Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Finding and Losing: Post-WWI Historical Fiction
Author Guest / October 21, 2021

In the years after World War I, cataclysmic changes in society were shifting traditional roles and expectations, with women demanding more independence and a greater say in determining their own futures.  This month’s selection of titles illuminates the unfolding of these changes through the lives of several determined women, both wholly fictional and fictionalized. In AT SUMMER’S END by Courtney Ellis, after winning a British Royal Legion art contest, painter Alberta Preston is determined to pursue an artistic career, despite her family who tries to push her into a conventional life of marriage and family.  When she receives an invitation from Julian Napier, Earl of Wakeford, to spend the summer painting at the family’s country home, Castle Braemore, she sees this as her chance to prove she can become a successful professional artist despite her gender. But the Great War has wrought serious changes upon the Napier family and their ancestral estate is near bankruptcy.  Disfigured by battle wounds, suffering from traumatic stress, the earl remains in his rooms, seeing no one but his widowed older sister Gwen.  Bertie makes alliances with Julian’s younger brother Roland, who actually runs the estate, his sister Cece, and gradually is able to work…

Claire Wilder | Author-Reader Match: SPEEDING HEARTS + Giveaway!
Author Guest / October 20, 2021

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Claire Wilder! WRITES Emotional, slow-burn but very steamy small-town romance. In my books, the setting is always stunning and plays a big role in the stories (think small town with sparkling lakes, leafy forests, and tranquil rivers). ABOUT THE AUTHOR Fun-loving lover of romance (plus secret lover of thrillers, horrors, women’s fiction, and YA on the side!) who lives on the west coast of Canada with her rambunctious, creative family. Loves delicious food of all stripes, all the coffee and cab sav. Can frequently be forest walking or riding on an ebike! MY IDEAL READER: Is looking for an emotional read with a big payoff. Dreams of escaping the city for a lakeside retreat. Loves those long-running romances on TV (Pam & Jim [The Office]; Ross & Rachel [Friends, in the beginning!]; Carrie and Brody AND THEN Carrie and Quinn [Homeland]) Likes their romance steamy and is okay with a little angst and few bad words! Considers authors like Claire Kingsley and Melanie Harlow their…

Annabel Abbs | Exclusive Excerpt: MISS ELIZA’S ENGLISH KITCHEN
Author Guest / October 20, 2021

In spite of the fish vans that clatter through the town on their way to London and the hop pickers who arrive daily by wagon, Tonbridge does not have the hustle and bustle of Ipswich. This pleases Mother, who crows constantly about Tonbridge’s superior inhabitants and its superior visitors. And it is these that she has her ruthless gimlet eye upon: the well-dressed ladies and gentlemen who come to take the waters of our neighboring spa town, Tunbridge Wells, and are in need of superior rooms. Our rented home is newly built and has its name—Bordyke House—carved into the lintel. As befits a superior boardinghouse, it is spacious, well furnished, and situated well away from the town’s open drains. And yet it feels all wrong, like a poorly cut coat. Perhaps this is because Edgar has set sail to make his fortune in Mauritius, and Catherine and Anna have taken up positions as governesses—all of us fleeing gossip and disgrace—so it is only Mother and I rattling around here. Or perhaps it is because no amount of superiority can disguise our future as the landladies of a boardinghouse. We are in the morning room—yellow walls, armchairs upholstered in a shiny…

Shae Connor | Title Challenge: HARD DRIVE
Author Guest / October 19, 2021

Hi all! I’m Shae Connor, here to share my new novel HARD DRIVE for the Title Challenge. HARD DRIVE is an F/F college sports romance, set on the campus of the fictional University of Atlanta, featuring a relationship between a computer geek and a softball star. I’ve really enjoyed bringing these characters to life, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about them. Here’s a little more about what to expect: H is for Happy ending! Guaranteed, naturally. 🙂 A is for Annie, the main character of the story, reserved, quiet, recently out as bisexual, and inexperienced in just about every way. R is for Romance, of course. Annie experiences her first romance after her crush, Eve, asks her on a… D is for … Date! Annie helps Eve with a broken-down laptop, so Eve asks her to… D is for … Dinner, which starts out as just a thank you but ends up leading to more. R is for Rain—or more specifically, thunderstorms. Annie has a phobia, but when they’re caught out in one, Eve finds a good way to distract her. 😉 I is for Introvert. Annie’s a major introvert who deals with anxiety, especially when it comes to…

Samanthe Beck | 20 Questions: WILD IN CAPTIVITY
Author Guest / October 19, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? WILD IN CAPTIVITY 2–What is it about? Ambitious L.A. lawyer Isabelle Marcano would rather run a mile in her Manolos than fly off to rustic Captivity, Alaska. But close the client’s sale successfully and her firm will find room on the letterhead for one more name. Still, taking a career detour to a place that doesn’t even have a Starbucks sounds like the seventh level of hell. Then her best friend points out the town has something stronger on tap than caffeine. Testosterone. With two single men to every single woman, this assignment might just be the best thing to happen to her sex life since the invention of the waterproof Rabbit. Until her sexy client introduces her as his fiancée to hide what she’s doing in town, and all her aspirations of hot Lumberjack Sex fly out the airplane window. Though…fiancés do have sex, right? Those who don’t want to answer to small-town busybodies better look like they do, epically, even when the mere prospect plays havoc with her professional responsibilities. And her hormones. Her firm’s getting antsy to finalize the merger. But the more she learns about Trace, about why…

Jo Ann Sky | Author-Reader Match: NO PLAYER REQUIRED
Author Guest / October 19, 2021

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Jo Ann Sky! Writes: I write contemporary romance that are both sweet and sexy, with a good dose of family and strong friendships. My heroines are strong and my heroes love them for it. NO PLAYER REQUIRED is the 3rd book in my Biggest Little Love Story series, which takes place in and around Reno (the “biggest little city in the world”).  My heroine, Destiny Morson, has just started a non-profit when her partner takes off with all of their community-raised funds. She has no time for fun (or love). Rafael “Rafa” Salord is in town to check on his father’s newly-acquired casino, a task he feels is more punishment than pleasure. Will these opposites attract? Rafa’s determined to remain a playboy, but all bets are off when he crosses paths with Destiny. About: I live in Reno, Nevada, with my husband and three kids. I love dogs, in particular older rescue dogs. They are the most overlooked, under-appreciated gifts of goodness. In fact, I’ve…

Charlotte Anne Hamilton | Exclusive Excerpt: OF TRUST AND HEART
Author Guest / October 15, 2021

The last time, there had been only one at the door to take coats. Yet as she moved further into the bar, she saw why they had brought more in. The bar was the busiest Harriet had ever seen…well…anywhere. The dance floor was still there and the couples dancing managed to swing around without colliding with anyone, a skill Harriet was sure she didn’t possess. She was used to open spaces for her dancing. People were standing around chatting on the edge of the dance floor and at the bar, and others were crammed around tables far too small for their parties. “Is it usually like this on a Tuesday?” Harriet whispered as she followed Charlie through the crowds, her hand in his to avoid getting lost. “No, but it’s usually like this when they have a performance,” Charlie answered as he led her upstairs. It was only five or six steps, but it was enough to make it easier to see the stage. “So, they’re all here for Rosalie?” He grinned at her as they sat down. “Yes and no. They’re not here for Rosalie, specifically, but they are here to see her and the other girls she sings…

Stephanie Kane | OBJECT LESSONS + Giveaway!
Author Guest / October 15, 2021

OBJECT LESSONS was inspired by an eccentric Chicago heiress named Frances Glessner Lee. In the 1940’s, Lee designed 18 miniature models of crime scenes to train police investigators. Built to the scale of one inch to one foot, and complete with tiny victims, Lee’s dioramas are enigmas begging to be solved. Here are Lily Sparks’ favorites: 1: Three-Room Dwelling: Robert and Kate Judson, and their baby Linda Mae, are shot to death in their tidy little house. Their phone is off the hook, the table’s set for breakfast, the murder weapon—a rifle—is on the kitchen floor, and both doors are locked from inside. 2: Attic: Miss Jessie Comptom, a spinster, hangs from a rafter in her attic. Old letters and other relics of her past are scattered beneath her. One shoe dangles from her foot; its mate is on the stairs. 3: Dark Bathroom: Maggie Wilson lies face-up in a bathtub in a rooming house. Fully clothed, she appears to have fallen in backward. She had two male visitors that night, and there’s a liquor bottle on the floor. 4: Kitchen: Mrs. Robin Barnes lies on her kitchen floor. The stove’s gas jets are open, and her face has a rosy…

Betsy St. Amant | Title Challenge: TACOS FOR TWO
Author Guest / October 15, 2021

Tacos. Enough said, am I right? Attraction. This story is unique in that the characters are falling for each other both on AND off screen! Cilantro. Love it or hate it? Jude can’t get enough cilantro (like a true hero) while Rory wishes she could remove it permanently from Planet Earth. Whichever side of this battle you’re on, you’ll appreciate the war. Online romance. Think You’ve Got Mail, with a modern dating app twist. ::heart eyes:: Subterfuge. Sometimes secrets are meant to protect. Other times, they’re meant to harm. This novel offers plenty of both, not only between the hero and heroine, but from both the hero and heroine’s families as well… *  Friendship. Grady is one of my favorite characters in this novel – he serves as a friend/big brother figure to Rory, and I adore his personality! Everyone needs a Grady in their life. Origami. This unique paper-folding art plays a significant role in the story. (I personally do good to fold my dinner napkin into a square, but I digress) Running. Rory and Jude both jog as a personal stress reliever, and end up having an impromptu race at one point in the story that turns into…

Debbie Wiley | Missing Persons
Author Guest / October 14, 2021

Missing persons stories appear in the news all too frequently, capturing the attention of the nation with a multitude of questions. Where did the person go? Is the person safe? What happened and why? Whether it’s the manhunt for Brian Laundrie amid the swirling questions of his fiancée’s death or the past well-publicized kidnappings of Patty Hearst and Elizabeth Smart, or the still-unsolved disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, cases involving missing persons have seemingly always captured the attention of the nation as we anxiously await and hope for positive news. Lately, my local news has dealt with the tragic endings for Gabby Petito and Mia Marcano, both young women who lost their lives all too soon. Readers are often drawn to the theme of missing persons, as evidenced by the abundance of books with a missing person as the core theme. GONE GIRL was recently one of the bestselling books of the decade, featuring the missing person theme. Let’s delve into a few other books featuring this same theme. LAST SEEN ALONE by Laura Griffin starts out with an abandoned car and a pool of blood. The car, registered to Vanessa Adams, offers little clues and Vanessa isn’t anywhere to be…