Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Terry Spear | My Favorite Winter Activity
Author Guest / February 28, 2019

When it’s colder, I love to walk, because it’s hot here for so much of the year. I love to hike on trails and when I visited my son in Omaha, Nebraska, in early September, they had a really, early snowstorm, so we walked through a forest that still had snow all over. The bad part was that I didn’t get to see the wolf reserve, second year in a row, because it closes the first time it snows for the season. I love fantasy and whimsy. Taking a walk through the forest and finding a couple of miniature snowmen sitting on a bench beside the path, was just plain fun. I love photography, so I try to capture special moments and that was one of them. I missed the deer beside the trail before she bounced off into the ravine though. I captured the shadows of a tree, stretching across a frozen moss pond. I photographed shelf mushrooms covered in snowflakes, and the walkway we walked along, careful not to take a spill on the slushy, slippery snow. Climbing stairs in the woods, climbing a fallen tree to get to the other side of the path, all made the…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: The Family Bond
Author Guest , History / February 27, 2019

February means Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and family. What better way to honor that tradition than by exploring love that endures through generations?  So this month’s historical fiction will look at sagas. These sweeping tales of love, loss, challenge, triumph, betraya, and trust pull the reader into the orbit of the protagonist family’s home and friends, detailing the changes wrought by events internal and external over the passage of decades. We begin with CHINA COURT by Rumer Godden.  In a compelling intermingling of past and present, Godden presents us the richly vivid life of the Quin family, from the establishment of their Welsh estate, China Court, in the early nineteenth century into the twentieth.  Beginning with founders Eustace and Adza, she moves back and forth to upstart village girl Ripsie who marries one Quin brother, and on through the story of Ripsie’s granddaughter Tracy. Weaving in the dramatic outside events that impacted all their lives and the private, personal crises that made and broke apart relationships, Godden creates an intimate portrait of a family over a one hundred fifty year span. The family at the heart of the next saga, C.L. Skelton’s HARDACRE, starts with rags-to-riches Sam Hardacre….

Suzanne Enoch | Exclusive Excerpt: IT’S GETTING SCOT IN HERE
Author Guest / February 27, 2019

Prologue Once upon a time—in May 1785, to be exact—Angus MacTaggert, Earl Aldriss, traveled from the middle of the Scottish Highlands to London in search of a wealthy bride to save his well-loved but crumbling estate. Aldriss Park had been in the MacTaggert family since the time of Henry VIII, when Domhnall MacTaggert, despite being Catholic and married, declared publicly that Henry should be able to wed as many lasses as he wanted until one of them got him a son. Aldriss Park was the newly minted earl’s reward for his support and understanding. For the next two hundred years Aldriss thrived, until the weight of poor harvests, the ever-intruding, rule-making Sassenach, and the MacTaggerts’ own fondness for drinking, gambling, and wild investments (including an early bicycle design wherein the driver sat between two wheels; sadly, it had no braking mechanism and after a series of accidents nearly began a war within the MacTaggerts’ clan Ross) began to sink it into disrepair. When Angus inherited the title in 1783, he realized the old castle needed far more than a fresh coat of paint to keep it from both physical collapse and bankruptcy. And so he determined to go down among…

MK Moore | Author-Reader Match
Author Guest / February 27, 2019

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present MK MOORE!  WRITES: Filthy Contemporary ABOUT AUTHOR: I live in Tennessee with my amazing husband who inspires me every day. There is a little bit of him in every man I write! I have always been writing something. I took the plunge and self-published my first book in July 2017. WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IN MY IDEAL READER MATCH: Someone who loves love! My couples are head over heels for one another pretty quickly! WHAT TO EXPECT IF COMPATIBLE: No cheating, steamy love scenes, and a delicious happily ever after! About the 425 Madison Series Welcome to 425 Madison Ave the perfect place to fall in love. Nine delicious romances set in fast-paced & sexy NYC just waiting for you to read. The series features stories from some of your favorite romance authors: Leigh Lennon, MK Moore, Allie York, Aubree Valentine, Kay Gordon, Lauren Helms, Sylvia Kane, Katy Ames, and C. Lesbirel. Join these authors as they come together, each with a…

Amy Sandas | My All-Time Favorite Re-Reads!
Author Guest / February 27, 2019

So many wonderful books to read and not nearly enough time! My TBR pile continues to grow exponentially. Amazing books are releasing every week. Some by long-time favorite authors and some by new-to-me authors I’ve been dying to check out. But every now and then, when I get an opportunity to grab a book to read, I veer away from the TBR and head toward my collection of old favorites. Consisting mostly of Old School Romance from the 90s, my favorites are currently residing in large Tupperware bins in my basement. My Johanna Lindsey’s fill one bin all on their own. There is just something about going back over and over to reread these stories that initiated my love of Romance and Historical Romance specifically. Over the years, these books have inspired me, thrilled me, comforted me, and even surprised me when on occasion, a reread will unexpectedly provide a whole new perspective on a story I thought I knew so well. Today, I’m going to share some of my all-time favorite rereads. Maybe some are your favorites, too! Since I already mentioned Johanna Lindsey, I’ll start there. Like so many other Historical Romance readers, I adore the Malory family…

Kim Redford | My Five Favorite Cowboy Heroes
Author Guest / February 26, 2019

What fun to pick five favorite cowboy heroes . . . particularly with so many tantalizing choices. Now, it’s been a tough, hard, sweat-inducing job, but I got it done and here are the final results. 1. Trace Adkins. Oh my, can that guy sing . . . and look like a cowboy hero while he’s doing it. I fell head-over-heels when I saw this cowboy-musician-actor perform live in the intimate outdoor theater at the Choctaw Nation Labor Day Festival. Twenty-plus of his singles have charted on the Billboard country music charts, including his Number One hits: “This Ain’t No thinkin’ Thing,” “Ladies Love Country Boys,” and “You’re Gonna Miss This.” He also recorded a duet with country legend Ronnie Milsap called “My First Ride” to benefit firefighters and police officers. Now I listen to this bass-baritone, Grand Ole Opry inductee most days while I write my cowboy firefighter hero novels. He sets love-inspiring, life-affirming stories to music in the best country tradition that warms my storyteller’s heart. 2. Virgil Cole. Nothing is simple for a cowboy hero, but he also lets nothing get him down in his quest to make things right. Ed Harris directs, co-writes, and stars in…

Stefanie London | The Book I’m Most Excited to Reading this Year!
Author Guest / February 26, 2019

I am SUPER excited for The Chai Factor by Farah Heron, which is out in June 2019. It’s everything I love in a romance: a heroine who makes her own rules, a ton of “opposites attract” tension and a fun situation that brings the characters together. This fun story also touches on some serious and important topics, like dating someone of a different culture and how opening minds will open hearts.  This is an #ownvoices romance and Farah’s debut is at the top of my ‘to read’ list for 2019! Summary: Thirty-year-old engineer Amira Khan has set one rule for herself: no dating until her grad-school thesis is done. Nothing can distract her from completing a paper that is so good her boss will give her the promotion she deserves when she returns to work in the city. Amira leaves campus early, planning to work in the quiet basement apartment of her family’s house. But she arrives home to find that her grandmother has rented the basement to . . . a barbershop quartet. Seriously? The living situation is awkward: Amira needs silence; the quartet needs to rehearse for a competition; and Duncan, the small-town baritone with the flannel shirts,…

Frankie Y. Bailey | Dead Bodies and Romantic Tension
Author Guest / February 25, 2019

I didn’t set out to create a series with a sleuthing couple. But Lizzie Stuart, my crime historian protagonist, found John Quinn, Philadelphia homicide detective, intriguing when they met in Cornwall England in Death’s Favorite Child. In A Dead Man’s Honor, when Quinn astonishes her by applying for a position at the Virginia university where she is going to spend a year doing research, she is both dismayed and even more attracted. This relationship between my amateur sleuth and a police officer is common in mystery novels. There are even series – at least three or four — with a male amateur sleuth who is involved with a female cop. The reason for these pairings is often convenience. If the amateur sleuth has a relationship with a police investigator – whether romance or friendship – the sleuth can then: gain access to crime scenes gain access to autopsy and crime lab reports find out what witnesses and various suspects claim have a man (or woman) with a gun handy when one is needed The relationship also introduces on-going tension between two primary characters because the amateur sleuth – prone to getting into situations involving murder and other crimes – has…

Inara Scott | Owning My Lazy
Author Guest / February 25, 2019

I’ve heard people talk about owning your crazy. I appreciate this notion. I have a lot of crazy to own. But today, I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about owning my lazy. In some ways, I’m a pretty hardworking gal. I hold down a job, keep my house tidy, do the occasional load of laundry, and even crank out a book here and there. (Hello Heartbreaker!) But when it comes to my face? Wow. That’s a lot of lazy. I could tell you the things I do for my face, but it might be easier to tell you what I don’t do. I don’t wash my face before bed. I don’t use fancy moisturizers, despite having entered those golden mid-forties where the wrinkles and sagging and bagging seem to grow up overnight. I don’t wear makeup—not because my face doesn’t need it, because of course it does. More because I’m too lazy to take it off at night. I don’t pluck my eyebrows. (I do pluck the hair that grows out of my chin. Is that TMI?) I don’t exfoliate. I’m not even entirely sure what that is. The heroine of Heartbreaker, Tess, is a…

Tee O’Fallon | Writing Dog-Speak
Author Guest / February 22, 2019

Taking on a K-9 series has been one of the most rewarding, yet challenging endeavors of my writing career. Sure, it’s easy to select a breed for my K9 characters or to pick a cool name for the dog, but writing dog-speak? Trust me, it’s not so easy. Not if you want your canine characters to be just as much a part of the show as your human ones. As authors, we have two intrinsic ways of “showing” readers who and what our heroes and heroines are as people and what their personalities are like. One way is through action, and the other is via conversation. What a character says is a fundamental way to convey who that character is and what’s important to them. But how do you do that when one of your main characters isn’t human and can’t talk? English, that is. A dog has basic language skills he/she uses to get its point across: bark, woof, snort, whine, whimper, growl…you get the picture, but there’s no language as we (humans, that is) know it. So how can it be done? How does an author get across to the reader what kind of personality a dog has?…