Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
M.A. Grant | Exclusive Interview: THE IRON CROWN
Author Guest / April 9, 2020

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, M.A.! Please introduce yourself and tell us more about your new novel, THE IRON CROWN. Thank you so much for having me! I always struggle to introduce myself. I guess the easiest way of explaining who I am is to say that I’m basically the village lady who lives on the edge of the woods and only comes in to town when absolutely necessary. I love my animals, spending my time gardening, crafting, and baking, as well as writing and reading. I enjoy living in the liminal space between the world we know and the world we can sense, but not always see. The entire DARKEST COURT series is a great reflection of who I am and all the nerdy things I love. It centers on the lives of three Unseelie princes at the moment a civil war breaks out in Faerie, threatening their world and the safety of their people. THE IRON CROWN features the last battles of the war and ties up all the plotlines that have run throughout the series. This is the third book in the Darkest Court series. Can you set the scene (without out too many major spoilers, LOL!) for…

Debbie Wiley | Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Escapist Reads
Author Guest / April 9, 2020

Times are stressful right now. Parents and teachers are learning how to implement distance learning, going to the grocery store feels like a live version of Pac-Man, and we’re all desperately hunting for toilet paper. Nerves are frayed as everyone fears that even the slightest cough could mean a dangerous virus has entered their home. Quarantines are the norm. Who would have thought this is what 2020 had in store for us? Now, more than ever, is time to stop, take deep breaths, and read some good books that take us all away to other places right now. Urban fantasy and fantasy are two of my favorite genres and fortunately, there are some phenomenal new books out there right now to dive into. Here are a few of my recent favorites: The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs is one of my go-to series when things seem depressing as Mercy Thompson Hauptman is one of the best kick-butt, loyal, and compassionate characters out there. SMOKE BITTEN is the latest in the series and things are definitely in a chaotic state in the Tri-Counties. Mercy’s mate and Alpha wolf, Adam Hauptman, has been emotionally distant, a rarity for a werewolf. There’s…

Tracey Enerson Wood | Title Challenge: THE ENGINEER’S WIFE
Author Guest / April 8, 2020

My name is Tracey Enerson Wood, and I’m thrilled to chat about my debut novel, THE ENGINEER’S WIFE, on-sale April 7. What fun this is! I never would have thought to look at the title this way. Here’s what I came up with. Would love to hear ideas from readers! Emily Warren Roebling oversaw the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge—yet she was lost in its shadow after the fact. In THE ENGINEER’s WIFE, her story finally gets the spotlight. T— is for Time. It took nearly 14 years to build the Brooklyn Bridge. H— is for Henrietta, one of my favorite characters, whose humor and wise council keep Emily grounded. E— is for Emily, the amazing unsung hero. * E— is for Electricity. They built that amazing bridge without it! N— is for Emily’s true North. You find out what that is at the very end. G— is for Ginormous. A great word to describe the challenge Emily and Wash face. I— is for Ingenuity, they’re building a massive bridge like no other before, and have to solve unique problems. N— is for New York City, the always fascinating city that is the main setting. E— is for Eleanor. A…

Marissa Backlin | Bookseller-Reader Match: LOVE’S SWEET ARROW + Giveaway!
Author Guest / April 8, 2020

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Bookseller-Reader Match” where we introduce you to a bookstore as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Marissa of Love’s Sweet Arrow!  Writes/Sells: I’m Marissa, one of the co-owners of the romance bookstore Love’s Sweet Arrow, the second one in the country! Love’s Sweet Arrow opened last June in Tinley Park, so we are coming up on our first anniversary soon! Love’s Sweet Arrow focuses on having a diverse variety of romance in all subgenres, but also has fun t-shirts, tote bags, buttons, and stickers (some made by BestFriendKelly), soaps (by Perennial Soaps), and candles (NovellyYours, Big White Yeti, and Hearth and Hammer). About: I am 31 and I’ve been a bookstore owner for almost a year now. Before this, I was a special education kindergarten teacher in a local school for a few years and I’m currently a one-on-one paraprofessional in a kindergarten classroom in a different school, which means I’m home from that job too. Before that, I was actually involved in the performing arts and I have an undergraduate degree in music (vocal performance). I’ve got an interesting…

Martha Waters | 20 Questions: TO HAVE AND TO HOAX
Author Guest / April 8, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  To Have and to Hoax. 2–What is it about? It’s a Regency rom-com about an estranged married couple who have barely spoken in years, who get immersed in a battle of wits & one-upsmanship as they attempt to get even (and, of course, fall back in love in the process). A fake case of consumption may or may not be involved. 3–What word best describes your heroine?  Stubborn. 4–What makes your hero irresistible?  He’s a really fundamentally good, considerate person who is so unable to trust that it damages his ability to have relationships with others – and watching my heroine slowly change this in him is, I think, pretty swoony. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  They each have two best friends – Violet, my heroine, has Diana and Emily, and James, my hero, has Jeremy and Penvale. These friends are super meddling – and also really quick to call out Violet and James when they’re being ridiculous, which is key in any friendship. (Spoiler alert: they have to do a lot of calling out in To Have and to Hoax.) 6–What do you love…

Brenda Jackson | Exclusive Excerpt: SEDUCED BY A STEELE
Author Guest / April 7, 2020

Mercury wondered if anyone had ever told Sloan how cute she looked when she became angry. How her brows slashed together over her forehead and how the pupils of her eyes became a turbulent dark gray. Then there was the way her chin lifted and her lips formed into a decadent pout. Observing her lips made him remember their taste and how the memory had kept him up most of the night. “I don’t need you to take care of me.” Her words were snapped out in a vicious tone. He drew in a deep breath. He didn’t need this. Especially from her and definitely not this morning. He’d forgot-ten to cancel his date last night with Raquel and she had called first thing this morning letting him know she hadn’t appreciated it. It had put him in a bad mood, but, unfortunately, Raquel was the least of his worries. “You don’t?” he asked, trying to maintain a calm voice when more than anything he wanted to snap back. “Was it not my stolen car you were driving?” “Yes, but—” “Were you not with me when you discovered you were being evicted?” he quickly asked, determined not to let her…

Katy Ames | Top Five Favorites About the 425 Madison World + Giveaway
Author Guest / April 7, 2020

Hi! I’m so excited to share Love by Design with you! This story has so many of my favorite things: a hunky carpenter, a heroine getting back on her feet, a heavy dose of sexual tension, and a second chance at love. Plus, magic pancakes. It’s steamy and sweet and I hope you fall for Grayson and Annika as hard as I did! My favorite neighbor in the 425 Madison building: It’s too hard to choose just one. I would have to say, Lyla Dupree from Sweet on You because I have a serious sweet tooth and she makes the best goodies. And, Bernadette Williams from Accidentally in Love, because who doesn’t want to hang out with a sassy, straight-talkin’ lady who serves whiskey in teacups? My favorite mode of transportation around NYC: My two feet. There’s so much to see and do in New York, walking around the city is the best way to absorb as much as you can. Plus, it helps work off all the fabulous food. 🙂 Otherwise, the subway, though sometimes nuts, is the most efficient way to get around and avoid the constant traffic! My favorite or must-see NYC landmark: I’m on a museum…

Miranda Owen | Fierce, Fabulous Heroines
Author Guest / April 6, 2020

Heroines in romance novels: let’s discuss. A frequent topic among romance readers and authors involves heroines and the unequal way they can be viewed. There are two bones of contention to pick. The first is that a heroine’s life choices are viewed with a more critical and unforgiving eye than a hero’s choices. Secondly, that a heroine’s flaws and personality quirks are viewed more harshly than those of a hero. I believe that both things are very real, but I will only admit to unconsciously doing the latter. If a character – whether male or female – makes life choices that I disagree with, as long as the character is fleshed out and well-written, I won’t judge and I’m still able to enjoy the story. However, if there are aspects of a character’s personality that rub me the wrong way, it’s difficult for me to put that aside and focus on where the author is taking me. As a woman, I often identify more with a female protagonist, and therefore have caught myself being overly critical of that character. This is something I’ve picked up on and tried to snap myself out of doing. Every reader has their pet peeve…

Victoria James | How to Stay Creative (and Productive!) During Stressful Times
Author Guest / April 3, 2020

I’m writing this post as the back door swings open for the tenth time in about three minutes. Kids are in and out. Forgetting gloves, hats, and soccer balls. The husband is on speakerphone in the other room on a work call. My elderly parents are calling with another item to add to the grocery list and I’m…staring at the word count goal on my writing calendar-and realize I’m thousands of words behind on my current work in progress. And I’m tempted to check for a news update. Time to take a deep breath and remember that it’s all going to be okay. The most important thing is that we’re all okay. But despite being grateful for SO many things, how does a person go about clearing all their worries and find the ability to be creative? Trial and error. I don’t think that there is one right answer for anyone and it may even change from day to day. I think that’s key though-be flexible. Here are five things that are working for me right now: Waking up before my kids. I always liked doing this, but now that we’re all home together it’s even more important. It’s UNINTERRUPTED…

Irene Hannon | Title Challenge: STARFISH PIER
Author Guest / April 3, 2020

For those of you who’ve been yearning to return to my little seaside Oregon town of Hope Harbor—the wait is over! If you haven’t visited, I hope you’ll stop by. Starfish Pier is Book 6, but every story stands alone. So please drop in! In my latest novel you’ll meet Holly Miller, who’s new in town. Moving to Hope Harbor was a big step for her for several reasons, but she’s settling in as a first-grade teacher. Life is good…but a little romance wouldn’t hurt. Enter Steven Roark, who’s left the military behind and now runs fishing charters. He’s in town on a mission—a personal one this time—but his take-charge manner isn’t helping him achieve his goal. And he definitely isn’t looking for romance. Funny how that works, though. Sometimes when you least expect it Ms. Right can show up—even if she’s nothing like the kind of woman you thought you’d fall for! So let’s see where this game takes us. S is for Starfish. Matchmakers don’t always have to be human. 🙂 T is for traumatic. Holly and Steven have both had their share of tough times. A is for antagonistic. Which captures the mood of their first meeting….