From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting To Know You....Part Four

Today we are interviewing Michele Downey.

FF: How long have you been writing?
Forever it seems like! No really, I started writing when I was 10. I had the most amazing teacher (thank you Mrs. Alexander!!) who taught me to love words. One of the things we did every week was use our spelling words to write a story….and let’s just say I made the most of it. I believe her words were “You certainly have an imagination.”

FF: What genre do you write in?

Paranormal Romance. Although it’s very trendy right now, I’ve loved vampires, werewolves, witches and the like since I can remember. I’m so glad to see them all getting their due these days and I hope that eventually it won’t be seen as a trend at all, but an ongoing, sustainable sub-genre.

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.
In Second Chances, Samantha Grayson returns home after a horrific car accident that claimed both her parents. Battling her memories, Sam must decide if she is ready to take a chance on love with the most unexpected person of all.

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?
Yes! My current WIP involves the ageless struggle between the Light and the Darkness. Lila and Gabe must battle the Shadows, save the Book of Light and somehow find a way to be together.

FF: Best/worst advice you’ve received?
Best advice: start writing and keep writing. I still struggle to take this advice every day. Worst advice: hmmm….I can’t really think of any bad advice I’ve gotten, because I try to at least consider it, even if I don’t end up using it.

FF: Information to share with your readers:
When she's not working on her novel, Michele enjoys reading paranormal romance, writing short stories and cooking for her (extremely tolerant) husband. You can follow her at Fiction

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting To Know You....Part Three

Today we're interviewing Rachel Dilley

FF: How long have you been writing?

Though I was an English major in college, I really didn't start writing until about five years ago. I found myself in a situation where someone was demanding my attention at all times, leaving no time nor energy for myself. I started writing short stories mostly because they were...well...short. I still don't have a lot of time to myself, as a wife, mother, and full time paralegal. However, on those occasions when I do write, I enjoy creating something that is all my own.

FF: What genre do you write in?

I write mostly contemporary fiction with some kind of historical twist. I love history, but writing historical fiction is so much work! I also really enjoy writing non-fiction. I've had some success in publishing personal essays.

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.

As most of my fiction does, my story Full Circle has a bit of my real life at its heart. I started vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina since I was about 5 years old. Back then, it was a bare bones island with very little commercialization. My family started vacationing with another family year after year, and I eventually ended up marrying one of the boys from the family with whom we vacationed. Full Circle is about a woman who returns to the Outer Banks where she spent summers as a girl, to heal from a divorce. She is reunited with a childhood friend who remained on the Outer Banks, and the pair quickly pick up where they left off.

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?

Well, yes and no. I have started a novel and I'm 6 or 7 chapters into it, but I don't have the chance to work on it as regularly as I'd like. It's a contemporary thriller with American History at its core.

FF: Best/worst advice you’ve received?

The best advice I've received, I wish I had actually followed. It is to write every day, even if it's just a few hundred words. Time is elusive and I find that it gets eaten up very easily by the tasks of daily life. You can accomplish big things in writing with only little chunks of time.

Rachel Dilley's personal essays have been published in BGSU Magazine and in the Columbus Dispatch.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting To Know You.....

In Celebration of our recent release, Tales of Summer Romance. We're going to be taking a few posts to introduce the authors behind FictionFlurry. Today we're interviewing Susan Gee Heino.

FF: How long have you been writing?

I've been writing since before I could read. I'd sit at the kitchen table scrawling out stories, forcing my poor mother to spell out every word for me. In college I studied creative writing in its various forms, and discovered playwriting. After graduating with a degree in Theatre, I had several plays produced at small theatres here and there, and then moved into writing drama for church productions. Always my dream was to publish a novel, though, and in 2003 when my children were small I turned my focus toward that. I joined Romance Writers of America and worked very hard to educate myself and slowly move toward my goal. I had six completed manuscripts before I finally made my first sale in 2008.

FF: What genre do you write in?

I adore stories with happy endings about people who discover that life is better if we can learn to love. I write romance. Specifically, my first published novels have been set in the English Regency time period, but I do have some other projects in the works so hopefully I'll be expanding my scope a little in the near future.

FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.

The story I have included is "The Sister Solution" and it is set in the Regency time period. If you're not familiar with this, just think of Jane Austen. Her works were published during the English Regency (1811-1820), so think Mr. Darcy in a starched cravat and Lizzy Bennet with a scuttle bonnet. I just love that time period and all its social strictures. This is one of the elements I've capitalized on in my story. It was very much a man's world back then and women had few options if they wished to better themselves. Basically, if a girl was not blessed to be born with a fortune, the best she could hope for was to marry well. And that, of course, would never happen if her family members were prone to scandal. This is Lizzy Courdray's dilemma as my story opens. With her father deceased and her mother behaving quite shockingly, how is poor Lizzy to look after herself and her flighty younger sister? What's to become of them if their reputation in town is dreadfully ruined?

FF: Are you currently working on a novel?

Yes, several! I just turned in the forth novel in my current Regency series and I'm in the brainstorming process for the next. Also, I'm polishing a contemporary-set romance that I just love and my agent is getting ready to start shopping it. And as if that's not enough, I've got a really fun YA thriller series that I'm working on, as well. My agent is very excited about this and is stalking me to get it finished up so she can shop that, as well. I'm a busy gal!

FF: Best/worst advice you've received?
I've gotten lots of "best" advice over the years. Depending on what stage I was at in my writer's journey, different things have turned the light bulb on for me. One of the really brilliant things I picked up a long time ago was, "Don't write the boring parts." It seems like this ought to be intuitive, but believe me, I really want to write the boring parts. It's a constant battle in my brain: Is this scene really necessary? What does the reader learn about these characters? How does this build the conflict or the tension? Trust me, even the funniest/sexiest/most tragic scene is wasted paper if it does not move the story along and help develop your characters.

What's the worst advice I've gotten? That's hard to say, since I tend to filter this out and toss is aside so it doesn't take up space in my already too-cluttered mind. I think some of the worst advice is the stuff people love to tell beginning writers: "Don't use words like was and that." "Avoid all adverbs." "Write only what you know." And the very worst, "Hardly anyone ever gets picked up by the big New York publishers. You might as well give up now."

Susan Gee Heino Bio Information: In 2008 I was honored to win Romance Writers of America’s coveted Golden Heart ® Award in the Regency Historical category. My winning manuscript sold at auction and I signed a two book deal with Berkley Publishing. MISTRESS BY MISTAKE was published in 2009 and became a national bestseller.

DAMSEL IN DISGUISE followed in 2010 and I signed another two book contract. Now this summer TEMPTRESS IN TRAINING has just hit shelves and PASSION AND PRETENSE will release in April, 2012. I live in rural Ohio with way too many pets, my very supportive husband, and my two adorable (and frighteningly creative) children.

I love to hear from readers! You can contact me through my website at or check out my neglected blog at

Monday, July 18, 2011

And the Winners Are.....

Thanks to everyone who is following Fiction Flurry.  Stick with us, as we have a lot of fun reviews, author interviews, and giveaways!

Here are the BlogFest 2011 winners:
Maria (pronounced Mariah) $15 gift card
Shelbie and Amanda $15 Barnes and Noble gift Card
Ellie $15 Starbucks gift card
books4me  free copy of Tales of Summer Romance
Barbara Hightower free copy of Tales of Summer Romance
Judy  free copy of Tales of Summer Romance

Check your e-mails later tonight from Fiction Flurry to claim your prize.

Congrats to all!

BlogFest Winners to be Announced Monday Night

Hi All:

We're so happy with the response to our giveaway!  There are so many entries that it will take us a little time to draw the names.  Please check back Monday night for our list of winners.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

BlogFest 2011 Giveaway


Welcome, welcome, welcome to Fiction Flurry!  Fiction Flurry is a writing critique group based in Marysville, Ohio.  Our members write in a flurry of different genres:  YA, Romance, Historical, Inspirational, Paranormal, and even a little non-fiction now and then.  This blog is devoted to lovers of reading and writing.

So, we know you have a lot of blogs to visit in a short period of time, but we would like to first tell you about the short story anthology we recently published.  We would love for you to check out Tales of Summer Romance: A Collection of Short Stories.  There are seven summer-inspired stories by Fiction Flurry authors, including Regency Romance Author extraordinaire, Susan Gee Heino.  The e-book is only $2.99 and half of the net proceeds from the sale of this book between now and the end of 2011 will be donated to our local humane society.  How can you go wrong?  You get some fun summer stories and help cats and dogs find homes!  Click here to purchase the book or download a sample.

So enough shameless plugs.  Onto the business at hand.  Here's what Fiction Flurry is offering during this giveaway:

1. gift card, $15
2.  Barnes and Noble gift card, $15
3.  Starbucks gift card, $15
4.  3 winners will receive a free copy of our e-book, Tales of Summer Romance

We ARE open to international entries.

Here's what you need to do to enter:
1.  Be a Fiction Flurry follower through Google Friend Connect (see right margin)
2.  Leave a comment indicating your e-mail address, your favorite genre, and whether you prefer e-books or hard copy books, or both.
3.  Though it is not required, you will be entered for this giveaway twice if you follow us on Twitter or friend us on Facebook.

Have fun!  Here are your next 5 blogs, if you're going in alphabetical order:
57 For What It's Worth
58 Free & Frugal Mommy of One
59 Frequent Reader, Infrequent Blogger (INT)
60 From the Shadows
61 From the TBR Pile

THANK YOU to for organizing this BlogFest! 
If you are keeping track, here's the link to the tracker:

Get Ready...BlogFest 2011 Giveaway July 15 through 17

Photobucket   Come back to Fiction Flurry from Friday, July 15 through Sunday, July 17, 2011 to enter our giveaway for some great prizes, including gift cards and copies of Fiction Flurry's new anthology of short stories, Tales of Summer Romance.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Short Stories: Love'Em or Hate'Em?

As I hope you now know, the writers of Fiction Flurry have just completed an anthology of short stories entitled, Tales of Summer Romance. There are seven short stories, all centered around a summertime setting and each with a romantic twist.  (Additional information can be found here.) Short stories can be a great way to hone your writing skills. They require you to get to the point and limit yourself to only the most important details. Every word counts when you are restricted in the number of them that you can use!

On the flip side, if you are a reader, a short story can be a perfect, brief escape. As one of our members stated: a short story is to a novel what a 30-minute television show is to a three-hour movie. Sometimes, you simply don’t have a big chunk of time to commit to reading an entire novel. You just want a “quickie.”

If you love a good short story, you are in luck! The internet abounds with sites created for the specific purpose of sharing and promoting shorts. A few which come to mind:

American Literature

Short Story America

From Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Tell-Tale Heart" to O. Henry’s "The Gift of the Magi" to Stephen King’s "The Body" (which was made into the movie Stand By Me), short stories offer a spectacular return for a very small investment.

How about you? Do you like to read or write short stories? Do you have a favorite short story or short story author? Share it with us!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tales of Summer Romance: A Collection of Short Stories

The authors of Fiction Flurry proudly announce the publication of our anthology of short stories!  Seven romance stories, including historical and contemporary genres, will delight you on these hot, lazy days of summer. We are happy to feature a story written by Susan Gee Heino, whose third book, Temptress in Training, was released this week.

What's even better than a playful summer read is knowing that your purchase of Tales of Summer Romance will help the Humane Society of Union County, Ohio.  From now until December 31, 2011, half of the net sales proceeds from the sale of our book will be donated to help the pooches and kitties in our area.

Tales of Summer Romance is an e-book available for $2.99 now at:

You can download the book today to your PC, Kindle, NOOK, Sony Reader, or Kobo directly from Smashwords.  The e-book will be available soon on Amazon, Apple, and Barnes and Noble. 

We want to thank our followers and readers for your support and loyalty.  Fiction Flurry hopes that you enjoy these short stories.  After all, what's better than summer love?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

3 ½ Stars out of Five

It is 1942, and twelve-year-old Henry Lee straddles two very different worlds. At home, his immigrant Chinese parents refuse to let him speak his native Cantonese, yet at the same time insist he wear an “I Am Chinese” button on his lapel. At his all-white school where his parents have sent him “scholarshipping,” Henry is regularly ridiculed and even outright physically harmed for being different. Yet despite what might seem to be dire circumstances, there are some bright points in Henry’s life – his black, jazz playing, street corner performer friend Sheldon, and the new girl at school – Keiko. But Keiko is Japanese – the sworn enemy of both America and China. Add to this mix the chain-smoking lunch lady, Mrs. Beatty: is she a friend or a foe? (Hint: think Coach Beiste from Glee!)

I would most definitely recommend this novel. I think author Jamie Ford has done a fantastic job of pacing, for one. So many times, authors are encouraged to start “in the middle of the action” and then just speed headlong from scene to scene. Ford allows this tale to deliciously unwind, while the reader is given the rare opportunity to savor every nuance along the way. The book actually opens with Henry as an adult, having just nursed his ailing wife through a losing battle with cancer and also contemplating how to mend his relationship with his son, Marty, who is soon to graduate college. Ford deftly moves the story back and forth in time from 1986 to 1942 and back again, like a slow, sensual dance, taking the reader right along with him. I was constantly driven to read “just one more chapter,” the ultimate compliment to any writer.

Just as adult Henry is adjusting to his new station in life, a commotion in what was once The Panama Hotel – a gateway between Seattle’s Chinatown and Japantown – shakes his world, and causes him to reflect back, remembering the place…“where he’d once met the love of his life.” I especially appreciated the fine details that Ford gives throughout the entire tale. I could feel myself sink into the depths of the dank basement of the Panama, lit only by bare bulbs, and feel the damp air send chills along my spine as Henry surveys the long forgotten belongings of entire families. In addition, the relationship between Henry and his own parents is richly drawn. Yes, it is rife with conflict, but the reader is equally invited into the intimate world of the Lee home, where Henry’s father (a Chinese nationalist) and his mother (conflicted by the two men in her life) sincerely want to create a better existence for their only child.

In an historical context, Ford’s novel reminds us (by “us,” I mean the collective us of America) of a most troubling time in our own recent past. Sadly, I believe there will be a number of readers who may be completely unaware of the fact that the U.S. government once imprisoned over 100,000 of her very own citizens. I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this novel will use this as an opportunity to learn more about this chapter of American history and about Executive Order 9066 which was issued by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This order set up an “exclusion zone” that consisted of the entire Pacific Coast where any persons of Japanese descent – despite their US birthright – were prohibited to live, work, travel or otherwise occupy unless interred in a special camp.

I always find it especially engaging to read the version of any book which contains a “Reader’s Guide” within. I appreciate the extra insight the author gives, as well as delving deeper into the motives/characters of the particular piece. In this instance, there was also a Q/A with author Jamie Ford. When asked about the split-narrative, Ford gives this response (from the 2009 Ballantine Trade Paperback Edition):

I wanted to give the book a more redemptive ending. That’s a literary way of saying, “And everyone lived happily ever after.”

The short story wrapped up on a fairly tragic note. And even if I continued the story in the ‘40s, there really wasn’t a way to give it an ending that felt satisfying. I mean, after the war was over, it didn’t suddenly get better for Japanese American families. Their lives had been completely turned upside down – sort of like people who survive a hurricane. Sure the wind stops blowing and the floodwaters recede, but what do you have left except rubble, and does that provide happiness or just relief? It took decades for most of these families to recover. It just seemed natural to have that redemptive ending come years later as well.

Also, I think that most people can relate to seeing their first love again, at a class reunion or just by chance, and there’s this wave of nostalgia and melancholy – it’s very poignant and universal, I think.

So, now I toss this over to you. Whether you have read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet or not (and I suggest that you do!), I want to know: do you still remember your first love? How old were you when the two of you met? Do you still see this person? What would you do if you were to run into him/her on the street this very afternoon?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ode to Thomas Jefferson, Patriot and Writer

This Fourth of July, I think it's important to pay homage to some of the greatest writers in American history.  They weren't novelists or poets.  They were the technical writers of their day.  There's no glory in technical writing, but as a reader trying to figure out how something works, you know immediately if the technical writing is bad.  The writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were the ultimate technical writers, weren't they?

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison, among others, wrote the documents that have been our nation's "user's guide" for over two centuries.   If you're like me, when you're trying to assemble some complicated toy on Christmas morning, nothing annoys me more than poorly written directions.  Think about the set of directions written by our founders:  they are general enough to leave room for interpretation, but specific enough that essential rights are identified and preserved.

The writing process for the Declaration of Independence was not unlike the publishing process of today.  We can consider Jefferson the author.  He presented his draft to John Adams and Ben Franklin, his writers' critique group.  It was a painful process for Jefferson, who had chosen every word of his draft with intention and care.  Nonetheless, Adams and Franklin suggested some changes.  The document then went forward to the Continental Congress, or the publishers, who made additional changes.

The Declaration was a proclamation of rights and a notice to the King that because he refused to recognize these rights, we were leaving the umbrella of his rule.  The Constitution, written in large part by James Madison, is the real blueprint for how our government would operate with the goal of preserving the rights enumerated in the Declaration.  Where Jefferson was artful in explaining abstract concepts, Madison was masterful in the specific implementation and protection of those concepts. 

If you're a writer or just someone who appreciates well-written instructions, I hope you spend some time re-reading these important documents and recognize the skillful craft that went into their creation.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

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