Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Mia Carter | Five Things Internet Fandom Taught Me
Author Guest / September 19, 2019

For good or for ill, we live in a connected, online society. And I’m old enough to remember how nuts it was, clustered around one of the gumdrop-bright iMacs in the physics lab, Sophomore year, watching the Super Bowl commercials someone had put online. They each took about 45 years to download, but we all watched them in awe and amazement. Can you imagine? A place on the computer to watch videos? Crazy! Well, fourteen thousand cat videos later, here we are. Apart from the amusement of vines, memes, and cute kittens, the internet has brought me a very specific experience that I think many of us might share: Being in an online fandom. To me, there’s literally nothing better than finishing a book, walking out of a theater, or waiting on a season finale of a show, then going online and finding Your People. People who love the thing you love, who want to keep talking about it, engaging with it, and theorizing about it. I’ve now been involved in online fandoms and fan communities for a variety of things for over half my life, and although there’s the usual strangeness that happens whenever any group of people comes…

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…

Christina Mandelski | What’s in a Name?
Author Guest / September 10, 2019

Hello there, and thanks for having me on the blog today! I’m just coming off the release week of my latest title from Entangled Teen, STUCK WITH YOU, and I’m thrilled, but exhausted. No, I’m not traveling the globe on a fantabulous book tour—in fact, I, like most authors when their books launch, spent the week doing a bit of celebrating, working my day job, and posting my butt off on social media. Almost as good as a book tour! LOL. Resting author face at the end of release week. Cropped out of the picture is a giant glass of wine. Anyway, this week got me thinking about book titles. I wonder if readers know just how many different titles a book has from the very first draft to publication? Maybe y’all do know–maybe I’m just naïve, but I always thought a book title was a book title and always the author’s choice–until my books started to get published. For example, my first YA novel, which came out in 2011, was a book about a teenaged cake decorator. The entire time I was writing that sucker, even when it sold to my publisher, it was called THE ICING ON THE…

Nomi Summers | Author-Reader Match: CAPTURING THE HEART OF A ROCKSTAR + Giveaway!
Author Guest / September 10, 2019

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 as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present NOMI SUMMERS! Writes: Sweet Contemporary Romance About the Author: Nomi Summers is a clean contemporary romance author with a flair for taming bad boy heroes readers swoon over. When she’s not dreaming up her next small-town romance, you’ll find her at the beach devouring the latest new release on her Kindle. Her other guilty pleasures include getting lost in mindless reality TV and spending far too much time talking to her dogs, as she’s convinced they understand every other word! Nomi’s living her own “happily ever after” with her loving husband and their two fur babies in Tampa Bay, Florida. However, a piece of her heart will always belong in Michigan where she’s originally from–the inspiration behind the settings in her novels. What I’m looking for in my ideal reader: Seeking lovers of small town romance, bad boy heroes, and second chances. What to expect if compatible: Swoon-worthy clean reads with hot heroes and strong heroines set in picturesque small towns you’ll…

Jody Holford | Mixing Metaphors
Author Guest / September 10, 2019

I’ve truly enjoyed writing baseball romance. I love the combination of sports and love in any medium. This is likely why some of my favorite movies are of the sports variety. For Love of the Game, in case you hadn’t picked up on that yet, is the inspiration for my series name. As this is the third baseball romance I’ve written, I’ve spent some time researching and Googling the lingo. There are a surprising number of metaphors and idioms within baseball language that are a very recognizable part of our regular speech. For those of us who don’t actually watch baseball or pay close attention to it, it’s interesting how common some of these phrases are. Here’s a list of the top ten I feel like we use (as speakers, readers, and writers) frequently. I’ve put an asterisk next to the ones I think can be of specific use for romantic moments in a book. Grand slam* Sweet spot* Hit it out of the park Play ball Raincheck* Step up to the plate* Homerun* Play hardball First/Second/Third base* Grandstanding What do you think? Did I miss any others that are a regular part of conversations? Any you think make a…

Jamie Beck | Exclusive Interview: THE WONDER OF NOW
Author Guest / September 10, 2019

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, THE WONDER OF NOW?  Thanks for having me! It’s hard to believe we’ve come to the end of the Sanctuary Sound series. I’ve really enjoyed writing about these three childhood friends, the traumas they’ve survived, and the betrayals they’ve overcome. This final book was the most difficult to write because Peyton–a privileged, self-centered woman who ran off with her friend’s boyfriend–had the Mt. Everest of mountains to climb in terms of earning her redemption. But ultimately I fell in love with her story, and am extremely pleased with early reader reaction. I also think readers will enjoy traveling around Europe with her on her book tour.  Something I’ve admired in the books in the Sanctuary Sound series is each of the heroines has survived difficult hardships. THE WONDER OF NOW features Peyton Prescott, who recently survived breast cancer, but is reliving every moment of her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery promoting a memoir she really didn’t want to write in the first place. What went into creating a character readers see at her most vulnerable?  Writing the excerpts from her memoir was the most difficult…

Penelope Bloom | Nobody but Kira
Author Guest / September 3, 2019

Anyone But Rich is the first book of my new, three-book series. Every book is a true romantic comedy and is full of moments that I hope will have you laughing out loud, if not at least breathing out a little puff of air from your nose. In their high school days, the King brothers managed to nearly destroy the lives of three best friends, Kira, Iris, and Miranda. When the dust had settled, the friends all vowed that no matter what, even if the King brothers became mega-famous billionaires and came back begging forgiveness on their knees, they’d never date them again. Unfortunately, seven years later, the mega-famous, smoking hot King brothers are planting a new company headquarters in their old hometown. Richard King is also hell-bent on earning Kira’s forgiveness. Rich isn’t entirely honest with himself about his motivations, as this conversation on his plane ride back to town illustrates: “So this girl is going to be what ruins everything, isn’t she?” “What? Why would you say that?” “Because I can already see it in your eyes. You’re going to do something stupid because of her. More likely, several stupid somethings.” I crossed my arms. “She’s just a…

Mariah Ankenman | The Rise of the Female Friendship Films
Author Guest / August 30, 2019

As one of five sisters (yes, you read that right, five) it’s very important to me to have strong female friendships in all my books, whether they are biological sister or sisters of the heart. I can’t count all the times my sisters have had my back. I also can’t count all the times they “borrowed” my stuff and never returned it, but that’s another post for another time. Female friendship is so important, especially when the media tries to convince women we should all be competing against each other. As if there’s only one ‘top woman’ prize and we have to “catfight” to get it. Well, these claws will come out, but only if someone messes with my ladies because the great Beyoncé is right, girls run the world and it’s about time we started seeing healthy, positive female friendships represented in media. So on that note, let me gush about my favorite female buddy movies. The Spy Who Dumped Me: I have informed my husband that Kate McKinnon is on my Hollywood Freebie list, because that woman is beautiful, smart, and funny. My true love trifecta. So many moments in this movie made me laugh including Audrey’s secret…

Miranda Owen | Bewitched by a Beautiful Stranger
Author Guest / August 30, 2019

by Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen Haven’t we met? Some kind of beautiful stranger You could be good for me I’ve had the taste for danger If I’m smart then I’ll run away But I’m not so I guess I’ll stay Haven’t you heard? I fell in love with a beautiful stranger –Beautiful Stranger, Madonna Two of my favorite romance authors are Mary Balogh and Jennifer Ashley. Both authors write well-crafted character-driven stories that capture the imagination. Both authors also write about extremely close yet also extremely complicated families. Two of my all-time favorite books are both by these authors and are both about characters who meet under unusual circumstances, but who find something compelling and experience an unexplainable initial attraction. I’ve always maintained that AT LAST COMES LOVE by Mary Balogh has one of the best introduction scenes and “getting to know you” dialogue I’ve ever read. The scandalous Duncan Pennethorne, the Earl of Sheringford and beautiful yet very respectable Margaret Huxtable collide at a time when they each have something the other desires. Duncan is looking for a well-connected wealthy wife to satisfy his grandfather and secure his inheritance and, and that particular moment, Margaret needs a fake beau…