Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
But I Don’t Want Him to Be a Bad Guy: The Trouble with Villains
Author Guest / August 1, 2017

It’s time for me to make a confession: I hate writing villains. As an author who delights in heists and capers and romantic suspense-y twists, you’d think nothing would make me happier than to create a big, bad villain for the hero and heroine to take down. Good triumphs over evil! Love rules the day! Happily ever after for all! While I do love a good HEA and the thought of a bad guy getting his due, this is a part of the storytelling process I struggle with quite a bit. Usually, it’s because I grow to love all my characters too much—even the dastardly ones. (Most of the time, I especially love the dastardly ones.) I like to think this is a natural side effect of writing realistic, compelling villains. Instead of just being an incarnation of evil, they have motives and feelings and flaws, are three-dimensional characters in their own right. In fact, every villain should be the hero of his own story…it’s just that this particular book isn’t his story. Yet. It’s not just my own books I feel this way about, either. Some of my favorite book, movie, and TV characters of all time rest on…

Ivy Layne | An Excerpt from THE BILLIONAIRE’S SECRET KISS
Author Guest / July 28, 2017

As fast as I could without running, I walked down the hall to get my purse and keys from the kitchen. A few more seconds and I’d be in my car on the way to school. My purse was not on the counter where I left it. Dammit. I didn’t have time for this. My heart thundering in my chest, I scanned every flat surface in the kitchen for my red purse and silver key ring. I wasn’t sure whether I was rushing to my appointment or just desperate to escape Noah. Noah. How was Noah at Vance and Magnolia’s? He was in California. As far as I knew, he hadn’t been back to Georgia since three months before we’d broken up. Why was he here now? Vance was an artist, but he was also an angel tech investor on the side. He’d met Magnolia when he hired her as his assistant, and they’d gotten married a few months before. Vance and Maggie met with a lot of guys like Noah, but there were angel investors in California. Silicon Valley was filled with them. Why was he in Atlanta? Why was he here? Maybe after what had happened, no one…

Annette M. Irby | Key Elements in Romance Novels
Author Guest / July 28, 2017

My favorite books are inspirational romance, and I’ve been reading them for over twenty years. I began in publishing with novellas because I used to devour those four-in-one romance novella compilations. Since then, I’ve written full-length fiction, but the romantic elements are the same. Here are some of the key ingredients I look for as a reader, and hope I include as an author, in romance novels: A Noble Hero Sure, he has to be flawed. He must make mistakes. There has to be that one element he doesn’t have the internal or external strength to do at the beginning of the story that he’ll be able to do at the end. But he must also have at least one area of his heart, his life, where he is noble. Perhaps he’s caring for his elderly grandmother. Or perhaps he’s good to animals. The more noble, the better. A Strong Heroine This doesn’t mean she’s bench-pressing twice her weight, nor does it mean she won’t need help along the way. In my Friday Harbor story, my heroine—a strong and competent character—needs rescuing. That rescue feels believable, without making her look weak. And don’t we all need rescuing sometimes? (By the…

Dani Pettrey | Bravery
Author Guest / July 28, 2017

Happy Friday friends, Today I am chatting about bravery. We all exhibit some level of bravery every day. I’m not talking soldiers on the battlefield bravery, they are heroes and I respect them immensely. I’m talking about the bravery it takes to be our real, authentic selves day in and day out through trials, obstacles, and fears. Being who we were created to be and resting in that is one of the most freeing things you’ll ever experience and I pray with all my heart you do. But it also takes a whole heap of bravery not to try to fit in with your peers, colleagues, friends, or even your family. To not feel the need to conform or to hide the beauty of who God made you to be. The verse I chose for this week’s principle is from the song of Solomon. “You are altogether beautiful my love. There is no flaw in you.” Solomon 4:7. (ESV)  Some things to keep in mind this week as you go through your days: “God knit each of us uniquely together in our mother’s womb.”  Solomon 139:13-14 “God knew you before you were born.” Jeremiah 1:5 “God has called you by name and you were…

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Fame And Fortune
Author Guest / July 28, 2017

I didn’t set out to be an author. From childhood, my career goals were first an airline pilot, then a professional baseball player, and finally a physician. As I matured, I realized the first one was a fantasy, the second one highly unlikely (although I did play a bit of semi-pro baseball), while the third was what God had in mind for me. I didn’t realize God also planned for me to write, but events after the death of my first wife made that path clear to me. In none of these did I have an ultimate goal of fame and fortune—well, maybe the baseball thing, but nothing since then. But when I got my first writing contract, the dreams began. At my first writer’s conference, I was awestruck by the published writers there. These were people whose names were household words—maybe not in my household, but I was just getting started, so I could be excused for not knowing all of them. But surely they were celebrities in their hometowns. Most certainly they had to stop and give autographs in the grocery store or dry cleaners. And undoubtedly they lived in the lap of luxury. After all, they were…

Q&A with Bestselling Author Jeaniene Frost on her latest title THE SWEETEST BURN
Author Guest , Interviews / July 27, 2017

Miranda Owen: What had you doing a series about demons, angels, and other biblical themes? Jeaniene Frost : I’ve loved all things paranormal since I was a child. Seriously, a story long told by my parents was that on my first day of Sunday school, I told the pastor that I thought the cross on the wall was to keep the vampires away. Not surprisingly, the first books I wrote featured vampires, but even then, I soon branched out to include other creatures like ghosts, ghouls, witches, revenants, wraiths, sorcerers, necromancers, and even a few demons. However, I first got the idea for the Broken Destiny series the same way I first got the idea for my Night Huntress series: from a dream. I have very vivid dreams, and they’ve ended up being plot fodder for more than a few books. In this particular dream, a young woman woke up trapped in a demon realm after spending the night in a bed and breakfast. Over the next few years, while I was writing my other novels, that story kept growing in my mind. Ironically, the young woman didn’t turn out to be my novel’s heroine. Instead, she was my heroine’s…

Sophie Jordan talks THE SCANDAL OF IT ALL
Author Guest / July 26, 2017

Kristen Donnelly: What drew you to writing an older heroine? Sophie Jordan: I’ve been reading romance since I was thirteen …and in that time I’ve read (and loved) countless fresh-right-out-of-the-school-room-historical heroines ranging from 18-21. I’ve read hundreds of them and will likely read hundreds more. As much as I enjoy them, I feel like there is a definite lack of heroines over thirty-five … and that’s what I wanted to write. Life doesn’t end at thirty … so why shouldn’t authors depict more mature women in romance novels? Basically … I wrote what I wanted to read, and that has pretty much been the ingredient to how I decide what to write next since forever. Kristen Donnelly: Was there an inspiration for this story? Sophie Jordan: I introduced Graciela and Colin in my previous novel, WHILE THE DUKE WAS SLEEPING, and they threatened to steal the scene a time or two. The fact that Graciela was older and Colin was younger was just a perk. Kristen Donnelly: You’ve written in a variety of subgenres within Romancelandia – do you have a favorite? Sophie Jordan: No! I don’t … that’s why I keep hopping subgenres. I love them all. Kristen Donnelly:…

Jess Dee | Confessions of a (Mostly) Australian Romance Author
Author Guest / July 26, 2017

It’s been almost 15 years since I immigrated from South Africa to Australia and began writing romance. In that time, I’ve published 30 books…and struggled with every one of them. It turns out the English language isn’t quite so simple as I once believed. You see, I grew up learning South African English, but I write Australian romance for American Publishers. Which means I’ve had to forget my 12 years of basic schooling, learn American spelling (color, not colour), while writing Australian lingo. Simple? Yeah, not really. Okay, not at all. Every day wording and expressions can get downright confusing. No matter how hard I try to write in Australian English, South Africanisms seem to creep in all the time. My characters often greet one another with “howzit, boet” instead of “g’day, mate”, and it’s only in re-reads or edits that I (or my editor) will pick up the error. The simple exercise of a character walking beside the road perplexes me. In South Africa, said character would walk along the pavement. In Australia, she or he would be on the footpath, but in America, it’s called a sidewalk. So please, someone tell me – where should my character walk?…

Exclusive Excerpt: SUDDENLY ENGAGED by Julia London
Author Guest / July 25, 2017

  Kyra opened the fridge, got a beer, and popped the top, unthinkingly taking a deep drink while she pondered her neighbor. Really, had she thanked him enough for the new hinge? Sure, she’d said thanks, but she really ought to thank him. Okay, she was not going to do that—she was not going to find an excuse to go over there and bother that man. Or was she? Because it wasn’t the worst thing to be neighborly and say thank you. Enough. She’d already sort of said thank you, and to say thank you now would be . . . flirty. Yep, flirty. And she was not the flirty type, even though Deenie had urged her to be more flirty. “You have to at least try,” she’d said one afternoon at the bistro when an older guy who smelled like cigars and sweat was hitting on Kyra. “You’ll make better tips. And are you really going to wait until you’re, like, forty before you date again? Because that’s too late. You’re practically done by then.” Forty did sound a little too late to reenter the dating scene. Ruby would be eighteen when Kyra was forty. Kyra could well imagine…

Erin Nicholas | The top five challenges of writing a second-chance romance.
Author Guest / July 25, 2017

Everyone loves a great second-chance romance, right? Two lovers finding each other again. The idea that love conquers all. The romance of never getting over The One and having a chance to make it all right again. But there are challenges to writing these stories too and that made After You one of the harder Sapphire Falls books to write. Here are some reasons why J Someone was probably a jerk. Sometimes break-ups are amicable and people just grow apart and both admit it. But not usually. Usually someone does something that hurts or upsets the other. Which is real life. We all screw up and make mistakes. But when it’s characters in a book, the writer has to be careful so that readers don’t hate the character from the very beginning. They have to have understandable, and forgivable, reasons for the break-up.   They’re not always going to be happy to see one another. Obviously, in a romance, the characters have to spend time together in order to work through everything and figure out how they feel about one another. But they’re probably not going to be that happy to see each other at first. It’s a tough balance…