Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Melonie Johnson | Author-Reader Match: GETTING HOT WITH THE SCOT
Author Guest / April 23, 2019

AUTHOR-READER MATCH Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Melonie Johnson! Writes: Fun, flirty, contemporary romances with delicious heroes, strong female friendships, plenty of banter, and a dash of wish fulfillment. A debut author, her Sometimes in Love series launches April 30 with GETTING HOT WITH THE SCOT, followed quickly by SMITTEN BY THE BRIT on May 28, and ONCE UPON A BAD BOY on June 25. About: This lifelong romance reader decided to take her favorite tropes from historical romances and play with them in the modern day. She’s learned the road to a happy ending is rarely smooth and enjoys discovering the twists and turns along the way. What I’m looking for in my ideal reader match: Believes modern girls need kilts and dukes and rogues too Likes to see the heroine hanging out with friends, going after her career goals, and doing more than spending time with the hero Appreciates the spicy side of the salsa scale (wink wink) Enjoys seeing lots of affectionate nods…

June Faver | Five Reasons I Love Cowboy Books
Author Guest / April 23, 2019

I love cowboys! I’m not talking about the guys who dress up in western garb during rodeo season, but the real men who put on their Wranglers and boots, live on a ranch and work hard every day. Growing up in the country, where everyone knows you and your family for several generations, gives you a different slant on life. The cowboys of the Dark Horse Cowboys series are based on these men. 1) I love cowboy books because their world is very familiar to me. The smell of rain on freshly turned soil. The sound of horses nickering. This is home. 2) Cowboys are generally nice guys. They love their mothers, are generally respectful, and are loyal to their friends. The woman who wins the cowboy’s heart will always be cherished. 3) I love when cowboys work hard all day and then spiff up to go into town on a Saturday night. Their Wranglers are pressed. Their boots are shined. And they’re ready to two-step. Cowboy up! 4) I’m an animal lover so I enjoy reading about the cowboy’s relationship with his own animals: his horse and he probably has at least one dog too. They are a team….

Mary Burton | Exclusive Excerpt: HIDE AND SEEK
Author Guest / April 22, 2019

A generator started up and spotlights clicked on inside the barn, illuminating the dark corners. Nevada was close. The light drew Macy’s attention to the right corner, which was roped off with red crime scene tape. The forensic tech had designated this area as very sensitive because most of the bones and the backpack had fallen here. Inside the tape, the techs had shifted the dirt as they had searched for the last bits of Tobi Turner. Macy elbowed aside anger and shifted her attention to the lost girl and her killer. Photos of Tobi’s backpack had shown that it had contained simple jeans, a sweater, and tennis shoes, but the fabric remnants and glittering blue cowboy boots found with the body suggested she had changed after she left her parents’ house. Macy suspected Tobi had lied about the study session and had diverted to a party. The killer could have recognized her desire for excitement and used it against her. “You made it.” Nevada’s deep voice snapped her back. Macy faced him and saw his shocked expression when he got his first good look at her. He quickly masked the reaction, and his expression became unreadable. Determined to prove…

Julia Bennet | The ABCs of Romance Novel Heroes
Author Guest / April 22, 2019

Alpha, beta, cinnamon roll; which is best? It’s a subject about which many readers have strong opinions. But in case anyone’s confused, what do these terms actually mean? Well, the alphas are the leaders, the CEOs, the warriors, the head of the shifter pack. They don’t have to be cruel or controlling, though sometimes they are. On the other hand, the betas and cinnamon rolls are perhaps best defined by their supportiveness. They don’t want to conquer the heroine but they’ll be there for her no matter what. They’re dudes and they abide. Alphas will annihilate your enemies, but betas will help you move house. Personally, I see the appeal of both. For alphas, think Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey or Sebastian from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. For betas, almost any Talia Hibbert hero or Winter Makepeace from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Thief of Shadows. I could do a whole post on the wonderfulness of Winter Makepeace. With The Madness of Miss Grey, I didn’t set out with a particular archetype in mind. But I knew my heroine Helen was the tortured one. As a sane woman incarcerated in a lunatic asylum, how could she not be? The hero,…

Shana Gray | Girls Weekend Away!
Author Guest / April 19, 2019

I’d love to hear about your wildest weekend away with your friends. Where did you go, what did you do, what silly things happen, and does somebody need bail money? LOL just kidding. My time away with friends are usually twofold. The rowdiest times are usually with my friends when we are conferences, we have the absolute best times! Dancing, partying, eating, drinking, laughing, just being silly and having a blast. A few years ago in NYC, a bunch of us were headed to lunch and came across a fire station. One of the firemen was changing, so of course, I had to get his photo and then wrangled everyone up for a photo op. Conferences are such a great way to see my friends that are scattered across the globe when we all congregate in one place. For when I go away with my girlfriends, a weekend away at a house, cottage, or an overnight stay at a hotel, where we all meet up and have fun. Sometimes just a night in with a glass of wine and nibblies or simply going out for dinner is such a great way to reconnect. I realize how important girlfriends were to…

Debbie Wiley | Recent Paranormal and Fantasy Novels I’ve Enjoyed
Author Guest / April 18, 2019

Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley  I don’t remember the first fantasy novel I ever read but I do remember the first one I fell in love with. JRR Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT captivated me like no other book had, taking me on a long and winding quest where creatures of legend lived and breathed. Since that long-ago time in 8th grade, I’ve soared on the backs of dragons with Anne McCaffrey, attended wizarding school with Harry Potter and JK Rowling, and gone on a quest with a talking cat with Tad Williams. Diving into other worlds is one of the biggest allures of fantasy novels. Marshall Ryan Maresca has done a marvelous job at world building, crafting four series set in the same world. THE THORN OF DENTONHILL, the first book in the Maradaine series, caught my attention initially and features a mage student at the local university who has a secret life as a crime fighter against a major crime boss. The Madalaine Constabulary series now has three books in it, including the most recent one, A PARLIAMENT OF BODIES. Not only is the Madalaine Constabulary series my favorite of the four, but A PARLIAMENT OF BODIES is my favorite book out…

Amber Royer | Developing the Chocoverse
Author Guest / April 18, 2019

When I started developing the Chocoverse, I wanted to tell a story without easy answers, where nobody was exactly in the right, and they are all trying their best despite difficult circumstances.  I mean, come on, my heroine commits treason to her home planet within the first few chapters of the first book – because she believes stealing a cacao pod from one of Earth’s heavily guarded plantations will actually prevent war.  (The basic premise for the series is that the aliens have made first contact, they took samples of Earth’s commodities, and now the best coffee is grown on the other side of the galaxy – only, they missed chocolate, which becomes the only unique thing Earth has, and therefore one of the most sought after substances in the galaxy. And in a messy ‘verse that runs on secrets and conflict, love obviously wouldn’t be simple either.  The books have a strong (sweetly written) romantic subplot between Bo (the aforementioned heroine who steals chocolate to share with the aliens) and Brill (an alien of the species that made the clandestine first contact and stripped Earth of commodities.)  There’s societal prejudice on both sides – the long-lived Krom view Earthlings…

Karen Harper | Cash for Class: American Dollar Brides
Author Guest / April 17, 2019

One of the most unusual upper-class traditions during the American Gilded Age and the English Victorian and Edwardian Eras was that of American heiresses marrying into British nobility for money.  This fascinated me and led to years of research to write American Duchess. Some famous examples of dollar brides include Winston Churchill’s mother Jennie Jerome; Cora, Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey (yes, I know that one is fiction) and my very real heroine Consuelo Vanderbilt whose social-climbing mother forced her to wed the 9th Duke of Marlborough in 1895 when she was in love with someone else.  The Vanderbilts paid a fortune to help renovate the duke’s massive Blenheim Palace in exchange for Consuelo becoming his duchess.  At age 18, how would you like to have a starter home of nearly two hundred rooms and be wed to a man you hardly knew? Consuelo’s New York City marriage was dubbed ‘the wedding of the century.’  Perhaps the 60-piece orchestra, 54-voice choir singing O Perfect Love and 4000 guests did make it undisputedly that.  Yet Consuelo found ways to live her own life and help others, as well as producing ‘an heir and a spare.’  And, fortunately for this author, who likes to write and read great love stories, she later found…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Lesser-Known Tudors: The Lives of the Not-So-Famous and Powerful
Author Guest / April 17, 2019

One of the first harbingers of spring in my area is the appearance of several tiny flowers that thrive in the grass, a miniature violet with a bloom smaller than a fingernail and one plant with a bitty yellow snapdragon-shaped flower.  Easy to overlook, they are nonetheless beautiful. For this month of emerging spring, we will likewise look at the stories of some fascinating but relatively unknown Tudor ladies.  Most readers are familiar with the great names that dominate historical fiction of that era—King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Bloody Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth I.   Bypassing the famous, we begin with the woman who made one of history’s most shocking mésalliances. While most of the historical fiction interest centers on the later Tudors, ROOT OF THE TUDOR ROSE by Mari Griffith features the couple that began it all: Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor.  All looked well for this French princess who married Henry V and soon gave him an heir.  But after his early death on campaign in France, Catherine is reduced to queen-dowager, living in the household of her young son, the boy-king Henry VI, and watched over by counselors eager to prevent an ill-advised remarriage–particularly her…

Elizabeth Heiter | Writing an Injured Ex-Marine Hero
Author Guest / April 16, 2019

Meet Colter Hayes. He’s 6’2” tall, 180 pounds of mostly muscle, with close-cropped dark blond hair and intense blue eyes. He’s loyal to a fault, loves dogs (he lives with the Combat Tracker Dog who was his partner in the Marines), and can make a woman feel dangerous things. But all he sees is a man who’s damaged. Someone who came home from war with an injury that left him less than whole. Partly it’s his leg, now held together by a rod and screws. It’s accepting that the things he could do in the military police, alongside his K-9 partner Rebel – like tracking an explosion back to the person who set it – are now out of reach. But mostly it’s the way he and Rebel came home. Both forced out of the military because of injuries that would never have them back to “fighting shape.” And alone. Without the teammates he’d come to see as brothers. Overseas, Rebel saved Colter’s life by jumping on him and knocking him down into a bomb crater during an ambush. The rest of his team died that day and the attackers never realized Colter and Rebel were still alive. There are…