Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Sally Goldenbaum | Writing by the seat of my pants
Author Guest / June 8, 2016

Sometimes (usually) when I sit down to begin a new mystery, I literally freeze. “Breathe,” I remind myself. So I do, slowly. In and out. That blank computer screen is sometimes as terrifying to me as rewatching The Shining. And that’s where I am these days—staring at the screen, trying to remember how I started MURDER AT LAMBSWOOL FARM (the newest seaside knitters mystery) as I begin the next one. What came to my mind first as I began writing MURDER AT LAMBSWOOL FARM? The murderer? The motive? The victim? The answer came to me with a start. It wasn’t any of those things. In the case of the Lambswool Farm book, it was an article I read about an organic farm that hosted dinners in a beautiful field, the well-set table groaning with the farm’s fresh produce. It had little to do with a murder, but was rather a place where I’d be happy to spend the months I would devote to writing the book. So I began creating the farm itself, its fields and lambs and a barn turned into my dream kitchen. Without a murderer. A victim. A motive. It’s the way I write: scene by scene,…

Debby Mayne | From Rivalry to Romance
Author Guest / June 8, 2016

Romantic tension is essential in true-to-life relationships as well as fictional love stories. It’s the tension that keeps things sizzling. That sensation may start with a biting comment or a look that can kill. Or the accidental touch … or kiss. It’s there, but they try to fight it. When a hero hits a nerve in the heroine, she balks on the surface, but deep down, she’s intrigued. Or when the heroine strikes a chord that lets the hero know she’s on to him, he lifts his armor to protect his heart because he knows she’s the only one who truly gets him. The problem can be their own vulnerability that they both may perceive as weakness but eventually turns into the power of their bond. I’ve seen cases where the hero and heroine are so similar in their strengths—and sometimes stubbornness—they develop a love-hate relationship early on, and it’s through the barbs and squabbles that they discover something no one else can. They may not be soul mates when they first meet or not even like each other early in their relationship, but they have a depth of understanding between them that no one else will ever experience. In…

Trish Perry | Why Do Rivalry Romances Work?
Author Guest / June 8, 2016

Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet despises Mr. Darcy for his judgmental haughtiness. In Bridget Jones’ Diary, the modern-day retelling of that novel, Bridget initially experiences the same disdain for the formal barrister, Mark Darcy, for similar reasons. Why, then, do we immediately feel a charge of excitement over the possibility that the hero and heroine might fall for each other during the course of the book? If we stop for a moment and imagine such a relationship in real life, would we feel that same spark? Try it. If you aren’t already single, imagine you are, for purposes of this question. Your wonderful spouse does not exist and is not an option for you. Is it realistic for you—if you consider someone who truly rubs you the wrong way—to imagine you might fall in love with that person eventually? Probably not. All four of the novellas in the IN LOVE AND WAR collection (Mountain Brook Ink, 2016) unfold stories about rivals and romance. Why do they work? Sometimes the rivalry exists professionally, so what spills over into the personal is actually off center. Our heroine might want to focus on professional animosity but may be unwillingly drawn into personal common…

Cathryn Fox | Summer
Author Guest / June 8, 2016

For those who know me know how much I love summer. Which begs the question, why do you live in Nova Scotia where winters are eight months long? I often ask myself the same thing but the answer is the same. Family. I want to be close, so I’m willing to put up with the cold winters. But having said that, I live summers to the fullest and spend as much time as possible outdoors. I give myself a little bit of a lighter work schedule in the summer and try to get outdoors on the deck early afternoon so I can read in the sun. We live right on the beautiful Atlantic Ocean so when I’m not on the deck, I can be found reading at the beach (I’m seeing a theme here, lol) A few years back we also built a fire pit and spend many fun nights drinking wine around the fire and roasting marshmallow with friends. In our garden this year we planted tomatoes, squash pumpkin, and blueberries. For fruit trees we have peaches, apples, pears and cherries, but forget about the cherries, the deer hover close and eat them when they are perfectly ripe! They…

Samantha Chase | 5 Vacation Retreat Spots
Author Guest / June 8, 2016

In JORDAN’S RETURN, she’s taking her kids on a month-long vacation to help her get her focus on what she where she wants their lives to go from here. So in honor of that, I’m looking at the top five vacation ideas for when you need a retreat. The beach. It may be a cliché, but there is just something soothing and healing about sitting on the sand and listening to the waves crash on the shore. In Jordan’s Return, she chooses Virginia Beach. When you’re needing to go someplace to relax and think, it’s important to choose a place that doesn’t have a lot of distractions. Coastal rather than tropical would be the key here. And if you can get a bungalow on the beach or only a block or two in? Even better! The mountains. There is also something to be said for looking out at the mountains and the greenery that surrounds it. I live in North Carolina and I don’t make that four hour drive west often enough! But when I do? There is nothing better. I love just sitting outside and breathing the fresh air and being out of the city. It’s so quiet and…

Marie Harte | My Top Five Favorite Scenes From TEST DRIVE:
Author Guest / June 8, 2016

The guys dealing with their boss and her no-swear policy. She’s trying to cut back before her wedding, but getting a garage full of troublemakers to keep it clean is a real job. He cursed under his breath again when he scraped his knuckles on the pump. But the sound of someone shaking a familiar glass jar of coins made him tense. He heard it again, even over the blast of AC/DC. “Seriously, guys?” Del held the newly purposed amber glass growler out to them. Such a sad waste of a perfectly good beer container. Once the half-gallon jar had been home to ambrosia, a killer IPA flavored with hops and a hint of citrus. Now, it was nothing but a no-swearing jar filled with goddamn quarters. Sam and Foley bitched about the new no-swear policy even as he heard them drop change into what Johnny had taken to calling the “Rattle of Oppression—ROP.” A few clinks of change against glass and everyone seemed to sink into themselves, anxious that their fearsome boss would come storming back in, demanding a quarter for a “hell,” “shit,” or “damn.” Johnny knew better. Dubbed the smart one of the crew, he kept his…

Meet Kat Martin
Interviews / June 8, 2016

Last week Kat Martin published her latest novel INTO THE WHIRLWIND to great fanfare here at Fresh Fiction! Reviewer Helen Williams instantly put down the book and wanted to know more from Martin about her BOSS, Inc. series, how she picks the right leads for her books, and what she has coming out next. Helen Williams: Did you already have Dirk and Meg’s story developed when writing Ethan and Valerie’s story? Kat Martin: Originally, I didn’t plan to give Dirk a story at all, but at the end of INTO THE FURY, he was so sad I had to give him one! I had to make things right for him and Meg. (smile here) HW: Do you find it difficult to continue a series or does each story flow right into your next story? KM: Sometimes the stories flow, as with INTO THE WHIRLWIND, where I knew the characters, immediately realized the kind of threat Meg might have to face could involve her child. Other times, I struggle, which I am doing now on a new project. HW: Since some of your characters have some sort of military or special ops background is this from experience or do you just…