Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Lisa Kessler | PIRATE’S PLEASURE Excerpt and more!
Author Guest / May 6, 2019

It’s so fun to be back on the Fresh Fiction Blog! If we haven’t met before, I’m Lisa Kessler and I write paranormal romances that have plenty of twists and turns, danger and adventure, and sexy romance that will curl your toes. I love writing paranormals, but I don’t stop with vampires and shifters. In the Sentinels of Savannah series, I’ve got a sexy crew of immortal pirates, but they’re not vampires. Their final plunder as mortals turned out not to be gold, but the Holy Grail. They’ve been immortal ever since, living and working at their favorite port city, Savannah Georgia! My new release, Pirate’s Pleasure, is book 3 in my new Sentinels of Savannah Series but it can be read as a standalone. Why pirates in Savannah? My grandmother was born and raised just outside of Savannah in Darien, so I’d visited America’s Most Haunted City before and pirates are a big part of their history. I’ve wanted to write a pirate series since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out, but I didn’t want to write a historical soooo… One day it hit me! What if the pirates were still here, today? Immortal. They all have…

Lori Ann Bailey | Bringing the Past into the Present
Author Guest / May 2, 2019

Research has a way of pulling us historical authors down into a never-ending spiral of, oooh, I must know more. For some of us, it’s the most fascinating part of our job and for even more of us history geeks, it’s like catnip. We’ve always been infatuated with those who came before us. But that must be the reason we love the genre to begin with. Recently, I was listening to a YouTube video of the song, The Massacre at Glencoe, sung by John McDermott. I found this ballad on a previous trip down the research rabbit hole and I’m still occasionally haunted by it, so when the mood strikes, I pull it up and listen again. The song is about the true story that inspired the “Red Wedding” in Game of Thrones. It’s the tale of the slaughter of innocent members of clan MacDonald by Campbells, who were under the MacDonald roof as guests and it has always touched me emotionally. This particular day, I started bawling. That’s when I decided to go on a quest. There must be something about me that makes this reach into my soul the way it does. I suddenly remembered the magazine I’d…

Abigail Owen | Make Me Cry
Author Guest / May 1, 2019

Usually, the books I love make me laugh. But…the books I love most make me cry. Anyone else out there love a good cry? I still tear up just thinking about the on-page death of Snape and how Harry names a child after him in the Harry Potter series. Or when they have to put the dog down in Marley and Me (especially since my dog was exactly that crazy). Actually, now that I think on it, it’s true of movies as well. I can’t stand cheating stories, but the scene in The English Patient where he carries her body out of the cave still makes me sob. Or (SPOILER ALERT) Hodor holding the door in Game of Thrones. I can tell you right now that writing a scene with that kind of emotional gut punch is difficult. I have one in my new release, The Rookie that took a lot out of me to do. My editor said, “I don’t want to see tears on page. Make the reader cry all the tears.” What I did with that advice was reach into moments I usually prefer not to visit. I’ve been to my fair share of funerals over the…

Julia Bennet | The ABCs of Romance Novel Heroes
Author Guest / April 22, 2019

Alpha, beta, cinnamon roll; which is best? It’s a subject about which many readers have strong opinions. But in case anyone’s confused, what do these terms actually mean? Well, the alphas are the leaders, the CEOs, the warriors, the head of the shifter pack. They don’t have to be cruel or controlling, though sometimes they are. On the other hand, the betas and cinnamon rolls are perhaps best defined by their supportiveness. They don’t want to conquer the heroine but they’ll be there for her no matter what. They’re dudes and they abide. Alphas will annihilate your enemies, but betas will help you move house. Personally, I see the appeal of both. For alphas, think Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey or Sebastian from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. For betas, almost any Talia Hibbert hero or Winter Makepeace from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Thief of Shadows. I could do a whole post on the wonderfulness of Winter Makepeace. With The Madness of Miss Grey, I didn’t set out with a particular archetype in mind. But I knew my heroine Helen was the tortured one. As a sane woman incarcerated in a lunatic asylum, how could she not be? The hero,…

Shana Gray | Girls Weekend Away!
Author Guest / April 19, 2019

I’d love to hear about your wildest weekend away with your friends. Where did you go, what did you do, what silly things happen, and does somebody need bail money? LOL just kidding. My time away with friends are usually twofold. The rowdiest times are usually with my friends when we are conferences, we have the absolute best times! Dancing, partying, eating, drinking, laughing, just being silly and having a blast. A few years ago in NYC, a bunch of us were headed to lunch and came across a fire station. One of the firemen was changing, so of course, I had to get his photo and then wrangled everyone up for a photo op. Conferences are such a great way to see my friends that are scattered across the globe when we all congregate in one place. For when I go away with my girlfriends, a weekend away at a house, cottage, or an overnight stay at a hotel, where we all meet up and have fun. Sometimes just a night in with a glass of wine and nibblies or simply going out for dinner is such a great way to reconnect. I realize how important girlfriends were to…

Jennifer Trethewey | Here’s to the Rescuers
Author Guest / April 2, 2019

I like to read the dedications in novels. It feels like the author is sharing a tiny personal connection. I dedicated Saving the Scot to all the men, women, and animals who risk their lives to save others. I hope people will read it and remember all the unsung heroes and heroines who put on gear and walk in when others run away. I was delighted when one lovely reader made mention of the dedication in her review. So, I thought I’d talk a little bit about why I chose the dedication, pose some ways we can actively recognize their courage, and hopefully generate more ideas from you. Last October, Hurricane Michael caused death and destruction in the Florida Panhandle like the US has never seen. One of my writer friends, April Moran, had just released her second Regency novel when the hurricane destroyed her house and leveled all the trees in her yard. Nearly six months later, she and her husband are still living in a trailer while they rebuild. But rather than post about her new novel or her losses, she posted about the EMTs, the overworked powerline repair guys, the neighbors helping neighbors, the people rescuing animals,…

Veronica Forand | Writing on the Run
Author Guest / April 1, 2019

Writing had never been a linear process for me. My stories haunt me while writing them. Some of my favorite lines pop into my head at the worst possible times. If I ignore them, I have learned to my detriment, they will be lost to me forever. Therefore, I try as hard as possible to capture the words when they tap me on the shoulder. Here are some of the strangest places I write. I have a dictaphone for walks. I can dictate hundreds of words in a short amount of time while strolling down country roads with my dog Scout. I drive with lots of napkins in my car and if an idea comes to me, I pull over and write as much as I can fit onto the napkin. Sitting in the back of a homeowners association meeting, the notes on my laptop are more likely for my book than notes of the meeting. In spin class, I have a pen nearby and when I have an idea, I write it on my wrist until the class is over and I can get home to add it to the appropriate scene. The weirdest place a character ever spoke…

Jody Holford | Speed Dating with My Characters
Author Guest / March 14, 2019

Thanks so much for having me here on Fresh Fiction. I’m a huge fan of your site. I’m excited to be celebrating the release of my book, Story of Us. In the book, Sophia Strombi is the younger sister of a lifelong friend of Declan James. That isn’t the only thing that’s supposed to keep her off limits for his heart; he also hires her to be the manager of his pub, On Dec. With a background in marketing and promotion, Sophia is eager to bring in new business for the local establishment. One of her ideas is to bring in a speed dating company. I thought, for this post, it might be fun to have both of my main characters answer a ‘speed dating’ questionnaire. I’ve selected ten questions from an online questionnaire that I’ll put below and answer in character for each of the questions. Let’s see how well suited they are after the fact! Sophie Strombi 1. What makes you happy/sad/angry? Creating a really successful marketing campaign makes me happy professionally. Personally, being with my family and just sitting back and watching them all interact with each other brings me a sense of happiness. It makes me…

Rebecca Yarros | Writing the Perfect Love Letter + Excerpt from THE LAST LETTER
Author Guest / March 5, 2019

Being a military wife of seventeen years, I know a thing or two about writing a love letter. Between my husband’s five deployments, we have thousands of them stored in our basement, our own little time capsule from days where pen and paper were our only means of communication. Those letters have saved our marriage more times than I can count. The beautiful thing about love letters is that just like love, they come in all sorts of different varieties. Some are poetic, some romantic, some erotic, and some don’t even look like love letters at all. What all good love letters have in common is heartfelt emotion. In The Last Letter, Ella regrets writing in pen when her awkward nature gets the best of her during her first letters with Beckett. But that sincerity is what first draws Beckett to her in their letters. Start with your feelings, and you can’t go wrong. Some of my favorites didn’t read like love letters at all. They came from the front lines, scrawled on scrap pieces of paper between missions, the letters blurring from the touch of Jason’s fingers. They were short, and often held two distinct paragraphs—one updating me on…

Liana LeFey | What Does Love Look Like?
Author Guest / March 4, 2019

I’ve explored many themes over the years while writing historical romance. In doing so, I discovered the potential obstacles to two people falling in love and being together were pretty much the same in the periods in which my stories are set as they are now—family issues, economic/class disparity, job demands, etc. I’ve written about all of those. Another, perhaps stickier challenge when writing period romance is tackling societal approval for a so-called “unconventional” love. Except…it’s not an issue restricted to period romance. It’s an issue for romance, period. Although humanity has (generally) made great social progress over the last three hundred years, there are still some big societal hurdles to be leaped—for some, hurdles that have existed for millennia. I address one of these in my new release A Wicked Reputation. A Wicked Reputation features not one, but two romances, one revealed in the back cover copy, the other more subtly implied. Without spoiling too much, I can tell you that while both couples encounter immense challenges to achieving their happy ever after, the danger for one of these is far greater. For this couple, because of societal intolerances of the period (which, unfortunately, haven’t yet been entirely eradicated),…