Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Sharon Cullen | How Writing Led to a Healthier Me
Author Guest / March 29, 2019

It seems weird, I know, but being a writer has made me a healthier, fitter me. I started writing 18 years ago (That sounds like a long time even to me!). When I started writing I knew I needed to treat this as a career if I wanted to be successful. To treat it as a career I couldn’t allow excuses. I had to sit down and write every day and it had to become a PRIORITY. The plan worked. To this day I write every day (when I have a book due) and I treat it as a career because, well, by now it is a career. I have given up things like TV and reading for pleasure (while a book is due. When I don’t have a book due then bring on the TBR pile!). I have told my family no to doing so many things. I have put words before many other things. Over 18 years I have learned discipline. I have learned sacrifice. I have experienced the satisfaction and joy of a job well done. It’s all been worth it. About seven years ago I knew that I needed to get healthy. I needed to lose…

Ashlyn Chase | How I Fell In Love with Romance
Author Guest / March 28, 2019

I was raised by intellectuals. I was told romance was ‘trash.’ And we did not fill our minds with trash. Since I didn’t know any better, I simply believed it. That’s the definition of prejudice! Then the worst happened. Both of my parents became terminally ill at the same time. Because I was a nurse, and they wanted to die at home, I coordinated with hospice and cared for them there. A fellow Red Cross nurse who knew what I’d be going through just shoved a book in hands and said, “Here. Read this.” I’m glad she didn’t tell me it was a romance novel or I would have politely refused it. That book changed not only my opinion, but it also changed my life. The book was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It was so intelligently written and such an incredible escape when I badly needed one. Every time my parents had visitors or were napping, I was reading that book. When I reached the end and learned that there was a whole series, I hungrily read on. Now, I should probably be embarrassed by this, but remember, I had never read a romance novel—so the fact that I didn’t know I…

Richard A. Knaak | Top 5 Unexpected Twists
Author Guest / March 27, 2019

It should be no surprise to both readers and writers that often a story will take turns not originally expected by the author. I’ve had this happen, but never so much as with my BLACK CITY SAINT series. Here, then, are the five that caught me most off-guard. 1) Minor characters who refused to be so minor – It’s nice to have a world populated by more than just the main characters. Each novel has its share of minor ones who, hopefully, give it more depth. One of the earliest was Barnaby, who was meant to be someone who Nick had helped, and so provided him with occasional transportation. Then I began to think about why Barnaby had needed Nick’s help, which brought in another supposedly minor character — Joseph, Barnaby’s son, and a very bad egg who had run afoul of Nick. Suddenly, the history of this pair turned the storyline I was working on in an utterly different direction. Joseph’s secret involvement with the Wingfoot Express airship disaster and how Barnaby now sought to help his son, currently a resident of the Dunning mental facility, have become essential elements of the series. 2) History lending a hand to…

Sophie Barnes | Interview – THE INFAMOUS DUCHESS
Author Guest / March 27, 2019

Editorial Manager Danielle Dresser had the chance to chat with Sophie Barnes about her latest book, THE INFAMOUS DUCHESS! This is the fourth book in your Diamonds in the Rough series. For readers who may not know, can you tell us a little bit about this series, and the latest release, THE INFAMOUS DUCHESS? Sure. This story features Viola Cartwright, Duchess of Tremaine and Henry Lowell, heir to Viscount Armswell and eventually the Earl of Scranton. As the daughter of a physician, Viola has come from the working class and has risen swiftly through the ranks of Society by marrying the Duke of Tremaine. He was an ailing man who proposed marriage in order to pay a debt he owed her father, but most consider her a scheming money-grabbing opportunist who took advantage of the old duke. Determined to avoid those who judge her, Viola has dedicated herself to creating a hospital with free care for the poor. Here she works stalwartly with some of the best physician’s London has to offer, including Henry’s brother, Florian (The Illegitimate Duke). She is happy with the choices she has made and has no need for anything else, least of all a romantic attachment….

Jane Ashford | Family Secrets and A LORD APART
Author Guest / March 27, 2019

Family secrets play a big role in A Lord Apart. The hero and heroine discover a connection from the past that they had no idea existed. I’ve found some family secrets of my own through genealogy research, which can turn up unexpected information about our forebears. Census data may be particularly interesting, though sometimes you have to you read between the lines. For example, my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side reported his job as “photographic artist” in the 1870 US census. I’ve always been delighted by this unapologetic claim. Here’s a man who saw himself as not simply a photographer, but as an artist. He was in his twenties at the time. I “picture” him responding to the census taker with pride. Maybe making sure the person wrote what he said, exactly. This ancestor named his daughter “Vida Delight.” I can almost hear him saying it. The census says his wife was “keeping house,” and it appears that her parents lived next door. Her father, fifty, is listed as a shoemaker. I begin to wonder how the artist and the craftsman got along. Friction? Admiration? Mutual incomprehension? Pictures of shoes? On the other side of my family, I discovered through…

Miranda Owen | Contemporary Gothics
Author Guest / March 26, 2019

Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen loves a contemporary gothic story! The atmosphere, the moody settings, and the thought-provoking plotlines… The de Vincent estate was one of the most haunted locations in the entire state of Louisiana. –MOONLIGHT SCANDALS by Jennifer L. Armentrout I have been fascinated by gothic tales of romance and danger since I read my first Dorothy Daniels book in junior high. It had a predictably historical setting, with a dash of the paranormal, and a hint of romance. For a long time, I only connected gothics with a historical setting, and never imagined that there were such things as contemporary gothics. I recently discovered Jennifer L. Armentrout’s spectacular “de Vincent” series and was immediately sucked into her world of danger, mystery, and eroticism with a decidedly gothic edge. All of the authors discussed in this article utilize a few classic elements of a gothic novel but throw them in a story with a contemporary setting. She felt…God, this sounded insane, she felt watched. Obviously, she wasn’t being watched unless it was by a ghost. There were no windows and no one else was in here. –MOONLIGHT SINS by Jennifer L. Armentrout Location is everything. Authors who…

Katie Ruggle | Exclusive Excerpt: IN HER SIGHTS
Author Guest / March 25, 2019

A knock on the door interrupted Molly’s perusal of the Colorado criminal statutes. Completely caught up in the sentencing guidelines that may be her mom’s future, she jumped at the sound. Warrant, on the other hand, didn’t even lift his head off the floor where he was sprawled out over an air-conditioning vent. Instead, his tail thumped lazily a few times before he fell back asleep. The dog’s reaction made Molly fairly certain of who was at the door. As she stood up, she swallowed a groan at the feel of her spine popping back into place. Glancing at the clock, she saw that she’d been hunched over her laptop for most of the afternoon. It was no wonder her body was protesting. After peeking through the peephole in the front door, she unlocked it and swung it open. “This is becoming a habit.” “What is?” John slipped past her, striding into the house as if he owned the place. Making a face and pretending that she wasn’t glad to see him, she closed and relocked the door. “You showing up on our doorstep uninvited.” “If you want me to leave, I can take this very valuable information and go.”…

Stephanie Marie Thornton | Top 10 Rules Alice Roosevelt Broke with Gusto
Author Guest / March 22, 2019

Hello, all, Stephanie Marie Thornton here! My latest historical novel, AMERICAN PRINCESS, reimagines the 96-year life of Alice Roosevelt, eldest daughter of U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt and owner of the famous needlepoint pillow that proclaimed, “If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.” Obviously, Alice Roosevelt didn’t mind breaking a rule or two. In fact, she rather reveled in shattering every rule she ever encountered! Here’s a list of the Top 10 Rules Alice Roosevelt Broke with Gusto… Rather than calling cards or lace fans, Alice was renowned for carrying in her silk purse a little garter snake named Emily Spinach. (She named her pet Emily for an aunt, Spinach for the snake’s green color.) Sometimes Alice let the snake slither free during state dinners at the White House, which certainly caused a ruckus! Alice sometimes received a dressing down from her parents for her lack of manners and decorum, including when she refused to remove her gloves to eat asparagus at dinner parties and also after she hunted down serving trays to help her younger siblings slide down the stairs of the White House. In a time when Edwardian young ladies were expected to…

Kacy Cross | Why I Love Fake Marriages in Romance
Author Guest / March 22, 2019

Fake marriages are so fun to read (and write!). I love it when characters are caught off guard, and when they are forced to be in each other’s company on a continual basis, lots of unexpected things happen. Especially when they’re going places and doing things where they’re supposed to act like a couple. It’s easy for the lines to blur at that point. My characters always have huge barriers in place to ward off the opposite gender, but when it’s all fake, they can pretend without violating their own personal no-dating rules. Cue the fireworks. It’s even better when one of the characters has a secret crush on the other. So then they’re doubly pretending, desperately hoping the other doesn’t figure out that they’re not really faking it… Another aspect I love about fake marriages is the implied intimacy that goes along with being a permanent couple—and I don’t mean what happens in the bedroom! I’m talking about the real magic of being a couple. Sharing a sink while brushing your teeth. Making your spouse a cup of coffee in the morning. Wearing a ring that declares you married. All of these things having this underlying romance that can’t…

Kathy Lyons/Jade Lee | Guess How This Book was Born?
Author Guest / March 21, 2019

The Detroit Grizzlies are back and ready to end the plague that has been killing humans and shifters alike. TAMING HER MATE was born March 19, and I couldn’t be prouder. This is a really great book and I hope you feel as excited about it as I do, because this book…well, it was born of something really amazing. Guess what it was… A. A contract. I’m a working writer. If I don’t write, I don’t pay my bills. The amazing part? Just that. I write the weird things in my head, and I get paid. Which means I get paid for what I love doing the most in the world. Pretty cool, huh? B. Bad seafood. I ate something not so fresh at a restaurant, and while I was bowing to the porcelain altar, I thought, what if I’m changing into a shifter right now? I mean, look in the mirror. I could be a mangy bear. What if shifting worked really well for some and not so well for others? Would I survive? (I decided probably not, so it would be best if my heroes and heroines saved everyone, including me.) C. A bad shifter book. Yes, we’ve…