Libby Fischer Hellmann | How To Create Believable Female Characters
Author Guest / February 29, 2016

The best plot in the world. The most thrilling story of the century. A tale so compelling it changes the lives of millions. None of them work if the characters don’t ring true. You might think it’s easy for a female writer to create believable, convincing female characters. It isn’t. Nothing about the writing process is ‘easy’. Having said that, I’ve discovered a way to flesh my women out, make them life-like and three dimensional. But it wasn’t always that way. The essential male / female split Before I was published, I wrote three novels. None have seen the light of day, and they never will, because they weren’t ready. I had to learn the craft of fiction. To wit, in one of those novels, two male police officers were the protagonists. One of them walked into a house to question a witness, and the first thing he noticed were the curtains in the window. “Um… no,” said my writing group. A solid, beefy cop would NOT notice curtains when he walked into a house. “You need to learn the difference between a man and a woman’s point of view”, they said. Looking back, it seems obvious now. But at…

A Strawberry Topped Interview with CC Dragon
Author Guest , Cozy Corner / February 29, 2016

I am of the mindset that there’s nothing better than having a ripe, juicy strawberry on top of my dessert, and I’m beginning to believe the same rule applies to cozy mysteries! CC Dragon’s promotion card caught my eye last fall at a conference in Colorado. There was something about it that was familiar—her cover styles were attractive and appealing—as it turns out, we have the same cover artist! So it makes sense, that I was drawn to her books as much as I am to strawberry topping. I looked for her at the conference, to no avail and ended up stuffing her promotion card in my bag to contact her after I returned home. I hate to say, that swag bag didn’t get emptied until the holidays, but what a great gift it turned out to be! If I’d contacted CC last fall, she would have only had two books out in her series, but as of January, she has three Strawberry Top Mysteries for you to gobble up;) Now that’s a delicious treat! Kym: Please welcome CC Dragon to Fresh Fiction’s Cozy Corner! CC: Hi! Thanks for tracking me down ? Kym: CC can you tell us a…

Fresh Pick | THE SECRETS OF LIZZIE BORDEN by Brandy Purdy
Fresh Pick / February 29, 2016

Fresh Pick for Monday, February 29th, 2016 is THE SECRETS OF LIZZIE BORDEN by Brandy Purdy #SuspenseMonday About THE SECRETS OF LIZZIE BORDEN Anyone is capble of anything In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime. Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters. Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes… Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how…

K.C. Held | The MacGuffin
Author Guest / February 29, 2016

When I heard I’d be writing a guest post for Fresh Fiction on their weekly Suspense Day, I was immediately filled with, you guessed it, SUSPENSE! What was I going to write about??? I was excited, but also a little nervous, and totally stumped for ideas. So, I did what I usually do when I’m stumped. I headed over to my local Novel Solutions store to see if they could help me out. I was relieved to see my buddy Carl behind the counter. “Ms. Held, what can I help you with today?” Carl asked. “You look a little…tense?” “Yeah,” I said. “I need to write this guest post for Fresh Fiction and I’m kind of stumped. I want to write something about suspense, but—” “I’ve got exactly what you need,” Carl said, and he reached under the counter and pulled out a battered wooden box. “What’s that?” I asked. “It’s a MacGuffin.” “A MacWhat?” I reached for the lid. “Don’t!” Carl batted my hand away. “You must not open the box under any circumstances.” “Um, I don’t want to doubt you, Carl, but how exactly is this supposed to help me with my blog post?” I asked. “A MacGuffin…

Ani Keating | Meet Aiden Hale, hero of THIRTY NIGHTS
Author Guest / February 27, 2016

THIRTY NIGHTS is the story of Elisa Snow and Aiden Hale—two direct opposites with similar tortured pasts. She is an orphan who lost both her parents on the same day and immigrated to the U.S. to start a new life. He is a U.S. Marine with total recall who cannot escape the horrific memories of Iraq. Between them is every reason why they should be together, not the least of which is the mighty U.S. government. But when they allow themselves one night together, they realize that the only way to fight their pasts is to surrender to the present. A blistering exploration of desire, sacrifice, and redemption, THIRTY NIGHTS is a story about love’s power to equalize us in ways laws cannot. And Aiden Hale has a some strong opinions about it Ani Keating: (plopped on a beanie bag at an undisclosed location, wearing flannel pajamas.) Hey Aiden, thank you for coming here today. Aiden Hale: (sitting in a winged armchair, ankle over his knee, wearing torn up jeans instead of the customary charcoal suit, and glaring at Ani with wrathful eyes.) I didn’t do it for you. I’m doing it for your readers. AK: I know, I know—you’re…

Kathleen Fuller | A Very Special Auction
Author Guest / February 26, 2016

When I had the opportunity to write a novella for AN AMISH MARKET, I jumped at the chance. I live near Middlefield, OH and visit there often. One of the prime attractions is the Middlefield Market. Each Monday they hold a large flea market which includes clothing, fruits and vegetables, Amish baked goods, and in the spring and summer, vegetable plants and flower baskets. I wrote about the Middlefield Market briefly in my novella “Flowers for Rachael” (in the anthology AN AMISH GARDEN) and I was excited to revisit it in this novella collection. In “A Bid for Love”, a fictionalized version of the DCC Benefit Auction is featured. A series of misunderstandings at the quilt portion of the auction leads Hannah Lynne and Ezra to sort out their feelings for each other. Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend the DCC Benefit Auction. This is a yearly auction that supports the DCC Clinic for Special Needs Children located in Middlefield. There are several auctions held throughout the year that support the DCC Clinic and the Clinic for Special Needs Children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I knew this would be a special auction, but it far exceeded my expectations….

Fresh Pick | PLAIN DEAD by Emma Miller
Fresh Pick / February 26, 2016

Fresh Pick for Friday, February 26th, 2016 is PLAIN DEAD by Emma Miller #InspirationalFriday a touch of murder About PLAIN DEAD A (not so) simple case of murder When a newspaperman is murdered in the Amish community of Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, Rachel Mast digs up the dirt to find out who wanted to bury the lead… Although she left her Old Order Amish ways in her youth, Rachel discovered corporate life in the English world to be complicated and unfulfilling. Having returned to Stone Mill, she’s happy to be running her own B&B. But she’s also learning—in more ways than one—that the past is not always so easily left behind. After local newspaperman Bill Billingsly is found gagged and tied to his front porch, left to freeze overnight in a snowstorm, Detective Evan Parks—Rachel’s beau—uncovers a file of scandalous information Billingsly intended to publish, including a record of Rachel pleading no contest to charges of corporate misconduct. Though Evan is certain of her innocence, it’s up to Rachel to find the real killer. A closer examination of the victim’s unpublished report leads Rachel to believe the Amish community is far from sinless. But if she’s not careful her obituary might…

Yvonne Lehman | Surviving, or the tale of Rigel the Survivor
Author Guest / February 26, 2016

“You’ve got to come down here,” my granddaughter, Savannah, said over the phone. “We have the perfect dog for you.” “Who’s we?” I asked. “Celeste, Emily, and I. It’s a rescue dog. Hurry.” Well, they are my teenage grandchildren, so I decided to accommodate them, all the while feeling that I wasn’t sure I wanted another dog. The last one I had was a 50-pound black chow with a purple tongue who decided to bite a lab and took me for runs when I was only trying to walk him. He wasn’t the cuddly type! The only thing he apparently feared was going up and down stairs. When there was a tornado alert and we retired to the basement, he stayed upstairs, braving the storm. He wouldn’t do the stairs even when it was sunshiny, nor when offered a treat. So, after he “retired,” I’d made it clear my next dog would be calm, love me, and let me be the boss. Reminding myself that these were the grandchildren who “made” me get a cat at a time I was more a “dog” person, I nevertheless met them outside the store where there were cages filled with pleading, rescued dogs….

Kelly Irvin | The secret to writing true romance
Author Guest / February 26, 2016

When I tell people I’m a novelist, the inevitable next question, is: “What do you write?” When I tell them I write romances, they invariably give me a puzzled, skeptical look. I’m a middle aged lady with a reputation for being reserved, not much of a talker, and definitely not a wild and crazy woman with a vast, exciting love life. First, I want to admit I did sow some wild oats in my twenties, but I don’t look upon those years as something of which I am proud. However, I am proud of the recent anniversary I celebrated with my husband Tim. On February 14, we had been married twenty-eight years. Being married to the same man for almost three decades has given me a richness of experiences from which to draw my romances. I’ve discovered that the mystery and uncertainty, the flip-flopping of the stomach, the will-he-call, will-he-ask, will-we-live-happily-ever-after, are not nearly as fulfilling as knowing the answers and hearing them repeated year after year. We didn’t really have time for much for that. We married in 1988 three months after we met on a bus full of journalists headed from El Paso, Texas, to Albuquerque, New Mexico,…

Colleen Halverson | The Magic of Ireland’s Western Shore
Author Guest / February 25, 2016

I feature many of my favorite places in Ireland in my novel THROUGH THE VEIL, but my favorite by far is Glencolmcille. Nestled in a tiny valley by the sea, it lies on the far western shore just west of Donegal. It’s a Gealtacht area, which means it’s one of the few places in Ireland where Irish is still the primary language. It has two pubs, a tiny convenience store, a thin strip of beach, and a school for Irish language and music. If you blink, you might miss it. I stumbled upon Glencolmcille accidentally after hitching a ride with some Australian girls, but as soon as I stepped out of the car, the magic of the place was palpable. Big puffy white clouds swept out to the sea, the sound of the ocean gentle and melodic as it crashed against the sand. The wind whipped through my hair, and I stood on the cliffs, feeling very small against the great dome of the sky. Glencolmcille settles into the heart, making a space there for possibilities. To me, it’s one of the thin places of the world, where the real meets the divine. Intricately carved standing stones dot the rolling…