, 2013

Have you ever seen the wonderful Danny Kaye movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Danny plays a man with a very ordinary life. Actually, it’s a very dull life. To cope with the endless drudgery, Walter simply imagines adventures, and they often intrude in his everyday life at the worst moments. In his imagination, he’s a gifted surgeon, or a combat pilot flying off into heroic danger. Of course, his family and friends just think he’s odd, nervous and distracted. But then Walter gets involved in a real adventure, and his life changes. He becomes the hero he imagines he is. It’s one of my favorite movies, partly because as a writer, I do tend to live my own imaginary life, a lot like Walter does. Well, I’ve never imagined myself as a pilot, but here’s what I mean. My first secret: I never go to the bathroom alone, not even now my children are grown, or even when my nosy cats are distracted. There are a thousand characters in my head, all telling stories, and clamoring for me to write ‘em down, even in delicate moments. (No, there is no schizophrenia in my family. Why do you ask?…

J.J. Cook | One of my favorite things
Author Guest / May 25, 2013

Raindrops on roses are nice, but one of my favorite things is when a reader brings in a beat-up old copy of one of my books. I love to see that the book is worn and well-loved. Not only has this reader enjoyed it, but she has probably shared it with friends and family. Recently, this happened several times as I was signing copies of That OLD FLAME OF MINE across the southeast. Readers come into the store hesitantly, usually clutching the old book. They look around to see if anyone has noticed them brining a book INTO the store instead of taking one out with them. The reader approaches quietly and usually says something like, “I really love your books. I read all of them. I have some favorites.” And the book or books are carefully put on the table in front of me. “I have read these books so many times, but I always seem to miss when you come to sign books. Would you mind signing these for me? It would really mean a lot.” The last time it was THE TELLTALE TURTLE from the Pet Psychic series and an old copy of FRUIT OF THE POISONED…

Robin Bielman | My Book/Movie/TV Boyfriend Kissing Booth
Author Guest / May 23, 2013

I’ve never actually been to a Kissing Booth, I’ve just written about one in my new sweet and sexy romance, KISSING THE MAID OF HONOR. I mean what better place for a romance to start than with a kiss on a high school baseball field with one of the star players? Five bucks well spent, right? Uh, not when the boy humiliates the girl and breaks her heart. Fast-forward ten years and Sela and Luke are all grown up and the maid of honor and best man. But some things are hard to forget and despite the crazy-ass attraction between Sela and Luke, there’s this little piece of their past meddling with their present. That’s all I’m going to say about their kissing booth, though, because today I want to talk about the perfect kissing booth. Or as I like to call it… My Book/Movie/TV Boyfriend Kissing Booth. What? You guys have never dreamed about what hot guy you’d like to smooch in a kissing booth? Okay, so maybe I’ve got the whole kissing booth thing on the brain and I’ve recently given some extra thought to the matter. But now that I’ve introduced you to the idea, I’m hopeful…

Leah Rae Miller | Nerding out is for everyone
Author Guest / May 23, 2013

I remember this one time, when the first Harry Potter film came out. It was a midnight showing and I’d spent weeks practically building a witch’s hat. It was wonky, crooked, and black like the ones I’d seen in images released early of the film. And after all that work and passion I poured into that hat, I still feared that people would point and laugh at me at the theater. But that didn’t happen. Kids wanted me to cast spells on them with my homemade wand that my husband whittled out of a piece of wood and they asked me if I was a witch, to which I replied, “Why, yes, I am.” When they asked me that and I answered with what I did, I felt my nerdish self cement itself. I started analyzing my nerdy-self. I grew up on comic books. I learned to read with comic books. My brother was a huge comic fan. He’d read the boy parts and I’d read the girl parts. Comics became a part of me, of who I am today. So, when I sat down to write a new book, I tapped into that aspect of myself. I took a…

Jeannie Lin | Favorite Tropes Featured in THE SWORD DANCER
Author Guest / May 23, 2013

Two of my great loves are sweeping historical romances and martial arts adventures like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” My current release, THE SWORD DANCER, is a mash-up between the two. A story featuring a famous thief-catcher chasing a sword dancer across ancient China might seem like quite a departure from your standard romance, but at the core of it are some beloved tropes which is why THE SWORD DANCER was so much fun to write. The Bathtub Scene At one point, Li Feng, my feisty sword dancer, confronts Thief-catcher Han in a bath house. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the sexy bath scene in historical romance. She walks in on him, he spies on her…It serves the dual purpose of providing sexy times while also reminding us that our heroes and heroines, despite living in the 9th century, are indeed fresh and clean. Dating Catwoman “We conducted our courtship on rooftops and fire escapes. A strange flirtation, a hide and seek, a game of cat and mouse…” — Catwoman, Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader? The hero and heroine of THE SWORD DANCER are on opposite sides of the law. Sometimes they’re at odds, sometimes they’ve…

Samantha Grace | Lady Vivian Defies a Duke: Insider Secrets
Author Guest / May 23, 2013

Hi, everyone! I’m Samantha Grace, author of the regency historical romance LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE, and it’s great to be at Fresh Fiction today. I don’t know about you, but I love behind the scenes looks at upcoming movies, TV shows, and books. It’s fun to learn a bit of trivia while checking out the newest releases, even though I’m horrible at any type of trivia games. (Seriously, never pick me to be on your team for Trivial Pursuit!) Today I thought I’d reveal a few secrets about the last book in my Beau Monde Bachelor series, and give you insider information on what comes next. 1. LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE is a stand-alone story. If you’ve never read one of my books, you can still pick up this one and not feel lost. In fact, all my books can be read in any order, even though some people prefer to start with the first book. I like to read a complete love story all wrapped up with a bow. The first regency historical romances I ever read were part of Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory series. I read them in whatever order I could find them and I never…