Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Heather McCollum | The Highland Outlaw
Author Guest / November 6, 2019

Thank you so much for having me here on Fresh Fiction today! I’m Heather McCollum, mother of three overly dramatic kids, wife of one Highland hero, ovarian cancer slayer, lover of chai lattes and dragonflies, and author of Scottish historical romances. My twenty-first book, THE HIGHLAND OUTLAW, was just released on October 21st (I love coincidences!). I’m often asked where I get my ideas. I feel like ideas are just floating around out in the world everywhere, and I have fun picking them out of the tangle of must-dos and everyday occurrences. It means that I’m sometimes hyperaware of my surroundings. The worlds around us are our own personal settings, just like settings for characters in books. Just like I need to recognize the sights, smells, and sounds in my books, I try to take those all in while living my life. Then I let my mind wander and expound upon those details. For example, I walk my dog each morning through my suburban neighborhood. Being the conscientious dog owner, I pick up her poop and drop the biodegradable baggie in the neighborhood dog waste cans set along the streets. Almost every time I lift that lid to toss it…

Lori Ann Bailey | Picking the Perfect Weapon
Author Guest / September 25, 2019

I recently had a discussion with friends about pepper spray. . . One friend keeps a canister with her and even sent me the link to the one she likes. I haven’t ordered it yet, but it’s in my cart, ready to purchase next time I place an order. Two of us have daughters who are college-aged and both have been in situations that make me cringe when I think about them. As moms of older children, we can no longer dictate their actions or what places they frequent, but at the same time, we can arm them with something that might help them in a difficult situation. In uncomfortable conditions like dark parking lots, I normally walk with my keys fisted in my hands, one pointing outward in preparation for some kind of attack I’m optimistic will never really happen. I’m even happy to see that as time passes more places are installing the police call boxes that are an easy jog from every position. Also, I’ve read an amazing book about trusting your instincts and being aware of the danger around you. I highly recommend The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. I believe everyone should read…

Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan | A Fun Co-Author-y Q&A
Author Guest / August 28, 2019

AMALIE: Hey, Angie, should we tell the Fresh Fiction readers a little about this last book in the Tartans and Titans series? Our kilty little secret….heh. ANGIE: Yes, definitely! WHAT A SCOT WANTS is a hilarious, steamy enemies-to-lovers romance about a stoic Highlander laird who has been burned by love before and an independent heiress who is determined to remain a spinster and run her shelter house. AMALIE: Yes, and when their parents force them into a marriage of convenience, it’s a race against time to see who can make the other cry off first. There’s humor, wagers, antics, constant one-upping, and buckets of sizzling romantic tension. Seriously, buy it and love it (Jedi mind trick). *Hugs each other and does the co-author happy dance! ANGIE: Amalie, I know a lot about you but for those who aren’t as lucky as I am, can you describe yourself in five words or less? AMALIE: Only five words? That’s like torture. I would have to say I’m creative, fun-loving, humorous, passionate, free-spirited. What about you, Angie? ANGIE: I do love to challenge you from time to time! I’m relaxed, creative, inquisitive, cheerful, and active. Amalie, when you walk into a room, what…

Alyson McLayne | Top 3 Places To Visit In Scotland
Author Guest / July 31, 2019

Scotland’s held a special place in my heart for a long time. My mom put me in Highland Dancing when I was little, and I can remember standing on a chair in our dining room for hours as she struggled to make my kilt–pinning and repining the pleats and making sure it sat perfectly on my hips. She also made me a fitted, velvet vest to wear over my lacey blouse. The final product was beautiful but heavy (all those deep pleats!), making the dances even harder to perform. Not surprisingly, when I grew out of my costume a few years later and needed a new one, she paid someone else to make it. We were both happier that she left it to the professionals! So years later, when I was on a University exchange in England for six months, the first trip I took during spring break was all the way north through Scotland to the Orkney Islands, off the northeast coast. To get there I stopped in Edinburgh, Inverness, and other places along the way. Scotland was a magical place to me with its history, castles, green valleys, craggy mountains, and wild seas. And brawny Scots in kilts,…

Michelle McLean | Favorite Kilt Facts
Author Guest / July 19, 2019

I have always been enamored of all things Scottish. I’m not sure what it is. The intriguing history and inherent romance of wild heather and windswept moors, perhaps? The castles and incredible scenery, certainly. And the Scottish men in kilts don’t hurt, either 😉 When I first started writing highlander novels, I did a great deal of research on kilts. I didn’t know much to begin with (except how good they looked on the handsome Hollywood hunks who wore them in films. This was before Sam Heughan kilted up to play Jaime Fraser or he’d be top of the list for sure!). But I did know that there were several times throughout history that kilts weren’t widely worn in Scotland, so I wanted to have all my historical facts straight. While researching, I came across several interesting tidbits, as one often does. Here are five of my favorite kilt facts. Kilts are fairly recent, having only been around since the 16th William Wallace, a la Braveheart, would not have worn one as he was both a lowlander and born about 300 years too early. The brightly colored modern clan tartan patterns usually associated with kilts didn’t start coming about until…

Mary Wine | WICKED HIGHLAND WAYS
Author Guest / May 29, 2019

I love a lot of seasons but Spring is just plain fun for me to watch come in. Winter has its beauty, especially there at the end when I’m so sick of running my air-conditioning unit to make it through those late summer heat waves. I love getting my warm fuzzy slippers out and having the chance to use some of the quilts I’ve made. Still, spring is just plain magical. Now I’ll make a confession. I love birds. One of my favorite things to do in spring is to keep an eye on the Eagle Cam. There is a pair of Bald Eagles who next in Big Bear and there is a camera mounted so you can get a peek at them as they prepare their nest. It’s something I really enjoy, watching those bird as they tend their eggs and waiting…just hoping to see a chick or two. This year they have two little chicks. Wicked Highland Ways is the last book in my Highland Brides series. Some might look at it as the late summer piece in the collection but for me, it’s still springtime. Hey, Brenda has waited for five books to have her very own….

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…