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Line of Scrimmage

Line-of-ScrimmageBY DESIREE HOLT

One of the questions I am asked most often is where I get my ideas for stories. That’s easy. From the people around me. My stories are all character drive, so I focus on people and play the What If game. What if the barista fixing my coffee is really in the witness protection program. Someone’s discovered her real identity and it’s up to the local sheriff—Mr. Yummy Pants—to protect her. What if the guy in the Stetson in front of me at the grocery store is shopping for the fixings for a romantic barbecue where he hopes to convince the lady of his (wet) dreams to leave the city and join him on the ranch? What if my dentist (sorry, Dr. Friendly Dentist) is really a serial dater and offers his women free dental care to connect with them? Oh, well, maybe not that, but you get the idea.

I have so many interests that it’s easy to pick out characters and put them into any of my favorite situations. Example: My heroine is a welder by day and creates metal sculptures by night. She lives way out beyond the edge of her little town because she’s pretty antisocial and that’s where she has her studio. It’s a rainy night. There’s a knock on her door. It’s Mr. Gorgeous, out in the rain with a flat tire and no cell service. Now what if he’s into medieval history and he’s part of a group that re-enacts jousting and swordplay. Only his sword is damaged and he’s looking for someone to fix it or make him a new one. And…well, you get the idea.

With the football series, Game On, I didn’t even have to tweak my imagination too much. I’m probably the world’s most obsessed football fan. Don’t bother me on Saturday or Sunday during the season. So there I sat in my favorite coffee place, drinking my favorite latte, and I couldn’t help overhearing the woman at the next table complaining about the football player she’d been dating and how he’d made a fool of her. (Of course, you could really substitute any profession here.) She wasn’t getting much sympathy from her friend who was bitching about how she’d just lost her job. I thought to myself, Hmmm. Self? What if you made these two women into one?

I think this is why I never run out of ideas. I have a natural curiosity about people and a brain that never shuts down. My granddaughter loves to tell the story of one night when we were out at dinner and I spotted a couple deep in conversation. I whipped out the little notebook I always carry and started making notes. I’m sure she thought I was nuts.

But that’s who I am. So if you’re ever in a room with me and you see me looking at you, be careful! You could end up in one of my books.


Desiree Holt has produced more than two hundred titles in nearly every subgenre of romance fiction. She is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, an Authors after Dark Author of the Year and of the Holt Medallion. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail and numerous other national and international publications. She enjoys football and reading and her three cats, who are her constant writing companions.

“Get out the ice water and fan…Desiree Holt delivers smoking hot alpha heroes and red hot romances.” Lea Franczak, USA Today Happy Ever After blog

Learn more about her and read her novels here:
Twitter @desireeholt
Pinterest: desiree02holt
Google: www.desiree02holt

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Sometimes it’s not about winning…

One bad tackle. That’s all it took to put wide receiver Jake Russell in a cast for the rest of the NFL season. From being a high school all-star to getting drafted by the Austin Mustangs, football has been Jake’s life for as long as he can remember. It’s what defines him—because he has a secret he never shares. But now that he’s laid up in bed with a nurse displaying a lot of distracting bedside manners, he’s discovering life on the sidelines might have its perks. . .

One last paycheck. That’s all Erin Bass has left to her name when the resort she works at shuts down. Desperate, she agrees to be a caregiver to hardass jock Jake Russell, who also happens to be a memorable one-night stand. Before long, caring leads to daring new ways to catch up in bed, especially with Jake still in a cast. But with football on the sidelines, this time the game is serious. . .

Library Sex: Pros and Cons of Getting It On

Broken-ResolutionsBY OLIVIA DADE

So… sex in the public library. Many of you likely had no idea that even happened outside of fiction. But it does! And [spoiler alert] it’s usually not hot at all, at least to outsiders! 

During my five years as a librarian, I never interrupted a couple inspired by the 613.9 section of our stacks. I witnessed passionate kissing and ill-advised groping, certainly, but nothing that required contraception, a roll of paper towels, or even a wet wipe.

My coworkers told me stories, though. Oh, so many horrifying stories.

I imagine coming across patrons having sex in the library is much like visiting a nudist colony: Generally, the people you’d most like to see under those circumstances are not those you’ll actually encounter.

Hogmanay-Scots New Years


HeartbreakandHonorA guid New Year to ane an` a` and mony may ye see!

One of the main reasons I enjoy writing historical romances so much is the fun snippets of authentic history I get to sprinkle throughout my stories. My latest novel culminates around the Christmas season which was well and good for my hero (he’s British) but my heroine is Scottish, and the Scot’s didn’t celebrate Christmas.

So, she set about educating her beau-turned-husband on one of Scotland’s most celebrated festivals, Hogmanay.

The origin of Hogmanay is unclear, though several theories have developed regarding the start of the once pagan festival.

Some attribute the celebration to the Flemish influence in Scotland because “hoog min dag” means “great love day”. However, Hogmanay is most often credited to the French expression “Homme est né” or “Man is born.”

Classic Romance Tropes

Midnight WranglerBY CAT JOHNSON

Like the eternal fashion classic, the little black dress, classic romance tropes never seem to go out of style.

Readers know what they love, and love what they know. This has been proven to me again and again, both as a reader and as a writer. The thing is if you enjoyed reading a book with a particular theme, you tend to look for more stories like it.

Small Town Girl


I grew up in a small town on a 50 acre sheep ranch. We had a rutted dirt driveway that wound downhill for a quarter mile, no neighbors for miles, and an old green bubble-fendered Ford truck. If I were to write about my life, it would sound like a cliché.

Keeping the Romance Fresh


I love writing contemporary romance because it allows me to be comfortable about writing what I know, what I’m familiar with. For example, I write stories set in Chicago because I grew up there. My world building in some cases is easier than if I wrote paranormal or sci-fi. However, writing contemporary romance has some unique challenges that you don’t find in other genres. For instance, I can’t rely on having an alien race to create conflict for my characters. My hero and heroine aren’t rushing to save the country from terrorists.

Behind the Story: An Honorable Wish

Anhonorablewish2BY EILEEN RICHARDS

For the second book in the series, A Lady’s Wish, I wanted to do something a bit different. Readers got to know the Townsend sisters in book one, and I fully expected to have Juliet take the lead role in book two, but Tony proved the be the one with the most to lose.

The inspiration for this book came from some very unexpected places: Downton Abbey and an old boyfriend. In Downton Abbey there is the relationship with the tenants. In one of the earlier seasons, Edith goes to help a family on the farm because she has learned to drive.  That episode and the relationships with the tenants of Downton Abbey influenced this story.

My Love Of Pirates

WithinACaptainsHoldBY LISA OLECH

I was at a book signing recently, and I was telling anyone interested in listening about my debut release in the Captain’s of the Scarlet Night Series, Within A Captain’s Hold. As soon as I would say, “If you love pirates…,” the overwhelming response was, “Who doesn’t love pirates!” Who, indeed?

Mine has been a long time love affair with pirate romance. When I was pregnant with my second child, I craved pirate novels like some women crave pickles and ice cream. I read every romance novel I could get my hands on. If it had the hero in a puffy shirt and a ship on the cover, it was all mine. I even remember packing one in my hospital bag for when I went into labor. You know, just in case I had a little down time during delivering a baby to read a few chapters.

What Inspires You


What inspires your book ideas? 

Oh, everything. I admit that at first you have to work hard to pick nuggets of potential from all the bits and pieces of life that wash by. I culled the back pages of newspapers and eavesdropped at airports and stopped conversations to take notes. But as I went along, it became easier and easier. I always think of the imagination as a muscle. And you have to exercise the muscle just like any other to make it work well. So what I did was open up everything I learned, saw, read and heard to the possibility that it could become a story.

Christmas Traditions

ChristmasPrinceBY ELLA QUINN

I realize that it’s only November, but I’m going to talk about Christmas. Across the world and, indeed, among Christian denominations, Christmas traditions differ. And sometimes a revolution changes the way Christmas is celebrated for centuries. I write Regencies and was even privileged to live in England for a couple of years. Yet, that didn’t tell me anything about what Christmas was like during the Regency.