Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Carolyn Brown | The Empty Nesters Take on Southern Parties
Author Guest / August 23, 2019

Good mornin’ to all y’all at Fresh Fiction. Thank you so much for inviting me and my characters from The Empty Nesters back for a visit. As military wives for the past twenty years, Carmen, Joanie, and Diana through wars, rumors of wars, death, divorce, fears, and joys, but nothing had prepared them for the day they walked away from the army recruiter’s office in downtown San Antonio. Each of them has a daughter, and each of those daughters had followed in their father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Army. They suddenly find themselves on an emotional roller coaster as they experience all the pain of the empty next. Then, Tootsie, their dear old next-door neighbor insists that they go on a crazy road trip with her on a road trip in her giant RV. Her nephew, Luke, has agreed to drive, so all they have to do is say yes, and pack their bags. Their destination is an old farmhouse in the ghost town of Scrap, Texas, right next to the Red River, but there’s lots to see and experience on the trip itself. Jefferson, Texas is just one of their stops along the way – or at least it…

Pam Webber | Exclusive Interview: MOON WATER + GIVEAWAY!
Author Guest / August 21, 2019

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and your book, MOON WATER?  Hi! Many thanks to Fresh Fiction for the warm welcome. Career-wise, I’m a family nurse practitioner and a long-time nursing educator. In 2015, I switched from writing nursing research articles and texts to writing novels. Creating meaningful historical fiction is the more difficult yet most rewarding writing I’ve ever done. It is an art form that requires a significant amount of time and skill to develop, especially if you want to write literary fiction. While completing my first novel, The Wiregrass, I knew I had a good story, but needed help with designing the infrastructure supporting the story. Consequently, I began taking creative writing classes with a New York Times bestselling author. The classes were difficult but incredibly valuable.  Hopefully, what I learned is evident in Moon Water, a stand-alone sequel to The Wiregrass. Interestingly, the classes also made me a more astute reader of fiction as well. In Moon Water, the protagonist, sixteen-year-old Nettie, comes home to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and gets hit with sucker punches coming from all directions. Her boyfriend since grade school wants to…

Kerrigan Byrne | Exclusive Interview: HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS
Author Guest / August 21, 2019

Thanks for stopping by Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us about your new series, Devil You Know, and the first book, How to Love a Duke in Ten Days? Thank you so much for having me! In the Devil You Know Series, I wanted to celebrate those fierce female friendships that so many of us rely on. Alexandra Lane, Cecelia Teague, and Francesca Cavendish meet at a boarding school and realize they’re girls who want to enjoy all of the pleasures that men are allowed and women are denied. They form the Red Rogues Society, a club where they sneak away and wear trousers, drink port, smoke cigars, and read newspapers. Their bond is secured by a secret, and they vow they’ll do anything for their life-long sisterhood, including never marry. In HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS, Lady Alexandra Lane has lived with a painful secret for a decade. She’s paid a villain to keep that secret safe, and now her money has run out. When she is offered salvation in the form of a marriage of convenience to a scarred, reclusive Duke, she realizes they’ll both have to learn how to trust before they can ever…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: The Renaissance, A Lush Splendor
Author Guest / August 21, 2019

Complex as its luxurious brocaded gowns in rich colors, the Renaissance abounds in stories of intrigue, political maneuvering, lust, and murder, and features larger-than-life historical figures.  In this month’s column, we will look at four novels exploring this world of splendor and violence. We begin with THE VATICAN PRINCESS by C.W. Gortner, which features one of the Renaissance’s most fascinating characters, Lucrezia Borgia.  This novel, narrated in her own voice, deals with the central portion of her life, after her father, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, becomes Pope Alexander VI.  The beautiful Lucrezia and her brothers Cesare and Juan are stars of the Papal court–but also pawns in the political power games that seek to maintain the Borgias as the dominant family of Renaissance Italy. Her first marriage is annulled when the winds of fortune change, after which she is allied to a Prince of Naples.  His later death, and the convoluted scheming between marriages, lead to charges by her enemies that she was involved in murder and even incest. A third marriage to the Duke of Ferrara, scion of the equally powerful d’Este family, finally provides a measure of stability for a girl who has been forced to survive in a…

Elka Ray | Top 5 Things About Moving Away From Your Hometown, Then Moving Back
Author Guest / August 20, 2019

In my next book, the romantic mystery Divorce is Murder, divorce lawyer Toby Wong is forced to move back to the small town she was happy to leave. I set the series in my own hometown – a place I love, yet left – on Canada’s gorgeous Vancouver Island. Writing about Toby got me thinking about why it’s good to leave – and come home.   1) You expand your worldview Every town and neighborhood has its own culture. By the time you hit adulthood, whether you fit in or not, you understand your hometown’s norms. Maybe you grew up somewhere super conservative, the kind of place where church is mandatory and couples marry young. Or maybe your parents’ friends were constantly organizing protest marches and writing letters to Amnesty International. Whatever your reality, to you, it was normal. Now move across the country – or better still around the world. You’ll soon see that your “normal” is someone else’s “certifiably crazy”. It’s mind-blowing how differently different people interpret things. Just yesterday, in Vietnam, where I live, I met a fisherman throwing styrofoam boxes and dirty diapers into the ocean. I told him off. He told me he was cleaning…

Michelle Hazen | Five Ways to Make a Romance Novel Heroine Swoon!
Author Guest / August 19, 2019

In UNBREAK ME, LJ Delisle is a Haitian-Creole cowboy with a heart as big as his smile. When he meets Andra Lawler, she’s living like a hermit on her family’s horse ranch and has barely spoken to a man in years. She’s been through hell, and when LJ shows up in her life, a girl might be forgiven for thinking he was a gift from the karma fairy, here to make up for all the hard knocks she took in her early twenties. Here are five ways he turns the head of a woman who had sworn off men for life: He knows his way around a kitchen When LJ wants to make friends, he takes a tack few men ever try: he bakes her a cake. When he sees her collection of TV dinners, he’s so horrified he makes her dinner and spaghetti spins quickly into cooking lessons that start out with warm companionship and start to spark into flirtation. But ladies, how can you resist a man who can cook? Andra sure can’t. Animals love him LJ and Andra meet when he gets a job training her horses: specifically her baby horses! She’s won over by how gentle…

Karin Slaughter | Exclusive Interview: THE LAST WIDOW
Author Guest / August 19, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest book, THE LAST WIDOW. THE LAST WIDOW is a Will Trent and Sara Linton book. But I wrote the story so that you don’t have to have read any of the previous books in order to know what’s the what. The stakes for Will and Sara are higher than ever before, as Sara is in imminent danger and has to do something she’s never done before–hurt people instead of trying to help them.  Which was fun!  The plot is really twisty, turny, sexy, and dark, with some moments of levity. It has some cult stuff. Some domestic terrorism. Some family drama. And a chihuahua. Everything you want in a good thriller. THE LAST WIDOW is the 9th book in your long-running and beloved Will Trent mystery series. How do you keep this series feeling fresh after so many books? Are there any advantages or challenges to writing about characters who are already so established?  Standalone and series novels each have their own challenges. It seems like it would be easier to write a Will Trent book because I’ve known him a long time, and I’ve…

Vanessa Riley | Listening to Your Voice
Author Guest / August 16, 2019

Last fall, the leaves started turning gold and brilliant red. The birds sang as they migrated South, and I was forty-thousand words into creating, The Bewildered Bride. Everything was wonderful. Peace and love seemed to be everywhere. Then, the words stopped.   Nothing. Not a jot. Not even an extended ellipse.   I’m not one to panic, but for a writer to have their characters who had been happily chatting with you to go silent—that’s a Danger-Danger-Will-Robinson moment.   After a long sigh, several hazelnut lattes, prayer, and begging my muse, I closed up my laptop. I shut my eyes and listened. My heroine of The Bewildered Bride, Ruth Croome Wilke, had something to say, and it wasn’t the story on the page.   Her voice, I had suppressed. I’d convinced myself it didn’t matter. She would be happy in the end. When her story became tough and gutting, I stopped listening to her.   I didn’t want to face her truth. I wanted her to bottle up her pain.   I was hypocrite, and why would someone who’s been through so much want to waste her energy on someone who discounted the power of her voice.   Ruth had been…

Nina Crespo | Book Deadlines: What’s Cooking in Nina Crespo’s Kitchen
Author Guest / August 16, 2019

Deadlines seem far enough away in theory, but in the end, there never seems to be enough time. Days before I have to hit ‘send’ for the next finished book or the latest edits, you’ll find me invisibly tied to a chair in front of my computer. But food can’t come in second or third place behind coffee or the next full can of my favorite energy drink. Here are a few of my favorite go-to foods that keep me from face planting into my keyboard. Pancakes In college, my friends and I would wake up late after a night out and make pancakes. The fluffier the better, and they had to be round or one of my friends wouldn’t eat them. Hey, she was a loveable culinary major with perfectionist issues, but the habit stuck along with enjoying pancakes at any time of the day. One of my favorite Fluffy Pancake recipes can be found at the Taste of Home website. Buddha Bowl I ordered this salad at a local restaurant. I loved it so much, I started making it at home. It’s so easy. Roasted garbanzo beans, hummus, grape or cherry tomatoes, quinoa or couscous with pine nuts,…

Rachel Fordham | Five Secrets About Authors
Author Guest / August 14, 2019

1)  Authors (at least this author) loves hearing from readers. The beautiful thing about writing a book is that not only do we get to share a story that’s been consuming us for so long, but we also get to connect with new people.  Shortly after writing my first novel, The Hope of Azure Springs, I received a message from a young woman telling me how the story helped to answer a question that had plagued her for years. I wanted to cry! All the work that had gone into my book felt worth it. 2)  We feel vulnerable sharing our stories with you. Even though we can’t wait for our stories to go out into the wild, we also feel afraid. We know our stories might be ripped apart, trampled on and forgotten and then all that work would equate to what? Even more than feeling vulnerable about sales we feel that a part of ourselves are on display. The fight scene, the kissing scene, the unsavory internal thoughts of our characters are all a product of our imagination and now our imaginations are in print and we worry what you’ll think about us and our writing. 3)  We…