Spring Blog Hop: Barbara Wallace’s Top Five Hero Inspirations

Blog HopI’m starting a new project this week, which means casting a new hero. “Casting” is perhaps my favorite part of the job (besides indulging in post-manuscript rice pudding) because it lets me spend hours upon end playing on the Internet in search of the perfect sexy actor or model to use for inspiration. Like many of my colleagues, I need to have a mental picture of my characters before I can write.
Lately, despite my web surfing, I find myself turning to the same five inspirational men over and over. They are, in no particular order:

alex, alex, alex


Jake Silbermann. Yeah, I know, you’ve never heard of him. He played one half of a gay love story on As the World Turns. He also has the most amazing blue eyes and swimmer’s body. For some reason, when I want a handsome, but not quite perfect looking hero, he’s who comes to mind. Jake was the prototype for Alex Markoff in BEAUTY AND THE BROODING BOSS. His body also inspired Simon Cartwright in MAN BEHIND THE MASK.





Matt Bomer. Now, he’s the man I go to when I want perfection. Seriously, look at that face? Does the man have any physical flaws? Matt was the inspiration for Charles Bishop in DARING TO DATE THE BOSS and Simon Cartwright in MAN BEHIND THE MASK.




Cast member Max Martini arrives for the


Max Martini. Rough and sexy, with a voice that sounds like whiskey. He’s a man’s man. The perfect person for a hero with edge. I used him for Ian Black in SWEPT AWAY BY THE TYCOON. I can hear his growl in my head.






Jensen Ackles. Okay, we’re back to physically perfect. Plus, he do has that rough bedroom voice that can make your knees weak. Doesn’t hurt that his character, Dean Winchester, is one of television’s most wounded heroes ever. He inspired both Oliver Harrington in FAIRYTALE CHRISTMAS and Grant Templeton in Mr. RIGHT, NEXT DOOR.




EliottChris Meloni. Stereotypically handsome? No. But the man has so much testosterone, it practically leaps off the page. I haven’t used him yet, but he’s on the waiting list. Possibly for a project I’m starting this month.

There are others too. Scott Foley, Michael Weatherly, Clive Owens. But these five are the guys I come back to again and again.

So what actors inspire the stories in your head? Do these men fit the novel characters they were cast to play, or did you have someone else in mind. Come on, let’s have some fun and share the pretty.


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Spring Blog Hop: What was in your Easter Basket?

Blog HopWhat was in your Easter Basket? By Samantha Hunter

Whether you observe the religious holiday or just enjoy getting together with family and friends, I imagine most people have some kind of Easter memories from when they were children. Most of mine – perhaps like everyone’s? – relate to my Easter basket. J My mother would make us go to Church on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, but for a child, largely it was the hurdle to be cleared in order to get to the large basket of goodies waiting after.

Among the usual chocolate and other prizes usually earned in the egg hunt, my parents always put certain kinds of toys in the basket – the two I always remember getting were the Silly Putty™, the Chinese jump rope, a yo-yo, and the Slinky™.

I adored Silly Putty™, and my very favorite thing to do with it was to use it to pick up the print from the comic pages, and I would do that until it had so much ink that I couldn’t use it anymore, at least not for that. But then there were a million other things you could do with it until it was spent. The Slinky™, likewise, was the most fun to walk down the stairs – that was always a challenge. The thing inevitably became hopelessly tangled at some point, but there would be another one coming the next year. J

The yo-yos were also a challenge, fun, but never one of my favorites, since I didn’t know how to do the fancy tricks. The Chinese jump rope was probably the worst, LOL, because I was the youngest, and I didn’t have any siblings my age to be able to use it – my parents clued into that after a bit and got me a regular jump rope. I also recall getting odd sorts of toys – the little dime store toys that now go for large amounts of money on ebay as “vintage.” J

BlogHopPrizeOh, and sidewalk chalk! How could I forget that – frankly, I would still get into using that now, LOL.

So what was in your Easter Basket when you were a kid? Do you carry that tradition through with your kids or grandkids?


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Spring Blog Hop: Liz Fielding’s Easter Feast

Think Easter treats and the first thing that will come to mind is the chocolate egg. My mother always said that the chocolate in Easter eggs was better than any other and I imagine it’s because it has to be very smooth to get that thin, crisp shell. They are still, even with all the amazing chocolate on sale, a very special treat.

But Easter isn’t just about eggs.
It starts on Shrove Tuesday with the pancakes. We have ours  exactly the way my mother made them. Thin pancakes, sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice and folded into quarters.

Then comes the Simnel cake, traditionally baked for  Mothering Sunday. In the UK we have our very traditional Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday in Lent, a day when girls in “service” were given time off to visit their mothers. They took home a cake and the wild flowers they picked as they walked home as gifts.

Then on Good Friday we have Hot Cross Buns. Fresh, soft, full of fruit and spices and buttered. I have to confess that these go on sale
not long after Christmas and this last weekend my daughter brought us some particularly luscious ones with chocolate, orange and caramel. Yum.

And finally, Easter Day – the time for chocolate eggs and  something very special for lunch. A turkey, maybe, if there’s to be a big family gathering, or a piece of pork roasted until the crackling is golden.

What special treats do you look forward to at this time of year? What are your special traditions?

Liz’s latest romance, For His Eyes Only, published by Harlequin KISS is available now. You can find her at her website

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Chocolate Box Spring Blog Hop: The Colours of Spring

Blog HopThe Colours of Spring with Liz Fielding

For me the great joy of spring is waking up from the  black/grey/white palette of winter to a burst of yellows, purples, pinks as the spring flowers put on a look-at-me show.
Snowdrops are brilliant, but there is nothing like the zingy yellow of the daffodils and this year they have been a joy both in the garden and the little tete-a-tetes mixed with grape hyacinths in “welcome” pots by the front door.

After a particularly nasty winter – not particularly cold here, just endless rain – it seems that the flowers can’t wait to put on a

White and pink blossom is breaking out everywhere. The violets planted last autumn are in full flower. The stunning blue of the
pulmonarias is lighting up a dark corner and golden wallflowers are filling the air with luscious scent. And across the road we look out on the stunning deep pink magnolia in a neighbour’s garden.

Even the tulips, that end-of-spring  favourite, are sticking up fat green buds, in a hurry to join the show.

What flower says to you that winter is over, puts a  bounce in your step, makes you smile?

Liz’s latest romance, For His Eyes Only, published by Harlequin KISS is available now. You can find her at her website



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