Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Laura Frantz | 20 Questions: TIDEWATER BRIDE
Author Guest / January 6, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? Tidewater Bride 2–What is it about? A young woman who is the head matchmaker for a 1634 Virginia colony yet lacks her own match. Selah Hopewell is tasked with bringing ‘Tobacco Brides’ to the male-dominated New World but she never realizes by doing so she is arranging her own nuptials.  3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  Early Virginia is an explosion of all the things that make pages turn – a brave New World, handsome tobacco planters, treacherous politics, precious few women, ships, Indians, and the accompanying tumult that settling a new nation brings.  4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  Sometimes they did things I wasn’t expecting, taking a scene in a direction I hadn’t thought of or anticipated. The mystery of creating! There’s even a bit of humor within.  5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  Their faults and foibles became very apparent to me. We all have them and characters should have them, too. Pride and false assumptions play a large part in this story, as troubling then as now.  6–What was one of your biggest challenges while writing this book (spoiler-free, of course!)?  Keeping…

Erin Bartels | Exclusive Excerpt: ALL THAT WE CARRIED
Author Guest / December 29, 2020

Melanie’s heart quickened when the first tower of the Mackinac Bridge came into view. This would be her seventh time over the bridge, a significant number. Seven days of the week. Seven notes in the diatonic scale. Seven letters in the Roman numeral system. The seven in the Tarot deck was the card of the chariot—the symbol of overcoming conflict and moving forward in a positive direction. Lucky number seven. She’d need luck on this trip if she hoped to move forward in a positive direction with Olivia. She hit her sister’s upper arm with the back of her hand. “There’s the bridge!” To her surprise, Olivia smiled. A good sign. Maybe it would all work out. It had to. Because they couldn’t go on as they had for the past ten years. Something had to change. Only time together would do it. Time with no distractions. Time in the forest. Time for Melanie to explain herself. She had seven days to make it work. Seven days was enough. Her seven-day spiritual detox program was her most popular offering on Meditations with Melanie. And nothing needed detoxing like her relationship with her sister. “I know a bailiff who refuses to…

Melody Carlson | Exclusive Excerpt: THE CHRISTMAS SWAP
Author Guest / November 20, 2020

Hoping to escape the mother-­daughter conflict that was about to escalate to a new level, Emma hurried outside. Pausing on the snow-­covered path to the driveway, she allowed fat snowflakes to fall on her, even catching a couple with her tongue. Snow couldn’t hurt you. She looked all around, taking in the other large homes, beautifully blanketed in snow, and the mountains behind them. This place was truly magical! As she walked up the driveway, she spotted what looked like a caretaker’s cottage and slowly approached it. Hopefully the ol’ grump wasn’t as bad as Gillian had described. Holding her breath, she tentatively knocked on the door, expecting a gray, grisly old man to answer. To her surprise, a younger man opened the door. Dressed in jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, he stared at her with a puzzled expression. She suddenly wondered if she’d knocked on the wrong door. She smiled stiffly. “Sorry to bother you. I—I was looking for the caretaker, and I thought this was the right—” “Yeah, yeah.” He studied her with a furrowed brow. “This is, uh, the caretaker’s cottage.” She blinked. “Oh, so . . . are you the caretaker?” For some reason this guy didn’t…

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…