Posted by Trish Milburn Jul 9 2011, 1:20 pm in guest blogger, MJ Fredrick
By Trish Milburn
Today, we welcome author MJ Fredrick back to the Lair to talk about her million…oh, sorry, I got a little carried away…her two new book releases.
You have two new titles out this summer. First, let’s talk about Midnight Sun. Tell us about this story.
Oh, Midnight Sun. The book that took me YEARS to figure out. Midnight Sun is the story of a cruise chef who’s running away from her problems who encounters a man who’s been exiled because of his. They have a one-night stand, and she discovers his family owns the cruise line where she works! She tries to stay professional, and almost manages, before the ship is overrun by pirates in the isolated waters of the Southern Ocean. Then she has to depend on this man with his bad-boy reputation to keep her and the other passengers safe.
I loved writing Marcus, my bad boy former Olympic snowboarder with no ambition. He had to grow up fast on this cruise, when he realizes he’s the guy in charge. Brylie was fun, too, because she was kinda uptight. I love when an uptight character falls for one who’s so laid back.
The book is set in Antarctica, which I find fascinating. What drew you to this setting?
I was watching the Travel Channel late one night and saw a show about cruises to Antarctica. I was absolutely fascinated, but I’m also a big chicken and knew I’d never go. I started doing research, thinking about how I could work a romance into this setting. I started it several times, even finished another version of it, but nothing worked for me. One of my critique partners said she envisioned it as “Die Hard on a ship.” And that fired me up.
You write wonderful action adventure romances. Are you a fan of them as a reader as well? If so, who are some of your favorite action adventure romance authors?
Aww, thanks! Yes, they’re my favorite genre to read. I loved Fight or Flight by Natalie Damschroder, and Evelyn Vaughn’s Bombshells, and Cherry Adair, and Cindy Gerard, and I’d say Nora’s last couple were as much action-adventure as suspense.
What action adventure romance movies have you enjoyed?
Romancing the Stone, of course, and Zorro. Old ones like The African Queen really show the characters overcoming their travails together. I was one of the few who liked Knight and Day, which was kind of like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which I also loved. I loved the romantic element in Speed and Last of the Mohicans. I would have loved to see Fool’s Gold be—better, and Sahara, too. I would have loved more romance in Die Hard and the Tomb Raider movies. I mean, yeah, Gerard Butler, but that ending, come on!
Your other new title this summer is Something to Talk About, a different type of story. Tell us about it.
When I was writing this book, I called it The Book That I Love. It was my first straight romance in ages. I was high on my Jeffrey Dean Morgan crush, and I’d been reading the Virgin River series and watching a lot of Gilmore Girls, so I wanted a small town love story. The story of Ellie, the small-town waitress who falls in love with her best friend’s somber widower, just flowed. I had a few misfires and had to backtrack, then I wrote it too long and had to cut it down, then added more depth, but I loved every minute of writing it. It’s different, though. One of my critique partners wrote that she was waiting for the gun ships to come over the cliff.
You write different kinds of stories. We writers sometimes hear that we should pick a type of story and stick with it, but I personally find that difficult because I have story ideas for lots of different types of stories. Are you the same? Do you think this actually benefits you as a writer?
I don’t know about benefits. For example, if you enjoyed my historical, Sunrise Over Texas, and you go looking for more of my historicals, well, I haven’t written any yet. (I have ideas, though, boy howdy.) I wrote one little paranormal novella, but my mind just doesn’t bend that way. I love writing for different genres, though. It makes the writing feel fun and fresh.
You’re one of the busiest and most prolific writers I know. What releases do you have coming up next?
August 8, A Ghostly Charm, my one and only paranormal novella, will come out from The Wild Rose Press.
October 24, 3 Days, 2 Nights, a contemporary novella about an estranged couple stranded on a deserted island, will be out from Carina Press.
December 6 (I think), my next novel, Guarded Hearts, about a Texas Congresswoman whose life is threatened so her father hires her a hot bodyguard, will be out from Lyrical Press. 2011 has been a good year for me!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on book 2 of my first trilogy, about a dying resort town trying to find its way out of the recession, and the romances that spring up as they figure things out. I just got back from Minnesota, where I was inspired to write this last summer. This time I did more research. I’m loving this series, but book 2 has been quite the challenge. I hope it pays off.
Thanks for being with us here in the Lair today, MJ. Okay, everyone, MJ writes lots of different types of books — action adventure romance, straight contemporary romance, paranormal. She’s even done an award-winning historical set in frontier Texas. What is your favorite type of romance? And are you a fan of action adventure romances? If so, what are some of your favorites.
Posted by Trish Milburn Sep 19 2010, 4:02 am in casting books, guest blogger, Jo Beverley, MJ Fredrick
MJ Fredrick and I have a lot in common, not the least of which is our, uh, obsession with TV and movies. So it should come as no surprise that we both use actors and actresses as models for the characters we write. It helps give a visual representation for a character on the page as he or she comes to life. Sometimes it’s fun to try to cast the characters of books written by others. Today, MJ does a little of both. We hope you’re in a big screen kind of mood because we’re ready to play casting director today. Let’s begin…
My son and I were talking about books that are being made into movies, and he was surprised by the casting of Julia Stiles in the upcoming movie, The Bell Jar. (He’s 19, btw.) He said she wasn’t at all what he pictured. We went on to talk about the possible remake of The Great Gatsby. He thought Brad Pitt should take the role of Gatsby (And why not? He looks just like Robert Redford.) and Edward Norton should take the part of Nick, the narrator. I think that’s an excellent choice.
I love True Blood and think they did a great casting job, especially with Alcide. JUST what I thought he’d look like. Rworr.
I stopped reading the Stephanie Plum books a few back, but NEVER would have expected Katherine Heigl to take the part of Stephanie. I’m sure she’ll be fine, and I don’t know who I would have picked instead. Only not her.
As long as I’ve been on the Internet, there have been discussions of casting. The popular debates are over who should be Jamie from Outlander (totally Phillip Winchester, the guy who was on that short-lived Robinson Crusoe show, Crusoe) and who should be Roarke from JD Robb’s In Death series (give the kid from White Collar a few years). There’s even a website dedicated to the fun. (DO NOT GO HERE IF YOU WANT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE TODAY!) http://storycasting.com/
I’m reading the book Soulless and can totally see Emily Blunt as Alexia and Gerard Butler as Lord Maccon (he’s Scottish, after all). Maybe we’ll throw Edward Norton in as the professor.
Another series I’m in love with is The Hunger Games. I don’t know enough about young stars to cast them, but that’s a movie I’d love to see. Maybe the boy from Percy Jackson could be Peeta.
I think casting Joss Ware’s post-apocalyptic novels would be fun, too.
I always cast mine, at least the main parts. In my historical, Sunrise Over Texas from Carina Press, I saw Jared Padalecki as the hero and Adrienne Palicki as the heroine. Yes, they were once matched as a couple on Supernatural, which helped, but she has such a different look and could easily be cast in a historical. And Jared, with his shaggy hair, well, just slap a cowboy hat on him and voila! I think the cover artist did a great job of capturing him.
In my romantic suspense, Don’t Look Back from The Wild Rose Press, I saw Evangeline Lilly as Liv, the tough-as-nails doctor-turned-operative, and Gerard Butler circa Reign of Fire as the disgraced soldier Del. I’ve actually used Gerard Butler a lot—he was the model for my hero in Beneath the Surface from Samhain Publishing.
Do you like casting books? Or do you prefer to create your own pictures? Which books would you like to see made into movies? And who would you cast as the main characters?
Posted by Trish Milburn Jan 4 2010, 5:01 am in ebooks, guest blogger, MJ Fredrick
by Trish Milburn
It’s a new year, but many of us are probably still in love with the new electronic gadgets we got for Christmas. I, for one, adore my new Toshiba netbook. I saw lots of people in stores during the Christmas shopping season looking at netbooks, Sony Readers, and cell phones that allow you to do just about anything but bring about world peace. And by Christmas 2010, much of this gadgetry will be out of date and we’ll all be enamored of some new wondrous piece of tech wizardry. Today’s guest, MJ Fredrick, is here today to share her own latest techy love story. Take it away, MJ…
I have a new love…e-books. I know, I know, I publish them, but reading them was always a pain because I’d read them on my computer, which was too much like work. You know, I’d find myself editing or whatever.
But now with the iPhone, I have Stanza and Kindle for iPhone (and I have a ton of free books from them!). I had some books already on the laptop that I loaded onto the phone, and I have to say, it’s really cool. It’s well lit and you can adjust the font, which is the best. Yes, I have to “turn” pages faster, especially because of the small screen, but that doesn’t bother me—yet.
There are a few issues, though. The books from The Wild Rose Press didn’t translate well from the computer to the iPhone and instead of listing the author, it lists the editor, I think. Also, the formatting is gone, so there are no paragraphs. Everything just runs together. All but one are novellas, though, so I can deal. Still, a little frustrating.
And while Samhain books are cheap on Kindle, other books aren’t. Some of the books on my wish list are as cheap in e-book as mass market. And you can’t put e-books on the wish list. BUT some books aren’t available as e-books (Stephanie Rowe’s and Elisabeth Naughton’s latest, for example). Now that I’ve found this addiction, I’m reluctant to buy paper.
I’ve not tried Harlequin books from the Web site or My Bookstore and More. Fictionwise uploads the books straight to the iPhone, using eReader, which I love.
Have you tried reading e-books on any mobile devices? Where do you get your e-books? What do you read them on?
Love to read e-books? Or thinking the start of a new century might be the time to take the leap and try one? Why not try out MJ’s latest release, Breaking Daylight?
Here’s a little about this wonderful romantic adventure story to whet your reading appetite:
Sergeant Alex Shepard is all about getting the job done. That single-minded purpose helps him forget the fact he hates the jungle as he leads his Special Forces team in search of Honduran drug lord Santiago Saldana. His quarry eludes him, but the woman left behind in the compound is the next best thing. Saldana’s mistress—an American woman who clearly puts her own pleasure over right and wrong.
Isabella Canales has been Saldana’s prisoner for four long years. Worse, he’s taken away her most precious possession. Except Alex doesn’t believe a word of it. The clock is ticking, and she’s frantic to do anything to convince him to take her home. Even agree to serve as bait to draw Saldana out.
As they push through the tangled jungle dodging bullets and ambushes, Alex fights his growing respect for Isabella’s determination—and an attraction that’s impossible to resist, whatever she’s done. But Saldana never lets go of what’s his. And betrayal is his deadliest weapon…
You can buy Breaking Daylight (as well as her two previous Samhain releases, Hot Shot and Beneath the Surface) at the Samhain Publishing site: http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/m-j-fredrick. You’ll notice that Hot Shot is also available in print.
To celebrate her latest release, MJ is doing some giveaways. To one lucky poster today, she’ll give away an electronic copy of Beneath the Surface. And for cool giveaways of Bath & Body Works lotions and handmade jewelry, check out her Facebook fan page.
Visit MJ’s Web site at http://www.mjfredrick.com/Site/Welcome.html and her fun blog, The Bandwagon, at http://www.marywritesromance.blogspot.com/
Posted by Trish Milburn Sep 15 2009, 4:01 am in guest blogger, MJ Fredrick
I’m happy to host my good friend and talented author MJ Fredrick today. MJ’s latest book, Beneath the Surface, is one of my favorites by her. And her hero, Adrian? Oh my, he is to-die-for sexy. So in honor of Adrian and his status as a make-you-melt hero, M.J. is talking about heroes and the things they say that really stick with us long after the words have faded away. Be sure to take part in the quiz at the end for a chance to win a bag of goodies.
Take it away, MJ…
The other night the dh and I were watching TV and one of those commercials for an online dating service came on. They talked about finding your soul mate. The dh looked at me, winked, and said, “Hi, Soul Mate.” :::melt:::
In 22 years of marriage, he hasn’t said much romantic, but what he has said sticks. Sometimes just, “This reminded me of you” will do because, well, he’s thinking about me.
The hero in Beneath the Surface, Adrian, isn’t the most romantic when it comes to saying the right thing. In fact, he says the wrong thing most of the time. But he definitely has his moments.
BLURB: In retrospect, perhaps archaeologist Mallory Reeves shouldn’t have delivered the divorce papers to her estranged husband mere weeks before her marriage to another man. She knew seeing Adrian again would stir up memories, but she didn’t expect so many of them to be good, not after the mess they both made three years ago. She also didn’t expect to want to stay at the dig site on the Yucatan Peninsula. But the lure of the ancient ship and, yes, her sexy ex provide more of a draw than the white picket fence she thought she wanted. Marine archaeologist Adrian Reeves has good reason to trust no one. His former partner—and former best friend—made off with his last archaeological find. And his wife left him, frustrated by his obsession for professional revenge. Now both Mallory and his nemesis have returned, and it can’t be an accident that they’ve turned up in the middle of the most important excavation of his career. Seeing her again unearths old pain—and rekindles never-forgotten desire. Now he has to decide if he can trust Mallory again. More importantly, if he can trust himself with her.
So I started thinking about heroes and the lines they say that make us melt. See if you can identify the hero and the quote. I’ve got a goodie bag to send to a random commenter with the right answers. And don’t hesitate to tell me your own favorite quote!
1) “Stay alive. I will find you.”
2) “Don’t you understand that everything I do, I do it for you! Anything that might be special in me is you.”
3) “You make me want to be a better man.”
4) “I love that you get cold when it is 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
5) “So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now? What’s it look like? If it’s with him, go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again. If I thought that’s what you really wanted. But don’t you take the easy way out.”
6) “Beautiful Aurelia, I’ve come here with a view of asking you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person – because I hardly knows you – but sometimes things are so transparency, they don’t need evidential proof. And I will inhabit here, or you can inhabit with me in England.”
7) Hero: Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
Heroine: I will never doubt again.
Hero: There will never be a need.
So, start guessing — and sharing your favorite romantic hero quotes with us. This is going to be fun!
Be sure to go over to the Samhain Publishing site to get your own download of Beneath the Surface. While there, you may also want to nab your own copy of MJ’s first Samhain book (in either e-format or print), Hot Shot, which also has its own sexy hero in Hot Shot firefighter Gabe Cooper.
Posted by Trish Milburn Apr 1 2008, 5:00 am in guest blogger, MJ Fredrick
One of my absolute best friends in the world is author MJ Fredrick. Like the Romance Bandits, she’s a former RWA Golden Heart finalist. And she’s another study in perseverance, never giving up on her publishing dream, even in the face of the rejection and self-doubt we all have faced at some point. Her first two novels are out in e-format and will debut in paperback this fall. Today she’s talking about something else we writers bump into from time to time — coming out of the writing closet to co-workers at the day job.
In my everyday life, I’m a schoolteacher. I’ve never REALLY been in the closet about my writing, but I learned a long ago not to talk about it because, well, success is a lonnnnng time coming (13 years from my first finished book to my first published book). The more people who know, the more people who ask and the more you have to say that no one’s bought you yet.
So when I came to my new school four years ago, I didn’t advertise the writing thing.
And then I sold. Two books in two months to two publishers. I HAD to tell.
The reaction still surprises me. One of the teachers in my unit, who loves to read romance, has just enjoyed every step of this with me. When I get my cover or get an article written about me, she just lights up and hugs me and tells me how proud she is. My whole grade level has been awesome. The newest teacher keeps reminding me that she urged me to take the e-publishing step, another teacher bought me an M&M fire truck because both my books are about firefighters.
The sped teacher and library aide want shirts with my book cover.
The librarian and reading specialist cheer each success.
The day my first book came out, my principal (my PRINCIPAL) made a banner for the teachers’ lounge that said, “Congratulations! We are ALL so proud of you!” She included hearts on both ends with flames in them, AND she bought me a chocolate cake that said “Congratulations” AND she called the district PR guy, who has since become my personal publicist.
The coach asked for more information about how to get the book and took one of my postcards with the Web site on it.
Then, last Friday at about 10:30 a.m., my principal called me on my cell. “One of the news stations is coming to interview you at 2. I just found out, but I wanted to give you heads up.”
Okay, if you’ve ever met me…this is exactly the kind of thing I NEVER thought I’d do. I looked down at myself. It was Friday, so I was wearing my school T-shirt and jeans. I’d been writing in the morning and managed to remember to put on base, and I THINK mascara, but nothing else, not even earrings. I figured I’d go to Walgreen’s at lunch to get make-up, but what about the shirt? I looked at all the women who were my size, all were wearing t-shirts, too. So I went to the office, thinking they might have an extra collared shirt.
I hit pay dirt. The counselor let me borrow her hot pink school shirt with a collar but it said “Counselor.” I figured I’d find a way to fix that. I like pink. She also had make-up (Hallelujah!) The teacher next door gave me a silk flower from the end of her pen and made a pin to cover up “Counselor,” and the sped teacher loaned me her earrings. And the principal came in to the interview with me so I wouldn’t be so nervous!
You can see the result here:
I’m still astounded at the support and awe I receive at school. Maybe it’s because I’ve only talked writing and publishing with writers all these years that I don’t see how special writing a book and getting it published really is.
And yes, I know my school is a special blessing.
Thanks for hanging with us today, MJ.
You can find MJ’s newest releases here:
Where There’s Smoke at The Wild Rose Press
Hot Shot at Samhain Publishing (releases April 1, so if you visit this blog post on the evening of March 31, you might not see it)
Be sure to visit MJ at her fun blog, The Bandwagon, and her Web site.