Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Bradley Harper | You Don’t Say?
Author Guest / September 18, 2019

Dialogue is an ancient Greek stage direction, meaning “action through words.” One of the first critiques I got from an agent, looking at my neatly printed manuscript was “There’s not enough white space,” meaning there was too much narrative description, and not enough dialogue. Dialogue opens up the tightknit block of words we are accustomed to in textbooks and allows your story to breathe through verbal exchanges between your characters. Frequent doses of white space make your work less intimidating and helps your reader speed along through your story. Dialogue is used to accomplish three things: Exposition, to reveal character, and to provoke an action. Let’s look at these in turn. Exposition. I write historical fiction, so putting my reader into an unknown universe and making them quickly comfortable there requires that I give them a sense of time and place, but without the dreaded “Info Dump.”  So how do I do that? I incorporate the information transfer into as graphic a manner as possible. In my first novel, A Knife in the Fog, my heroine, Margaret Harkness, is a female author from a proper middle-class British family temporarily living in Whitechapel to do research on her novels. As she…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Into the Sunset with Westerns
Author Guest / September 18, 2019

With summer already headed into the sunset in most locales, we’ll take a look at fiction set in the most famous of “into the sunset” areas–American-set and Western novels.  After decades of tremendous popularity, with the exception of a few movies and books–the “Lonesome Dove” series and remakes of “True Grit”–the genre has been out of favor recently.  But a few new and notable novels would like to reverse that trend. Proceeding chronologically, we begin with 355: THE WOMEN OF WASHINGTON’S SPY RING by Kit Sergeant.  Following the lead of the popular AMC TV show “Turn,” Sergeant presents the intertwining stories of three women who might have belonged to the secret spy ring referred to in Washington’s notebooks.  Meg Moncrieffe returned from boarding school in Ireland to find a colony in revolt.  Though her sympathies were initially with the British, her love for Aaron Burr persuaded her to look at another solution.  Elizabeth Burgin’s loyalties lay strongly with the colonists’ side after her husband died aboard one of the notorious British prison ships.  When a Culper Ring member approaches her, she’s ready to put herself–and her family–at risk to bring down the men who caused her husband’s death.  Initially furious…

Jane Kirkpatrick | Exclusive Interview: ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS
Author Guest / September 18, 2019

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us about your latest release, ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS? It’s the story of a little-known wagon train trying to find religious freedom in Alta California and their remarkable survival in a terrible winter (in the same place in the Sierra Nevadas that the Donner party encountered two years later – with very different results). It’s incredible to know that ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS was inspired by a true story. Where did you find out about this piece of history and what brought about writing an entire book about it?  While researching another book I found a footnote that said, “Here’s the cabin wherein 1844-45 8 women, 17 children, and James Miller spent the winter in the Sierra Nevadas.”  Hmm, were they on a vacation? There’s a group of women in this novel who have to survive the unthinkable while taking care of children and keeping them all alive in harsh conditions. Their strength and resilience are inspiring. What sort of research did you do about survival tactics? Did you learn anything about the actual women who went through this journey?  Sheltering each other, collaborating and keeping a focus on what…

Leah Rachel | Expanding on her popular Instagram @TheYellowHairedGirl with LOVE STREET
Author Spotlight , Interviews / September 17, 2019

Leah Rachel came to Hollywood ready to make a name for herself, but she quickly discovered that her true love wasn’t always with performing but with writing and crafting her characters. With multiple shows in development and a new dramatic series with Netflix available now, Rachel is ready for readers to laugh along with her stories of love and woe in her new memoir LOVE STREET. Rachel stopped by Fresh Fiction to chat with us about LOVE STREET, the power of Instagram, and her favorite classic Hollywood films. Hi Leah. Thank you so much for your time! Your new book, LOVE STREET, is full of essays about the ups and downs in your love life. Before we jump into the book, can you tell me a little bit about yourself, what inspired you to become a professional writer? Basically, I came to Los Angeles Neely O’Hara style with no money and a vague dream of “making movies” when I was just out of high school. At first I wanted to be an actress, but quickly learned I liked writing so much more, instead. I was working as waitress when I wrote my first script, and a through a series of…

Spotlight on SAVE YOUR BREATH by Melinda Leigh
Author Spotlight / September 17, 2019

SAVE YOUR BREATH by Melinda Leigh Morgan Dane #6 The #1 Amazon Charts bestselling series continues as Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger investigate the mysterious disappearance of a true-crime writer. When true-crime writer Olivia Cruz disappears with no signs of foul play, her new boyfriend, Lincoln Sharp, suspects the worst. He knows she didn’t leave willingly and turns to attorney Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger to find her before it’s too late. As they dig through Olivia’s life, they are shocked to discover a connection between her current book research on two cold murder cases and the suicide of one of Morgan’s prospective clients. As Morgan and Lance investigate, the number of suspects grows, but time is running out to find Olivia alive. When danger comes knocking at their door, Morgan and Lance realize that they may be the killer’s next targets. Romance Suspense | Suspense [Montlake Romance, On Sale: September 17, 2019, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9781542092838 / ] Buy SAVE YOUR BREATH: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Ripped Bodice | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR About Melinda Leigh Melinda Leigh abandoned…

Steven Cooper | ?#@*&%! – Why I Cuss in my Writing
Author Guest / September 17, 2019

Four words into my new novel, Valley of Shadows, I drop my first f-bomb. Nine words later I drop my second f-bomb. That’s two f-bombs in a hyper-short paragraph. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Rip the bandage off, say it upfront, and get it out of the way. I realize that one f-bomb is enough to stop some readers; two f-bombs will prompt some people to return my book to the shelf. My books are not for those people. I respect those people. But I’m not writing for those people. When I create my stories, I try to develop characters who reflect the true human condition, whose lives–their loves, their losses, their joys, their strife, their conflicts, and their celebrations–are uncensored. The human condition is uncensored. Our lives are uncensored. And, thus, so are the words in the worlds I create. I write police procedural murder mysteries. I’m a former news reporter. I’ve done ride-alongs with cops. I’ve spent endless hours with them on crime scenes. I have yet to meet a cop who doesn’t curse. In fact, in researching Valley of Shadows, I did my typical fact-checking exercise by visiting the Homicide bureau at a local law enforcement…

Layla Reyne | Dine With Me – Recipe Feature
Author Guest / September 17, 2019

In Dine With Me, award-winning chef, Miller Sykes, sets out on a cross-country culinary tour with unabashed foodie, Clancy Rhodes. When Miller and Clancy first meet, Clancy’s attention is drawn to the intricate tattoos on Miller’s arms. Over the course of their trip, Miller explains that each abstract design hides a recipe of personal significance, both of which also hold significance to me. On Miller’s left arm is the recipe for bechamel sauce. Miller’s first kitchen gig is under a French chef in Martha’s Vineyard, and béchamel is one of the first sauces he learns. He becomes a master at sauces, much to the chagrin of his best friend, a chef who hilariously struggles with them. For me, béchamel is significant because it was a law school friend’s killer béchamel lasagna that spurred me on to cook more. I’d always loved to eat, but that’s when the cooking bug really hit. Bechamel Sauce INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 1 1/4 cups whole milk, heated Salt (to taste) Freshly ground pepper (to taste) *Extra kick: Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg + 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese PREPARATION In a saucepan, warm milk over low heat until just bubbling, then remove…

Karen Muir | Five TV Shows I Love!
Author Guest / September 13, 2019

There are so many things to watch on TV, it’s hard to choose between them. But some shows have take-aways that viewers can use in their personal lives. I like shows that have positive energy and people who face tough challenges and overcome them. It leaves me feeling good, and it’s something I try to put in my writing. One of my favorite shows is America’s Got Talent. The contestants and their talents are very diverse. Many have gone through hard times, and their particular talent is often the thing that got them through adversity. The judges and audiences usually take them to their hearts and cheer them on whether they advance or get sent home. Another favorite is Dancing with the Stars. The stars face physical and emotional challenges and many–including some athletes–say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done.  A strong camaraderie develops among the stars and their partners, and their dancing is often amazing. A third favorite is Survivor, which also tests players in many ways– their ingenuity and stamina, their survival and social skills to name a few. It’s definitely a game involving strategy and forming alliances, and players learn a lot about themselves. My fourth…

Melanie Dobson | Wanderings (or “The Wonder of Research”)
Author Guest / September 13, 2019

Damp air settled between the marlstone walls, its chill creeping into my bones as our group wandered reverently through the ancient mines. We stopped to read the old inscriptions, listen to the stories, and remember all that happened in these tunnels along the southern tip of The Netherlands. During World War II, these passages were used to hide artwork from the Dutch masters and as an escape route for Allied pilots and those escaping the Nazi occupiers. What would it have been like to be a Jewish woman down here, I wondered, trying to navigate the thousands of tunnels as she fled from a Nazi officer intent on finding her? What if, in order to save her life, she had to leave behind the boy she loved? My mind began to follow my feet in the wandering. Each of my novels builds block-upon-block on the foundation of an experience like this one. In those tunnels last year, I could feel the wetness of the marlstone walls on my hands and the coldness in my lungs. I could breathe the moist air and fight the weight of darkness as the walls pressed in. In the wandering of my mind, the breadth…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewel’s Interview: COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by RaeAnne Thayne
Author Guest / September 13, 2019

Jen: What inspired you to write Coming Home for Christmas? RaeAnne: I’m very intrigued by stories of women who go missing and the impact that has on their loved ones. Usually, the boyfriend or husband is blamed (often correctly). But what if a woman goes missing, her husband faces accusations and suspicions, and she shows up again–alive and mostly well–years later? After everything they have been through and all the pain of the past seven years, is it possible to reconnect? How does losing her parents and postpartum depression affect Elizabeth Hamilton’s relationship with her husband and children? Despite various treatments, Elizabeth continued to spiral downward after her beloved parents died suddenly in a boating accident. Postpartum depression made everything worse until on one desperate wintry night, she didn’t feel she had any other choice but to flee to protect her family. The ramifications of that decision have lasting effects on Elizabeth and for everyone she loves. How does a fateful event change her life forever? On the night she runs away to protect her family, Elizabeth is in a terrible car accident where she suffers severe injuries and almost dies. She loses her memory for a long time. Only…